Chance for would-be students to find out more about university life

Thinking about becoming student?

Thinking about becoming student?

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Pupils who are thinking about going to university will be able to get expert advice this week.

The 28th Isle of Man Higher Education Conference will take place on Thursday and Friday at Ballakermeen High School in Douglas.

The school first ran the event in the late 1980s so would-be students had better information when they were making their university choices.

Similar events take place throughout the UK from March onwards, enabling young people who are considering the next stage of their education to ask specific questions of university representatives.

Each year, the school invites universities and other institutions of higher education to the island to meet Manx students and their parents and carers.

The number of institutions represented has increased over the years. Nearly 80 organisations will attend this year, including several for the first time.

These are Leeds Trinity University, Askam Bryan College, Blackpool and Fylde University College Centre, the British and Irish Modern Music Institute, the University of Essex, the University of Law and Laureate Universities, a group of private, international universities.

Ballakermeen headteacher Adrienne Burnett said; ‘Our event has grown in strength enormously over recent years and we are delighted that we can again offer our young people the chance to access key university staff who work at the cutting edge of the application process.

‘This year the conference will again be well-attended, partly as a result of contacts we have established with the colleges and universities.

‘The main reason, however, is word of mouth, as delegates pass on the benefits of coming to the Isle of Man conference to their colleagues. It is not just local hospitality that attracts them; they see the island’s students as excellent candidates for admission.

‘They are always impressed by how articulate they are, the pertinent nature of their questions and how they have already carried out a substantial amount of focused research into their future options.

‘We are delighted that, in the face of cuts to universities’ budgets, so many delegates have decided to attend our event again this year.’

She added that as well as advice from individual institutions, the conference offered general advice about the application process during the introductory talks.

Other bodies attending include the Student Awards Section from the Department for Education and Children and Isle of Man Employment Services.

Also attending will be Study Options, a firm endorsed by the Department of Education for organising gap-year experiences in Australia and New Zealand.

Mrs Burnett said: ‘I would consider the conference to be a “one-stop-shop” to meet all the needs of an aspiring Higher Education student and one not to be missed.’

The conference opens on Thursday (June 19) at 7pm in the Studio Theatre at Ballakermeen with presentations by Jane Murphy from the University of Huddersfield and Andrea Bourne from the University of York.

They will address parents and students about the application process for higher education. They will also comment on the different types of institutions and the variety and types of courses on offer.

From 7.30pm parents and students will be able to talk individually to the representatives from each university and higher education institution in the school’s sports hall, to get advice and information.

Ian Kay, head of sixth form at Ballakermeen, said: ‘In the face of ever more demanding entry requirements and competition for places on courses, research prior to completing the UCAS {Universities and Colleges Admissions Service] application has never been so important.

‘This really is the key to completing a successful application and, in the light of the current economic situation, our young people are becoming increasingly aware of the associated costs of going to university and are eager to make the most informed decisions possible.

‘This is the prime opportunity for parents and students to find out about courses, entry requirements and the style of the different institutions of higher education.

‘As well as having the opportunity to talk to the representatives from over 70 universities, there will also be the chance to find out about courses available in higher education on the Isle of Man.

‘Representatives from the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education, which offers an ever increasing number of undergraduate degree programmes, will be available to speak to students at the event.

‘Additionally, there will also be a stand representing the Isle of Man Government nurse training programme at Keyll Darree, which has been offering a nursing degree programme on island for the last six years.’

The Thursday night session is open to students from Year 10 (aged 14 and 15) upwards and their parents.

During the day on Friday, all of the post-16 students from the island’s schools will be attending, as will students from the Isle of Man College.

Members of the public interested in applying to university as mature students, or recent A-level students who chose not to attend university after their examinations, are all welcome to attend either session.

The organisers say the event will also be extremely useful for Year 11 (aged 15 and 16) students.

It will enable them to gain some idea of the requirements of the courses for which they will be applying in just over one year’s time. This will be helpful in making their final choice of post-16 course, as many courses have specific A-level requirements.

The Friday sessions take place from 9.15am to noon and 1.15pm to 2.45pm.

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