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A level students enjoy UCL Aspire residential course

21 January 2013

From 14 to 16 December 2012, a group of 23 A level students from City and Islington College attended a residential course at Cumberland Lodge as part of the UCL Aspire programme.

UCL has enjoyed a strong 'Partnership for Excellence' with City & Islington Sixth Form College for twelve years. The partnership aims to raise City & Islington students' aspirations through a targeted programme of lectures, master classes and prizes, as well as providing professional development for City & Islington staff. The Aspire programme, coordinated by UCL’s Outreach team, is the latest development in this partnership.

As part of UCL's widening participation strategy, the Aspire programme offers support activities to A level students from communities that are under-represented in higher education, as well as improving their skills and raising aspirations. This was the first time that students have been able to participate in a residential course of this nature, offering them the opportunity to develop personally and academically in the beautiful surroundings of Cumberland Lodge and Great Windsor Park.

The theme of the residential course was 'Ten Years from Now' and the students received fascinating lectures from leading academics from UCL and the University of Oxford in areas such as the future use of antibiotics, morality and inequality and the future impact of ageing populations.

Student mentors from UCL and staff from Cumberland Lodge, City & Islington College and UCL also offered a question and answer session about university life to get students thinking about their future choices.

Cumberland Lodge

Here is just some of the very positive feedback the course had from the A level students:

  • "I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend as it was a great way to get to know everyone, relax a bit from college work, think about issues that have never crossed my mind before, understand what life at university will be like and realise a bit more about myself and what I want in my future."
  • "I would strongly recommend that other students attend this course as it really is a once in a lifetime."
  • "It’s useful in so many ways and it helps you to understand things better and receive information and advice from people who have been at university already and those that are studying there currently."

The Aspire programme is coordinated by Anna Batcheler, Outreach Officer in UCL’s Outreach Office. For more information about the programme, please contact Anna at a.batcheler@ucl.ac.uk.

Image: A level students on the Aspire programme at Cumberland Lodge