Derry students gain insight into life at Queen's

A Derry principal has given her backing to a scheme which offers young people who may be less likely to attend university a chance to experience third level education.

Tuesday, 11th April 2017, 4:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:53 pm
Year 13 pupils from Derry ~ Londonderry and Strabane area enjoyed a taster session at the University. Pictured L-R: Megan Hegarty (St Cecilias College), Braonan Walker (St Columbs College), Patrick Hamill (St Josephs Boys School), Caitlin OConnor (Thornhill College), Rory Loughrey (Strabane Academy), Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick Johnston, Jordan McAneny (Holy Cross College), Nicole Forbes (Holy Cross College).

Queen’s University has launched ‘Pathway to Opportunities,’ described as: “A dedicated programme of support offered to Year 13 and 14 students to encourage their progression into University.”

The programme targets young people who have the potential to study at Queen’s but who are less likely to attend whether this is because they are the first person in their family to apply or because they are a care leaver.

The initiative, which is part of the University’s commitment to promote equality of opportunity and diversity among its students and staff, includes a series of workshops and seminars both at the University and online, as well as a summer residential at the University.

Through attending classes, meeting lecturers and spending time exploring the campus, students gain a real insight into University life.

Martine Mulhern, Principal of St Cecilia’s College where six pupils have successfully applied to the project said: “The programme has given our pupils the chance to experience student life at Queen’s University as well as a choice about their future career pathways. They can now choose to go to Queen’s University Belfast, whereas it may have been only a dream before this programme. It is a wonderful opportunity for our pupils to aspire, endeavour and achieve.”

Ms Wilma Fee, Director of Academic and Student Affairs said: “Queen’s is committed to embracing a diverse student body that reflects our community. We understand that some students may face additional barriers in accessing university which is why we have developed this initiative, aiming to remove those barriers and support talented students from all backgrounds the opportunity to pursue a quality education.

“We are delighted to welcome 60 ‘most able though least likely’ students to this programme, who we hope will feel inspired to continue their education to progress to a Russell Group university.”

As a further incentive, participants who successfully complete the programme will be offered a guaranteed place at the University with up to a two grade reduction. Students may also receive financial support by way of a bursary.