Image of students working during a university workshop

 by Sophie Craven
, posted On 28 Sep '17
 Schools & Colleges Liason Officer

When’s the right time of year to arrange a university talk for my students?

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

When you’re planning a university talk for your students it’s important to ensure that the session is as impactful as possible – to raise aspirations or attainment and broaden horizons of future HE and career opportunities. Planning when to arrange a talk is just as important as planning what is the most relevant and age-appropriate session for your cohort. Arguably, finding the most appropriate time only becomes more important based on the age of your learners.

It’s all in the timing

Broadly speaking, the older your students, the more important the timings. Although even for younger pupils the timings can be significant. For primary Year 5 and 6 and secondary year 7 children, HE talks and activities, if well timed, can support transition activities as well as PSHE and careers programmes. For Years 8 and 9 pupils, HE talks can support careers programmes and the all-important selection of GCSE options. In Years 10 and 11, raising aspirations and attainment, as well as developing study skills and revision techniques, become more important than ever in preparation for exams. University talks and activities can and do have a meaningful impact if well-timed in all of these important phases of school life.

Once students embark upon their level 3 studies, the specific timings of HE talks and activities become more important than ever. Here are just some examples of when it might be most impactful for you to host HE talks and activities for post-16 learners.

Year 12 - term 1

Consider activities and talks that increase awareness of HE options and provide support with transition from GCSE to level 3 study. Typical activities might include:

  • An Introduction to Higher Education presentation
  • Study skills sessions to support sixth-firm induction

Year 12 term 2

Consider activities and talks that enhance the curriculum and enable primary and secondary HE research. Typical activities might include:

  • Subject lectures
  • Taster Days and Open days

Year 12 term 3

Consider activities and talks that begin to prepare learners for the application process. Typical activities might include:

  • Personal statement writing workshops
  • Applying through UCAS presentation

Year 13

Consider activities and talks that involve parents in the process and enable learners to make successful applications to HE. Typical activities might include:

  • Talks on UCAS and finance for parents
  • Student Finance information and applications
  • Revision skills
  • Interview skills


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