Our BME Conference returned for a second year with the aim of encouraging students from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds to apply to the University of Cambridge.
Almost 60 students – over double compared to last year - attended the conference last week, where they were able to get an insight into what it means to be a BME student at Cambridge.
During the day, students had a tour of the College, gained advice on admissions, dined in Hall, and discussed specific subjects. The afternoon also offered an opportunity for the Year 12 students to have a Q&A with a panel of current students, including our GCSU Access Officer Christopher Deane.
“We wanted to show Cambridge off as a university which everyone can aspire to, regardless of race or ethnicity. Many BME students are deterred from applying based on anxieties about fitting in, or the general lack of BME representation. It is important for us to demonstrate that it is more than possible to carve out a space for yourself in Cambridge as a BME student. Fundamentally, we want BME students to apply, because academia is enriched by their participation and they deserve as much as anyone else to benefit from the opportunities which Cambridge has to offer," said Chris.
This year, the panel covered topics from how to choose a College to finding your way around such a big university and feelings about moving away from home. “With any big move, you need time to adjust, but the friendly, welcoming and inclusive community at Caius really helped,” said Reiss Akhtar, also on the student panel.
The day ended with a presentation from the Cambridge University African Caribbean Society (ACS) who provided valuable advice and encouragement to the prospective students.
Students left with inspirational food for thought when Caius Student Daniel Afolabi closed the conference by saying “Cambridge works very hard to consider all applications in context. Even with a blip in your application, apply. Do not self-eliminate. You do not lose anything by applying. Cambridge can change the trajectory of your life. It is a shot worth taking.”
You can find out more about our work with schools on our Working with Schools webpages.