The academic thriving on meeting student aspirations

  • Sunday 1st November 2020

One of the country’s leading academic mentors has seen a huge five-fold increase in students coming to her for support since the beginning of Lockdown last March.

The reason is simple. The pandemic has prevented many overseas students travelling to see universities first-hand and with restrictions affecting many countries, the UK has become an even more attractive option, particularly among discerning parents.

Another factor is that those who do opt for the UK have very little time to make course decisions, which is why Roxanna Harrop of UK University Applications is in such demand.

Harrop: depth rather than breadth

With her extensive network of admissions tutors, the former head of higher education at Epsom College, Surrey, is often called upon to act as a conduit to answer questions and guide them to the most appropriate university.

“The UK focus is on depth rather than breadth and I am able to guide them through the educational maze,” she said.

That interest has gone on to pay dividends as many confirmed the UK as their first choice, leading to a nine per cent rise in the number of international students this year and an overall four per cent increase in the number starting in 2020.

Oxbridge may be the answer and I have placed many students there over the years. Other applicants, equally worthy of a place, have chosen to go elsewhere after careful deliberation

Roxanna, who has been involved with Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group universities for more than 25 years, said: “My key challenge is balancing aspiration with reality. I try to get them to think outside the box and take time to analyse what they want from a course.

“Oxbridge may be the answer and I have placed many students there over the years, each one earning their place on merit after we have done a lot of preparatory work. Other applicants, equally worthy of an Oxbridge place, have chosen to go elsewhere after careful deliberation and weighing up the alternatives.

“I am often asked where is the best place for economics, medicine, history, mathematics and my answer is – where is the best place for the student to study economics, medicine, history and mathematics.

“My passion is to help these students take the next step in their education by opening windows of opportunity for them to look through.”

More on Roxanna Harrop here

SME Autumn 2020
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