Why black students of African and Caribbean heritage?
The Annual Access Conference specifically targets students of African and Caribbean heritage, as we have identified and wish to actively tackle the specific barriers hindering progress to Oxford and other Higher education institutions. In 2016, the success rate for Black applicants in 2016 was 16.7% compared to their White counterparts (25.3%).
We believe in engaging and empowering students from a young age with the tools needed to progress in Higher Education institutions and beyond. Representation is key for students attending university, but even more essential for students considering application. We have identified problems such as the lack of connection to relatable role models, the psychological perception of alienation at university and the lack of support preventing students of African and Caribbean heritage from aspiring higher and making confident applications to institutions.
Contextualised student engagement has always been at the centre of the access and outreach philosophy at Oxford ACS. While our long-term goal is to help develop structural solutions to issues of diversity within Higher Education and wider society, we also recognise that different groups face different barriers. As an ACS we can add the most value by focusing on the areas we are best equipped to engage with – the nuances of the black student experience. Diversity in education benefits everyone, but for us to achieve it we need tailored solutions that operate on both a personal and structural level.