Government, education charities, and universities themselves are all keen that everyone has as much chance as possible to go to university if they can benefit from it. Here are some organisations that can help you, whatever your background:
Pre-university summer schools increase your confidence, extend your experience, and look good on your personal statement.
Many universities have free or low-cost summer schools designed to reach possible students from a wider background – check out their websites (look for “outreach” or “widening access”). There are also some other options:
Headstart is a charitable trust designed to encourage young people into technology-based careers. It offers residential engineering taster courses (3 or 4 days) at UK universities to encourage young people into technology-based careers. It might be able to offer you a bursary if financial hardship would otherwise prevent your attendance. It also offers non-residential Inspire courses for girls in year 11/S4 who are interested in STEM subjects.)
The JACT Summer Schools Trust runs UK residential summer schools in Greek, Latin and Classical Civilisation and can offer bursaries to students who need them.
The Sutton Trust is a charity dedicated to improving mobility through education. It organises free one-week summer schools giving a taster of university life if you’re from a non-university background.
Work experience, internships and volunteering
Relevant work experience can also help to develop your interest in a particular subject, and shows that you are enthusiastic about it. Student Ladder has links to a wide range of different possibilities in different subject areas and you can read more on our work experience pages here.
Broader experiences in work, internships or volunteering can help your applications for some university places but if you don’t have confidence or connections to help you this can be a daunting challenge. The National Citizen Service is designed for young people aged 16 or 17 from every background to get experience of working together on projects. It offers low cost residential weeks and will build your confidence and skills.
Help with personal Statements
Your personal statement is a crucial part of your application to university. Your school or college should be able to help you, but you can also find very useful help on the UCAS website. Some universities also have useful online resources, such as this one from an Oxford college.
You might also be interested in our pages on: