Junior University: Cambridgeshire
We caught up with Junior Uni participant Emily and Anglia Ruskin undergraduate mentor Liam to see what they both took away from the scheme...
Q&A with Emily (Year 10 student, Ken Stimpson Community School)
W? Uni: Today you're at Anglia Ruskin University to get a tour of campus and present your Junior Uni project. Tell us about the day.Emily: It was really interesting and helped me a lot. I feel like when I go to university, I’ve already got a taste for what it's like. I’ve met a lot of people from different departments, and have been given some information about these. So, hopefully, this will help me when it’s time to choose where to study.
W? Uni: This was your first proper visit to a university. Was it what you expected? Did anything surprise you?Emily: Originally I thought: ‘Oooh it’s really daunting and scary to go to university’. However, this university was smaller than I thought it would be, which made me feel more relaxed about the situation.
The celebration day at Anglia Ruskin involved a campus tour of the student union, on-campus accommodation and lecture theatres.
W? Uni: What else did the Junior Uni project teach you about university?Emily: I assumed that at university you would spend your whole time in lectures – that was actually one of the things that was putting me off. But I learned that your time is spent studying on your own at home or in your dorm too, which sounds a lot more to my taste.
W? Uni: What was your project on? What did it teach you about the learning-style at university?Emily: Our project involved criminology and media studies. We worked together on a newspaper report on a fake ‘whodunnit’ murder case.
At first I didn’t think these subjects were connected. But through the undergraduates’ teaching and the project itself, I learned that there were actually a lot of links between different courses at university – you’re not limited to just one thing.
In one of the school sessions, the students learned about criminal-profiling techniques, ahead of their big project.
W? Uni: So being taught by an undergraduate student paid off?Emily: Yes. It made me feel more at ease as they’re going through [university] themselves. They can talk to you about things that you’re probably going to experience too. It was nice to speak to someone who is closer to our age group.
If it was an actual teacher teaching us the project, I think we would have been more likely to switch off. They may have gone to university years ago, so things would have changed a lot since.
W? Uni: What was the highlight of your day at Anglia Ruskin?Emily: The best part was seeing the criminology unit. Right now, I’m thinking I’d like to study law at university – so this was really interesting.
The highlight of the campus tour was a spontaneous peek at the University's forensics labs, including a fake crime scene.
W? Uni: Why do you want to study law?Emily: It’s something that can really make an impact on people around me. People are always going to need lawyers and legal help. As a lawyer, I can help people in a direct way – rather than ‘sit in the backseat’, I can take control and put my voice out there!
Plus, it’s really interesting and I can transfer those skills into other areas.
Emily's media/criminalogy project was chosen as one of the best in the group by the judges. Her prize was a forensics kit so she can continue practising her sleuthing skills.
Q&A with Liam (Undergraduate mentor, Anglia Ruskin University)
W? Uni: What did the students ask you about university, over the course of the project?Liam: Mainly they asked about finance and money, but also about the university itself. They asked how much course fees were, how much they would get in student finance and how to apply for this, when to apply and if they had to apply each year.
They asked about accommodation, specifically where they can stay and how much it costs on average. We also talked about how to choose a university, and factors to consider like location, course content and rankings.
W? Uni: What tips would you give to students based on your own experience?Liam: Rent is number one – make sure you have the money for it, otherwise you’re going nowhere.
Plan your spending, especially for things like food. Make a weekly or monthly plan. Otherwise, you’ll find that your funds will disappear.
When it comes to social life, balance it out. Obviously everyone wants to go out, but it’s important to know when you don’t have the funds to do it. Save so you can go out on a certain day.
W? Uni: The students got a tour of campus today. What tips would you give to students visiting a university ahead of applying?Liam: First and foremost, find out what your course is like. You can ask the lecturers and heads of departments questions to get a better idea of this. There are normally students there, so you can ask them to get a more in-depth – perhaps even more honest – answer.
Finding out about accommodation is important. Will you be living on or off campus? What’s available? Also, what facilities are there? Where do you go if you have a problem?
Finally, try to get a feel of where the university is. Go out and discover what the city is like. What can you do there in terms of social life?
Liam: They give you the chance to properly see what it’s like to be in a university environment. It’s definitely helped the class I was teaching. Some of them now have a better idea of what they want to pursue at university and what they should choose for A-levels.
W? Uni: Why are projects like Junior Uni valuable?
If I had something like this when I was younger – alongside a site like The Uni Guide – it would have helped me with my A-level choices. For example, I would have known that I should study biology at A-level instead!
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