Access and Widening Participation


UCL hosts event for underrepresented students as part of its commitment to widening participation 

28 November 2023

Last week, UCL’s Access and Widening Participation team launched ‘Experience UCL’ - an event series dedicated to prospective students who are underrepresented in higher education.

Experience UCL classroom scene from 2024

In its inaugural session of the year, which was exclusively for those from care experienced and estranged backgrounds, prospective students in Years 12-13 had the opportunity to visit the UCL campus, learn about student life and hear about the support services on offer.   

Students who participated in the event heard from three current UCL students, including one also with a background in care, who shared insights about their journey to UCL, their experiences of studying at UCL and what their hopes are for the future. The attendees had the chance to spend time with these current students and ask questions and engage outside of the more formal setting of the classroom as they went on their campus tour. Participants and the current students also spent their lunch break together in the UCL Refectory to round off a great day of advice, guidance, and positive steps towards higher education journeys. 

A student who participated in the event, said: 

My favourite part of the event was hearing about other care experienced students and their journey. It makes me feel positive about the future." 

Participants heard from the UCL Access and Widening Participation team about the process of applying to university and the Access UCL contextual offer scheme available at UCL for underrepresented students. The team also highlighted the various forms of student support that exist at UCL, including academic support accessed at the departmental level, peer support offered by Transition Mentors, careers support and opportunities via the Careers Extra programme and the specialist mental health and wellbeing provision offered by Student Support and Wellbeing. Students also met the UCL dedicated contact for care experienced and estranged students, based in the Student Success Office, and heard from two Student Advisers about the support offered at UCL for current students

Jalal Pour, UCL’s Senior Widening Participation Officer for Priority Groups, said: 

As the first Experience UCL event of the year, we were really pleased with how things went. It was great to welcome this group of enthusiastic young people onto the UCL campus and to help them gain more confidence in applying to university and highlighting the dedicated support services that are available to those from care experienced and estranged backgrounds at UCL. We hope the attendees enjoyed the day and took away some useful insights that will help inform their next steps."  

This week marks ‘Estranged Students Solidarity Week 2024’ and UCL recognises the difficulties faced by care experienced students and estranged students that their peers are less likely to encounter. UCL's Access and Widening Participation team runs dedicated initiatives like ‘Experience UCL’ to alleviate these hurdles and provide robust support to all students within these priority groups. 

Further information