What should students know before going to HE?

What should students know before going to HE?
Date6th Jun 2023AuthorNick HillmanCategoriesPolicy and News, Student Life

This blog was initially published on the HEPI website here.

“Simply by watching this presentation, you’ll be better prepared than some people who apply to higher education.”

Given the mountain of evidence HEPI is sitting upon, my son’s school recently asked me to speak to their Year 12 pupils about what I think people need to know before enrolling in higher education.

I couldn’t make their preferred date but was keen to help – not least because I was once a secondary school teacher who ran a pre-university course and (while this was many years ago) I often struggled to find useful information of the right level.

So, at the school’s suggestion, I have recorded a presentation for them to use instead. I hope it is of use to the pupils at my son’s school but I don’t want to limit it to them, so I am also making it available to anyone who might find it of use below.

There are – in fact – two versions, both covering similar ground but:

  • the shorter version lasts for 23 minutes; and
  • the longer version lasts twice as long at 46 minutes.

My guess is that teachers and parents and Year 12 pupils who want more detail will find the longer version of more use but the shorter version might be more appropriate for those at an earlier stage in their journey to applying for higher education.

Please note that, while much of the information is relevant to the whole UK, the financial numbers (on things like tuition and maintenance support) are for English undergraduate students. Therefore, residents of the other three parts of the UK (as well as people abroad thinking of studying in the UK) may particularly feel the need to supplement the information provided here with additional material.

Similarly, while people who are contemplating entering higher education but who are older than Year 12 or Year 13 students may find some of the information useful, they are likely to find it less well targeted at them.

As this is the first time I have made a recording of this nature, I would welcome feedback on whether it is a useful initiative and, if so, how it might be improved. If the recording gets much take-up / use, we will consider re-doing it in future years in the light of feedback and as things change from year to year.

Finally, as anyone who watches either recording will note, both videos rely on HEPI’s own information, information we have produced in conjunction with others (such as Advance HE and Unite Students) and information from others (such as the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Government Departments). However, they have had no input into the presentation and bear no responsibility for any errors.

At one or two points in the recordings, I point people to other information available elsewhere. Perhaps the most important of these other sources is the information provided by Martin Lewis, the MoneySavingExpert on how much parents are expected to pay to support their undergraduate children. This additional information can be accessed here. Other useful resources are available from ‘Leapskills’, a project by the student accommodation provider Unite Students – see here.

Nick Hillman has been the Director of HEPI since 2014. Previously, he has worked as a teacher and in politics.

HEPI blue on white

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