Find your mentor
WHAT WE DO 💡
Project Access was started by university students who remembered how daunting it was to apply to a selective university without knowing anyone else who had done it before. Thinking back to our own journeys we realised that what we would have been most in need of when applying to university was someone who knew what it was like and could offer a more personal take on the application process. We also thought it would be helpful to talk to someone who had already made it – just to make it feel a bit more within our reach!
With this idea in mind, Project Access was born. We hope you’ll enjoy the mentorship programme, and that you’ll take the time to let us know how we can get better. This organisation was built with the intention of serving students like yourselves, so please take this opportunity to help us get better so that we can help more students!
To be eligible to receive a mentor from Project Access students need to be nominated by one of our school or university partners, or fulfil two of the following criteria:
Been to a state-maintained school only, since the age of 11.
Come from one of the two bottom POLAR quintiles in terms of their postcode. You can look up your postcode here.
Come from a family where neither parents (or carers) have a university background.
Come from a household with a total annual income of £42,000 or less.
You also need to fulfil our academic criteria, which means that you have to be on track to achieve at least AAB in your A-levels according to your teachers.
HOW IT WORKS ⚙️
Project Access mentors are asked to give about one hour per month to each of the applicants that they help. This can be done via online calls or through email, but we recommend that mentors and applicants try to call each other when they can, as this is more efficient time-wise. We currently only take on mentors from the following universities because of capacity constraints: Cambridge University, Durham University, Imperial College London, King’s College London, London School of Economics and Political Science, Oxford University, University College London, University of Warwick.
At the start of the mentorship, we recommend that you spend some time learning more about the course that you’re interested in so that you can see if it is for you. You can, for example, ask your mentor to give you a university-style assignment that you complete and then review together. Having done this will also be helpful for writing your personal statement later on. After this, closer to the summer, we recommend focussing on more application related things, like how best to spend the summer to gain relevant experience which you can mention in the personal statement, and then later on, producing a first draft of the personal statement for your mentor to review.
When you are paired with your mentor, you will be asked to write a first email to introduce yourself. You can find template emails for what this can look like in the section 'Reaching out to your mentor’, below.
We hope this sounds good, and that you’re excited about getting started with the mentorship programme!
LET’S GET STARTED 👨🏫
In the form we will ask you questions like what course you are most interested in applying for at university. Most people will not yet be sure of what they want to study at this point, so don’t worry if this is you. Just register for the subject that you think, at this point, you are most interested in applying for. The start of the mentorship is an excellent time to find out more about the course through your mentor!
We generally don’t assign new mentors after June, as we prefer to give mentors more time to prepare with their mentees and don’t want to put too much pressure on their schedules. If you do find us later, however, you can send Anna an email on this address and she’ll see what she can do: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to helping you on your journey! Please check out our Mentee Portal at any time for more information on what it means to be on the programme.
REACHING OUT TO YOUR MENTOR 👋
We ask mentees to write the first email is because we want you to feel ownership of the mentorship process and feel like you can structure it according to your own needs and preferences.
We’ve written out a template email here to guide you on your way. Please feel free to change it as you wish though. The template below is just to give you an idea of what that initial email to your mentor can look like. The italics are where we think it would be nice for you to personalise the email a bit.
First of all I’d like to say thank you for volunteering your time with Project Access. It is great to know that there is someone out there who wants to provide personal support for me during my application! I really appreciate that you’re taking the time.
My name is your name and I come from place. I currently study A-level subjects at school. Most of all I would like to study course at university but I’ve also considered other options. The reason I’m so interested in this is interest in subject, and other things you find interesting about the idea of studying this course at university.
At the moment, I’m mostly keen to learn more about what it’s like to study course at university. Perhaps we could start by going through something you're working on at university so I can learn more about it?
When it comes to the application, the elements I think I will need most support on are the things you think are most important for you to work on. I hope we can find a time to speak soon. Perhaps we could do the same day and time every month so that we can schedule the calls in advance? For me weekday at time (for example, Mondays at 5pm, Tuesdays at 7pm or Fridays at 4pm) are the most convenient. Would either of those times work for you?
I look forward to getting started!
Best wishes from your new mentee,