The European Classification of Higher Education Institutions

Interesting project to classify HEIs into a European Classification. Obviously we have the league tables already, which I have already commented on but this is different as it focused on institutional diversity. Worth looking to see the dimensions that they are using and even those this is a work in progress, (no actual universities are named just yet), it is perhaps signs of things to come when you can compare universities as you compare cars or contents of food. (I do realise that this is contentious and a simplistic view, but this seems to be the way that we are heading so it is well to be aware of such ideas). Keep an eye on for the future.


What to expect from a Careers Interview…

One thing that seems to be endemic in most of the discussion about careers advice is, often without too much qualification, how rubbish it was. Indeed  this can be reported by everyone from cabinet ministers downwards without much argument or moderation. One interesting report on this area of careers was carried out by Edge Hill University in a project funded by HEFCE on how working class undergraduates made their decision. One of the fascinating aspects I found was the session on “Reversing previous experience of Careers”,  as they said in their report “It emerged that contact at school or college had been patchy, and was not always with qualified careers advisers. The workshops enabled staff to de-bunk misconceptions, and explain the differences between university and school careers provision. To enhance students’ perception of a quality service, staff placed greater emphasis on publicising the regional and national awards gained by the Careers Centre.”

The whole report is worth reading!ebXXXdd and perhaps will be reflected on when the discussion of careers advice again is raised on the political agenda.


Higher Education guide – from Connexions in the West Midlands

It is interesting that such minisites as are now appearing. They do provide a useful summary of the HE options and can be promoted by the Connexions Services secure in the knowledge that it ties into a more generic approach to promoting the options at level 4 and above. At it is not tied to any provider it should be seen as impartial and even-handed in what it does.   There seems to be two points of view for this kind of work. One is that it replicates info which can be found elsewhere on the Web, not least from UCAS of course, or indeed other provider such as the local Lifelong Learning Network, (although they are coming to the end of their funding now).  The alternative view is that there is so much info out on the web that it does confuse people and websites such as this one can be a useful starter to progress through what be available.  Perhaps with the increase in students attending university within their regional areas this sort of locally promoted website might grow. Interesting times…

Clearing – adventures in Media Land

It’s that time so beloved by the press, politicians and general experts of all hues, the annual exam results period. I’ve been interviewed on various local radio stations for this event, and dealt with the challengeof speaking in sound bites rather than give a full, but probably too long for the radio, answer to questions. I’ve also recording a Pod-cast on our website about this time covering most things from getting the exam letter, opening the envelope celebrating (or commiserating),  and answering some of the more common questions people have about clearing and what to do next. There is lots to say and do right now, and although we stayed open late on this and next Thursday, (and we are open late every Tuesday anyway), clearing does continue for several weeks and in fact the rush to “sort something out” quickly can be a difficult choice. As always the advice must be to talk to someone either where the student has studied and is known, or at a suitable guidance organisation, where all options can be considered and plans can be reviewed. I do feel like offering Good Luck to everyone who has their results at this time, whilst being aware that students on vocational courses had their results several weeks ago.

Is the Adjustment Period a waste of time? – Opinion Piece by Andy Gardner

Opinion from Andy Gardner JFS and LSU Schools and ICG HE Advisers Community Moderator

 So we have the introduction of this five-day period when applicants can supposedly trade up on what they already hold. For a range of opinions on this, go to this film from UCAS, which presents a very good balanced view in my opinion of what different admissions staff, feel about the adjustment period.

My concerns about the adjustment period are these:  All the evidence shows that schools and colleges tend to over-predict not under-predict, so numbers of applicants that will “do better” will in my experience be minimal.  However if an applicant thinks that they now have made a wrong choice and have found a vacancy that they can trade up to great!

Vacancies as a far as I know are not being kept to one side for the adjustment period.  It seems they can only trade up to vacancies that existed anyway.  So it seems a applicant that was predicted BBB and applied for something popular e.g. English, who then gets AAA will not be able to trade up to English at a highly selective university because it seems vacancies have not been set aside.  “If the adjustment period doesn’t apply for all courses, what’s the point!” This last point was made by one of my students at a Clearing and Confirmation talk just before they took their exams.

I’m willing to be proved wrong but the adjustment period in its present form looks of limited use.

Studying at Uni if you are under 18

Often people are good at thinking that something is stopping them going to University, when it actually doesn’t. One such example is that you have to be a certain age to go to University, this is often given as 18, or you can be too old to go to University. Like many things this one is a mixture of history and people having discussions about a friend who knows someone who said.. In actualy fact with the new Age Discrimination legislation we have in this country all age restrictions no longer apply, unless you can demonstrate the need for them. As the 18 year old example given is one of them it is worth pointing out that all Universities now have Admission procedures for people younger than 18 applying to them. Of course this also applies to distance learning institutions such as the Open University who have students studying with them aged from 90+ to those who are under 16 years of age. Although going below 15 years of age might be less common, there are currently over 8,000 students under 18 currently at Universities in Britain, so if you are considering this you would not be the only one. If this might be you, or someone you know, contact your chosen University and ask them for details. You’ll find they will be able to answer any questions you may have, especially if it concerns such areas as access to medical and social care courses. Click on the title of this post to find out more about this issue. Full details can be found here:

Interested in Higher Education ? Make this a regular stop !

Welcome to this, the first Blog aimed at all of those people who provide or support HE Advice to the pupils/students in your area. This blog came out of the Institute of Careers Guidance (ICG) Higher Education Advisers Community which has been created and supported by Andy Gardner. It is based on the need for those of us who work in this area to have one resource which is ours and covers the whole field of HE, but from the perspective of a Careers Adviser. However everyone is welcome here, you do not have to be an adviser to find something useful and interesting here. You may work in Secondary, or Primary education and want to know how best to raise the aspirations of your pupils to consider Higher education, you may work in an FE college or a 6th form and wish to keep abrest of this area, or indeed you might be working in an Higher Education Institution (HEI), but would be interested in seeing what is happening in this general area. Everyone is welcome and can contribute or comment as they see fit. But this is also a blog for the public, so if you are a parent or guardian, an employer or just an ordinary member of the public you are welcome to look in as well.  My prime aim in this blog is to promote the benefits of Higher Education for individuals, businesses and the economy of our country. Of course the fact that it can be interesting and intellectually stimulating is a bonus !