“It’s a privilege to see students blossom” – A day in the life of a University Access Officer

The Access Project employs a team of University Access Officers to support students on their education journeys. But what do our officers actually do? We’re taking a closer look at a day in the life of a University Access Officer. Today, we’re profiling Rebecca Foster, who joined The Access Project in 2021.

Rebecca saw The Access Project as an opportunity to put her passion for social justice into action.

“I’ve always worked in jobs that match my values, and social justice and social mobility are both really important to me”, Rebecca told us. “The Access Project really interested me because I could see how much of an impact it was having on students’ lives”.

She added: “I was very fortunate that I went to a school where I got a lot of support with university applications, whereas some of our students don’t have that. So to be able to be the person that guides them through that and reassures them and helps them believe in themselves is just a real privilege.”

Rebecca is the University Access Officer at two schools in the West Midlands. At each school, she provides expert support to 40 students. On an average day, Rebecca will have meetings with her students, guiding them through university choices. Additionally, she hosts workshops to help students get the most out of their education, focusing on topics like student finance and revision.

Rebecca said: “Getting to know a student on a one to one level is very different from seeing them in a classroom. We’re not teachers, we’re somebody who the students often feel a bit more comfortable talking to about things and raising worries”.

In the catchment area of Rebecca’s schools, there is what she describes as a general lack of trust in universities. Students feel like university isn’t for them because of where they grew up. Part of Rebecca’s role is to break that stereotype and help students overcome those hurdles.

“If you’re the first person in your family or your friendship group to think about going to university, you don’t have the backup knowledge or someone to reassure you. That’s what The Access Project is for.”

And it’s helping students achieve their goals that makes the job so rewarding. Rebecca recalls one hard-working pupil who got a place studying Medicine at the University of Oxford, becoming the first Oxford placement at his school for more than a decade.

“We’re like our student’s cheerleaders. We’re in their corner, we’re there to support them. It’s an honour to help them make informed decisions about their future and be part of their journey.”

“It’s a privilege to see students blossom.”

Young people are twice as likely to attend top universities after studying with The Access Project. By giving just £15, you can help fund our programme and give more young people the chance to succeed.

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