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Study Mentor is

Committed to Widening Access

Widening Access or Widening Participation involves making the opportunity to succeed academically and personally more accessible to students from diverse backgrounds, including those from underrepresented communities, lower socio-economic backgrounds, and non-traditional pathways.

Study Mentor is a UK-based non-profit organisation that aims to level the playing field by providing support and guidance to students from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in pursuing academic, financial and career success.  

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At Study Mentor, we have a unique stance on widening access compared with other organisations that might limit their widening access resources to a particular group of students.  We believe that widening access or widening participations (WA/WP) should mean that all students from all backgrounds have access to the same high-quality resources to help them achieve academic and personal success.  This is why we provide free places on our Study Skills & Exam Techniques conferences for everyone, regardless of your family-income or background. 

We also appreciate that every student is different and some need more help than others.  This is not just based on widening access criteria, but also the individual. For this reason we provide students with the option of accessing additional academic tutoring in the form of our Study Groups, questions banks and revision notes, so that they can determine for themselves if they need additional support. Whilst extra mentoring is more labour intensive and incurs a cost, we have ensured that there are free widening access places on these programmes which are not limited and open to anyone who meets the WA criteria.  Therefore, for the small number of ‘paid-for’ programmes that we do run, we promote equality by offering free places to those who cannot afford it.  This is the social enterprise model.  All of the money that we raise is reinvested back into widening access students as well as creating free programmes and resources that everyone can use.

This also ensures that Study Mentor is not dependent on donations, which could be pulled at any time because they rely on the priorities of the donor at that time.  Our approach ensures that students who can afford and want to pay for extra help have the option to do so and this directly benefits students who are not in a position to afford the additional help. Our Study Groups have also been created by using the best evidence-based study techniques which happen to be far cheaper than traditional 1-2-1 tutoring methods. The option for 1-2-1 tutoring is available but at a fraction of the cost for those that do want to pay for additional help.

This is very different to other organisations or institutions, who focus only on widening access students, because they are donor dependent and therefore have to limit who to offer their support and resources to. Even if funding everyone is the limiting factor, they will refuse to assist students who are willing to pay for themselves.  We feel that excluding any group from having access to helpful resources is not the way forward, and in fact this can deepen the divide. Highlighting the differences instead of a more collaborative approach with social education about widening access for everyone can have detrimental consequences on the mental health and confidence of the WA students that we are trying to encourage.  That is why, we have decided as an organisation to take a more inclusive stance on widening access.  

We take this approach because we appreciate that there are many reasons that students might be at a disadvantage.  Students can be affected by their location in the UK, which school they go to or if they are the first in their families to attend university.  While Study Mentor cannot help with these individual circumstances, we can at least do our best to standardise academic and life-skills support by offering it to all students as equally as possible.  As a social enterprise, we do not receive large amounts of government funding, but our model ensures that all of the money that is raised is reinvested back into supporting widening access and wellbeing programmes that benefit everyone.  Therefore, because we are more inclusive, it has enabled us to run the largest widening access programmes in the whole country.  We reach around 50,000 secondary school students each year.

Education is a powerful tool for change. By offering free access to study skills, exam techniques, academic tutoring, and adult life skills to underprivileged and underrepresented secondary school students, we are not just supporting individual learners; we are uplifting entire communities. This initiative is about leveling the playing field, ensuring that every student, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

For Students: Free access to these vital resources means breaking down barriers that often hinder the academic and personal development of students from less privileged backgrounds. It opens doors to higher education, better career opportunities, and a chance to escape the cycle of deprivation and limited opportunities.

For Society: When we invest in the education of underprivileged students, we are investing in a more prosperous and equitable society. Educated individuals are more likely to contribute positively to the economy, participate in civic activities, and foster communities that value knowledge and inclusivity.

How this Initiative

Transforms Lives

  1. Promotes Academic Success: Tailored study and exam preparation resources can significantly improve the academic performance of students who might otherwise struggle due to a lack of support and resources.

  2. Develops Essential Life Skills: By equipping students with adult life skills, we are preparing them not just for academic success but for real-world challenges, ensuring they become self-sufficient, responsible adults.

  3. Encourages Higher Education and Career Aspirations: Access to tutoring and educational guidance can inspire students to pursue higher education and ambitious career paths, which might have seemed unattainable due to their socioeconomic status.

  4. Fosters a Diverse and Inclusive Society: Supporting underrepresented students contributes to a more diverse and inclusive society. Diversity in educational and professional fields leads to a wider range of perspectives, ideas, and innovations.

  5. Reduces Inequality: By providing these resources for free, we are taking a significant step towards reducing educational and economic inequalities, creating a more balanced and just society.

Real Students. Real Success Stories

We teach 50,000 students every year and our authenticity policy mandates us to abide by our professional code of conduct: honesty, integrity, respect and politeness.  All photos and stories are of real people. We will never engage with false or paid for reviews on third-party review platforms.  To learn more about our authenticity policy click here.

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