Christ’s-King’s Bridging Course 2020
Here at Christ’s, we have collaborated with King’s College to deliver a Bridging Course for incoming first-year students. These are individuals who have already demonstrated their potential but may have been held back due to background factors (including low school rankings, insufficient preparation in their subject, first-generation university, low income, in care, etc.), including 8 students from Christ’s. All accommodation, travel and food costs were covered by the respective Colleges, with every participant also receiving a bursary to compensate for potential lost earnings in order to attend the course.
The objective of this programme is to get these students feeling more confident and prepared before beginning their degree in October. Though originally intended to be a full 3-week stay in Cambridge, Covid-19 restrictions and complications meant that this became a 2-night (socially distanced) stay at the beginning of the course, with the remainder of the course taking place virtually. The course took place between 31 August and 18 September.
On the course, participants received a series of lectures and supervisions to get them used to the teaching style at Cambridge, develop skills such as note-taking and essay-writing, or how to tackle problem sheets. There were also lectures on “Dealing with Cambridge”, covering everything from Cambridge jargon to approaching essays and dealing with imposter syndrome. Every participant received a current undergraduate mentor, who were also present during the stay in Cambridge and who have continued to support them over the following weeks. There were many opportunities to explore both Christ’s and King’s, figure out their way to their departments and locate key places such as supermarkets, pharmacies, pubs and restaurants, as well as social activities to break the ice and make new friends (including a tour of the Master’s garden for our Christ’s cohort!).
After the initial in-person stay, all students who responded to our survey said they felt more confident about coming to Cambridge, and all rated this element of the programme as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Almost all respondents noted getting to meet other people and especially older students as the thing they enjoyed the most, demonstrating the importance of the social aspect of such a programme as well as the academic.