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Outreach and Widening Participation

Access and Outreach

The College is committed to encouraging academically able applicants to apply to study here regardless of background.

Our Outreach and Widening Participation programmes ran by the College Academic Office support students through their educational journey, from school visits and workshops in younger years to online and residential programs aimed at Year 12-13 students.

Many of our current students have been involved with the College Outreach programmes from a young age and have gone on to apply and be accepted to study at Colleges across Cambridge.

The College is committed to needs blind admission and we encourage the brightest and best to apply to Magdalene regardless of their financial circumstances. Thanks to generous support from Members worldwide we are able to provide bursaries and financial support when needed.

Below is a summary of our Access and Outreach activities, many of which are funded in part by donations from our Members and supporters.

Area Links - Merseyside and North & West Wales

The University of Cambridge College Area Links Scheme was established to enable schools and colleges across the UK to build strong effective relationships with the Cambridge Colleges. Each part of the UK is linked with a Cambridge College. More information can be found on the Cambridge University Undergraduate Study Area Links webpages.

Magdalene’s Link areas are Merseyside and North & West Wales. The scheme has enabled us to develop long-lasting and productive relationships with schools, pupils and educational leaders in these areas. It also allows us to develop a greater understanding of the local educational environments and to tailor our outreach activities.

Visits to Schools and Hub Events

The College Schools Liaison Officer (SLO) makes regular visits to maintained schools in our Link areas to run workshops and give presentations on suitable post-16 subject choices. Topics covered include the introduction of university study, detailed Cambridge specific application guidance together with organising interactive workshops on personal statements and interviews.

The SLO also runs a series of Hub Events throughout the year encouraging designated schools to act as central venues to reach as many students in our Link areas as possible by hosting pupils from nearby schools to attend workshops, talks and guidance sessions.

In light of Government guidance to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the College’s Access and Outreach has moved online. The SLO has continued to lead ‘virtual’ school visits, online residentials, and broader events aimed at supporting our Link area students.

Visits to Magdalene

The best way to get an insight into life as a Cambridge student is to visit Magdalene. The College hosts visiting school groups throughout the year, with priority going to our Link areas.

A visit is an effective way of separating fact from fiction and encouraging academically able students to consider applying. Visits give students the opportunity to look around the College, get a feel for student life, learn about the application process from admissions staff and, most importantly, meet Magdalene students to chat informally about what it’s really like to study at the University of Cambridge.

Outreach Residential

Every year Magdalene hosts a free three day residential for state school students from our Link areas. The residential is for high-achieving Year 12 students who have little family tradition of university entry.

Participants spend three days living in Magdalene and learning like a Cambridge student, participating in lectures, seminars, workshops and practical sessions led by the Magdalene admissions staff, Fellows and Cambridge academics, alongside spending time and being mentored by with current undergraduates.

The residential aims to give an overview of the subject range available at Cambridge and allow attendees to investigate subjects that they may not have considered studying before and to see how subjects crossover and are interrelated.

We are grateful to those Members whose donations make it possible to offer this programme free of charge each year.

Application Support Programme for BME Students in STEM

In the autumn of 2020, when in-person outreach activities had to be limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, Magdalene in partnership with Target Oxbridge, introduced a programme of webinars to encourage and support applicants from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds interested in STEM subjects. 

Target Oxbridge is an educational programme that aims to help black African and Caribbean students and students of mixed race with black African and Caribbean heritage increase their chances of getting into the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge. The programme is aimed at students in Years 11-13, especially those who are preparing their university applications in the autumn.

Each webinar featured a subject lecture from a Magdalene Fellow designed to inspire sixth-formers to consider careers in STEM, followed by Q&A session where participants could ask questions about every aspect of applying to Cambridge and other competitive universities.

BME Engineering Residential

In partnership with the Department of Engineering, Magdalene hosts a three-day Engineering Residential for state school students in Year 12, who identify themselves as Black and Minority Ethnic (BME).

Free to attend, thanks to alumni support, participants live at Magdalene and attend academic sessions at the Engineering Department alongside attending workshop and social sessions in College. 

This residential is a fantastic opportunity for prospective students to experience living and studying at a top university.

Student Outreach Initiatives

Magdalene’s undergraduate students play an active role in all our College access initiatives. The JCR Access Officer assists with arranging school visits and helps co-ordinate the CUSU shadowing scheme. The JCR Access Officer also co-ordinates our student outreach volunteers at Open Days and admissions interviews. Student helpers are always on hand during interviews to provide practical help and advice to applicants. It is extremely reassuring for applicants to meet current students who have been through the process themselves.

Bursaries and financial support

For resident students, Magdalene bursaries and support funds are made possible by the generosity of alumni.

Undergraduate ‘Home’ students from families with annual household incomes of less than £42,620 are eligible for the Magdalene Bursary scheme, which awards bursaries of up to £4,500. This scheme comprises the Cambridge Bursary as well as the additional financial support from the College we are committed to grant all those in receipt of a full bursary (for those with household incomes of up to £26,000). Many of these bursaries are named thanks to the generosity of individual donors and it should be noted that they are not loans and do not have to be repaid.

Student Support and Hardship Funds

These Funds are available for Magdalene students who find themselves in unexpected financial difficulty.

Further information about undergraduate financial support can be found on the Fees, Funding, and Finance pages and more information on the College access and outreach activities can be found on our dedicated Access and Outreach pages.

Supporting Magdalene

Donations to support Magdalene can be made by choosing one of the options below.

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