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A very early start to the day makes demands of any teenager, but the Lower Sixth showed their eagerness to gain their first-hand experience of a university when, at 7 am on 5 March, they arrived at school for registration. Concerns by lateness and its knock-on effect on the pupils’ schedule were clearly unfounded. With all present and correct the group set off for the University of Reading.
The purpose of the day was to immerse the pupils in different aspects of academia and provide opportunities for them to see other aspects of university life. With choices from twenty-five sessions and a full year group taking part, it was important that the day was well organised. The university had done its part too. Soon after Reading University had completed its introduction, the pupils set out on a mission to find information. Various lectures were available: cybernetics, sciences, business, history, environmental science, maths and English Literature and many more besides. Students attending the criminal law lecture were highly entertained by Dr Steve Banks on legal arguments that took us through cannibalism, murder and their consequences. At each lecture pupils were given clear advice about applying, preparation, background information on the subject, course content and employment prospects.
The day was busy and with additional events available at lunchtime many pupils took the opportunity to visit the Film and Theatre facility and the Finance and Investment Banking (share-dealing room) building. It was wonderful to see how easily our Lower Sixth blended in and were unfazed by the complexity of the day. There was a huge amount of information and it was important that the pupils played their part and asked questions when possible. At the final session of the day, all the pupils assembled in the Henley Business School main lecture theatre for an opportunity to ask undergraduates questions. I was impressed by the range of questions and the frank and honest responses from the undergraduates on topics about independent learning, meeting deadlines and attendance. There was several poignant Q’s and A’s on the value of careful and thorough preparation in selecting the right course/university, using open days as valuable fact-finding missions. There were also tips on cooking, eating, accommodation, finance and friendship while at university.
The Lower Sixth embraced the enormous content of the day with much enthusiasm. Our thanks go to Reading University (Amy Wigham).
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