In July we hosted another cohort of teenagers here at the Faculty, for our two weeks of the UNIQ summer school. This Widening Access summer school gives Year 12 state school pupils a taste of what studying at Oxford is really like. (For more information about the UNIQ programme, the courses available, and the selection criteria used, please see the UNIQ website.)
Our students had all chosen to apply for a week of Law, and were here in Oxford living in colleges alongside students studying other subjects, giving them the chance to not only experience academic life at Oxford but also the collegiate and social side. Attendees came from all over the UK, and had been selected on the basis of academic ability alongside socioeconomic criteria. Each student had also written a personal statement saying why they wished to apply for Law, and it was our job to then help them make an informed choice as to whether or not to apply for Jurisprudence at Oxford in the upcoming admissions round.
The feedback shows great enthusiasm for the academic programme we had prepared – lectures on everything from Roman law to asbestos, a moot, and tutorials. We were also lucky to have representatives from Linklaters and Hogan Lovells provide the students with a negotiation skills and commercial awareness workshop respectively either week, followed by a networking lunch for the students to pick the trainee’s brains, and giving the students an idea of the kinds of skills they might need for a career after university, be it in the legal professions or not. The students also attended social events in the evenings (both in the college groups and across the whole summer school) and admissions workshops organised by the central UNIQ team. We were helped each week by our excellent mentors, all current Jurisprudence and Law with Law Studies in Europe students. These mentors stayed with the students in college, helped them prepare for their moot and tutorial, and were generally on-hand to support and guide the students throughout the week.
Our Lawyers were initially overwhelmed by how full-on the week seemed, but coped brilliantly with undergraduate-style lectures, mooted for the first time ever with confidence (thanks to the support of Ben Spagnolo), and even enjoyed the dreaded tutorial. It was clear how much they valued the opportunity to experience such a week, and how determined they were to succeed. We wish all of the attendees the best of luck with their university applications and final exams, and hope to see some of them back here next year as undergraduates!