The Scholars Programme – University College, Oxford

On 8th November 2018, 12 students identified by Darland teaching staff for having a particular interest/academic strength in the area of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) attended their Scholars Programme launch event.

Despite an arduous journey which took almost five hours on a minibus, we arrived to the incredible University College campus with spirits remaining high.

The day began with a tour of the campus. It’s fair to say that the group were astounded by the sheer beauty of the buildings and grounds – it’s quite obvious that the staff and students within the university are proud to be there and strive to maintain nothing but perfection. We met our student host for the day, Rosie, who was in her second year studying engineering. Rosie guided us around the campus, taking in the grounds, student accommodation, statues (yes, statues!), the old library and the great hall. It was like being in the film set of Harry Potter.

The group then came together to be welcomed by the programme leader, Dr Claire Harrill, who is herself a professor at the university. Dr Harrill explained the format of the course and told how The Scholars Programme is designed to widen participation to the UK’s most selective universities; to date the university-style programme has had positive impact on those who complete it. According to an independent impact evaluation carried out by UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service), the impact was significant.

The day was busy but purposeful; after the programme introduction, students received information, advice and guidance for future courses and careers prospects, study skills (note taking and revision) and an introduction to their assignment ‘Cosmic Giants’ – a study into the formation and death of galaxies in our universe.

Upon successful completion of their university-style research project, students will be invited to attend a graduation ceremony in February 2019 at the University of Liverpool; watch this space!