University project helps local pupils 'Reach' university success

An outreach programme supporting disadvantaged school pupils secure university places has this year achieved record results.

The Reach Programme hosted by the University of Aberdeen is part of Reach Scotland, a Scottish Funding Council funded programme which supports pupils interested in high demand professional subjects. The programme in Aberdeen offers support for entry into Law and Medicine courses.  This year the programme has seen its best ever results with more than 20 young people from the local area securing a place in Medicine and 13 in Law.  

Reach supports S4-6 pupils to make informed choices about university study, offering workshops, mentoring, and one to one support to guide pupils in the next stage of their education and career. The team work with disadvantaged pupils across Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Highlands, Orkney and Shetland as part of a national widening access project funded by the Scottish Funding Council.   

Anna Johnston, Lead Access Officer and Co-ordinator of Reach Aberdeen said: “I am so proud of all the Reach Aberdeen pupils - they have all worked incredibly hard in a really challenging year.  

“The medical students in particular have navigated an already extremely competitive application process, made even more difficult due to pandemic-related barriers limiting work experience opportunities.   

“As most work experience opportunities have been unavailable this year, they have demonstrated resilience and problem-solving skills to find alternatives, such as by volunteering in their communities or working part time in care homes during the pandemic.   

“I have no doubt they will make wonderful healthcare professionals.  All of our pupils this year have secured places in the School of Medicine which is an amazing achievement.” 

“We also work with local pupils interested in studying law at University. Law is a highly competitive subject and many students from more privileged backgrounds may have existing contacts in the profession.  

“We have been able to support around 60 young people interested in law this year by offering online workshops and a virtual Law Access course with the University of Aberdeen School of Law. “ 

Isla Noble from Fraserburgh Academy who secured a place in Medicine agrees: “I really can’t thank the Reach programme enough for all the help and support they have given me towards my dream of studying Medicine.  

“The guidance that they have provided from career insight days, to mock interviews and help with personal statements, Reach offers help with all aspects of your medical application.  

“Another aspect of the Reach programme that I have found extremely useful, and have definitely fully utilised, is the Mentoring Scheme, where you get to speak with current medical students at the University.  

“Due to this amazing programme, my dream has become a reality and I received 4 medical offers.” 

Reach Aberdeen is open to S4-6 pupils interested in Law or Medicine who meet a widening access criterion. For more information and to apply follow this link.