Corpus Christi College Oxford

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Outreach Trip to Greater Manchester

During September, the College Outreach Officer spent a week in Greater Manchester visiting schools across the region to deliver a range of sessions about Oxford and higher education more generally. What follows below is an account of the week and some reflections on it by Brendan Shepherd (Outreach Officer and Admissions Administrator).


Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 September

The week began with a series of events run collaboratively with colleagues from Murray Edwards and Pembroke Colleges, Cambridge. These events were aimed at Year 13 students imminently applying to either Oxford or Cambridge, and focussed on delivering information, advice and guidance regarding the interview process used by both universities. Emphasis was on the discussion-based nature of interviews and the ways in which candidates can demonstrate their aptitude for their chosen course within this context. Feedback for these events - which were attended by around 250 students - was overwhelmingly positive, with most respondants noting that their confidence ahead of the admissions process had increased; a common comment made concerned the understanding gained that tutors in interview scenarios are keen to set candidates at ease and are not attempting to pose impossible, or trick, questions! These events were kindly hosted by Xaverian College (Manchester), Aquinas College (Stockport), Holy Cross College (Bury), and Loreto Grammar (Altrincham), and are likely to be repeated in 2016.

Above right: Corpus Senior Tutor Dr Mark Wormald (second from the right) with Cambridge colleagues waiting for a tram in central Manchester.


Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 September

For the following two days, I undertook a series of schools visted in Salford, Trafford, Manchester, and Tameside; these visits were predominantly aimed at Key Stage 4 students (Years 10 and 11) and focussed on asking them to consider their future options with regards to Higher Education and Oxford. Issues dealt with in these sessions included: the benefits of going to university, myths about Oxford (and Cambridge), students' financial concerns, what it is like to study and live as a student at Oxford, what students might go on to do after studying at a university like Oxford, and the long-term preparations students can make ahead of a potential application. Common to each of these sessions was a fantastic level of student engagement and questioning, and a thoroughly impressive level of consideration students in all schools were giving to their future options. Each of these visits was arranged following a request from a teacher within a school, and similar requests can be sent to at any time!

Below, from left to right: welcome screen at Longdendale High in Hollingworth; speaking to students at Moorside High in Salford; speaking to students at West Hill School in Stalybridge.


Friday 25 September

The final day of the trip took me beyond Greater Manchester, and up into Lancashire to visit Carr Hill High School. This is not an area covered by Corpus through the regionalisation scheme, but on this occasion I was making a visit on behalf of the Queen's College. This following a similar format to earlier visits, with a session delivered to a group of Year 10 and 11 students about their future options. However, it was followed by a HE Fair where representatives from other local universities came and students could speak to each of us individually about what our institutions have to offer them. As with the rest of the week, the welcome from students and staff alike was very friendly, and this was a fantastic way to end the trip before catching a train back to Oxford (via the lovely station at Preston).

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