A lot has been put on pause due to Covid-19, one of which is university open days. For students in Year 12 who are planning the next steps in their educational journey, this can be very worrying. Luckily, with many new technologies available such as virtual reality (VR), students can experience university campuses from the safety of their homes.
Here are our suggestions to aid your students in choosing a university during lockdown:
Many universities are offering virtual tours to help students choose the right campus for them. Here are some advantages to taking a virtual tour:
- The whole family can come along – students can attend at any time of day, meaning they can get input from parents or siblings to help make their decision.
- You can re-watch as many times as you like. Open days can often be very overwhelming, and information can be hard to retain. A virtual open day means you can revisit as many times as you like.
- You can visit every part of campus – something you may not have time to do usually.
UCAS has a full list of UK universities offering virtual tours.
Uni Taster Days
As a teacher, you can use search tools, such as Uni Taster Days, to find events, masterclasses and workshops. This is a great tool to quickly find which events are available for your students. Uni Taster Days currently has over 300 online events listed including online chats and webinars, which students can join from the comfort of their homes.
Another easy way to get a feel for a university and the city it is located in, is to direct your students to look at Google Maps street view. By spending 20 minutes ‘walking’ around the area and around the campus, students can get more of a feel for the place and decide whether they can imagine themselves living and studying there.
Indigo Unis Module
Our Unis Module offers in-depth profiles of subjects and universities, as well as university rankings powered by the trusted content from HEAP. Students can use this service to explore subjects and universities they may never have considered before, as well as find the combination of course and venue best suited to them. Find out more at https://indigo.careers/universities/.
How other schools and colleges are supporting their students
As a careers advisor, there are some effective ways of supporting your students by adapting your usual face-to-face tutoring onto a virtual platform. Christina Cooper from the Careers Team at Runshaw College offers some insight into what her college is doing: “We are helping our students in many ways to access lots of careers and HE information. We use our weekly student bulletin and our parent portal to promote a wide range of webinars, virtual workshops, open days, and online chats.” She suggests that regular weekly contact with students is important to keep them engaged and feel supported, but it is important not to overdo it. “We have created our own online videos and PowerPoints and shared with students and parents – we are very aware of providing information but not overwhelming people as it is a difficult time and we don’t know what the future will hold or how things may change. We provide resources for students to explore and are here for additional guidance if needed.” It is crucial to find a balance – give students the resources they need without overloading them, while also allowing them to ask for further assistance when needed.
In an ideal world, we would be able to happily send young people off to see campuses in person, but until then, the alternatives offer a lot of positives, and potentially aspects that careers advisors will continue recommending when we return to a more normal way of living.