Image of a teacher browsing university online outreach

 by George Green
, posted On 22 May '20
 Widening Access Officer at Brunel University London

Digital Outreach: Preparing Students for Higher Education. An example of a current university approach

During these quite unusual times, we are required to do things a little differently and it’s a great chance for us all to think creatively. As students are at home and university staff are working remotely, universities have moved to an online approach to delivering information, advice and guidance. It’s important that those students going to university this year feel prepared and ready for this change, particularly during a time of uncertainty. It’s also important for younger students, who aren’t at the stage of moving onto university, to be able to explore post-18 options and find out about university life.

Here’s how universities are adapting to the current situation.

Webinars: online presentations with Q&A

Brunel has launched the GetUReady programme consisting of live sessions aimed at students sector-wide who intend to progress onto higher education this year.

With the continuous uncertainty we’re facing, we recognise students may have lots of questions over their next steps. The GetUReady programme covers topics categorised into three groups: sample lectures, study skills and university life.

Sample lectures

Sample lectures at Brunel include Biosciences, Law, Business, Politics, Computer Science, Psychology, English, Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences as well as Engineering.

Study skills

Study skills sessions at Brunel include Essay Writing, Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism, Building Good Arguments, Delivering Presentations and Independent Learning.

University life

Online university life events at Brunel include Accommodation, Social Life: Welcome Week, Meeting New People and Union of Brunel Students, Working and Volunteering, Sports Clubs and Societies and Health and Wellbeing.

Image of an online zoom university lecture

Presentations via Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom

At Brunel, we’re offering targeted schools and sixth forms live virtual presentations. You may have a local university to you offering a package of outreach support similar to this as well; it’s definitely worth enquiring what your local university has on offer or looking for these events on UniTasterDays. We deliver online presentations on a variety of topics and are happy to be guided by the school/college on which platforms you’re currently using to ensure the necessary safeguarding requirements are in place.

Virtual open days

Following the success of our first Virtual Open Day events in April and May, Brunel is running more Virtual Open Days - the next is on Friday 3 July. These are a great opportunity for students to find out more about the courses a university offers, hear from academics who teach and research on the course, and ask questions to staff and students. It’s worth students registering so they have the option to go in and out of the live event, or rewind to certain sections of interest.

Downloadable, online resources

A lot of universities are offering online resources on various topics including subject intros, making uni choices, personal statements and student finance. Take a look at Brunel's as an example HERE.

We have resources for primary, secondary and post-16 students too. You can look at what students can engage with from our Resource Bank.

Finally - don't forget social media

Good social media platforms offer timely information that’s easy to access by simply scrolling through your phone. Encourage students to follow the universities they have applied to, and also key organisations such as UCAS and Student Finance. There’s so many useful clips on YouTube from a range of providers including UCAS, Student Finance and universities across the UK. The clips tend to be short and concise – so easy to digest information.



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The Teachers’ Guide has been produced by UniTasterDays.com in collaboration with HELOA - to support the university guidance that is provided in secondary schools and colleges.

Editorial has been provided by over 30 colleagues at universities throughout the UK, on topics including booking online university events, the Gatsby benchmarks, university CPD opportunities, arranging subject specific events and more.


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