Our first Conference for Higher Education Advisors (25/26 June) gave 50 delegates from a variety of schools and colleges in seven countries the opportunity to experience some serious action learning.
Their usual challenge is to advise students on how to select the right degree programme at the right university, and then guide them through the UCAS application process. With many thousands of degree programmes on offer in the UK alone this a demanding task, leaving many advisors keen to learn more.
After an introduction to the challenges in the current HE landscape by Professor Kevin Edge (Deputy Vice-Chancellor), Dr Peter Lambert (Associate Dean for Learning & Teaching, H&SS) and Dr Katherine Lloyd Clark (Head of Admissions), the delegates had to roll up their sleeves, pretend they worked in Admissions and try their hand at making decisions for a batch of anonymised UCAS applications.
Joan Liu, from ACS Cobham International School found this session “very interesting and eye-opening”, whilst many others realised just how hard it is to fairly judge complex UCAS applications, especially within a tight timeframe.
A mini-fair with faculty representatives and an evening reception provided much appreciated opportunities for networking with university staff and student ambassadors.
The second day of the conference started with an Employability & Careers Forum, chaired by Pro-Vice-Chancellor Bernie Morley, with a panel representing the placement teams, the Students’ Union, the Careers Advisory Service and the academic viewpoint.
Professor Morley said: “The University of Bath prides itself on producing well-rounded graduates who are highly competitive in the job market.
“We support our undergraduate students throughout their studies to prepare themselves for future employment, most notably through our highly rated placement scheme.
“This provides our students with valuable work experience, skills and contacts, but we also encourage the development of important skills such as project management, leadership and teamwork throughout their programmes and in their work with the Students’ Union in the local community.”
This message was well-received by the delegates who find that students and their parents are anxious to see a return on the investment a university programme represents.
Before the final feedback session the delegates were transported back in time to find themselves as students again. The delegates were able to experience our learning environment first-hand, as Science, Engineering, Humanities and Management put on short interactive sessions.
“We really enjoyed the ‘Back to University Sessions’, and were made very welcome by the professors. It really brought to life all that we talked about.”
Ben Taylor from Wells Cathedral School thought it was “as good a conference as I have ever attended.”
Professor Kevin Edge sums the conference up: “My clear impression was that the conference was well received by all those attending. At the social event at the Holburne Museum I certainly heard some very positive and complimentary comments made by delegates about the conference programme.
“It was very pleasing to see the level of interest generated and the degree of engagement of the delegates.”
The conference was organised by the International Office and the Higher Education Advice team within Admissions & Recruitment.