Last week we described the exciting programme of events which OxFizz, the business partner in The Access Project school King Solomon Academy, provide to Oxbridge hopefuls from across all The Access Project schools. Our team of Oxbridge graduate volunteers run a series of workshops and practice interviews for students from across The Access Project schools as they work to gain places at super-selective universities.
All the support which we offer is delivered by graduates who are there because they believe strongly in the value of the work we do, and in the potential of students to follow their dreams and achieve big things. As such, in this post we thought it would be interesting to hear from one of our volunteers about why he chooses to volunteer with OxFizz to support The Access Project.
Garreth is one of 350 graduate volunteers who support OxFizz by donating their time and skills to support our work:
“I have been working with The Access Project through OxFizz since 2013 and the experience has been both very challenging and incredibly rewarding. Over the years, I have taught students from a range of different age groups and in variable classroom environments – from giving English classes to primary school children in Ecuador, to undergraduate Chemistry tutorials at Oxford University. However, OxFizz allowed me to get involved in a style of teaching that I had never encountered before in the form of its subject workshops and practice interviews sessions.
“A typical subject workshop, aimed at sixth-form students who are applying to university, begins with a general introduction to life at Oxbridge. The students tend to be from a range of different backgrounds and subject areas, so the presentation focuses more generally on what is involved in applying to Oxbridge, how to best prepare an application, what daily life is like there, and how students can manage the financial burdens of tertiary education. The class always maintains an informal and interactive atmosphere, and students are encouraged to ask questions as and when they feel the need to. It is always great to be given the chance to break down the often-negative and rarely-true perceptions people have about Oxbridge, and to see students realise that a place at a top university is as much within their reach as it is anyone else’s.
“The rest of the day usually involves a ‘subject carousel’: students spend 15 minutes listening to a recent graduate talk about what it was like to study their subject at university, before moving on to the next station. It is a challenge, though certainly an enjoyable one, to sell Chemistry as an undergraduate degree in such a short period of time, but it means that students are given a small insight into a wide range of subjects (including ones that they probably haven’t considered studying before) so that they leave with the tools and incentive to go away and do some research for themselves.
“My other involvement with The Access Project comes in the form of subject interviews. To this end, I prepare, conduct, and provide feedback on practice interviews for students who are applying for Chemistry or Physical Sciences at Russell Group Universities. A key aspect of these practice interviews is that all students – regardless of their educational background – are given the same amount of time and asked exactly the same questions. It’s a chance to get taste of what a real interview at a top university is like, and also to ask any questions about the application process itself. I find the interview sessions incredibly enjoyable, and would certainly recommend them to any student who has the chance to get involved!”
If you would like to join our network of highly skilled graduates then please just email Sijana.Mamos@oxfizz.org