To get the most from universities you need to tap into what's on offer, judge what's right for groups of students or individuals, and inform students of events which may need pre-booking.
So which university events and activities will help students decide on future choices or enrich their studies?
If possible, Year 12s thinking about going to university should visit at least two open days.
Most open days include:
- campus tours around accommodation, sports, and social areas
- short subject introductory talks
- taster lectures
- the chance to talk to student ambassadors and admissions staff
Most importantly, your students will be able to gauge how the place feels. Can they picture themselves studying and, in most cases, living there for at least three years?
Don’t forget there are also information talks and tours for any accompanying parents.
What's your role as an adviser?
Top tip: Remember that most open days require pre-booking, so preparation is key – hold some pre-visit briefings to ensure everyone has a productive day.
UCAS arranges exhibitions where your students can meet and ask questions of university representatives. There are often talks geared to particular groups – such as applying to medicine, Oxford and Cambridge, and understanding the financial issues of university. There will also be careers and HE advisers.
What’s your role as an adviser?
- Firstly, do you want all your students to attend? Perhaps you need to target those who may be inspired and reassured by the event rather than those who know they are going to apply for medicine and have already researched medical schools?
- Secondly, it's all about the preparation again. Prepare with your students to ensure everyone has a checklist of key questions to ask and info to find out. Debrief students on return via tutors/advisers, to ensure they follow-up on the event.
There is a wide selection of opportunities to get a real taste of university-level study. Most providers run summer taster days in a range of subject disciplines, and some offer short residential courses (often for students who meet certain criteria, such as receiving free school meals).
Many universities offer open access lectures - great for your well-motivated students if they live near enough. There are also online lectures and short courses, however, which are open to all.
Where do you find this information?
Check university websites, set up email alerts and, most importantly, sign up for mailing lists for a few key universities (local ones and those where most of your students go).
Displaying a few posters isn't going to reach everyone, so you need to use multiple platforms, such as:
- your school's intranet
- a weekly bulletin to be read out by tutors
- a sixth form Facebook page or Twitter account (subject to your school's safeguarding policy), to share information