Preparing for university - particularly in the current climate - can bring about a mixture of feelings in final year school and college students. They might feel confused and a bit unsure, as well as feeling excited and positive. My talk takes away some of the fears, gives the students a great picture of what university will actually be like, and provides practical advice on how to have the best possible time at university - even if they find themselves there under Covid conditions.
In advance of the talks, students are invited to say - on an anonymous basis - what concerns and questions they have about going to university. Their responses are then built into the presentation: having a talk tailored to their needs helps to ensure that what's included in the talk is relevant and useful to them.
I use a PowerPoint presentation to aid my talk. I reflect back the students' own comments and include comments and advice from first year university students who've taken part in my research. I encourage questions and comments from the students: this is their time to raise any queries or concerns they may have.
Feedback from the students has been very positive. They've found my talks to be useful, informative, interesting and - perhaps most importantly - reassuring.
Comments from the students include:
"I feel much more comfortable about starting university, especially info about budgeting. A really thoughtful and informative presentation."
"It was very useful how you covered every aspect and all the worries that we had! Thank you!"
"Really useful, feel less worried now - great advice on making friends."
"It was a very good presentation. I feel a lot more prepared for uni now. Less scared."
"I like the detail used when describing what we should be looking out for in terms of finance and accommodation."
"I liked hearing about how you pay off your debt and how it's more relaxed."
"Very helpful on making friends issue as I was most worried about that."
"Really informative! Feel better about my future at uni :-)"
"Good spectrum of topics and balance between them. The speaker was lovely and seemed genuine."
Comments from the teachers include:
"Melissa's talk was exactly what our students needed: clear, authoritative and practical advice about how to prepare for university and the talk was tailored to their requirements."
"A wonderfully, informative presentation packed full of helpful tips and sage advice for all kinds of students. Lots of great ideas to help Year 13 prepare for the next stage in their life."
I live in Buckinghamshire and am happy to travel c50 miles for an in-person talk. However, I'm also available and experienced in delivering talks remotely - via Zoom, Teams, Google - therefore geography is no boundary.
I look forward to hearing from you :-)
Melissa’s an adviser to UCAS, delivers reassuring talks to sixth form and college students about preparing for university and speaks about the student experience at conferences. As a journalist, with a background in research and a Master's degree in psychology, Melissa's work is carefully researched and thoughtfully presented to prioritise the wellbeing of students as they take this exciting and life-changing step into higher education.