Hope UK’s youth branch Generation Hope hosted five very special and inspiring speakers on Saturday at the ‘Preparing for University Day’ in London!
The day started with a talk by Jane Marshall from Imperial College London who talked the young people through how to write a brilliant personal statement. Her session was “energetic and engaging” (with the most laughs coming from her reading hilarious examples of what-not-to-write-on-your-personal-statement. One thing for certain is that none of the people on Saturday will ever write the word ‘cement’ on their applications. One 17-year-old attendee said that Jane, “spoke in a way that made me listen… what she said was relevant.”

During the lunch break the attendees played several fun getting-to-know you games with each other and by the time they had finished eating they were all laughing and discussing all topics under the sun. Then it was onto Interview Skills lead by Professor Barbara Bassot -who has visited Hope UK’s youth branch before. This session was extremely valuable to many of our attendees with one stating that “it will help me greatly know what the University I want to go [to] will ask of me”!
Sharing her own experiences as an interviewer, Barbara advised everyone on the best ways to impress in an interview; the outfit, eye contact, a smile, a handshake, a glass of water and a notepad with questions were just a few of the key elements she spoke of.

The attendees then heard real-life stories from current students, and Generation Hope members, Kitty and Josh who did not shy away from talking about their experiences with time management, deadlines, house hunting, student finance, commuting and living with strangers! Attendees were also given the opportunity to ask Kitty and Josh any questions about university – all of which were answered with true honesty (and very often with humour!). The advice given was explained as providing “very good INFOR, very useful tips and advice” and Kitty and Josh themselves were deemed to be the extremely well qualified to speak about such a topic “because they have the most insight into the realities of student life”.

The day was concluded by Joan from CAP who ran a session on how to budget and manage your money. This session was insightful, and at times posed a challenge, especially for those who will be moving to university and will be supporting themselves financially for the first time. Joan’s session centred around the fact that when it comes to having full reign over financial resources, care and preparation are crucial to not over spending and going into your overdraft. As one young lady, heading to university this year stated, “[I had] very little knowledge on some of the facts made known”.

Overall the day was met with positive feedback and responses, all attendees were extremely engaged and all found that each session provided them with valuable practical life-skills that they could put into action. For one fifteen-year-old the day was extremely encouraging and inspiring as when asked to describe the day in three words they responded with these (four!) words: “I’m going to uni.”.
What others said about the day:

“It will help me greatly know what the University I want to go will ask of me”

“Informative. Interesting. People were nice and open minded (welcoming).”

“The students from university were very helpful. I gained great tips for saving and budgeting”

“I enjoyed learning about rent, and uni accommodations and student loans”

“She….said new things, not just the things we already knew” [about the personal statement session]