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Oxford and Cambridge to increase support for black students in 2018

DIVERSITY: Target Oxbridge

TARGET OXBRIDGE, a highly successful programme that has helped 81 black students gain places at Oxbridge is set to expand dramatically with the support of both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Created and run by diversity recruitment specialist, Rare, Target Oxbridge aims to increase the number of black African and Caribbean students at Oxford and Cambridge by providing talented pupils with application support and advice.

The Target Oxbridge programme had 45 fully funded places in 2017. Unprecedented demand for places this year has prompted significant progress, with both Oxford and Cambridge Universities providing funding to support a total of 160 places in 2018.

The year-long programme involves visits to each university, subject sessions delivered by academics, admissions advice from experts, and mentoring by current and former Oxbridge students. This year both Oxford and Cambridge will host an Easter residential during which students will get a taste of living and studying at Oxford and Cambridge.

Victoria Chris, a Target Oxbridge alumna currently studying Natural Sciences at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge said: “It’s amazing to hear how such an invaluable programme has reached new heights! Target Oxbridge was definitely one of the main reasons why I got into Cambridge.

"Through the mentoring and seminars, I was encouraged to find a new way to express my ideas and thoughts. This was extremely helpful, not only in the interview and supervisions but also in daily communication. This programme not only helps individuals form a network with those who are in the best positions to provide support for gaining admission to Oxbridge, but also inspires students within the African-Caribbean community to go beyond their expectations!”

Fis Noibi, a Target Oxbridge alumna currently studying French and Arabic at Somerville College, Oxford commented: "Target Oxbridge provided me with an invaluable experience when it came to preparing not only for admissions into Oxford, but also life once there. With this expansion, I can honestly see the face of Oxford changing for the better, to become a much more inclusive, open and diverse space. I'm sure that this will be a real game-changer in the lives of many brilliant and more than capable students who otherwise may not have applied!"

Jon Beard, Director of the Cambridge Admissions Office at Cambridge University said: “The University of Cambridge is delighted to see continued growth in interest from BME students in applying to the University; last year more than one in five (21.8%) of students admitted to the University were from a minority ethnicity background. It’s welcome news that, together with our colleagues at Oxford, we’re able to help Target Oxbridge to expand and to encourage more black students to apply. ”

Dr Samina Khan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach at Oxford University, added: “Oxford’s partnership with Target Oxbridge has proven to be highly effective in demystifying life at Oxford and encouraging talented British applicants from African and Caribbean heritage to apply. It’s fantastic to witness this level of interest. I am keen to see what more we can do to reach talented students from black and other ethnic minority backgrounds, and to get even more students from these communities applying to Oxford.”

"This year, Target Oxbridge had its greatest number of successes yet, with 35 black and mixed with black heritage students on the programme securing offers from Oxford and Cambridge. With a total of 86 students receiving some level of support from Target Oxbridge, this translates to a success rate of 41%, which is well above the national average.

Programme founder Naomi Kellman, Senior Manager for Schools and Universities, concluded: “I am beyond delighted to see Target Oxbridge grow to such a significant size. When we started the programme we had just six students, and so to be able to offer help to 160 students this year is a wonderful opportunity. I look forward to even better results in 2019!”

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