Despite the disruption to young people’s education caused by the pandemic in the last year, The Access Project (TAP) is determined 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 12 students. TAP students from London, the West Midlands, East Midlands and Yorkshire will ‘visit’ University College London (UCL), The University of Leeds and The University of Sussex 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. Despite the disruption caused by COVID students with The Access Project are more than twice as likely to attend top universities compared to similarly disadvantaged students, according to UCAS. 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 video sessions filmed by university partners and TAP alumni alongside Q&A sessions and activities for students to access every day. The charity is also inviting parents of students on the programme to attend a virtual trip of their own to UCL to find out more about what going to university could mean for their child.

For many students on the programme receiving the charity’s university readiness support is vital as it gives them the chance to experience what university life could be like. Their parent engagement programme will also give students’ families a chance to engage in the process. Students will also receive support with their university applications, subject choices and work experience. 

​Wafa Nasseredine , a Year 13 student at Norwood School in London, attended the university trip to Queen Mary University London organised by TAP last year, before the COVID outbreak. She moved to the UK only 4 years ago and is hoping to secure a place at a top university:  

“Moving to the UK a few years ago made me more motivated to be on The Access Project and strive towards going to a top university.  I now feel more supported in my everyday life and know there are people who will help me reach my dreams. The trips with TAP allowed me to see myself fitting in at university. Having the chance to speak to current students about their experiences allowed me to understand how much support I would get whilst there.”

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 Year 12 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 UCL,The University of Sussex and The University of Leeds  we are able to ensure our young people receive the best support virtually.”

The Access Project is an official tuition partner of The National Tutoring Programme. You can find out more about the charity on their website