A taste of university life gives local teens a chance to excel

The University of Birmingham celebrates the tenth anniversary of its Academic Enrichment Programme this week, as it welcomes the latest cohort of students to its summer school.

Every year the University of Birmingham hosts the Academic Enrichment Programme (AEP), a summer school for 100 Year 12 students from across the Midlands designed to help those from less advantaged backgrounds apply for places at Russell Group universities.

Since the start of the AEP in 2005, over 350 students who took part went on to study at the University of Birmingham, with 250 going on to study at other Russell Group institutions. Over 25 per cent of students on Birmingham’s AEP from the 2010-2013 cohorts achieved A* and A grades in their A Levels, compared with only 12.8 per cent average for England.

The students attend a week-long residential course at the University, experiencing life as a student, living in halls of residence and attending lectures. The course is split into four broad academic streams: humanities and social sciences, business, physical sciences, and biological and health sciences. The courses are designed to offer students the chance to experience lectures and academic sessions in their area of interest to increase their confidence when they come to apply for university in Year 13.

Students on the programme receive continued support throughout their Year 13 studies. Each student is given a mentor, who is currently an undergraduate student at the University who helps with their personal statement, and they return to campus during the Christmas and Easter holidays for study skills sessions.

Mohammad Ansar, co-ordinator of the AEP scheme said: ’The University of Birmingham is working hard to raise the aspirations of gifted and able students. We hope that by supporting them at this important phase in their education cycle, we can enable the students to make informed choices about their future and achieve their full potential.’

Laura Neads, a former AEP student who graduated from the scheme to study at the University of Birmingham and now works as a Senior Associate at Deloitte is returning for the tenth anniversary celebration to deliver a session for new AEP students. Laura said: ‘The Academic Enrichment Programme provided me with a fantastic opportunity to experience university of life and motivated me to realise my full potential in gaining a place at a Russell Group university.

‘The support I received on the programme enabled me to achieve my A Level grades and start my degree at the University of Birmingham. The academic and professional sessions on the course provided a great insight into potential employment after university and I am grateful for the opportunities the programme provided me. Alongside my studies I worked as a student ambassador, supporting potential university applicants from a similar background to mine, and through this role developed skills that I currently use in my job. I am immensely proud to be supporting AEP now as a professional representing Deloitte, a company I was introduced to as a student on the programme.’

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Notes to editors

For further information please contact Faye Jackson at the University of Birmingham press office on +44 (0)121 414 6029. For out of hours enquiries please contact the duty press officer on +44 (0)7789921165.