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UNIQ Summer Schools.

(20 Posts)
needastrongone Tue 13-Mar-18 12:44:25

Hi there.

Dd has been offered a place at the above for July.

I'm just wondering if anyone has had experience of the summer school, any hints, tips or advice other than to take it all in and enjoy?

It will be entirely up to her whether she uses this experience to consider whether she wants to go ahead and apply for Oxbridge, but I hope this experience will at least show her that she could, if she wanted, or that it's not beyond her aspirations.

Decorhate Tue 13-Mar-18 20:51:58

My dd did one a few years ago. She really enjoyed the week, it was a very full programme. I think she had to bring a fancy dress costume so maybe start planning that in good time.

Uninspirednamewise Tue 13-Mar-18 22:53:03

Can someone answer a question for me about Uniq courses. I can see that the website says they are for students at state schools and that preference will be given to applicants from low socio-economic backgrounds or areas with low rates of progression to higher education. Does that mean that the courses are only intended for students from such backgrounds/areas or do some students at state schools, but from relatively wealthy backgrounds/areas still get places?

AtiaoftheJulii Wed 14-Mar-18 00:36:57

Yes, I think the fancy dress costume was the only thing that needed much preparation! Everything else is laid on. Dd had books sent to her beforehand and I think she did some reading before she went, then all she had to do was turn up smile There was a Facebook group set up before they went. Half her course stayed at one college and half at another, so they got to see people from other courses at their college too.

So really, just enjoy! Dd loves it, and is still in touch with her course mates. She didn't end up applying for Oxbridge, but most of her course mates did and I think all but one got offers.

Does that mean that the courses are only intended for students from such backgrounds/areas or do some students at state schools, but from relatively wealthy backgrounds/areas still get places?

I imagine applications are ranked according to the criteria, so it could be possible for a more privileged pupil to get a place if it happened that there aren't many applicants above them.

Decorhate Wed 14-Mar-18 06:20:38

I think it's worth applying for, regardless of your circumstances (but you do have to be at a state school). From memory, they are looking for students who have got a good number of A* at GCSE.

As Atia says, they will then give priority to those from disadvantaged backgrounds but if there are not enough people making the grade criteria they will have spaces.

(We live in an affluent town though not the nicest part!)

finnto Wed 14-Mar-18 10:14:26

Such courses with contextualised elements have become extremely competitive.
There are plenty of applicants who meet both the academic and socioeconomic criteria.
Successful candidates almost exclusively tend to be those who've overcome extreme adversity, such as being the sole carer in a household, bereavement, or have fled a war zone, etc.
Some universities, Imperial is one, run "potential" courses for state school pupils, with less of an emphasis on socioeconomic factors. It's possible to apply from a grammar, I believe, as long as the school in question is a state school.
Some of the northern RG unis have tie-ins with local area schools.

needastrongone Wed 14-Mar-18 16:34:28

Thanks for the input, I'll tell dd to get her thinking cap on about a fancy dress outfit thengrin

The UNIQ website is pretty detailed about selection criteria, in terms of grade requirements and socio-economic circumstances. But I don't think it's exclusively so. We are in an area with a low Polar Quintile, and obviously state school education applies, but haven't had extreme adversity issues, such as the examples finnto kindly describes.

Dd also doesn't have a high number of A* grades, *in fact only one, but her other grades are all A's, I'm not sure the school get tons of pupils to Oxbridge but I don't know the stats.

The application form did ask about the level of our educational achievement and occupations, but stressed this was NOT part of the selection criteria.

I did read her personal statement, but didn't make any input. Having a DS in Y13 may have helped her understand what constitutes a good statement, but in fairness, the subject they each have chosen couldn't have been more different! I thought her statement was really excellent, but again I'm not sure how much weight that carried.

We've always come from the angle that there's no harm in applying and nothing lost in aiming high. So I would definitely tell your dc to apply if they want* uninspired.

Dd is already excited as the admin are emailing her with details and requesting information from her.

needastrongone Wed 14-Mar-18 16:49:42

Apologies, my second paragraph doesn't quite make sense, I'm on the move and my bold highlighting went askew, it threw me somewhat obviously!

AtiaoftheJulii Wed 14-Mar-18 17:51:11

Successful candidates almost exclusively tend to be those who've overcome extreme adversity, such as being the sole carer in a household, bereavement, or have fled a war zone, etc.

Well, I know my dd hasn't done any of those, and I'm pretty sure Decorhate's hadn't either (although perhaps she's just been keeping it very quiet all these years!). Dd thought the other kids on her course were all pretty normal, no exciting backstories were shared - she's been to stay with one and didn't notice any extreme adversity there either.

They used to say explicitly that you should have done well at GCSE in comparison to your school peers, but I see that's not mentioned now. It's clearly worth applying - an hour or two of your time, in exchange for a completely free week in Oxford?

needastrongone Wed 14-Mar-18 17:58:25

Just also to clarify that Dd got one A star and the rest of her grades were A's, she did get higher numerical grades under the new structure of GCSE marking too.

finnto Wed 14-Mar-18 19:34:13

"How we select" info says that preference will be given to applicants from "low socioeconomic status backgrounds." Uniq considers data from Polar and Acorn on numbers from applicant's geographical area going to university, etc.
I stand corrected on my assertion that candidates need to demonstrate "extreme hardship" for this particular course. Although this does feature as one of the criteria for entry to many other access initiatives and the Foundation Year courses which are attached to some subjects.
Candidates may also find they are ineligible if either parent attended university.

AtiaoftheJulii Wed 14-Mar-18 20:24:07

Yes, they're very open and transparent about their selection criteria.

Candidates may also find they are ineligible if either parent attended university

Nope. This is not listed in the selection criteria (unlike e.g. the Sutton Trust summer schools) and as need wrote above, they are clear that this does not affect selection.

Oldowl Wed 14-Mar-18 21:12:34

DD did not get a place this year. Applied for Q-step Politics

She has 9 A* and 3 As, attends a top state Grammar where her grades are mediocre, both parents went to uni, we live in a good area POLAR 4 - so a high participation rate in Higher Education.

DD did not tick any of the socio-economic boxes (Looked-after, free school meals, carer etc) so it was not a surprise she was not offered a place. After watching 'Generation Gifted' I was quite pleased.

The Vlogger 'Eve Bennett' went last year and made a video about her experience. www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdw3bRGG9OE

finnto Wed 14-Mar-18 21:17:17

Each access course has it's own distinct set of entrance criteria, obviously - all variations on a theme. The theme is that universities wish to attract students from unrepresented groups.
What they all have in common is that they are very heavily oversubscribed. One we had experience of, had more applicants than for its standard course.

DrMadelineMaxwell Wed 14-Mar-18 21:32:02

I know when we looked at applying for a Sutton trust summer school for DD, she was immediately rejected due to not hitting the socio economic criteria. Very few children go from here but she wasn't even able to complete a full application as she was told she didn't qualify.

Some other Oxbridge colleges do other outreach schemes for areas that have few students applying. We're in the N Wales and DD has applied for, and been lucky enough to be offered, a place on the Magdalene college, Cambridge outreach trip. Only 3 days, but fully funded and a great experience for her. Application dates may have passed and I'm not sure which colleges target which areas. But I'm pleased for DD.

finnto Thu 15-Mar-18 15:55:13

I would be interested to know how many access course attendees actually go on to subsequently get offers from, and places on, courses at high tariff universities.

Is there any collective data on this?

I wonder, because such courses can appear to be mere box ticking exercises on the part of the institutions that run them.

It is, after all, beholden on schools, teachers and individual pupils to achieve the high grades required for admittance.

How many frustrated course leaders are there out there, who must see the raw talent and potential in some of these young people being under developed?
But who will realise that for significant numbers of these hopefuls, the dream may never quite be realised due to inadequate support from their homes and schools to help them achieve the high grades necessary.

RedHelenB Thu 15-Mar-18 18:50:24

My Dd went and lover it, all expenses paid and four free books to read and guidance on the BMAT (that she needed for some dentistry choices). I think most of her group got interviews if not offers as the gave help withe personal statementstatement too.

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 15-Mar-18 21:20:41

I would be interested to know how many access course attendees actually go on to subsequently get offers from, and places on, courses at high tariff universities.

How on earth would this data be collected?

finnto Fri 16-Mar-18 11:51:26

Surely, the university in question will ask for feedback from those attending.
I can't imagine that in the current climate of monitoring madness that data is not collected as standard.
After all, these initiatives may cost a fair amount to stage.
The methodology could run along the same lines as that which unis use to work out how many students have found employment post graduation, for example.

raspberryrippleicecream Sat 17-Mar-18 21:13:42

DD went last year and had a great time

She did not tick any of the socio-economic boxes, but there was a mention of her good GCSE achievements in comparison to her school cohort.

She was actually initially offered a reserve place and the conference at Easter (also paid for). Her reserve place came good about 2 weeks before the course.

She didn't apply for Oxford, almost everyone else did and I think she said about half got an offer.

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