Going to university can be a daunting experience for any 18-year-old. But if you are the first of your friends and family to attend university, leaving your home can be very overwhelming. This could also be a reason many of our students don’t see themselves at the top universities as they don’t know if they will fit in. 

Our university readiness programme gives students support with their applications, subject choices as well as work experience. Throughout their time on the programme we offer various opportunities to go on trips to universities and experience what it could be like for them. 

This July over 30 Year 12 Chemistry students travelled from across London, Birmingham and the East Midlands to The University of East Anglia for our first Access Project residential. Over the two days students spent time in lectures with subject experts revising key areas of the A-Level Chemistry curriculum, learning about Kitchen Chemistry and conducting experiments in the university labs. 

What we got up to

On Day 1, the students braved the heatwave and went around campus finding out about the facilities at the university and talking to student ambassadors about their experience. They spent time in revision sessions, led by a local sixth form teacher and exam marker. And they were treated to a session led by Dr Stephen Ashworth on Kitchen Chemistry with various experiments all using household chemicals and items from the supermarket. 

On the second day, and after indulging in the full English breakfast on offer, the students went straight into lab sessions led by university academics. With a session on careers in Chemistry the students were all inspired by what they could go on to do with Chemistry. The day was rounded off with advice on revising for their Chemistry exams to prepare them for Year 13. 

A great success!

This residential was made possible thanks to the staff at the University of East Anglia helping to widen participation. Amy Palmer, Recruitment and Outreach officer at UEA, said, “The first Access Project residential in partnership with UEA was a huge success. We were thoroughly impressed with the students’ enthusiasm and attitude towards members of staff and we hope the students gained a valuable insight into university life.  The Access Project’s mission of widening participation of young people to higher education aligns with UEA’s Outreach initiatives and we look forward to continuing this partnership in the future.”

The residential was a great opportunity for our students thanks to the incredible provision given by UEA over the two days. Our students left the trip not only feeling more confident in vital areas of their Chemistry A-Level but also inspired by everything they had learnt about the university.