Well, this is definitely long over due! Just over a month ago, Hannah and I went to Birmingham for a few days to attend some Higher Education events – we were there representing the University, informing prospective students about all of our courses, handing out prospectus’ and generally promoting ourselves! This is what happened:
Day 1: Solihull College – HE fair
Armed with everything we needed we made our way from our hotel (a very nice Premier Inn, Lenny Henry definitely isn’t lying in the TV ads!) to the college. The event was held in the Sports Hall – quite a small & REALLY hot venue for the amount of students that ended up attending. They piled in through the doors, eager to grab as much information (or freebies) as possible & soon our tidy displays of prospectus’ were being destroyed, although pleased people were taking them, doing these events leaves you with a lot of pride in your stand.
One of the big advertising boards we take with us is a map of Lincoln, showing exactly where we are on the map. We lost count how many students stopped & studied the map to then say “Huh? Where is Lincoln?” – we were really unaware that not many people seem to know where we are! A lot of the students we met were put off from the distance between Birmingham and Lincoln, many seemed to want to stay fairly local – but we hope after telling them all about the uni & our courses, they would at least attend an Open Day.
One thing I love about these events is the meaningful and actually, as exaggerated as it sounds, life changing conversations you have with some of the students – the things you say to them could influence their decision of what uni to choose. One guy in particular really stands out in my mind from that day – initially unsure whether to come over and have a look, he eventually said Hello and began to study the prospectus. I striked up a conversation and soon found out that he thought the University of Lincoln was “too intelligent” for him – genuinely something I have never heard someone say before! I think the University really prides itself in being accessible for a whole range of people & not having AAA plastered across all the courses. After showing him the course information he needed, explaining that the entry requirements aren’t at the high end and that Lincoln is a really friendly, fun and modern uni, I think he was a little less suspicious! He genuinely seemed interested & impressed by all the photos and information I gave him, I really hope he went away and booked onto an Open Day so he can see it all for himself.
Day 2 & 3: The University of Birmingham
On our first day at the University of Birmingham, we discovered it was pretty difficult to navigate around, SO many different entrances to building after building. I think it made us miss & appreciate our nice compact campus! We had a “trusty” SAT NAV (we named it Shirley & soon became her fault for everything) that made the whole process a little stressful, telling us to go one way while road signs told us completely different. Eventually, we found our destination – the beautiful Great Hall:
This time, the venue itself was really spacious, with a pretty impressive ceiling! We did find, however, that being next to two very popular Universities with much bigger stands than ours, made us sink into the background – lots more smiles & enthusiastic hellos were needed to draw in the crowds! Hannah had already experienced large scale events like this one in Sheffield and Leeds, this was my first, and I wasn’t fully prepared for how many students we’d see. They came in their hundreds, soaked because of an enormous thunder storm, but hungry for prospectus’! We were soon swamped, making our way through the queues & bottle after bottle of water. Psychology was a hugely popular course of interest, alongside Architecture, Media and the Science’s – even though we were repeating ourselves A LOT, we didn’t tire from seeing the enthusiasm on their faces when we reeled off all the facts.
One thing we noticed across all three days, was the huge interest in a certain YouTube video – definitely a crowd pleaser! Zombies are clearly popular among sixth former’s and college students.
Half way through our final day we ran out of prospectus’ – although making the process of getting through the crowds a little slower, we were pleased Lincoln getting the attention it deserves. We didn’t let the students go without though, enquiry forms were filled out & prospectus’ were hopefully sent in the post!
All in all we had a fantastic few days – incredibly tiring, but so rewarding and lots of fun. Roll on October when we can do it all again!
More pictures are to follow…. we promise!