We want universities to enjoy the benefits of greater diversity while students from non-traditional backgrounds feel empowered and excited by their future in education.
We have identified three barriers faced by high achieving students from non-traditional backgrounds (non-selective state schools) aiming for and being accepted into a highly selective university:
- Low educational aspiration
- Limited academic attainment
- Feeling of being out of place at a highly selective university.
We inspire more year 10 students from non-traditional backgrounds to strive for, apply to and be accepted by these highly selective universities.
Our Impact shows that initial research suggests Universify’s programme is having a positive effect on students.
‘I’ve seen how transformative residential academic courses are. At Universify we wanted to use this model and apply it to extend access to highly selective universities.’ Harry Hoare, Founder and Director of Universify Education
We were founded in 2016 by the Directors of Oxford Summer Courses, a BAC-accredited provider of short academic courses. Using our expertise of running summer schools we partner with Somerville College, Oxford, who aim to better serve their link regions and target schools. We also sought the help of education charities as we developed our programme.
In August 2016 we ran our first summer course welcoming 41 Year 10 students over 2 weeks. These students then returned in Easter 2017 where they completed a three-day residential focused on their upcoming GCSEs.
In 2017 we want to host 100 students across 2 Oxford colleges before taking Universify to other universities throughout the country. As Universify expands we will be able to achieve our vision, promoting educational equality and enabling more students to harness and realise their potential.
Beyond 2017 we want to expand even further. To find out what we have planned please see what we hope to achieve in the future.
Our summer course involves a combination of academic classes, sessions on university admissions and university life, academic coaching sessions, a group project and a range of social activities. Academic classes cover a range of subjects to improve students’ knowledge and critical thinking, providing students with an insight into the depth and level of undergraduate subject knowledge.
University admissions and student life sessions aim to further students’ understanding of highly selective universities, their environment and how to get there.
Social and cultural activities provide students with the chance to experience everything Oxford has to offer and shows what student life entails outside of academic commitments.
Coaching sessions entail a one hour one-to-one session with Universify coaches, trained in life coaching, to help build confidence and to provide support in the build up to and throughout GCSEs. In these sessions students set academic goals for the year and their targets for the next coaching session with coaching continuing once a month via phone or Skype. Students then return for a weekend in Easter where we focus on GCSE preparation to ensure students are able to fulfil their potential in their upcoming exams.
Students return to Oxford during the Easter holidays for 3 days for a GCSE-focused revision weekend. Students spend will have 8 hours of intensive revision classes in Maths, English or Sciences to help them work towards getting the best possible results in their GCSEs. The weekend isn’t all about revision though. Students also have the opportunity to hear about follow on programmes they can take part in once they have graduated from Universify at the end of their GCSEs. In addition, students attend a taster session in some University subjects they may not have studied before such as Sociology and Psychology. Like in the summer students also get to explore the city of Oxford and meet up with their coaches again.