The Bridging Programme is a 'pre-university' course set to run for two weeks ahead of the start of students' first term, and is a collaboration between King's, and Christ's, Colleges. The programme began in 2020, and has run annually since then. It has been made possible by reason of a generous donation from a college Alumnus, who continues to offer support to the college, and its students, with a view to assisting those from widening participation backgrounds, to thrive during their time at Cambridge.
The programme is designed to help make students familiar with the style of teaching they will receive throughout their degree, polish up their skills, and gain some background knowledge relevant to their course. It is also designed to help them get a taster of University life, have an opportunity to ask questions, and make friends, and generally, ‘bridge the gap’ between further, and higher, education. The programme combines a number of academic style sessions, structured to resemble the sort of teaching they will experience throughout their degree, and help provide them with crucial skills, but without reproducing content; information sessions, to give them an introduction to key aspects of University life; and social events. In respect of the latter, students will be assigned a student mentor - usually a current second or third year student - who will organise various social activities, and be a point of contact throughout the course and even beyond. The course is quite small in scale - with only around 12 students from King's, and around the same number from Christ's being selected each year, so the academic sessions will all be small and intimate, and the students given an opportunity to form bonds with a small group of students, before the rush and bedlam of Freshers' week.
This year the programme will run from 29 August to 9 September.
The first week will be spent in Cambridge. Over the course of this week, students meet and socialise with other first-year students, familiarise themselves with the city, attend lectures and supervisions on various academic topics, and attend some skills sessions.
This is followed by one week online. During this period students will have additional lectures and supervisions relevant to their subject, provided by a range of persons employed at the College and/or University.
How Are Students Selected?
Each year, we select around 12 students from King’s for participation in this programme (these students will join around 10-12 students selected from Christ’s college). We select these students not because we have any concerns at all about their academic potential, but because, on the basis of certain contextual flags, they are students deemed most likely to benefit from the experience. Generally speaking, students selected for the programme are those who may not have had access to the same educational experiences as our other students, or who have faced personal, or financial barriers, in applying, and/or attending, University. For information about the sort of flags taken into consideration, please see: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying/contextual-data.
Students who have been selected for the programme will be notified when they receive their offer to study at King's. We will then confirm the final details once they meet their offer and their place is confirmed in the summer. Students are informed well in advance of the programme taking place, so as to make sure that they can save the date, and make arrangements to attend.
Does the Programme Cost Anything?
There are no costs associated with attending the programme, and accommodation will be provided at King's for those attending. We cover travel costs to Cambridge for those attending, and provide students with a bursary to cover any costs incurred during the programme and any lost earnings.