In the UK, students from disadvantaged areas are between 5 and 11 times less likely to go to a leading university than students from more affluent areas. Project Access provides a scalable solution to the problem of access to top universities. Help us develop a tech-enabled journey to support people into university.
Every year hundreds of thousands of students are reached by university outreach, but only about 10% are followed up with afterwards. At the moment, there is a perceived trade-off in the university access space: either an intervention is scalable and low-touch, or it is selective and high-touch. The universities themselves have also been unable to overcome this, offering either one-off outreach events, that leave applicants without support for the actual application after the event, or costly summer schools. That is where we come in. Even though we are small and relatively new on the scene, we have already been able to challenge the way things are done. We do this through two key schemes: online peer mentorship and a tech-enabled application journey.
The most exciting thing we are working on now is the latter: the application journey. This is a series of personalised content that is sent to applicants once a month to prompt them to complete the next step of their application. The plan is to integrate the journey closely with university outreach, so that all students are followed up with for up to two years through our general application journey, as well as a tailored journey with stories and information about Oxford. We have noticed that there is a big difference depending on how closely the stories in the modules match the applicant’s background. A prospective law student will be much more inspired to read a story by a current law student than one from a history student. What we are looking to do next is to isolate what exactly it is that matters most to our applicants, so that we can tailor the product accordingly. How important is, for example, gender compared to region? What are the most effective ways of addressing applicants’ worries in our interactive content?
We are looking for a BeyondMe team to help us develop this crucial support for the application journey.