Banner image of a member of university staff exploring online learning

 by Ellen Bailey
, posted On 26 Mar '20
 Student Recruitment Officer at Bishop Grosseteste University

Supporting students when schools are off – a teachers guide to how universities can still reach out to students

Students are stressed, teachers feel somewhat helpless, and universities are working around the clock to ensure that their institutions remain in contact with students across the globe. This is a challenging time for everyone in the educational system; Covid-19 has significantly disrupted everything as we once knew it, and schools, colleges and universities must learn to adapt their outreach delivery methods to suit the needs of this ongoing global situation.

But what does this all mean for universities and how can we continue to communicate with students whilst schools and colleges are closed?

In essence, it’s all about adapting

For higher education institutions, especially those staff who work within the student recruitment sector, our focus should be shifted on adapting all of our content; everything has changed and progressed digitally, and we need to work on new and innovative ways to captivate students at home.

Being creative in the way that we work

Now is the time to become more inventive and creative in the way we adapt and present our resources to prospective students. It offers an opportunity to change the way we deliver information to students; finding and using new techniques to interact with learners anywhere in the world. Try new apps, online quizzes, interactive games, virtual campus tours, and look at increasing and improving our social media presence and general online content.

Finding online alternatives

It’s a tough challenge trying to entice students to continue to access and use university resources at home, especially when many feel as though now is the time to have a break from studying and enjoy this exam-free period. However, teachers and careers advisors from schools and colleges are keen to push the workload onto these students. They understand the importance of keeping up with educational studies and staying well informed with university information – so it’s key to directly target this group.

Online alternatives to traditionally on-campus events are going to play a significant part in the next few months. Developing digital resources such as virtual open days and subject taster days, along with holding Skype-type interviews and inductions are vital to maintain contact and will provide essential information to students who are planning to study at our institutions.

Keep communicating

Keeping communication is key too. What students - and schools - need now is reassurance, and the knowledge that universities are still providing as much guidance and support to students who need it. It’s clear to see that students are still very much interested in talking to staff, so it’s critical that universities remain in regular contact with them – and we are lucky enough to be able to do so (from home!) in this ever-growing digital world.

Stay Safe.

Teachers, careers colleagues and support staff: request your FREE UniTasterDays Teachers' Guide to University brochure.

This brochure has been produced by in collaboration with HELOA - to support the university guidance that is provided in secondary schools and colleges.

Editorial has been provided by over 35 colleagues at universities and higher education institutions throughout the UK. On topics covering how to support students with their university decisions, university events, widening participation & fair access, UCAS applications (including writing school references) and more. It also includes the key student finance facts from Martin Lewis.

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