University Tips Blog
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by Fiona Curry

Strategic Lead, Access and Participation at the University of Cumbria

posted on 15 Jan '21

A school and college guide to how universities can support you with subject specific events

Whether your students are considering their GCSE or Level 3 options - or deciding which university course or higher/degree apprenticeship they might want to consider, universities offer a wide range of subject experiences and events. They may even support you to meet Gatsby Benchmark 4, linking curriculum to careers in the process.

University events can be flexible to suit you and are delivered by experts

Subject experiences are often available to be tailored to timings and topics to suit your needs - and can be delivered in school/college or on a university campus. These could be delivered by outreach and student recruitment officers, but you may get the opportunity to work with academic staff too. They can talk about placements, research in their field and where their graduates progress to, providing engaging content that will inspire and educate your students on subjects they are considering.

Some universities also have postgraduate ambassadors or officers who can share their experience of studying at the university with your students, through subject workshops and talks.

Introducing on-campus subject tasters

Evidence suggests that on-campus activity is more impactful to inspire students to apply to university*. Where possible, it is great to organise an on-campus visit for your students to see and use the facilities, hear from the academics and meet current student ambassadors who can share their unique experiences and routes to university. This gives them the chance to try out student life.

You may also be partnered with a local university who can offer travel bursaries for coaches, particularly for students from underrepresented backgrounds to higher education. It is always worth asking for more information on what is available.

Virtual subject content and online university events

During 2020 and into 2021, there has been a boom of digital events too, for students to access from the comfort of their own homes, including (but not limited to) webinars, subject specific summer schools and challenges for students to gain virtual experience. Many academics and school and college liaison teams are on social media platforms, so students can follow them on Instagram, read blog posts and attend Facebook live events on hot topics in the field they are interested in as well.

Supporting your events

As interactive school and college fairs become more popular, academics and university staff are becoming more creative with their university stands. From demonstrations using portable equipment to subject-in-a-box style tasks and mini-sessions which can be delivered in 10-15-minute rotations, get in touch with universities to find out what they can offer to support your events.

*Anthony, A., Edgar, R., 2020, Exploring the relationship between on-campus outreach and HE entry, HEAT.

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