That was inspired! On 6th Feb Tutorfair and The Access Project held a UCAS workshop at Highbury Fields School, in North London.
15 tutors worked in small groups with 50 students helping them learn about selecting a course; choosing a university; writing their personal statements; and financing their degree. The four areas had professional worksheets with guidance for the tutors and handouts for the students. It was split into tight 20 minute focus groups with the students moving between the classrooms.
After a nervous first session with everyone still finding their feet the sessions quickly warmed up…
The small group setting enabled the students to get personal attention and feedback. Shy students were encouraged; nervous tutors quickly found their feet; and the dreams and expectations of these promising students could be bought together ready for their UCAS applications.
HFS had done an amazing job helping students do work experience and encouraging them to think about their degree courses when choosing their A-levels. Several of the students were part of voluntary organisations, clubs and charities and were hungry for the support and encouragement the tutors provided.
In the personal statements group students walked away with the structure and materials to really sell themselves. The aim was to emphasise why they wanted to study a particular subject and demonstrating – rather than just asserting – why they are suitable for it.
The finance session covered the government’s student loan program, scholarships and way’s of living cheaply. The difference between £50k of cash, a £50k loan and £50k of student debt – was not lost.
Choosing a university and choosing a course were more about opening up options: filling in the blanks about foreign cities and hearing the tutor’s personal stories about the courses they enjoyed and the friends they met along the way.