Over the Summer our Access and Admissions team have been involved in a wide variety of events both in Oxford and further afield, helping to raise aspirations and give an insight into life at Oxford.

Inspire Summer School

Inspire Summer School 2019Following the launch of our innovative Inspire Project in 2018, we were delighted to be able to host our second annual Inspire Summer School this July and August. A total of 48 Year 11s and 83 Year 12s were invited from schools in our link regions of Brighton and Hove, East and West Sussex, and Ealing and Harrow, with the Year 11s staying with us for three days, and the Year 12s for five.

The Summer Schools were designed to allow the students to experience life at Oxford, and inspire them to pursue higher education. Thanks to generous support from our donors, we were able to cover the costs of the students’ food, accommodation, summer school tuition, and entertainment, as well as the travel costs for students who qualified for free school meals or were in the care of a local authority.

Attendees were given the opportunity to explore what Oxford has to offer, with academic taster sessions, cultural trips to the University’s world-class museums, and sessions on study skills and Oxford applications with our Student Ambassadors. The students also got a taste of college life thanks to a wide range of evening activities, including a treasure hunt around college, games in University Parks, and punting on the River Cherwell!

Inspire Summer School 2019 PosterPersonal Project

Before attending the Summer School, the Year 12 students were asked to undertake an independent research project on a topic of their choice, and to present the findings in a poster. The task enabled the students to develop their research skills in preparation for their upcoming EPQ projects, and provided them with the opportunity to explore new areas of subjects they might want to pursue at university.

The competition to produce the best poster was judged by members of the Access and Admissions team. All of the posters were completed to a very high standard – congratulations to all of the students for their excellent work! Dhara Doshi was announced as the winner, for her poster on the possibility of a financial recession in the UK. You can view all of the posters on the Inspire Digital website.

Audio Visual Projects

During each Summer School, the students spent a day on a competition to produce a short video and a poster on one of the following questions: What is the value of social media? Should cars be banned from the city centre? What is the best way of helping the homeless?

Inspire Summer School 2019 Video ProjectThe students were divided into teams, with each member choosing a specific role but the whole group having to work together as a team to produce the best results. The competition was judged by Dr Stefan Kiefer, Tutorial Fellow in Computer Science, who awarded first prize to group B, who presented an impressive poster and video on the benefits and dangers of social media.

Well done to all of the participants for their hard work! You can find out more about this year’s Summer Schools on Inspire Digital.

Other Outreach Projects

English Study Day

St John’s held another successful study day for English on Saturday 29 June, for 60 Year 12 students. Participants enjoyed a range of lectures from Oxford academics on a variety of writers, whilst the day also included a tour of the college, a Q&A with current students, and an informal discussion with tutors about studying English at Oxford.

Open Days

Open Day July 2019 Student Ambassadors

This year’s Summer Open Days saw over 5000 visitors welcomed to St John’s on 3 and 4 July! The Access and Admissions team was expertly supported by 35 Student Ambassadors and 23 college tutors. Potential applicants benefitted from the invaluable experience of being able to meet current students and tutors to find out more about studying at Oxford. We hope to see many more eager applicants at our next Open Day on Friday 20 September – more information is available here.

UNIQ logoUNIQ Summer School

Once again, St John’s was one of the host colleges for the University’s summer residential outreach initiative, UNIQ. Year 12 state school pupils lived as Oxford students and had a week of lectures and seminars on their chosen subject.

Ambassadors Roadshow

Ambassadors Roadshow 2019 6

During September, six of our student ambassadors spent a week touring state schools in our link regions to give pupils and teachers valuable insights into studying at Oxford.

Between 9 and 13 September the ambassadors visited around 30 schools, talking to a total of around 700 students. At each school they gave a presentation on the University of Oxford, and answered pupils’ questions on the application process and life at Oxford. Read more about the Ambassadors Roadshow in ournews story.


In2scienceUK is an award-winning charity which empowers students from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their potential and progress to STEM and research careers through placements, workshops and careers guidance.

This year we were able to support in2scienceUK to host a fantastic event for the students and hosts from the Oxford and Reading programme, to celebrate the completion of over 2500 hours on placement this summer, in which students were able to work alongside volunteer hosts to take part in cutting edge research in a wide variety of STEM specialisms.

Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Study Day

MedBiomed Study Day 1

Our first study day in Medicine and Biomedical Sciences was held in June, and was attended by 55 Year 12s from 31 state schools across the UK. Following tours of the college with current Medical and Biomedical Sciences students, participants enjoyed a series of mini lectures giving them an insight into typical first year academic material. After lunch in Hall, pupils took part in a series of 30-minute workshops designed and led by current students at St John’s, covering a mock interview, a mock tutorial, how to prepare for BMAT tests, and questions on ethics. At the end of the day there were presentations covering the application process and a day in the life of one of our current students.