How to support
When thinking about this article, I started with
how I made my choices. It was a fair few years
ago, but there are key things that still stick in my
mind. I’m sure that you too can think of a few
things that influenced your decision.
Of course, we all had very different factors
that were important to us. Years later, would
we still follow the same list? Seventeen-year-
old me was convinced that being an extra on
Hollyoaks was top of my list!
Until I started to visit open days, I thought my
mind was made up. But then I started to look
at other factors – including location, course
and module choices and grade requirements.
As I visited different universities these factors
kept changing and I started to compare them
against each other. Ultimately, my decision
came down to a gut feeling can I see myself
living and studying here?
University choices for students are personal
The most important thing to remember when
supporting students at pre and post offer stage
is that each student will have different things
that are important to them. Of course, students
should get advice from parents and carers,
friends and their school or college, but make
sure that their list is personal to them.
They can start with a long list, which can help
when initially researching universities, and
then ask questions at both face-to-face and
virtual events. As students find out answers
to their questions, this list will start to change
and help create a list of potential choices. I
used different post-it notes with factors on
that I could move around and group together
depending on which became the most
Encourage students to attend university open days
Now that things are starting to return to some
sense of normality, encourage students to grab
this opportunity with both hands (and feet).
Have resources available to help students
find when open days are, such as a map of
universities with QR codes that link to open day
Open days are the best way to get a feel for
a university and can naturally help students
to select their choices. Applicant specific
events, as well as engaging with university
communications and social media channels,
can then help students to pick their firm and
We know that choosing a path for higher
education is one of the hardest decisions
students make and there is no one size fits
all guide. My best advice is to have multiple
resources available for your students, such as
videos, prospectuses, careers/higher education
fairs as well as drop-in sessions.
Each student will be different of course, but
starting their research as soon as possible will
be very beneficial for them all.