The summer that changed my life
Embarrassing family holidays, hanging out with friends, that first taste of work – when you’re 16, the summer break is a heady mix of freedom and boredom; a chance to step off the academic treadmill before the critical A-Level years that determine your future.
But what if a Russell Group university was not on your horizon? If your school lacked the expertise to help you write a stand-out UCAS personal statement or understand university life, or if your family couldn’t offer any financial support towards your studies? For young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, alumni support really can make all the difference.
For over 20 years, thanks to the generosity of alumni donors and partners, our Nottingham Potential Summer School programme and scholarships have helped give over 4,500 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the tools and support they need to make university part of their future.
Each year, around a quarter go on to choose Nottingham, with statistics showing these students are more likely to graduate with a First or 2.1 than the average undergraduate. More often than not, those who go through the programme choose to act as ambassadors, sharing their experiences and developing their skills.
As we celebrate 20 years of the programme, we asked three alumni to reflect on what their Summer School experience meant to them.
“I came to Summer School in 2004 with a lot of questions and doubts about university life. Was I academic enough? Would I fit in? I didn’t really know anyone who had been, which was daunting in itself. But in that week, I made friends for life.
"I met people who were academic but not the “university crowd” I had expected, and could see how university brings people together from all backgrounds. It boosted my confidence and self-belief, and set me on a path which has led to a successful career in the City.
"I was proud to be a student ambassador during my studies and help with the Summer School programme. It was important for me to complete the cycle and share my experience with other young people.
"As an alumnus, I’m still proud to do this and have featured as a case study for the Sutton Trust, helping raise aspirations about a career in the financial industry for young people from all backgrounds.”
Senior Vice-President, Citigroup
Thanks to you!
We offer our thanks and gratitude to all our alumni and friends who support our Summer School programme and Nottingham Potential Scholarships - by financially making a gift or by volunteering to attend one of our Summer School lunches.
Your belief and backing really does change thousands of young lives every year - thank you for making this possible.