During his time as Admissions Tutor, Dr John Chew has seen applications for Chemical Engineering increase by 50%. As he hands over the role, John shares his experiences with us:
I was the undergraduate Admissions Tutor (AT) for the Department of Chemical Engineering for three years from August 2013 to July 2016. When I applied to the position back in 2013, I knew the significance of this role to the Department and had some ideas of the implications and major challenges ahead. The level of excitement certainly outweighed my nervousness.
Sharing my subject
During my role as AT, I organised and ran Departmental Open Days and Headstart Courses. I always found running the Open Days a very interesting part of the job. I have a real passion for chemical engineering and get to share the subject and my personal experience with lots of bright, interested and engaged young people, helping them to make well-informed career decisions. In my subject talks, I discussed the range of courses we offer in the Department, how we run them differently compared to other Universities, and the excellent student support that the University has in place for undergraduates. It is not difficult to sell our courses, as Bath is consistently ranked one of the top universities in the UK.
Sorting through applications
Fortunately, I do not see every UCAS application. We receive more than a thousand applications and it would be impossible to deal with every one personally, especially as the 2015/16 recruitment cycle saw applications to Chemical Engineering at Bath increase by 50%. Applications are initially dealt with centrally by the Undergraduate Admissions Office. However, I sometimes see applications that are unusual, where non-standard qualifications have been taken or where special circumstances have affected an individual’s education. Not all undergraduate applicants are 18 year olds with A-levels and so I needed to be aware of the range of qualifications people take and how this affects their performance and standards.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time as AT and I have learnt a tremendous amount. It was also great to feel so involved in the life of the Department.
The best (and most nerve-wracking) bit is speaking to hundreds of enthusiastic and intelligent young people and managing to convince them to come to Bath to study Chemical Engineering.
I am not sure there is a worst bit, but certainly the most difficult situation is when I need to make final decisions about offers. There are always more excellent candidates than we have spaces for.
Advice for future Admissions Tutors:
Learn about the range of qualifications young people are taking and how this affects their performance and standards.
Enjoy and have fun!