Student accepted onto prestigious programme to support with Oxbridge entry

A Bilborough College student has been accepted onto a prestigious programme that aims to help more young black and mixed race people get into Oxbridge universities.

Tatenda Mapfaira has been selected to be part of the Target Oxbridge initiative, which is open to students across the country who are in Year 12. The 17-year-old heard about the programme from a relative who is a lawyer.

She said: “His company works doing outreach and he told me about Target Oxbridge. I am hoping to study Medicine at an Oxbridge university so I decided to apply. I filled in an application and then there was an interview; we were sent three articles and we had to research and talk about them via Skype, we were also asked questions about them.

“I felt quite confident after that because it went well and then I received confirmation by email that I had been accepted on to the programme.”

Tatenda received a list of events due to take place throughout this year but they have since been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

She said: “There was supposed to be a launch event in London and other events but now everything is happening online. There are lots of subject specific webinars and we’ve been given a mentor to help us. We catch up every three to four weeks.”

As well as webinars, the programme offers support including advice on personal statements, UCAS forms and other submitted materials, one-to-one mentoring, structured Oxbridge interview practice, test preparation and revision workshops and regular contact with a black or minority ethnic Oxbridge graduate. Since launching in 2012, Target Oxbridge has helped 140 students to secure Oxbridge offers.

Tatenda is studying Biology, Chemistry and Maths A-levels at Bilborough College and is now working from home due to the Coronavirus restrictions.

She said: “I find it a lot easier to focus at home so it’s been going ok. I would like to study Medicine at Cambridge so I was really pleased to be accepted onto the Target Oxbridge programme.”

Dave Shaw, Principal at Bilborough College, congratulated Tatenda on her achievement.

He said: “This is a great opportunity for Tatenda, a fantastically talented student who continues to study enthusiastically in spite of the current situation.  Universities like Oxford and Cambridge can only benefit from having a more diverse student body and talented BAME students like Tatenda have historically been under-represented.  I’m delighted that schemes like this are having a positive impact and we hope that as a result of this, Tatenda can follow in the footsteps of other BAME Bilborough students who are now thriving at Oxbridge and other prestigious universities.”