"Be yourself" was the inspiring message from current undergraduates to Year 12 students attending Caius’ inaugural BME Conference last week.
Designed to encourage students from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds to apply to the University of Cambridge, the conference gave students the opportunity to sample College life and speak to current undergraduates.
During a packed day of activities, students had a tour of the College, gained advice on admissions, dined in Hall and attended a study skills session. The day ended with a Q&A with a group of current students to demystify the Cambridge experience. The enthusiastic discussion covered topics from choosing the right subject to the interview process and making friends at University. The key theme of the discussion was authenticity, with our current students all encouraging the attendees to be themselves and show a genuine passion for their subject during the application process.
Caius’ GCSU Access Officer Hephzibah Adeosun proposed the idea of hosting the BME Conference and, along with Schools Liaison Officer Rebecca Bradley, was instrumental in organising the event. Currently in the fourth year of her Law and Management degree, Hephzibah says: “Caius has done some great access work over the past few years and I thought a BME conference would be another useful event for prospective applicants. During school visits, there have been questions about the underrepresentation of BME students and indications that the low numbers are a disincentive to apply to the College and Cambridge in general. Therefore, I wanted to combat this idea and to let students know that the College is open to and welcomes people from every background.”
“The Q&A went very well. The students asked focused questions which illustrated their interest in applying to Cambridge. I hope they gained a true insight into what it’s like to be a BME student at Cambridge.”
For Hephzibah, and the rest of the student volunteers, the event was an opportunity to inspire the next generation. She says: “It’s great to be able to give back to a cause that means so much to you. Even if it means just inspiring one student to apply to Cambridge. I know the impact events like this make on prospective students, some of my friends at Cambridge applied because of the students they met who inspired them at similar events.”
The BME Conference is just one of the ways that Caius is promoting access to Cambridge for talented students, regardless of their backgrounds. The College regularly hosts visits from school groups and our Schools Liaison Officer Rebecca travels to schools to deliver presentations on a variety of subjects.