image of a teacher delivering an engineering taster session

 by Sophie Craven
, posted On 13 Sep '17
 Schools & Colleges Liason Officer

Top tips for teachers interested in booking subject specific university talks for their school

Guest Blogger: Sophie Craven, Schools and Colleges Liaison Service, The University of Huddersfield

Most universities offer a wide programme of subject taster lectures, delivered by academic staff or subject specialists, specifically targeted at school and college students. These sessions offer many benefits for you and your students. In particular, talks provide:

- An insight into the nature of university-level study across a broad range of subjects.

- An insight into new subject disciplines to broaden learners’ horizons of higher education options and career routes. For example subjects such Energy Engineering, Operating Department Practice and Artificial Intelligence.

- Enhancement and support for the curriculum in school or college.

- Support for higher education preparation and post 16 careers guidance.

How to find out what’s out there?

In most cases, talks will be centrally administered by Education/Schools Liaison Teams in universities, and details of the programme of talks and how to book should be available on university websites (editors note: and on UniTasterDays - which will compile them for you!)

Getting the most out of talks

To get the most out of the experience for you and your students consider the following elements:

1. Ensure that the sessions are embedded appropriately within a subject area or careers programme, and not just used as a bolt-on or to fill a gap.

2. Engage with a range of universities, rather than the same one, as each will offer different subject talks and this will provide insight for students into a number of different universities.

3. Discuss your requirements with the university to ensure that the session being delivered will meet your aims and objectives. In some cases, if you have a specific area that you want to be covered, then the talk may be tailored or modified to meet your requirements.

4. Consider how learners can best prepare for the session, for example through questions or utilising prior knowledge. How best to prepare students for the session could even be discussed with the university in advance.

5. Consider the follow up from the session and how the learning can be used to support future teaching or learners’ career planning.

6. You may also want to consider a follow up activity for interested students. In addition to talks, most universities offer a series of Taster Days – a programme of practical hands-on subject sessions. As with talks, details of these are published on university websites or on UniTasterDays.

Making it happen

University talks or lectures can take place either in school or on campus as part of a university visit. Talks are typically an hour in length and are aimed at level 3 learners (but not exclusively). If you are looking for an activity for your younger students then universities do offer activities for these audiences too – these are usually designed with a more hands-on and interactive focus.

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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