Innovative programme to encourage under-represented groups to apply to Cambridge
A woman smiling with trees behind her. She is undergraduate Trinity Hall student Umayyah Rahman
Trinity Hall is offering school children from under-represented backgrounds a free programme of support before they apply to university.
The “You’ll Fit In” programme includes webinars, the chance to meet and speak to current students, and the opportunity to experience life at Cambridge during a two-day residential visit.
Designed by Trinity Hall’s Director of Admissions, Dr Marcus Tomalin, the programme is part-funded by the College and the Isaac Newton Trust Widening Participation & Induction Fund.
Dr Tomalin said: “The ‘You’ll Fit In’ initiative is aimed at students in Year 12 with African, Caribbean, Pakistani, and/or Bangladeshi heritage, since we would like to see greater representation of these groups at Cambridge.”
The programme has been created in part to reassure prospective applicants from these backgrounds that they would feel at home while at Cambridge, and Dr Tomalin’s own experience indicates how important this is: “I’ve been involved with Admissions for more than 25 years now, and far too often I’ve met talented students from these groups who tell me they don’t want to apply to Cambridge because ‘it’s not for me’ or because ‘I won’t fit in’
“We want to challenge these perceptions by showing that current students from these demographics flourish here. There are African-Caribbean hairdressers in the city; there are several beautiful mosques; the Cambridge African Caribbean Society, the Cambridge University Islamic Society, and other relevant societies, organise many social events throughout the year. Cambridge has so much to offer students from these cultural backgrounds.”
Those who sign up will be able to participate in webinars that will offer advice about all aspects of the Cambridge Admissions process.
They will also have the opportunity to undertake a small research project to develop their academic skills, as well as the chance to chat to current undergraduates from the same cultural backgrounds.
If I had the You’ll Fit In programme, it would have helped me and my family discover the comforting realities of life in Cambridge
— Umayyah, undergraduate student
In addition, 20 of the participants will experience life as a Cambridge student by visiting Cambridge for a two-day residential stay at Trinity Hall in April 2024.
Umayyah Rahman (pictured above), an undergraduate student at Trinity Hall who has been involved with the programme, said: “I knew no one at Cambridge so I was worried about settling in, but what helped me the most was coming and immediately seeing people like myself. They helped me to realise that the degree was made for people like me, who are interested in their subject and just want to learn more.
“If I had the You’ll Fit In programme, it would have helped me and my family discover the comforting realities of life in Cambridge; like being able to see Trinity Hall in-person before moving in, meeting people from my community at various societies, and of course Cambridge Central Mosque.”
Information on which under-represented groups can apply and on the programme as a whole can be found via our website. The deadline for applications is December 15.
For more on the initiative see our You’ll Fit In webpages.