About the Access Conference
Starting in 2019, the Sikh societies of Oxford University and Cambridge University have run an annual access conference to encourage Sikh students in Year 12 (or equivalent) who show a strong academic ability to consider applying to some of the top UK universities. Many of the students that take part in the programme may not see further education as ‘for them’ and they may see lots of barrier to pursuing a degree at university. Through this conference, we hope to dispel some of these ideas, and encourage Sikh youth to continue striving to achieve their academic potential.
We allocate places for the conference in two ways. First, we contact several schools with a significant number of Sikh students, and offer them a limited number of places. If you would like us to consider your school for this stage, please contact us via the online form. We then open up applications to Sikh students from the general public, to fill up the remainder of the spaces available. If the event is oversubscribed, we give preference to students who fit one or more of the following categories:
- Will be the first generation in their family to go to university (i.e. whose parents/carers did not attend university; this excludes siblings)
- Attend a school that sends few students to Cambridge or Oxford
- Are from a region of the UK underrepresented at Oxbridge, particularly from the North East, North West, or South West of England, or anywhere in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
- Live in an area identified as having lower socio-economic advantage or low progression rates to higher education
- Are, or have been, eligible for free school meals, or the 16-19 bursary
- Are a young carer
Students who fall under one or more of these categories may be especially interested in schemes such as UNIQ (Oxford) and Sutton Trust (Cambridge), so we make sure to talk about them during the conference.
The event is organised and run in full by current undergraduates, with some guidance from admissions staff from both universities. The conference consists of a series of talks on various topics, such as life at Oxbridge and how to get the most out of unviersity, as well as a talk from admissions staff, about the application and selection process. We also run breakout sessions, where students looking to study similar subjects are grouped together, and current undergraduates in that field can provide information on the course, give advice on personal statements and admissions tests, and potentially conduct mock interviews. We alternate between hosting the conference at Oxford and Cambridge, so we take the opportunity to take the students on a tour of the host college, so they can get a taste of what it is like living in Oxbridge.
The event is funded by the two societies, as well as Christchurch College, Oxford, and Trinity College, Cambridge. If you are interested in supporting the event, please reach out via the contact form.
Recordings of the talks from the 2020 conference can be found below.