For those of us who work with students
specifically to help widen participation in higher
education, it is important to reflect upon the
work that we do with our young people. What is
even more important is analysing that work and
evaluating the impact of it.
University engagement - what works?
In a recent study (1), it was revealed that
the types of engagement that were most
strongly associated with UCAS acceptance
were summer schools, campus visits and
information and guidance. Additionally,
combinations of activities that included
summer schools were particularly effective in
predicting acceptance into higher education,
while the second most effective combination
was of information, campus visits and
Interestingly, the research also showed that
taking part in five to six outreach activities
provided the optimal balance between input
and impact, with the benefits of each additional
engagement (after five or six) being small.
Research also showed that learners engaging
in outreach activity (specifically the Uni
Connect Programme in this research), even
if just once, are linked to a higher chance of
being offered a place in higher education. This
is true even when looking at other variables
that can determine UCAS success (school, sex,
ethnicity or deprivation).
If you’re a fan of data and want to learn more
about the findings in this study, the reference
is below. The study analyses the effect of a
multi-intervention outreach programme (Uni
Connect) in higher education acceptance
by comparing learners who engaged in this
programme’s activities and those who did not.
(1) A.P. Burgess, M.S. Horton, E. Moores, Optimising
the impact of a multi-intervention outreach
programme on progression to Higher Education:
recommendations for future practice and research.