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Summer residential gives teenagers a taste of University life

The residential event included an afternoon sight-seeing in York and a dinner and dance at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall.

Teenagers from across England received a taste of university life at a five-day residential summer school run by the University of York’s Widening Participation team.

The York Experience Summer School (YESS) aims to raise aspirations by giving Year 12 students a taste of both the academic and social life available at York.

The 68 teenagers worked with academic staff and current undergraduates on a programme of academic taster sessions in a variety of subjects. They also received support in developing their presentation and independent learning skills to help them with their Year 13 studies and to prepare them for Higher Education.

Amy Clow, Widening Participation Officer at the University of York, said: “The summer school is aimed at students from under-represented groups who are considering applying to Higher Education. The focus is on those who have the potential, but possibly not the confidence, to apply to a research intensive university.”

The focus is on those who have the potential, but possibly not the confidence, to apply to a research intensive university

Amy Clow

All those taking part are involved in Realising Opportunities - a project that supports students in their post-16 studies with skills development and guidance - or from colleges in Hackney, London.

During the summer school, students experienced Boomwhackers - an energetic and lively musical workshop with tuned acoustic tubes that create different harmonic tones. They also had chance to try out some of York’s societies including Zumba, Samba Drumming and Comedy Improv.

The residential event included an afternoon sight-seeing in York and a dinner and dance at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall.

At the end of the summer school groups of students presented what they had learnt over the five days, all commenting on the understanding of a typical student life - from studying hard to enjoying the societies and gaining lots of independence. All the students agreed they had gained many new skills and friends and enjoyed the York experience.

One student said: “I wish it was a bit longer because I already miss my friends and the vibe. I am really grateful for such a super, amazing, inspiring and life changing experience.”

Further information

  • Widening Participation
  • The University of York is one of 12 university partners in Realising Opportunities. The project supports students in their post-16 studies with skills development and guidance. The programme begins in Year 12 and offers many opportunities to experience university first hand, as well as allowing students to realise their potential to study at a research intensive university. Realising Opportunities won the Widening Participation Initiative of the Year at the 2011 Times Higher Education Awards. www.realisingopportunities.ac.uk