OxFizz is an exciting social enterprise which shares its resources, expertise and knowledge with students across The Access Project network. We fund and support ‘The Odysseus Project’ in King Solomon Academy, and we also support motivated and high performing students from across The Access Project in their bid to earn places at the most selective UK universities.

So, what does this mean in practice? Well, in short it means that we share all that we have learnt from working with some of the most successful schools in the country with the most aspirational Access Project students. We run a year-long programme for this energetic and ambitious cohort (known as the ‘Oxbridge Society’) which starts in March and runs through to the autumn term. It’s a fantastic programme which sees students develop new skills, grow in confidence and make like-minded friends.

Two weeks ago the 2015-16 cohort gathered for the first time, so we thought it was an excellent time to reflect on the successes of the previous years’ programmes and share some of our favourite memories with you all.

This first meeting of the ‘Oxbridge Society’ is always particularly memorable as during the course of the day the students grow in confidence (the final session is always a lot louder than the first!) and become an integrated group who will work together and support each other over the coming months. Students attend an ‘Introduction to Applying to Oxbridge’ talk, as well as a Problem Solving Workshop and a ‘Subject Carousel’ where they will meet tens of Oxbridge graduates who will share their experiences and provide advice.

Specific skills and solid foundations

After the foundations have been laid during that first session, the ‘Oxbridge Society’ reconvenes during the Summer Term to dedicate some time to learning specific skills which they can draw upon during the different stages of the application process. We take over a school for two days of interactive, small group workshops which address things like writing a highly academic personal statement, preparing for admissions tests and, our personal favourite, interview skills. Students leave with lots of advice and ideas, as well a clear action plan for the summer holidays.

The final gathering of the cohort takes place during the Autumn Term when the students attend full-length, academically challenging practice interviews with our team of subject-specialist Oxbridge graduate interviewers. Students will be put through their paces by our interviewers who ask challenging questions for 30 minutes, before sharing their advice in 20 minutes of spoken and written feedback. The group all leave this day with a clear idea of what they should look to work on, whether in school, at home or during their Access Project tutorials, before they head up to Oxford or Cambridge for the ‘real thing’ in December.

This programme of events has been designed by our experienced team and Jake, from The Access Project, to ensure that students are as well-prepared, and as confident, as possible by the time they take a seat at an interview in Oxford or Cambridge. Last year the feedback was incredibly positive, with 100% of students being happy to recommend the programme to a friend, and we are very excited to start working with the new cohort soon.

To find out more about us, or to get involved as a volunteer, then please visit our website www.oxfizz.org or email Sijana.mamos@oxfizz.org