Alongside getting involved in InsideUni when I came to Oxford, I also got involved in Oxbridge outreach mentoring, which has been highly rewarding, and has allowed me to pass on what I know about the application process to young people who are looking to apply to Oxbridge, but might not have the resources to do so.
Usually, these mentoring schemes work by pairing you with a Year 12 student who is interested in studying the same subject as you at Oxbridge/Russell Group universities, and often these students are from underrepresented groups, and/or at schools that don’t have much experience to help with Oxbridge applications. They also often involved 1-to-1 weekly or fortnightly sessions with your mentee, so are very easy to fit in around your degree.
What you do with them depends on what they are looking for, but often it involves helping them with finding wider reading and their personal statement, as well as admissions test preparation and mock interviews. It also could involve helping them choose the right degree course for them, e.g. Natural Science at Cambridge vs a specific science at Oxford, as well as myth-busting, helping them choose a college, and giving them insight into what life at university is like.
If you enjoy working with younger people, the year-long Universify programme connects current university students to Year 10s and 11s. The programme involves residentials at either Oxford or Cambridge in the Spring and Summer, and monthly 1:1 coaching sessions where you can catch up with your mentee, set new goals for the coming month in terms of revision, Sixth Form applications or university research, and track their progress over the year. Natalie, a third-year History student at Cambridge, has been volunteering with Universify since July 2021:
'I am really enjoying working with Universify: last summer I helped to run an online course for the students, where we offered subject taster sessions, university Q&As, and social activities. Since then, I have coached my three mentees over video call once per month, and have loved getting to know them and hearing about all their fantastic achievements. I am looking forward to the Spring residential in April 2022, when I'll get to meet them in person for the first time and show them around Cambridge!'
For Cambridge students specifically, there is also the e-CAMbassador programme, where current students can apply to mentor six prospective Cambridge applicants. The programme runs from July-January each year. Students and mentees can message each other through a moderated platform, where they can discuss college choices, personal statement advice, and interview tips. All participants are also invited to join monthly check-ins on Zoom, where they can chat with their mentor and meet other prospective applicants on the programme. Unlike most mentoring schemes, this programme is run by the University of Cambridge itself, and consequently pays students for their time spent mentoring. While this should never be the main reason you choose to get involved in mentoring at university, it can be an extra bonus for students who are looking to earn some money during term time. You can find out more Zero Gravity, 🔗 Slipstream Education 🔗, and Universify 🔗, which you can apply to become a mentor at.