UCAS application screen

28 October 2022

Last year, our national university mentoring programme supported 100 people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds as they applied to university. Now, as the programme starts again, we are reflecting on last year’s successes and looking forward to what is to come. 

If you are seeking asylum or from a refugee background and interested in receiving guidance about applying to university, come along to our information session with UCAS on Tuesday 1st November:

What does STAR’s university mentoring programme involve?

Partnered with UCAS, STAR’s national university mentoring programme trains current university students to provide guidance for prospective students from sanctuary seeking backgrounds.

The programme starts with an information session, so prospective students get an overview of information about applying to university, scholarships, and the additional support available to people from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds. We then recruit volunteers from across our student network, training them to lead mentoring sessions.

In online mentoring sessions, STAR mentors – who are currently studying at university – share general guidance and resources with applicants from refugee or asylum-seeking backgrounds. Participants have the opportunity to talk through the process of applying to university, research scholarships and funding, and chat about what it’s like to study in the UK.

“My mentor was incredible, I am so grateful for her. She helped me a lot and without her I don’t think I would have got a scholarship.”

What impact does the STAR mentoring programme have?

We have had really positive feedback from participants of our mentoring programme, especially from those who have gone on to attend university this year. Participants shared that they received helpful signposting to resources and support, and their confidence increased over the course of the mentoring sessions.

“Really loved the session and working with my mentor. She helped me feel so much more confident.”

When we reached out to participants later in the year, over 80% of applicants who responded had gone on to apply to university. Of these applicants, 40% received a scholarship to study at their chosen university.

“It was a great step forward for me to start planning for postgraduate study in the UK”

STAR mentors also gained a lot from the project, and we’re really pleased that some of the same mentors will be returning to participate in this year’s programme! Read about Eleanor’s experience of being a STAR mentor.

Join the mentoring programme this year

This year the project is set to expand, supporting more applicants and working to break down even more of the barriers that prevent people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds accessing higher education. To find out how to register for mentoring sessions with STAR volunteers, come to our information session on Tuesday 1st November.

We’ve also partnered with the Student Loans Company to add an additional information session about applying for student loans for applicants from refugee backgrounds.

If you are a refugee or are seeking asylum in the UK and you are interested in applying to university, book your free place for our information sessions using the links below:

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