The Varsity rugby matches between Oxford and Cambridge – one of the oldest rivalries in sport – were the venue for an outreach event targeting local school students.
Five-hundred teenagers representing 30 state schools visited Twickenham, the home of England Rugby, for an event dedicated to encouraging more bright state school students to consider applying to the two universities.
The event was targeted particularly at schools in London with little previous engagement with Oxford and Cambridge.
As part of the free day out at the annual rugby matches, pupils met Oxford and Cambridge admissions staff and students and found out what it's really like to study at Oxbridge. They also received information and advice about the application process to both universities.
Thomas Carding, a teacher of History, Politics and Law at Haringey Sixth Form College, said: 'Our students had the opportunity to speak to Professor Louise Richardson, the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, about topics including good interview technique and the need for more women to take part in in STEM subjects. They also enjoyed the chance to meet students of subjects they're thinking of applying for. This experience has certainly increased their interest and confidence in applying to Oxford or Cambridge.'
On the day, Oxford's women beat their Cambridge counterparts 3-0, with Cambridge winning the men's match 23-18.
Dr Samina Khan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach at Oxford University, said: 'Having the excitement of the Varsity matches as a backdrop is a great way to engage with local schools – particularly those with little previous engagement with Oxford. While we reach thousands of students in schools across the country each year with our outreach, we are always looking for new ways to put Oxford on the radar of bright students in schools that might need extra support and encouragement. A day out at Twickenham is a wonderful opportunity to hopefully reach even more students and teachers who might consider applying to Oxford.'
Megan Goldman Roberts, Access Officer at St John's College, Cambridge, said: 'The University of Cambridge and the colleges meet thousands of students and teachers every year to provide advice and inspiration. It's great to be speaking to so many students today about the exciting opportunities which our universities offer.'