First of all, a BIG congratulations goes out to this autumn’s Freshers of every University. Results day 2016 has been marked by outstanding Black Excellence all-round the country whilst top grades nationally took a marginal fall for the fifth year.
According to UCAS (Undergraduate Courses at University and College) over 424,000 places were offered, this is up by 3 per cent from results day last year- totally amazing!
However, much of the existing research published about black students has focused on academic underachievement. This does not tell us about those black students who achieve highly. One example, is of an east London institute, Brampton Manor Academy sixth form which celebrated a number of outstanding black students whose grades have guaranteed them spots at top universities including Cambridge, Bristol and Nottingham.
Yet research shows that good grades, while necessary, are not enough on their own. Even for those black students who achieve fantastic A Level grades, the route to career success is cluttered with obstacles. Good grades, often fail to get many black students to top universities, haven’t shown them how to navigate their way to a top degree class, and haven’t opened up the same professional opportunities which other students have access to.
Many of the newest undergraduates and the rest are studying a diverse range of courses with the aim of pursuing careers in Medicine, Banking, Economics, Law, Science, Consultancy etc. With this is mind, it is important to familiarise yourself with the recruitment process you may have to go through when pursuing such professional aspirations.
So… the personal statement struggle is done and dusted, right? The trying-to-get-last-minute-work-experience-to-aid-your-application days are long gone? You can finally rest, right? Kind of..Well..Not really… You don’t really get the opportunity to slack. Rest for now before the hard work begins again, but keep in mind the reality that you pretty much have to keep your eye on the ball for the most part of your undergraduate course. Through the duration of your course, there will be many opportunities from which you may benefit, such as insight days, placements, vacation schemes, internships and graduate apprenticeships. Find out ASAP if you will need or benefit from such programmes in order to progress towards your desired career.
There are also various opportunities to get financial assistance such as grants, full and partial scholarships and other opportunities during your year.
How To Maximise your Undergraduate experience and stand out
- Join societies in your institution which will aid you in finding like-minded people and those from the similar walks of life as you. We needn’t tell you to join the ACS of your University! Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and join societies which you can learn a lot from.
- Always seek feedback on your CVs whenever you apply for programmes whether or not you are successful. Students who use initiative are the ones who will be constantly evolving and will improve the quality of their Application.
- Find out about Access Schemes and diversity outreach programmes going on which you are eligible to apply for.
- keep a diary: take notes of relevant dates in advance and different opportunities available so you’re ready for when applications open; many programmes are run on a rolling basis, so the sooner you submit your applications, the better.
- Before applying to any programme, have a good look at their websites and the qualities they list when describing their ideal candidates- make sure your CV is individually tailored to each company you apply to separately- it doesn’t matter if you have up to 50 different CVS…you can have as many CVs as you want, and in fact, it’s even advisable to have many. This is because if you have a generic CV, they simply won’t choose you- Employers are so specific about what they want and they won’t want you if you don’t reflect their character profile of an ideal candidate.
- Attend as many networking events as possible- don’t be scared to ask for business cards if you meet or speak to anyone who you look up to or would like to learn more from.
- Stay on top of your work because when applying for programmes, your grades will speak for themselves. Many Universities will offer scholarships to students based on their academic performance during a particular year. Some charities offer funds for a whole scope of circumstances.. There are also bursaries set aside for international students and even career choices (including NHS and teaching and social work).
Bottom line? If you want to find a Bursary, hunt creatively.
Useful Organisations and Events which may be relevant for you
– Rare: Rare is committed to helping more people from diverse backgrounds attain Top Careers in Law, Consulting, Banking and more.
– WCAN: WCAN is a new and exciting diversity platform created for black female students by black female students and it connects high-achieving black female students to successful women in the City.
- Bright Network: Bright Network is a career-oriented network of university students and graduates in the United Kingdom. It holds employability workshops, networking events and recruitment fairs in Central London.
– Pure Potential: P.P is an advice platform which has provided free high-quality university and career advice to students for the past 11 years. This organisation works in partnership with top universities and leading employers to run career events where you can engage with various industry professionals.
– BBC Academy: The BBC Academy puts training and development at the heart of the programme and works with the wider industry to equip people with the skills they need for a career in journalism, production, technology and broadcast. For updates on Trainee programmes and Apprenticeships, follow @BBCTrainees and keep an eye out for posts about #BBCGetin
– Access Professions: A.P aims to boast social mobility within the UK and it does so by providing aspiration-raising opportunities from universities, businesses and third-sector organisation to students from under-represented backgrounds.
– Prospects: Prospects for graduate jobs, postgraduate career routes, advice about work experience, internship opportunities and careers.
– Step Into the NHS: SITN is a programme of activity targeting 14-19 year olds with the aim of promoting the range of career opportunities in the NHS.
– Business In The Community: The workplace campaigns at BITC are committed to ensuring that age, gender, race and well-being do not limit an employee’s access, engagement or success in the workplace.
– Directors Program: Each year, the Director’s Programme has a number of professional development opportunities available to members. These schemes give young directors an exciting range of opportunities to explore process, practice and production. Alongside these schemes, they run a programme of ongoing activities.
– Health Careers: A comprehensive body which provides detailed information about the health sector’s structure, specific careers information in the NHS, medicine and public health and financial support at University.
– Women Of The Future Programme: WPOFP is responsible for a portfolio of events and projects which support and celebrate the successes of Women. They run a range of events and initiatives e.g. Women of the Future Ambassador’s programme which was in direct partnership with Lloyds Banking Group
**** This platform will be updated often so that a comprehensive directory will be available to students who are seeking to access professions which, without social mobility they might have not been able to****