Making the move from school to university – the support available for students
Progressing from school or college to higher education can be a daunting step for many of your students. Teaching, study methods and lifestyles will take on new directions in often brand new towns and cities.
Students going to university will go through a transitional period as they adapt to the next step and progress from the sixth form classroom to higher education.
Learning at university is likely to be very different to learning at school or college and, in recent years, the resources and support services offered by universities to help students to understand and thrive in their next step's continue to grow and develop.
For example, whilst studying, Cardiff University students can access free skills training through the Skills Development Service to provide more confidence in leadership, communication and time management to name but a few key skills. The support available, however, begins long before this. From finance and careers advice to disability and pastoral support, help is available in a number of ways with trained staff, printed publications, online resources, pre-arrival courses and, more recently, structured peer support from current students in place to offer advice and guidance.
Student support schemes will vary at each university and, when guiding your students, further research into the different support services available at each institution is encouraged. At Cardiff University, we offer a Student Mentor Scheme, which helps students in their progression from school to university. We match first year students to current undergraduate students from the same academic school and encourage meetings on a regular basis to discuss academic and non-academic queries or concerns including study and examination methods, settling into accommodation, travelling to university, budgeting, module choices and social activities to name but a few.
First year students can ask questions which are not covered in the course handbook and will get reliable and relevant advice from their peers. It encourages interaction with course peers across all year groups and provides an informal opportunity for first years to ask questions they may have reservations about asking university staff about.
Encourage students to consider support as well as their studies
Whilst supporting your students in making their university choices, be sure to encourage them to look beyond the course content and nightlife. University life is formed by both academic and social opportunities but it’s important to not overlook the support systems that will help them to thrive along the way.