Guest blog by Janine Yaxley, Senior Graduate Ambassador at Newcastle University London
How can you make the most of outreach and engagement opportunities offered by universities?
As students become increasingly confused about their future, the options for Higher Education become more broad in a seemingly ‘one size fits all’ approach. That is not the case, each university has something slightly different to offer and alongside encouraging students to attend open days or ask questions at UCAS fairs, there are many ways in which student recruitment teams are having to adapt and react to your needs.
Take advantage of university outreach and recruitment opportunities
Outreach and engagement is one of the best ways to get students engaged with higher education. University representatives can travel to you to deliver an engaging workshop that should get students excited about the prospect of studying a subject that they love, to subsequently achieve top jobs in their chosen sector. The workshops and activities are there to raise university aspirations and generally do the trick, throw in a sprinkle of group work, a dash of thinking about the bigger picture and a few anecdotes about the speakers’ glorious ‘university days’ and you have a recipe for success!
Universities will give you the freedom to choose the type of content to be delivered and normally have a finite repertoire of activities on offer. However, to make the most of the engagements being delivered to your students, don’t be afraid to ask for something that isn’t in the brochure or on the website!
Don't be afraid to ask for tailored opportunities
Universities are increasingly offering tailored support based on what you identify as being the most beneficial for your students. If you think a personal statements drop in session over lunch followed by an activity about budgeting would be good for your students, don’t be frightened to ask your contact for it.
A difficulty that you will face is that not all of your students are going to want to go to the same university to study the same subject, so how do you know which institutions to target?
All universities will try to be as unbiased as possible when giving general higher education workshops that give students insight to things like student life, student finance, budgeting, writing a personal statement and applying through UCAS, a common theme no matter which university or course students are aspiring to.
But obviously, subject and university specific workshops such as ‘Studying Business at Newcastle University London’, will be far more targetted - and may only appeal to a smaller number of your students. However, if you have a large cohort of students who are likely to study one particular subject i.e. English, see if there is an English interactive workshop offered as part of a universities outreach programme.
Universities now more than ever are collaborating with schools in order to make their engagements as impactful as possible. So in short; my closing advice is not being afraid to ask for what you want to get the right support for your students!