The first students to take part in a week-long course to encourage more young people to consider higher education have given it rave reviews.
Around 60 Year 12 students from colleges and sixth forms across Leicestershire spent five packed days at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) on our first DMUaspire week put together by DMU’s Library and Learning Services, Careers and Employability and #DMUlocal.
Each completed a specially-designed academic module, giving them a taste of different undergraduate learning styles with a mix of lectures, workshops, academic skills sessions, tutor groups and digital learning.
Every student was given their own DMU identity card, allowing them access to buildings across campus including the library, and had a chance to experience campus life.
“I’ve been to open days before but this is completely different. You feel as though you are at university,” said budding journalist Lauren Dennis, of Regent College. She added: “It’s given me more motivation to work harder towards getting a place at university. Seeing the opportunities there are has been really interesting.”
“It’s been fantastic,” said Tron Josanjh, who is taking A-levels in Business, Psychology and Media at Wreake Valley College in Syston. “University was nothing like I thought it would be. There is so much going on, and a mix of social and academia.”
Ella Pollard and Megan Rome, of King Edward VII in Coalville, said they had thoroughly enjoyed the week. Ella said: “It’s much better than I thought it would be. I was unsure before but DMU is definitely on my list. It gives you so much more than an open day.
Megan, who plans to study English, said: “I liked that you had to do some things for yourself, there was a lot of independent learning.”
The schools and colleges involved were Gateway College, City of Leicester College, King Edward VII in Coalville, Wreake Valley Academy in Syston, Wigston Academy, and Regent College in Leicester.
Students who completed the module earned themselves the equivalent of 16 UCAS tariff points (40 under the old system) which can be used against eligible undergraduate courses at DMU.
On Wednesday, they each produced an academic poster on a topic of their choice, researching, designing and presenting their work.
They then had to complete a group and individual presentation and self-assessment. Learning sessions were combined with social events, campus tours and fun activities before ending with afternoon tea in the sunshine on Friday.
Student ambassador Stephanie Roberts – who learned she had achived a 2:1 Pharmacy degree during the week – said: “They have been amazing. You could see them growing in confidence as the week went on. I think it’s a brilliant idea. Before I came to university, I had no idea what it would be like and having the opportunity to take part in something like this would have been great.”
Jess Bogic, widening participation manager at #DMUlocal, said staff had been given tremendous feedback during the week. She said: “DMU aspire was a great success, it was wonderful opportunity for the students to experience what it’s like to be a student at DMU. It was a pleasure working alongside the library teams to deliver a fantastic week which truly did inspire and raise aspirations of all those that attended.”
David Parkes, Director of Library and Learning Services at DMU, added: “This was a great cross university initiative, with everyone pulling together to deliver a first class experience of DMU. These few days will stay with the students. It’s an experience that they will carry with them and it will help them, not only with their current studies, but also with raising aspirations and transitioning into University life in the near future.”