Oriel's Access Strategy and Outreach Work
Working with link regions
As part of the University of Oxford’s regional outreach strategy, we take responsibility for being the first point of contact for schools in Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Worcestershire in the West Midlands, and the London boroughs of Richmond and Kensington & Chelsea. For the 2020-21 academic year, we will also be taking on responsibility for Herefordshire.
Our work with these areas includes visits from Oriel to schools in our link areas, to talk to students about life at the University of Oxford, and to provide advice on how to apply. We also host groups of students from a range of year groups and from a variety of schools to come and spend the day in Oxford. Within this work we focus on supporting potential applicants from schools and areas that are currently under-represented at Oxford, and working with teachers and parents to help them support potential candidates. We appreciate the value of collaborative Outreach work and enjoy collaborating with other colleges at Oxford and also at Cambridge to serve our link areas, particularly those within the West Midlands, better.
Encouraging applications from under-represented groups
Our yearly programme of events and partnerships are designed to open up access to Oxford for students from all over the country who are from state school (particularly non-selective state school), deprived, or otherwise under-represented backgrounds. These include, but are not limited to:
- An annual Medicine Outreach Day to which state school students interested in studying Medicine or Biomedical Sciences are invited. The day is hosted by our Outreach Officer and current Oriel students and incorporates admissions advice with clinical taster sessions. 80 students attended the last event of this type in 2019.
- Events and programmes designed to encourage applications from Black and Minority Ethnic students, who are under-represented at Oxford. We are proud to support the Target Oxbridge school programme. Target Oxbridge is a free programme particularly aimed at UK-based black African and Caribbean students, or those with black African and Caribbean heritage. The programme provides practical support and advice to Year 12 students in the run up to their university application and beyond. More information about the programme can be found here.
- Collaborative programmes, including the development of a West Midlands Outreach Consortium with Keble and University Colleges, and a well-established programme for schools in Walsall run with Newnham College, Cambridge.
- Digital outreach resources and support, to enable schools to engage with the college when in-person visits and talks are not possible.
- Participation in the Opportunity Oxford programme.
How our student mix is changing
We are seeing encouraging progress in our strategy of encouraging more applications from under-represented groups, and this is feeding through into a more diverse undergraduate body. Oriel admits around 90 students per year of whom typically 70 or so are from the UK. For 2017 we saw a substantial increase in the proportion of UK domiciled undergraduates from state schools, BME backgrounds, and ACORN category 4/5 postcodes (classified as ‘Financially Stretched’ or ‘Urban Adversity’ – read more about ACORN here).
Graphs showing data for Oriel applications and admissions between 2013 and 2017 can be viewed here.
The most recent admissions statistics for the University can be viewed here.
This is what some of the students who have attended Oriel’s outreach events thought about the experience:
“I had been really unsure if Oxford was somewhere I wanted to apply, or somewhere I’d be able to apply but, after watching the mock interview and participating in the seminar, I was surprised at how interactive the process is and how much I enjoyed (and managed to keep up with!) that style of debate. The Study Day reversed a lot of my fears about Oxford in a way that I really hadn’t expected it to.” – Student on Ancient Worlds 2016 Study Day
“I thought it was a beautiful College and I can definitely imagine living there! The way the lectures, seminars and tutorials work is very interesting and I think it’s a very well-thought-out system that would benefit students greatly. The College has a welcoming and friendly feel to it, so I’ve been given a definite motivation to apply to Oriel from this.” – Student on the Language and Literature 2016 Study Day
If you’re interesting in knowing more about Oriel’s Schools Liaison and Outreach work, have a look at our Outreach pages. You can also contact our Outreach Officer, India Collins-Davies on firstname.lastname@example.org.