9 June 2021

UK university launches mentoring programme providing support to local Black A-Level students

A new programme set up by Imperial College London, UK, pairs its student mentors with Black A-Level students aiming to remove barriers to top-tier universities.

Abeku Koomson, fifth year medical student and mentor on
the programme © Imperial College London

Using mentoring company With Insight Education’s flagship programme, Insight2Uni, the University will support high potential Black-heritage A-Level students with a structured programme of support from relatable Black-heritage mentors. 

As part of a new collaboration with Imperial College London, ten Imperial undergraduate students will act as mentors to 20 pupils in year 12 at London state schools.

As part of the mentoring, the Imperial students will offer authentic guidance and invaluable insights into applying to and studying at a leading university.

‘I signed up to be a mentor on the Insight2Uni programme because when I was applying to university I was in the same position as the mentees,’ says Abeku Koomson, fifth year medical student at the University.  

‘I am from a black ethnic background and I attended a low-performing state school. When I first applied to university I did not have any mentor or anyone to guide me and as a result I got rejected by all of the universities that I applied for.  

‘The second time I applied I had a mentor, and it made a dramatic difference. She helped me with my personal statement, entrance exam preparation and interview preparation.

‘If it was not for my mentor, I probably would have not received an offer. Because I have experience first-hand how impactful having a mentor can be, I really want to help students the same way I was helped.

'This type of support when applying to universities is readily available to most students who attend private schools and many underprivileged students are lacking this much needed support.’

The new collaboration, an initiative by Imperial College's Outreach Department, supports its aspiration to double the intake of Black home students by 2025, as part of the Access and Participation Plan.

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