What is widening participation?
The Royal Veterinary College is committed to attracting the best and brightest students no matter what background they come from.
We want to ensure that applicants to the RVC, and to other universities, are not held back by barriers and that our student cohort reflects the diverse society we live in. This is why we provide activities, events and courses that help to widen participation not only here, but across HE in general.
Some students who wish to progress to University face a number of barriers and obstacles. For example, if you come from a lower socioeconomic background you are less likely to study at university than your more affluent peers. In addition, if you are disabled, come from a black or minority ethnic (BME) background or you have grown up in care then you are less likely to end up in Higher Education (HE).
Other barriers to HE include being the first in the family to consider University, finding the cost of study prohibitively expensive or taking vocational qualifications.
The links below provide you with information regarding the different events we provide. If you would like to become involved in any of these, or would like us to tailor-make and event to suit your needs, then please get in touch using our contact details below.
Aims of Widening Participation
As a Higher Education Institute our Widening Participation aims are:
- To ensure that our commitment to equality of opportunity is reflected fully in the recruitment, admission, and subsequent support, both academic and non-academic, of students from all backgrounds;
- To make information about the veterinary and related professions, and about the requirements of entry to these professions, more widely available;
- To continue to facilitate the development of the profile of the veterinary and related professions so that they more closely reflect the communities that they serve;
- To make a positive contribution to the quality of education and student aspirations in the districts in which its campuses are located;
- To provide a national lead and focus in widening participation in the veterinary and related disciplines.
If you would like to visit the RVC, but do not come from a Widening Participation background, take a look at the Visit Us pages for information about tours, open days and other events.
For additional information about courses and careers in animal and veterinary education, visit the CAVE website: CAVE | Courses in Animal and Veterinary Education
For additional information about how to make the most of your personal statement, work experience and university interview (particularly if you come from a vocational background), please take a look at the So You Want to be a Vet website: So you want to be a vet?
Do you want to find out what studying at university is really like, but don’t have any friends or family that have been to university? Are you thinking about going to university, and would like to talk with current students about their course and experiences at the RVC? If so, shadowing could be for you.
The Royal Veterinary College’s Widening Participation Team offers students in Year 12 and 13 the opportunity to come into the College for one day during the academic year to shadow a current undergraduate.
You will attend the student’s classes and lectures, take part in their practical work and get the opportunity to ask them questions about their course and university experiences. We offer this experience for all our undergraduate courses: Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Nursing and BioVeterinary Sciences.
Shadowing lasts for a full day, on any weekday other than on Wednesdays. It is only available during the autumn and spring terms due to examinations in the summer. We ask that students make their own way to and from the College.
Current undergraduates undertaking the shadowing are all Student Ambassadors (see panel below) trained in working with young people and students on shadowing days will be covered under the RVC’s Health and Safety and Child Protection policies.
Shadowing is run by the Widening Participation team and is aimed at pupils who attend non-selective, state maintained schools and have no family background of Higher Education. If you think that you meet these criteria, and are interested in shadowing, please contact Grace Kimble.
If you do not meet the above criteria but would still like to visit the Royal Veterinary College, please take a look at the taster courses and tours coordinated by RVC Access on the Visit Us web page.
What are Student Ambassadors?
Student ambassadors are current RVC students who work for RVC Access, in widening participation and education liaison roles. The Student Ambassador team is made up of students from all of our undergraduate courses, making them the perfect representatives of all walks of RVC student life.
Some of the roles Student Ambassadors have include delivering activities and looking after pupils whilst they are on campus, talking to a Year 11 group about what it's like to be a university student, helping primary school students identify the bones in a skeleton or dealing with homesickness on a summer school.
Their roles are varied but, regardless of the activity, they are passionate and enthusiastic advocates of science and the RVC. Our WP and education liaison work could not go ahead without our Ambassadors. We value the Ambassadors extremely highly and they are key to our success.
What do the ambassadors get out of it?
For a start, they get paid! Aside from providing students with an enjoyable part-time job, we are providing them with skills and experience that will stand out on their CV. Many ambassadors are also grateful for the opportunity to be involved in projects and activities that seek to inspire and motivate young people as they may have benefited from similar projects themselves.
By passing on their experiences to people who might not otherwise progress to university, student ambassadors are able to give something back to the College and local community whilst studying to become vets, veterinary nurses and scientists.
Do the ambassadors receive training?
All student ambassadors receive extensive training (including Child Protection & Safeguarding training), are DBS checked to Enhanced level and are paid employees of the College.
I want to be a student ambassador!
Applications are now open to become a Student Ambassador. Please download the application form, complete it and return it with a passport-style photo of yourself to:
Jenny Badger, Room G23, Camden Campus, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for submitting your application is 5pm on Tuesday 15th October. Interviews will be held on the 12th and 13th November.
The RVC has a long history of running Summer Schools, delivered in conjunction with partners including Aimhigher, VetNet and the Sutton Trust. These residential courses are designed to give a taste of university life to students who otherwise would not have exposure to this.
Students stay on campus, attend lectures, seminars and practical classes and meet current RVC undergraduates. No university experience would be complete without a social life, with recent Summer Schools encompassing cinema trips, bowling and BBQs.
Our last Summer School was July 2014, and participants gained places through applying to the Sutton Trust.
2013 Easter School
8th - 10th April 2013
The 2013 Easter School was our most oversubscribed residential to date and the students fortunate enough to gain a place really made the most of it.
2012 Summer University with the Sutton Trust
2nd - 5th July 2012
This residential was for Year 12 students interested in veterinary careers. Staying in our Hertfordshire halls of residence, 50 students from across the country took part. Workshops included ultrasound scanning lambs on our farm, dissecting the cardiovascular system and discussing the spread of disease on a global scale. Feedback from the students was excellent, with the visit from Zoofari mobile zoo (day 4) being ranked as a particular high point.
VetNet Easter School 2011
19th - 21st April 2011
The third installment of the RVC’s Vet Net Easter Schools took place in April 2011 under blue skies and warm sunshine. Eighteen students from across the UK made the trip to London to learn about Veterinary Medicine and Nursing in what turned out to be an excellent three days of activities.
Utilising both the London and Hertfordshire campuses, the students experienced all aspects of university-style learning in a series of lectures, seminars and practical classes over three days. In addition to this, the students had a full social timetable in the evenings, including a trip to the cinema, and a set of applying to university workshops – although perhaps less interesting, these were ranked as extremely useful with comments including “The student finance talk was the most useful part of the Easter School because I was worried about tuition fees [and now I am not].”
The highlight of the School came on the final day, with a visit from Zoofari Mobile Zoo. The students literally got to grips with a host of exotics, including a 15 foot long Burmese python and a meerkat named Aleksandr. The feedback has been uniformly excellent, with one student commenting that they had learnt “…that I can become independent even though I thought I wasn’t able to. I feel I have become more confident and I definitely know I want to study Vet Med at the RVC.” Another said “I have decided that university is definitely the right route for me to take. It has opened my eyes to the different options that are available to me both during and after university.”
HEFCE Match Funded Summer University
29th June - 1st July 2010
VetNet Easter School
30th March - 1st April 2010
Following the great success of last year’s Easter School, the RVC was extremely pleased to continue this project with the second VetNet Easter School. The School was attended by students taking vocational qualifications from all over the country and was designed to give them a real insight into the veterinary world and university study.
In just three days, the students had visited the Camden and Hawkshead sites and spent an afternoon at Bolton’s Park Farm. Throughout these three days they also spent time independently researching for poster presentations which they gave to some of the RVC’s leading scientists at the end of the Easter School.
During the three days, the students had several lectures, seminars and hands-on practical sessions. These varied from using ultrasound equipment to analysing the feed used for the dairy herd on the farm. With a visit to the cinema to see "Kick Ass" and several group activities, the event eventually closed with the students delivering their presentations. Titles included “DNA: the bases of life and death” and “Genetic disorders in dogs”. The standard of presentation was very high, with well researched themes and ideas.
After the event, feedback was been extremely positive with special praise for the RVC Student Ambassadors. Several participants have since been in touch to ask about other events hosted by the RVC as they enjoyed the Easter School so much.
Head of WP & Community Engagement
Tel: 020 7468 5219
Fax: 020 7388 2342
Overall responsibility for RVC Widening Participation and Community Engagement activity.
Outreach Development Manager
Tel: 020 7468 1201
Fax: 020 7388 2342
- Summer Schools
- Student Shadowing
- Student Ambassadors
- Child Protection and Safeguarding
- Outreach Events and Activities
- Veterinary Gateway Programme*
* Shared responsibility with the Course Director et al
Outreach Development Officer
Tel: 020 7468 5465
Fax: 020 7388 2342