Thinking about Oxford... for Caribbean students

Now in its third year, our flagship Thinking About Oxford series invites state school students to learn about life at university, discuss studying at Oxford with members of staff and current students, and develop key skills they can use in an application to a top university like Oxford and Cambridge. This branch of the programme is open to students in Year 11 and Year 12 at state schools for whom 'Caribbean' is a part of their identity (including students from Black Caribbean and Indo-Caribbean groups, and students whose mixed heritages include one or more Caribbean groups).

Over the course of this programme, students will be given the skills to...

  • Explore top universities: In June, we will hold two Teams meetings in which current staff and students at the University of Oxford will discuss key elements of studying at a top university. As well as talking about the application process, we will take the opportunity to think carefully about the long history of Caribbean students at the university and find out more about the student societies which connect Caribbean students across the different colleges of Oxford University today. The first meeting will cover Life at a top university for Caribbean students (Monday 13 June, 5 - 6pm) and the second will cover Subject choice and future careers (Monday 20 June, 5 - 6pm).
     
  • Understand the admissions process: At the end of June, students will receive a detailed guide to admissions for Oxford and Cambridge which will encourage them to consider their options, seek out resources to boost their aptitude for university study, and prepare for each step in the application process. They will then be invited to take part in an online admissions-focused seminar (Monday 27 June, 5 - 6pm) with a Q&A for any queries about applying to Oxford or Cambridge. Practical tips will also be provided in the seminar for those attending an Open Day at Oxford or Cambridge over the summer.
     
  • Prepare a great university application: At the end of August, students in Year 12 who intend to apply to Oxford can attend an Application Preparation Day to receive subject-specific guidance on compiling a UCAS form, submitting written work, completing an admissions test and attending a university interview. We hope to hold this event in person at Worcester College in Oxford.

As we are unfortunately unable to record the majority of these events, we anticipate that students who sign up to be part of these meetings will do their best to attend as many of the sessions as possible.

How do I take part?

Caribbean students in Year 11 or Year 12 at state schools anywhere in the UK are eligible to apply. Please fill in this application form to register your interest in Thinking About Oxford. Applications will close at 12pm on Saturday 11 June; we will be in touch with all applicants via email soon after this date.

Though elements of this programme will be specific to Oxford, we aim to provide guidance which is relevant to all university applications, so please feel free to apply even if you don't know exactly what you'd like to study or where you'd like to go.

Please note that if the programme is oversubscribed, we will prioritise applications from students who attend non-selective schools or schools with little to no history of applying to highly selective universities. Students who are already enrolled on the Target Oxbridge access scheme may find this programme will cover many of the same topics. If you have any questions, please email us at admissions@worc.ox.ac.uk.

Why do you have a specific access programme for Caribbean students?

Working towards racial equality has been high on the agenda for Worcester College for some time, both in terms of our work towards fair admissions processes and anti-racism work within our college environment. Earlier this year we were able to announce some good news about this work: 36% of Worcester 2020 intake were BAME, a serious increase from the 11% of our student population that BAME students made up in previous years. But when we broke the data down beyond the single heading 'BAME', we could see that the story was not quite so simple. The number of BAME students and the number of Black students had increased (Black students and students of mixed heritage including Black accounted for 8.5% of our student intake in 2020), and it was no longer the case that white students as a group, when they applied, were more likely to be offered places than BAME students (in fact, Black British African applicants and British Bangladeshi and Pakistani students were in 2020 more likely to be made offers than white students). But there remained one group from whom we received very few applications (fewer than 5), and who consequently continue to make up only a small proportion of Worcester's student body: British Caribbean students. It is not only at Worcester College, or only at Oxford University that British Caribbean students are under-represented. Students from these groups are under-represented across Higher Education more generally, and at Worcester we want to do something about this. The goal of this programme is to support British Caribbean students in making the best possible applications to highly selective universities (like Oxford and Cambridge), to increase their representation at Worcester College and other Higher Education institutions, and to make Worcester College a place where British Caribbean students can thrive in their learning and in all other aspects of the university experience.

Where can I find more support for my application to university?

The application process for the University of Oxford is covered in detail on the university website. Worcester College has a number of other outreach programmes which are designed to help students make strong university applications – you can find them listed here.