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Celebrating 10 years of Pembroke Access: My story by Victoria Lewis

30th May 2019

Welcome to the second article in our series of student stories, following the 10th anniversary of the Pembroke Access Programme in Michaelmas 2018. Victoria took part in the Humanities and Social Sciences programme with Pembroke North in 2014, and recently shared her experiences of the programme, and where she is now.

“I first heard of the programme when Dr Peter Claus came to do a presentation at my sixth form. I was really keen from the outset, as it seemed too good of an opportunity to turn down. The interview itself was one of my favourite experiences, as it was a challenge but also gave me so much confidence for the real thing if the opportunity were to arise. I left that day feeling so in awe and excited, and was even more excited when I found out I was on the programme.

I had thought about Oxford before, but I was definitely not well informed, and it felt a bit like a pipedream. Pembroke North made it seem like a viable option and gave me all the information I needed to make an informed application.

Meeting people in the same position and forming close friendships made the whole experience of applying and studying at a top university so much easier. The Access scheme helped to diffuse any sense of inferiority which is often felt by state school students at Oxford and offered us a support network which would otherwise not have been there, and I believe this transformed the whole journey.

The Access Programme Pembroke North had a huge impact on my life. I have so many great memories, but the lasting effect it had on me is the crucial thing. My friends always highlight how much I go on about Pembroke North, and how many aspects of my life would be different without it. I am so grateful for the opportunities it gave me and I hope many more students in the future are offered those same opportunities.”

Victoria later applied to Oxford and successfully secured a place at Pembroke to study Law. She graduated in 2018 with a First Class degree, and is now training as a public law barrister at Burnet, Duckworth and Palmer (BD&P).

Victoria Lewis
Victoria Lewis