Most recently, Project Access has sought to expand its operations and outreach efforts throughout the UK. In the process, we have had to adopt key bureaucratic procedures such as to register as a charity, and to conduct background checks for our mentors. Such administrative efforts have demanded we expend vital resources, both monetary and human, to further our ambitions throughout the country. Today, Project Access is now ready and sufficiently prepared to launch our nation-wide campaign to address the prevalent inequalities in university access. Specifically, this Crowdfunding campaign will go a long way in giving us the right push forward in the following respects:
- Background checks for our mentors
- Training sessions to ensure the highest quality of mentoring and proper safe guarding of our mentees
- Socials to reward the hundreds of UK mentors that dedicate precious hours to work for Project Access
- Technological infrastructure to ensure matching efficiency
- Marketing costs to reach the necessary number of mentors and mentees
- Transportations costs to meet up with students in state-schools
TARGETTING ADMISSIONS INEQUALITY
The primary problem Project Access tries to tackle is that high-achieving students from non-traditional backgrounds are far less likely to apply to top universities than their more affluent peers – even when they receive the same results in their exams. In the UK, half of students with AAB in their A-levels do not attend a Russell Group university. The likelihood that a student who qualifies for free school meals makes it to Oxford or Cambridge is 1 in 1,500. For the privately educated, it is 1 in 20
This also means that these students are far less likely to receive an offer. A UK government report found there is a state school ‘penalty’ in the admissions process equivalent to one A-level grade. This means a state school student who applies to a Russell Group university would need to achieve one grade higher in their A-levels to have the same chances of being admitted to a Russell Group university as an otherwise identical privately educated student. Students in private schools often receive a high level of support and encouragement during the university application process, which typically isn't available to students from low-income backgrounds.
WHAT WE DO AT PROJECT ACCES
As such, our aim is to provide under-privileged students access to information and support that their more affluent peers already receive. We do this through cost-efficient, high-impact initiatives, using the insights we've gained by helping over 1,000 students apply to top universities.
Across the board, Project Access has established several initiatives which have already gone a long way in helping many students apply to top universities all over the world.
The primary organ of Project Access is its global peer-to-peer network, where talented applications are matched with students at the respective universities. After establishing the network, the mentors provide applicants with useful information, feedback and resources throughout the application process. In particular, some mentors go beyond their basic obligations and conduct workshops for high school students in their countries and communities.
Furthermore, Project Access has recently established on-campus chapters at our target universities to help successful applicants smoothly make the transition into university. This initiative is coupled with pre-arrival webinars organised in conjunction with various student organisations, university staff and students, alongside sustained contact with our applicants from orientation to graduation.
One of our most vital resource is our online curriculum — a one-stop information platform which contains useful information for applicants. This platform contains the best advice on everything from university fit, navigating life in university, acing admissions tests, writing personal statements and figuring out financial aid, all provided by students the world’s leading universities.
MEET THE TEAM
Anna Gross (right of picture below) is an Oxford graduate and a big access enthusiast. Her vision is to build a charity where the outcomes and the revenue incentives are aligned, to create an agile and impact driven organisation that brings systemic change to the access sphere. Anna has previously lived and worked in China and worked on international policy for an international think tank.
For Rune Kvist (left of picture above), his time at Oxford University shaped his work at Project Access in several ways. First and foremost, it kindled the ideals behind Project Access itself. At Oxford, Rune found that there were great inequalities in which groups of people have the confidence to apply to these types of institutions and also what resources they have access to when they do apply. Several of his friends at uni were aware of these gaps and wanted to open up their institution to people from all backgrounds – and that’s how Project Access was born.
Check out this article on Rune: https://newlearningtimes.com/cms/article/4867/rune-kvist
Most recently, Project Access has been awarded the London Creator Award! Here's a picture of Anna at the award ceremony:
Project Access partners with some of the leading universities, companies and charities in the education space. Last year we launched our first partnership with Cambridge University, and we are in talks with two other universities for the coming year. On the EdTech side, Project Access works with SnapRevise, Tailored Tutors, Save My Exams and UpLearn.