MORE than 10,000 youngsters have been visited by Oxford University staff and students to encourage applicants from across all backrounds.

The Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences were held in seven UK cities to give an insight into student life and information about studies.

The university said it hopes the events challenge stereotypes and encourage students from all backgrounds.

Events at Edinburgh, Newcastle, Merseyside, Lisburn, Surrey, Swansea and Birmingham included Oxford students returning to their home area.

Director of undergraduate admissions Mike Nicholson said: “This year’s Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences were busier than ever and we are delighted that so many students came to see us. It’s really important to us that students have the opportunity to experience the vast range of courses and activities we can offer.’’ St John’s College biological sciences student Holly Ellis, who attended Liverpool grammarThe Blue Coat School, told the Merseyside conference: “Outreach work is important as the university wants to attract the highest calibre of students, regardless of their background.

“I hope that the conference will give students the confidence to apply to top institutions and break down the usual stereotypes that often prevent them from making an application.”