Nearly a thousand Year 11 students explored their A-level, university and career options with staff and students at Oxford University over the past fortnight.
Investigating Options is an outreach event that focuses on key decision points for state school students, and forms part of the Pathways Programme which is a collaboration between targeted state schools in the UK and 27 Oxford colleges.
Three sessions were held in mid-to-late November, in which students heard mini-lectures by Oxford postgraduates and took part in workshops with undergraduates.
Ashley Walters, schools liaison officer at Exeter and Lincoln colleges, said: 'Outreach officers often find that students are not aware of how far their decisions at Key Stage 4 can affect the opportunities available to them at University level. Investigating Options is intended to get them thinking about what they might want to study at university, and what they can do now – in terms of GCSE attainment and subject choices for sixth form or college – to maximise their opportunities later on.
'We also hope that, through visiting us now, the students will see Oxford as a familiar friend rather than as something new or intimidating when they come to make their application choices.'
Teachers of these students were also invited to Exeter College to receive information on supporting their students' application choices.
Mr Walters added: 'It's not all about the students – we'll be running some sessions for their accompanying teachers in the afternoon. Staff teaching at pre-16 level can have a huge impact on their students' choices, but we generally don't get a chance to engage with them because they don't send us applicants directly.'