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University: Try Before You Buy

There are so many things to take into consideration when applying for study at HE-level, it’s hard for students to know where to begin. If you have students that are floundering in their next steps, why not encourage them to ‘try before they buy’.

One of the best ways to get a real flavour for what a subject might be like at university-level is to participate in a taster course.

The good news is that there are plenty of enrichment events on offer from various HE providers throughout the UK. These can take a range of formats including:

Additionally, for those who simply can’t decide what institution is for them, attending a Sixth Form Conference can be a very clever decision indeed.

All these types of events tend to factor in a variety of interactive workshops delivered by a particular School of study that would be suitable for first-year undergraduates. Around these talks there are usually information and guidance sessions delivered by advisers, plus Admissions staff working at the particular institution. During these you can grab further details about courses on offer, grade requirements or discover more about the application process itself – like mastering a personal statement, for example.

In fact, one of the benefits of attending these types of events is that they can help a UCAS application to really shine. This is particularly true of Summer Schools, where students are immersed in an intensive course and actively learning new skills. This in turn demonstrates independence, initiative and focus, all of which can help improve their chances of getting an offer. And what a great asset to talk about at interview!

However – before you send your students off in search of a place shaped perfectly for them, there are a few considerations to make them aware of.

A number of universities offer these events for free, though applicants might need to review the eligibility criteria first. If chargeable, residentials have the highest fees that include accommodation during their stay, but students should be mindful that there might be other associated costs to an event, such as lunch and resources.

Transport costs are usually picked up by the student, but travelling further afield might be the perfect opportunity to see how they would cope being that far from home in the future.

Putting in some groundwork is also key.

Before your student takes part in a taster event, students should make sure they are prepared by doing some research on the university, as well as looking at the course options available to them. They are likely to be able to meet with a range of teaching staff and current undergraduates that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible, so make sure they’re prepped with a list of questions to ask.

University is much more than simply studying, so make sure your pupils fully immerse themselves in this first step on their journey – and soak up every minute!

Posted by Hannah Tough on Fri, 10 Feb 2017



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Having graduated with a Master’s in Film Studies from University College London in 2010, Hannah returned to her Norwich roots and joined UEA’s Recruitment and Outreach department. Since 2013 she has supported and coordinated activities offered to schools and colleges throughout Norfolk and further afield, including the organisation of Enrichment team taster events, the bi-annual Sixth Form Conference and notably Director of the Festival of Literature for Young People (FLY) in 2015.

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