For the past two decades, the LSE Widening Participation team has been working to improve under-representation in higher education and support broader issues of equity, social inclusion and mobility. This year has been no different.
Since March, the team has been working to move the delivery of widening participation activities online. These programmes support students from state schools and colleges across London and help them understand the benefits of university, learn about different courses and make competitive applications to selective universities, including LSE.
Jess Bond, Head of Widening Participation at LSE, said: “Despite the pandemic, I’m delighted that we have still been able to reach over 2000 students from groups currently under-represented in higher education. Over the summer, we virtually delivered our week-long summer schools to over 350 students from years 11, 12 and 13, with huge support from our student ambassadors and academics from many departments”.
With huge disruption to education over the past six months, prospective undergraduate students have faced many challenges and we are excited to welcome our new cohort of students. Over 30 of whom will be students who previously participated in one of the School’s widening participation programmes.
Hussein Barreh will be studying Economics and Economics History, after completing the LSE Pathways to Banking and Finance programme over the past two years. He said:
“As I progressed through the education ladder, it became increasingly apparent that there were and are a lack of opportunities for me to gain insights into banking, finance and top universities so I applied to the Pathways to Banking and Finance programme. With this programme, I’ve gained contacts and networking opportunities with people from the banking and finance industry.
“I have also gained confidence in myself, that getting to the place I want to be isn’t going to be an impossible task. With LSE being a very diverse university, I’m looking forward to meeting new and different people from around the world and building bonds and connections with them.”
Aysha Sarah will be studying History. For the past two years, she has participated in the LSE CHOICE programme for year 12 and 13 students. This included an intensive, week-long summer school and a series of subject masterclasses. Aysha said:
“The summer school was a very enjoyable and valuable experience. Despite only being a week long, I felt the insight into university as well as experiencing my subject through a unique lens was really beneficial in the long term. I was able to talk about what I learnt in my personal statement when applying to university.
“Each session gave an insight to a different area of history I wouldn’t otherwise have been exposed to. I learnt to be more inquisitive about History and understand more about what I enjoy as a historian, rather than just learning what I was taught during my A-levels. I’m looking forward to some interesting discussions with peers and taking advantage of the opportunities given to me!"
Zak Mohamed, who will be joining LSE to study Economics and Economic History, also took part in LSE CHOICE. Reflecting on his experiences, he said:
“My highlights of the programme were when I led and won a presentation competition where my group discussed a topic of great interest to me – ‘Is inequality is a prerequisite of capitalism?’ This presentation not only allowed me to improve my communication skills with my peers, but it also helped me increase my confidence in speaking in front of an audience. Picking up my certificate in front of the whole LSE CHOICE cohort was extremely special.
“Another highlight was our trip to Accenture technology division where I got to interact with artificial intelligence and tracking technology which is being used to revolutionise the economy as a whole. This trip helped provide an insight into the technology side of firms which I previously had never given much consideration. Studying at LSE will provide me with the necessary skills to assess a variety of critical perspectives, approaches and contexts and the ability to read texts in an incredibly complex and diverse way."
We look forward to Hussein, Aysha and Zak joining the LSE community, along with the other participants from our LSE Widening Participation programmes and the rest of the incoming first-year cohort!