Embracing Change to Maximise Impact

Since its inception in 2009, One Degree has been dedicated to mentoring and empowering students across London. Initially, our approach involved weekend meetings between March and June, focusing on one cohort of students at a time, in a single venue. This intensive program, while effective, was limited in its reach and duration.

Expanding Horizons: 2014 – 2019

From 2014 to 2018, we recognised the need for a longer-term impact. We expanded our program to start anytime from September to November, running through June. This extension allowed us to engage more deeply with students over a more extended period. The goal was simple: provide sustained support and mentorship to maximize our impact on the students’ academic and personal growth.

The Hybrid Transition: 2018 – 2020

In 2018, anticipating the need for flexibility, One Degree began integrating a hybrid model. While in-person sessions remained the core of our program, we complemented them with an online platform. This platform, purpose-built for our needs, offered students access to resources and online courses between in-person sessions. Little did we know that this foresight would become crucial.

Navigating the Pandemic: 2020 – 2021

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, our hybrid model allowed us to pivot swiftly to a fully online format. The transition was seamless, thanks to our existing online infrastructure. However, the shift wasn’t without challenges.

Post-COVID Era: 2021 – 2023

Resuming in-person session during the post-COVID era we witnessed a dramatic 60% drop in mentor numbers, likely due to the new work-from-home culture and the reduced presence of professionals in central London.

Funding also took a hit, with reductions in private donations, corporate sponsorships, and grant availability. Schools, adapting to new realities, began running their own intervention programs, further affecting our collaboration dynamics.

With these factors highlighting the need for adaptability, One Degree had to reinvent itself.

The New Era: 2024 and Beyond

Rising costs and the shifting landscape of educational support necessitated a new approach.

Our new model is predominantly online, supplemented by in-person workshops. This reversal—from in-person programs supplemented by online resources to online programs supplemented by in-person interactions—aims to address the economic and logistical challenges we face.

Challenges and Opportunities

The transition to an online-first approach poses significant challenges. In-person interactions have always been the bedrock of effective mentoring. The digital realm, despite its convenience, lacks the immediacy and personal touch of face-to-face engagement. Moreover, with the overwhelming amount of information available online, keeping students engaged becomes increasingly difficult.

However, this shift also brings substantial opportunities. By moving online, we can lower the cost per student and scale our reach exponentially. Historically, One Degree could only support 30 to 60 students annually, with costs ranging from £800 to £1000 per student. Our new model allows us to increase the number of students we serve tenfold while reducing costs by 75%.

Looking Forward

As we navigate this new era, our commitment to empowering students remains unwavering. We understand the challenges that come with online mentoring but are determined to leverage technology to expand our impact. The shift is not just about survival—it’s about thriving in a changed world and reaching more students than ever before.

We invite you to join us on this journey. Together, we can continue to make a significant difference in the lives of students, helping them achieve their fullest potential.

For more information about our programs and impact, visit One Degree, Results, and One Degree Online.