A programme that helps high-achieving black students gain places at top British universities is set to expand dramatically with support from Oxford University.
Created and run on a pro bono basis by diversity recruitment specialist Rare, Target Oxbridge aims to increase the number of black African and Caribbean students at Oxford and Cambridge by helping talented pupils to apply.
The Target Oxbridge programme had 45 fully funded places in 2017. Unprecedented demand for places this year has prompted significant progress, with Oxford and Cambridge universities providing funding to support a total of 160 places in 2018.
The development programme, which runs over the course of a year, involves residential visits, academic sessions, and mentoring by current and former Oxbridge students. A critical part of the programme will be its Easter and summer residential courses, which will give the students a taster of life at Oxford, with university tutors teaching sessions, and the students experiencing the city.
Fis Noibi, a Target Oxbridge alumna currently studying French and Arabic at Somerville College, Oxford said:
'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!'
Dr Samina Khan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach at Oxford University, said:
'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.
'We've been really pleased at the strong support for Target Oxbridge across all Oxford's colleges, and the assistance of Merton, Oriel and Trinity colleges in particular has been vital in making this expansion possible.'
This year, Target Oxbridge had its greatest number of successes yet, with 35 black and mixed with black heritage students securing offers from Oxford and Cambridge. This represents a success rate of 41% for those taking part in the programme – more than double the average success rate.
Programme founder Naomi Kellman, Senior Manager for Schools and Universities at Rare, said:
'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!'