On October 1st 2019, The Outreach Hub facilitated a drop-down morning for students in Year 13 at The Warriner School. This involved 3 hour-long workshops including; Student Finance delivered by The University of Reading, Student Life delivered by Oxford Brookes University alongside a Student Ambassador, and ‘Choosing and Applying to University’ delivered by Bucks New University. Feedback from the students highlighted the most impactful and useful aspects of the day.
- The most impactful element of the day was a greater awareness of financing future study and cost of university. 97% of students either ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that the session had contributed to a better understanding of ways they could finance study at university. The same percentage of students also indicated that they felt informed and prepared for how much living as a University student would cost as a result of the session. In both instances only 1 student selected a neutral response.
- 77% of students ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that they felt more aware about the different courses available to them, although almost a quarter of the cohort (23%) remained neutral or disagreed/strongly disagreed that the session had enhanced their awareness in this area. This indicates that this wasn’t the focus of the session.
- 81% of students felt more confident about the process of applying to university, leaving only 8 students (18%) neutral about the impact of the day in this regard.
- 93% of students reflected an understanding of how go to university could benefit them in the future. This is a significant proportion of the cohort, and while this doesn’t necessarily indicate that they will decide to go on to HE, the positive correlation with improved insights in to finance options seems a positive indicator.
Qualitative data supports the insights garnered from the quantitative data, particularly in relation to the financial awareness aspect of the day.
Analysis using NVivo highlights that, in response to the open question ‘What was the most useful thing you learned today’, the words ‘finance’ and ‘student’ were most commonly used (which makes sense as these usually formed part of a sentence referring to ‘student finance’). The word ‘bursaries’ was also common, indicating a heightened awareness of the types of financial support available to fund future study and the processes around this.
Interestingly, even though responses to the statement ‘I feel more aware of the different courses available to me’ didn’t yield an overwhelmingly affirmative response, ‘compare’ and ‘courses’ were two words used conjunctively by many students. This indicates that although the variety of courses themselves were not necessarily a prominent outcome from the day, greater insight in to university league tables and ways to compare these using Unistats was a positive outcome of the day and clearly left an impression on the vast majority of students.