More needs to be done for Bame applicants at top universities, says student

A young black student from a deprived background who has gained a place at Cambridge has called on top universities to do more to offer places to black, Asian and minority ethnic applicants.

Trisha Abass will study English literature at Robinson College this autumn after achieving top A-level grades from Brampton Manor Academy in East Ham, east London.

She got an A in English literature and A*s in psychology and sociology.

Trisha, who comes from a Nigerian background and lives with her mother, said: “I’m delighted to be given this opportunity but very concerned I remain a tiny minority in 21st century Britain.

“It’s never been more important to address the issue of diversity in higher education because applicants with stories like mine should be just seen as normal and more needs to be done to create better representation in the UK’s top universities.”

Trisha Abass
Trisha Abass (National Citizen Service/PA)

The 18-year-old said she only gained confidence to apply to Cambridge after she took part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) when she was 16.

She said: “I gained a lot of the confidence I needed through participating in the NCS summer programme.

“NCS provided me with the opportunity to meet and learn from other young people, and develop a level of confidence that proved invaluable when I undertook Cambridge’s infamous interview process.

“It also has to be said many young people are put off by the ‘posh’ demographic of students at the top UK universities. Even I have to admit that I thought twice about applying because I was worried that there wouldn’t be anyone for me to relate to at Cambridge.

“If we’re going to succeed in creating more representative student bodies at universities like Cambridge, initiatives that help to bridge the gap between further and higher education are essential.”

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