Our programme raises aspirations and academic attainment, overcoming the barriers to reaching highly-selective universities
Independent analysis by UCAS Strobe found a significantly higher number of participants from our first cohort of Universify participants applied to university compared to a database of potential applicants. We also saw a 10 percentage point increase in successful university applications compared to a benchmark based on backgrounds matching those of our participants.
In 2019, UCAS found that students from advantaged backgrounds are over five times more likely to enter high-tariff universities than disadvantaged students.
We have identified the three key barriers faced by young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in reaching higher education:
1. limited educational aspiration;
2. low educational attainment;
3. the belief that university is not a place for ‘people like them’.
With the support of an independent evaluator, we measure our impact at overcoming these barriers to ensure our programme is as effective as possible in helping our participants to achieve their potential in education by entering highly-selective universities.
Over four years our programme has continued to raise aspirations to education. We have seen a 22 percentage point increase in participant aspirations after the summer programme across our four cohorts.
These increased aspirations have been maintained across every cohort following the Spring programme. For Cohort 3, 77% of participants said they were 'fairly likely' or 'very likely' to apply to a highly-selective university after the Spring residential compared to 84% from the summer programme in August.
Our programme equips participants with the grades and aspirations to apply to highly-selective universities
At the beginning and end of the summer programme we ask participants to choose one word they associate with university. We see a change in perceptions before and after the course with ideas of university as 'stressful', 'difficult' and a place for people who are 'rich' and 'posh' being replaced by the thought that university is 'fun, 'exciting', and an 'amazing' 'life-changing' 'adventure'.
These more positive connotations, seeing university as an opportunity, are reflected in 93% of all our participants reporting that they felt comfortable on the course and among the student group. These feelings show how participants no longer feel out of place in a highly-selective university.
We measure our impact annually to evaluate progress towards overcoming the barriers to higher education and achieving our mission. Our impact report highlights what we can do to improve and refine our programme to make it as successful as possible.
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