Despite the disruption to young people’s education caused by the pandemic The Access Project (TAP) is pulling out all the stops to make sure disadvantaged school pupils can visit prospective universities – virtually. The education charity will be delivering a week of online university trips for more than 400 Year 10 students. TAP students from London, the West Midlands and East Midlands will ‘visit’ SOAS The University of London, The University of Leicester and The University of Southampton during half-term. 

The Access Project helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds get to top universities. The charity works with schools to offer a unique combination of tuition and in-school mentoring for young people during GCSEs and A-Levels. TAP students are four times as likely as similarly disadvantaged peers to attend a top university, data from UCAS shows. Thanks to expert knowledge of online delivery and safeguarding TAP has been able to deliver the programme during COVID, at a time when young people need more support than ever. 

The virtual trips week will include virtual video sessions filmed by university partners and TAP alumni alongside Q&A sessions and activities for students to access every day. For many students on the programme receiving the charity’s university readiness support is their first chance to experience what university life could be like. Students also receive vital support with their university applications, subject choices and work experience. 

Halima, a Year 11 student at Holte School in Birmingham, attended the university trip to Keble College, Oxford organised by TAP last year, before the COVID outbreak and is hoping to be the first in her family to secure her place at university:  

“Being on TAP allows us to explore what university could be like and gives us hope for our future. Having the opportunity to learn more about university life first hand and talk to students taught me a lot about the university experience and gave me a chance to see myself at a top institution.”

Working with universities across the country enables GCSE and A-level students to access valuable information and broaden their horizons. TAP University Events and Student Enrichment Manager, Ellie says: 

Our university trips are such an important part of our provision as they give students the knowledge and ambition they need to start thinking about their future and what university they could apply to.  Given the pandemic we aren’t able to visit in person this year, so by working with our partners at SOAS, University of Leicester and The University of Southampton we are able to ensure our young people receive the best support virtually.”

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