For the last few years, the Student Recruitment and Widening Participation Teams at Bath have worked together to deliver a series of annual Summer Schools to support students thinking about their university options. It is clear that experiences like these can be truly transformational It is therefore a source of heartfelt disappointment that this year we were unable to run our summer schools in person, due to events which are so far beyond our control. Disappointing for our Teams, who had worked so hard to create a positive experience, and doubly disappointing for the hundreds of students we were waiting to warmly welcome onto campus. Whilst we can never replicate every aspect of a campus visit virtually, we took the decision early during the crisis to move out outreach programmes online. Due to our experience of delivering online programmes we were one of the first universities to do this.
In addition to these programmes that are running at pace we are extremely excited to launch our Summer of Outreach which has not one, but three new online schemes - all available free of charge - for students between Years 12 and 13, designed to bridge the gap these summer schools would have offered:
- Discover Bath Fast Track: An intensive five-week programme, with 21 academic streams, giving participants a taste of first-year life at Bath. Students will have access to academic staff and current students, and will gain valuable study skills and information to support their university application. In addition, students receiving a high mark for their completed report will be eligible for an alternative offer if they apply to Bath, further supporting their journey into higher education.
- Step Into Bath: A shorter, one-week virtual programme supporting students to develop their study skills, improve their university application, and prepare for their transition to university. Students will hear from our staff and students, and will only need to commit an hour each day. Step into Bath will run in both July and August.
- Find Your Way: A six-week mentoring programme, offering 1:1 support based on a participant’s subject choices and interests. With their mentor, they will explore their strengths, passions and motivations and will be guided through the process of researching different courses, as well as getting support in making a competitive application.
As well as supporting schools and colleges across the UK and internationally through taking part in digital events and running webinars our Teams have drawn together new resources to support students in their university journey:
- an always on virtual experience of the University for students and parents to find out more about Bath;
- an online Outreach Hub, with a wide selection of resources for prospective students drawn from the expert knowledge across the institution;
- university chats, conversation on YouTube between current and past Bath students, tackling topics relevant to student decision making;
- a number of live Q+A events for students;
- a programme of webinars and online workshops that build and develop students’ knowledge and skills for university study.
The delivery of these new programmes and initiatives, in challenging circumstances, is a testament to the hard work of both of our teams(Widening Participation and Student Recruitment), whose lives have also been disrupted over the last few months. We are incredibly grateful to all of them, and to our partners across the University who have made time to support these important initiatives.
Researching university options can be challenging and it can be difficult to submit an application with confidence, whether to the University of Bath or elsewhere. As advocates for the value of higher education, and in the strong belief that every student who wishes to continue their education has the right to do so, Andrew and I are strongly committed to supporting students to make the best possible application. We hope that in these challenging times, where gaining access to the information needed to make an informed decision can be hard, these programmes will go some way to boost applicant’s confidence that they are making the right choice.
Robbie Pickles, Head of UG Student Recruitment
Andrew Ross, Head of Widening Access and Participation