In this Student Spotlight, Katie Bowen, a second-year English Language and Literature student at The Queen’s College, shares her experience with the Crankstart Scholarship and how it has enhanced her Oxford experience.
A new environment
Coming from a state school, first-generation background, I was quite apprehensive about coming to university, but I can honestly say that my time here so far has been nothing short of incredible. I’m sure as offer holders you are eager to find out more about university life, whilst also probably being nervous and uncertain about the months ahead – I completely understand those feelings!
One of the key things that reassured me before I arrived was the Crankstart scholarship, and the total ease with which this extra money is processed is another bonus. Because your eligibility for the fund is automatically calculated via student finance, there is no extra paper work or involvement for you to worry about. The money this gives me on top of my student loan means I’m totally free of financial worries at university, and this is something that I am extremely grateful for.
Charity and community
In return for this financial scholarship, the Crankstart programme expects you to carry out some volunteering, either within the Oxford community or elsewhere. I currently volunteer for a charity who mentor students with a similar background to myself, with the aim of getting them places at top universities – this has been so rewarding, and I’ve formed a fantastic relationship with my mentee. I’ve also taken part in several access and outreach events via the English Faculty and with my college. Again, it has been so much fun to help out with these events. Aside from giving you the chance to show your appreciation for the Crankstart fund, these opportunities are also good for CVs and work experience.
A dedicated service
The Crankstart Careers team are another invaluable part of the scholarship. With opportunities (internships, placements) advertised exclusively for Crankstart scholars, a dedicated service providing careers appointments and advice, and further financial assistance available for partially-funded internships, the scheme goes far beyond the monetary assistance offered to students.
Meeting new people
If you have concerns about socialising or making friends away from home, the Crankstart Student Council have put on some fantastic events for fellow scholars to get to know one another. This ranges from walks in the park, to formal dinner evenings at different colleges. These kinds of events totally help to make you feel at home in Oxford, and gives you the chance to connect with people with similar experiences to yourself. I feel really lucky to be part of the Crankstart community, and look forward to welcoming you to Oxford soon!
For further information and to see if you're eligible, visit the Crankstart webpage for prospective students.