Having worked with local communities for a number of years we have found that many potential students do not apply for university as, although interested, they are unsure whether or not it is for them. Colleagues in the community had also identified these issues and this led to the development of the JumpStart course here at the Lifelong Learning Centre.
JumpStart is an informal course run by the LLC which aims to give its participants a taste of different subject areas which can be studied at university and help them gain the knowledge to make choices about possible future careers. The course is designed to take the fear out of academic study by developing essential study skills such as critical thinking and analysis. Information, advice and guidance (IAG) is a key component and individual guidance sessions are available to support effective decision making about study and career progression. Part of the course is also taught online, introducing students to this form of learning.
Participants come to JumpStart through a number of different routes – for example, some have been studying for a GCSE at college, some find out about the course through word of mouth from friends, family and community organisations and others are referred by tutors at the LLC and other providers.
Feedback from participants has been extremely positive, with reports of increased confidence in academic study, widened interest in different study areas/careers and reduced anxiety around working with numbers and science. One participant summed it up as:
Very professional yet caring, approachable, supportive and personal. Thank you. Best thing I’ve done!