The success of Birkbeck’s ‘On Track’ Summer Programme

Access Officer, Mona Kadhum, from the Access and Engagement team reflects on revised and improved ‘On Track’ summer programme offered to incoming students every year.  

To support student transition into university, Birkbeck’s Access and Engagement team ran our popular ‘On Track’ Summer Programme once more in July this year. On Track aims to introduce our upcoming students to every part of university life at Birkbeck to give them a boost of confidence ahead of starting with us in October 2023.  

On Track used to be a subject-specific programme that looked very different. This year we altered the way it was delivered and expanded the invitation beyond subjects, to all first year and foundation year students, in order to give them an opportunity to interact with people from all different courses. We ran the two-day intensive programme with a total of 84 students attending at least one day of the two-part event.  

Day 1 started off with a scavenger hunt activity for the students to get to know each other and familiarise themselves with the campus. This activity was a favourite as it sparked a competitive edge in them, knowing a surprise prize for the winning team was on the line!  

“Scavenger Hunt was fab and even better because my team won, let it be known that my team won!!!!!” 

– On Track 2023 Attendee  

We then had an activity called Introduction to Professional Services,with staff from the Library, Student Advice, Study Skills, Disability & Dyslexia, Careers, Student Union, and the Wellbeing Service all present. Students worked together to create a presentation about the key areas of the service to present back to the rest of the group. 

Students returned on the second day and started with a ‘Being Successful in your First Year’ session. This involved Rachel Wood from the Student Engagement and Success team running an activity that encouraged participants to identify their existing strengths and skills. Students were then broken off into smaller groups for their academic focused sessions with someone from their school/department. Students were able to have an immersive experience of how their life at Birkbeck might look and feel utilising the cinema at Gordon Square for Arts students, the biomedical labs for Biological Sciences and having a panel discussion with current students for Law. 

To end the day, we invited all students and staff to our 5th Floor Terrace Café for an end of programme celebration to hand out the all-important prizes for the scavenger hunt (well done Team Spartans!), highlight the successes of the programme, and network in a more relaxed environment with food and drinks.  

“It was an amazing experience throughout. I met classmates, I shared my experience and my goals, and finally, i attended the class with the lecture, which was interesting. However, the best is yet to come. It will be tough, but I will never give up!”

– On Track 2023 Attendee

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