As he completes his final year studying Automotive Materials Engineering at Loughborough Matt looks back on everything that he has achieved.
Low income family
At Loughborough, we recognise that whilst the journey to university is an exciting time, for many students, unanswered questions and perceived barriers could lead to them to wrongly decide that university is not for them.
Students who are the first in their family to progress to higher education and those that think university is out of their reach financially may need more information and support than others.
In response, we are continuing to invest staff time and resource into developing links with schools/colleges. In doing so we intend to inspire and enthuse students to continue their studies through to university (and beyond), breaking down perceived barriers and addressing myths that students may hold.
We work locally as part of a consortium of Higher Education Institutions and Further Education providers through the REACH partnership, offering information sessions and a wide range of events to Leicestershire schools. The partnership also provides helpful resources for students and their parents or guardians.
In addition, Loughborough University is part of the National Collaborative Outreach Project (NCOP). Through this we offer intensive and tailored activities to further support students that have the ability to progress but may be in an area where progression to university is traditionally low. To find out more about this programme and who your local contact is please click here.
We encourage students to remember that university is a diverse and inclusive community consisting of staff and students from all different backgrounds. The individual experience of each member is what makes the learning environment so unique and this should be celebrated. To demonstrate the variety of experiences on offer to students at Loughborough University we asked some of our students to blog about their day to day lives. The content of their monthly entries highlights the range of opportunities on offer and we hope that their adventures will inspire others to pursue their own ambitions and dreams.
Additional support and information to help break down barriers
Supporting a student’s application to Higher Education can be a complicated and lengthy process. Our School and College Liaison team have developed a range of free resources that can be used within your own institution to help structure this process, including a range of short videos and supporting handouts.
In addition to this we also recognise the key role that parents/carers can play in the decision making process and that for some families this can be a daunting prospect. To help facilitate these conversations we have created a downloadable guide for families. If you would like to request a printed copy please contact us.
Once a student has made a successful application to Loughborough University and accepted their place via UCAS track, we will supply them with a What’s next guide. This outlines the remaining key dates associated with UCAS, details on how to choose and apply for accommodation and information on student finance packages available. It also includes a range of contact details for staff within the University who can answer any queries that a student may have in the lead up to the start of their studies with us.
Events at Loughborough University
Widening Participation –The Outreach team have devised a number of specific activities designed to target students from low socio economic backgrounds and help them to overcome any perceived barriers to higher education. These activities vary, some focusing directly on dispelling myths associated with university learning, others seek to develop key transferable skills such as communication, team work and time management. Our recently launched Subject in a Box initiative allows students to explore the possibilities of degree level study associated with their favourite subjects at school or college. To find out more about any of these initiatives please contact WP@lboro.ac.uk
Inspiring Minds - Throughout the course of the academic year the School and College Liaison team run the Inspiring Minds event programme. This is a series of one day taster days which allow students to experience undergraduate learning first hand through a range of taster lectures, workshops and activities. Led by our academic staff we want to give students the opportunity to explore potential degree courses associated with their favourite subject areas and to understand the potential careers that they can lead to. To find out more about the event contents or to book a student onto one of these free one day courses please click here.
Support services at Loughborough University
Loughborough University recognises that our campus is made up of diverse students, each with their own individual backgrounds and needs. In response to this our Student Services team offer a varied package of support which is easily accessible for all. Provision is divided up into key areas to allow students to easily contact the team who will be best placed to help them.
Counselling - All students are entitled to an individual, confidential assessment which will allow our team to determine the most appropriate way to support their specific circumstances.
Mental health support - Once evidence of a mental health issue has been provided students will be invited to attend an individual, confidential assessment to agree any adjustment that might be required to support the student throughout their studies. This may include additional time during exams, extensions on course work and helping a student to access additional funding through the Disabled Students Allowance.
Study skills support - Students can access this service to gain additional study skills support. This can include screening for specific learning differences; educational psychology reports and one to one study support when required.
Maths support - The Mathematics Learning Support Centre (MLSC) provides award-winning mathematics and statistics support. Our services are available to every Loughborough student, and last year we had over 5,400 visits by students from 19 departments.
We operate two well-resourced Centres. Students are welcome to use these as study spaces, and to use of the one-to-one drop-in help offered by experienced mathematics lecturers. Workshops are available on employers’ numeracy tests, using calculators, and mathematical computing. The Eureka Centre offers one-to-one help for students who lack confidence with mathematics or statistics
Practical and academic support - Students can access this service to gain additional support in developing their academic skills in areas such as note taking and revision. When required students can also ask for support in developing their day to day, living tasks.
Careers advice and guidance - The Careers Network offer a daily drop in service (no need to book) for any student who wishes to speak to a consultant about their future.
Students can book sessions to gain support with mock interviews, job applications/CV writing and compiling presentations for interviews.
Disability mentoring - For those in receipt of the Disabled Students Allowance or with evidence of a disability, this mentoring service provides one to one support to optimise social and academic aspects of the university experience to ensure that all students can make the most of the opportunities being offered to them.
Confide - A service that allows students to report any instances of bullying or harassment that they may have experienced.
Warden service - For some students the thought of moving away from home and settling in to accommodation in an unfamiliar location away from family and friends can be a daunting prospect. All of Loughborough University’s halls of residence are supported by a live in Warden and their team, who provide 24 hour support in the case of emergency and general support to ease the transition of moving away from home. They aim to secure an enjoyable living environment for all students and any concerns or problems that are shared with a member of the warden team are treated in confidence.
Leaving care bursary - Care leavers are usually considered as independent students for the purpose of student finance, and are often therefore eligible for the highest levels of bursary and scholarship support.
In terms of the Loughborough Scholarship Programme, care leavers are entitled to an enhanced package of support. This includes an additional £1,500 bursary and £3,000 tuition fee waiver in each year of a standard three-year degree programme. This means could equate to up to £6,500 support a year.
This bursary is only available to those students who are under the age of 25 when registering for the start of their undergraduate degree course.
A complete overview of these services can be viewed here
Support from Loughborough Students’ Union
Loughborough University’s award winning Students’ Union offers over 300 societies and sports teams, fundraising initiatives and volunteering opportunities. The variety on offer represents the diverse nature of our students’ interests and allows cohorts of individual with similar passions to come together. If the Students’ Union does not currently provide a society or sports team to reflect a particular area/activity, they have a process in place to help get one set up.
Nightline - An out of hours, confidential and anonymous listening service that provides support for students by telephone and email. Staffed by our current students, this term time service allows those with concerns to talk to one of their own peers about the changes and challenges that they may be facing.
Health and wellbeing - As part of our commitment to ensuring that our students have healthy lifestyles Loughborough Students Union run regular campaigns encouraging students to review their eating, sleeping and exercise habits.
We also run a number of events focused on mindfulness, relaxation and methods for beating stress (which includes the opportunity to pet puppies!) to help our students cope with the pressures of academic study.
Better decisions - This campaign aims to encourage students to make better decisions, especially with regards to knowing their drinking limits and the decisions that they make once drunk. Work focuses on aspects of student safety, for example, the University operates a free night bus from the Union to their home to ensure students get home safely after a night out. Sexual health is promoted and the Union offer free contraceptives and confidential screening for STIs.
Kickstart a campaign - If students are passionate about a cause that isn’t currently represented by the Union then they are invited to launch their own via the Kickstart platform. Previous examples include campaigns looking at eating a balanced diet on a tight budget, eradicating racism and breaking down gender stereotypes.
National support services
Student Finance England created a range of short films that outline the support available to those wishing to study a degree level course. As part of this suite there are those that focus on funding available for mature students, those with dependents and those wishing to apply for the Disabled Students Allowance. The films clearly outline the kind of funds available and processes required for applying for them.