View all news

School students ‘graduate’ from unique university taster course

Students gather on stage with their certificates after graduating from the Access to Bristol programme

Press release issued: 28 April 2016

Over 600 students from schools and colleges across the Bristol area have ‘graduated’ from a unique scheme which gives them an insight into studying at university.

The Access to Bristol course, run by the University of Bristol, has been designed to encourage and inspire pupils who might not otherwise consider going onto higher education.

A total of 628 local students, all studying for their A-levels or an equivalent qualification, have completed the programme this year and many of them gathered with friends and family for a special ceremony in the Wills Memorial Building to celebrate.

The high-achieving students, mostly aged 16 to 18, are from 71 state schools and colleges within an hour's journey from the University. Many may not have previously considered going to university or are from families who don't have a history of attending university.

The scheme, which had 1,200 applicants, is hugely popular as it offers participants a guaranteed place or interview at the University of Bristol, should they later decide to apply for a place. Many graduating students are also eligible for a bursary.

Lucy Collins, Head of UK Student Recruitment, said: "The event was a really special moment for all those who have taken part in the Access to Bristol programme, their families and friends.  The young people should be very proud of what they have achieved. 

"They have taken part in undergraduate level study, contributed to lively discussions and worked alongside students from across the region.  We hope this will be the start of their relationship with the University and that we'll see many of them back in the Great Hall, graduating from their chosen degree programme in years to come."

In the style of a traditional graduation ceremony, family and friends gathered in the Great Hall of the Wills Memorial Building as students were presented with their certificates. There were speeches by alumni and Professor Judith Squires, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bristol, as well as official photographs.

Access to Bristol requires students to attend a series of sessions, held at the University on Wednesday afternoons, studying one of 24 subject streams.

Each session is designed to give students an idea of what it is like to study at the University, working with academics and current students who can offer advice and guidance about higher education and their chosen area of study.

Advice is also on hand to help students write a good university application and prepare them for the challenges of university life, such as managing their finances.

Also attending the ceremony were around 30 students who completed the Pathways to Law programme, which is similar to Access to Bristol but concentrates on Law and takes place over a two year period, including the academic taster sessions but also work experience, court visits and an e-mentor. 

Applications for the 2016/17 scheme will open in September 2016. More information is available on the Access to Bristol webpage.

Edit this page