When to Start
When supporting and encouraging progression to higher education research has shown that early intervention is key and sustained and progressive interventions are the most beneficial to students. Since 2012 it has been a legal requirement for all schools and colleges to provide independent careers advice to all students in years 8 – 13 and since 2018 is has been a legal requirement for all of these students to have exposure to a range of providers to gain information on the range of qualifications available.
Activity in school can begin as early as you like. Many higher education providers offer activity for primary aged children which is a great way to introduce the idea of higher education.
If you are looking for a way of introducing the topic of higher education, and encouraging your students to consider their futures, UCAS have a number of lesson plans available here.
You can find more information on accessing and arranging outreach activities to support your students here.
Encourage your students to…
1. Start early
Encourage young people to think about their futures early on in their school career. By starting early young people have the time to consider a range of options and find the route that is best for them.
2. Research courses and institutions
It is important that students choose the course and institution that is best for them, encourage students to find out more about the colleges and universities they may want to study at. If they are considering an apprenticeship, advise them to visit the university or college that will be delivering the teaching but also the employer where they will be spending the majority of their time.
3. Offer their time
Whether a young person moves on to study a higher education qualification at a college, university, or through an apprenticeship recruiters and admissions teams will be looking for certain skills and qualities depending on the course. Volunteering is a great way for students to develop a range of transferable skills that they can take forward and discuss in applications and interviews.
Students can find volunteering opportunities here: https://vinspired.com/
For certain courses a certain amount of work experience in the field may be compulsory so it is important for students to do their research and leave themselves enough time to gain the required experience.
4. Be reflective
When completing applications, personal statements and attending interviews students will be required to evidence how they meet the specific criteria for that role. Although students will have a range of examples they could discuss in a written application or interview, they may need practice using the correct technique. UCAS have some great resources that can help students with this: https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/applying-university/how-write-ucas-undergraduate-personal-statement.
Parents play a huge role in a young person’s decision making so it can be helpful to engage them in schools activity and provide them with information to help them support their child with decision making.
Universities and colleges often attend careers fairs held at schools and colleges and these can be a great event to invite parents to. They provide a fantastic opportunity for students to ask all the questions they may have about a particular institution/course/career and give parents the chance to do the same. Colleges and universities will sometimes attend parents’ evenings with a stand, again offering parents and their children the chance to ask questions.
Parents may have a lot of questions about higher education, particularly those who have no first-hand experience, but there are many resources available. This impartial parents’ guide to higher education is a great resource to share with parents, but many colleges and universities offer their own.