Two female students in an education setting, smiling together
Two female students laughing together, with BeUNIQ and university logo

BeUNIQ

Overview

BeUNIQ is an ambitious new programme for 14-16 year old students at UK state schools from groups who are currently underrepresented among Oxford undergraduates. Working with both schools and the wider local community, BeUNIQ will offer bespoke engagement and support. Participants will be encouraged to consider themselves as strong candidates for our UNIQ access programme and potentially for study at Oxford. BeUNIQ is free of cost for all schools and participants involved. All resources and activities, including trips to Oxford, are covered by the University. 

 Programme aims: 

  • Contribute to the higher education goals and early aspirations of students participating in the programme
  • Inspire students through a range of interactive and educational sessions with current Oxford students and academics
  • Equip students with academic confidence, critical thinking skills and self-efficacy
  • Provide essential resources and information for students thinking about the next step in their academic journey, as well as those supporting them
  • Create long lasting partnerships with schools, families and the communities that surround them
  • Provide support with the application process for our flagship outreach programme, UNIQ.

In 2024, we have been working with students from Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds in state schools across Birmingham, Bradford and Oldham. Introductory workshops with these schools began during the 2024 spring term and we're really excited to continue delivering the programme and to build strong relationships with the school community, and beyond.

Read the video transcript.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more, you can email us via [email protected]

Programme content

BeUNIQ supports selected students from UK state schools with their higher education aspirations and includes:

  • A variety of in-school super curricular workshops (Oxplore Big Question sessions)
  • Talks, support and guidance from current students and researchers at Oxford (BeUNIQ conversations)
  • Sustained online academic support and engagement
  • Information and guidance for parents and teachers 
  • Support with applications to our Key Stage 5 programme, UNIQ.

Oxplore Big Question sessions

  • Oxplore sessions challenge students with debates and ideas that go beyond the classroom.
  • Students discuss and explore our Big Questions that tackle complex ideas across a wide range of subjects and introduce the kind of critical thinking students undertake at university.
  • These sessions are underpinned by the latest research from the University of Oxford. 
  • Find out more: Oxplore Home of Big Questions

BeUNIQ conversations

  • Oxford students lead sessions about life at university, choosing a course and what it’s like to study at Oxford.
  • Drawing on their experience and own journeys to higher education, Oxford undergraduate students act as mentors to support school students’ aspirations.

For the school community and families 

  • Q&A sessions on university life 
  • Bespoke webinars for school staff
  • Digital guide for families and carers 
  • Day visits to the University of Oxford
  • Essential guidance on applications, funding and admissions 

After BeUNIQ

BeUNIQ participants will be encouraged and supported to apply to UNIQ, Oxford's Key Stage 5 outreach programme for UK state school students. BeUNIQ aims to increase the number of successful applications made to UNIQ from the areas we hope to work with initially: Birmingham, Bradford and Oldham, more specifically students from Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage. 

UNIQ prioritises places for students with good grades from backgrounds that are underrepresented at Oxford. This programme helps:

  • Prepare students for university and explore subjects that interest them
  • Students get to know our Oxford undergraduates and work with our academics through face-to-face lectures, laboratory work and tutorials
  • Participants learn about Oxford's admissions process, and, for those who decide to apply to Oxford, there is more intensive support available to help with preparation for our admissions tests and interviews.

Every year more students from diverse backgrounds get offered places at Oxford with support and guidance from UNIQ.

'Having graduated and gone full circle from my young self at UNIQ, I can say it’s been an experience and a half! Getting the chance to experience Oxford for a week made me realise I could genuinely see myself studying there, but also reaffirmed my subject choice. It gave me a glimpse into how the college system works and definitely made applying to Oxford less daunting, as I had technically studied there already!'  Afiea (Biomedical Science) UNIQ and Oxford Alumni