Colleges are updating their access provisions for prospective students in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Following social distancing guidelines, the University has stated on is website that until further notice, planned outreach events and open days will not go ahead. It is “working hard to explore alternative options” and to transfer events into “digital experiences”.
Last week, Trinity College collaborated with the University to host an online open day for offer holders, welcoming 45 students from the Northeast over Zoom, to give advice and guidance in these times of uncertainty.
Worcester College is launching a website for secondary school students to offer help for students from year 7 to 13, and have also started a YouTube channel aimed at those thinking of applying to Oxford. Recent videos include a guide to applying to Oxbridge and an introduction to university for students in years 10 and 11. Outreach events with schools in their link areas in the North of England are planned to continue “in virtual form”.
Christ Church has also taken measures to move its access provisions online. The access team told Cherwell that they plan to “work together with the central team” to offer a “coherent and complementary” replacement to the July open day. Its access initiative run in collaboration with St Anne’s, “Aim for Oxford”, and its own programme “Christ Church Horizons”, will both now run digitally. The college also plans to hold online Q&As with its undergraduates, personal statement webinars, and online live sessions with its link areas in the Northeast. Its annual “Women in PPE” day will now take place using Microsoft Teams on the 26th May, for female-identifying prospective students interested in the subject.
Wadham have similarly adapted their access initiatives for the lockdown era, offering YouTube videos and articles for school-age students and online seminars to help with writing personal statements and other application processes. They have also paired up with Causeway Education “to provide mentoring support for 250 pupils from link schools with high proportions of widening participation pupils in Year 12 and relatively poor progression to top universities.” Under this scheme, school pupils are paired with subject specialists to support them through their applications.
Balliol is hosting a virtual history taster day next week for potential applicants, and other departments have hosted or plan to host online open days live-streamed online.
University-wide, access schemes have been introduced to aid prospective students with the application process. OxBuddy, a student initiative set up by current undergraduates, pairs current students with those thinking of applying in order to answer questions about life at Oxford.
Further updates on outreach provisions are expected to be released in the coming months.
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