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Student Life: Further and Higher Education. What were your main reasons for going to college/university? “To improve my “job prospects”, to meet other.

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Presentation on theme: "Student Life: Further and Higher Education. What were your main reasons for going to college/university? “To improve my “job prospects”, to meet other."— Presentation transcript:

1 Student Life: Further and Higher Education

2 What were your main reasons for going to college/university? “To improve my “job prospects”, to meet other people and to generally do something with my life. Most people say they go to university because they want to learn, but learning is not something I need a university to do.” 2

3 It’s not the same as school! In FE and HE, students are adults No expectation of family involvement Management and organisation Prioritising Free time Social life 3

4 What influenced your choice of college/university? “Primarily the fact that it was near my home. If it wasn’t a good university I would have possibly had to put more effort into the decision but it is, so I didn’t.” “I wanted to be somewhere no one knew me and I didn’t know anyone else, as far from my parents as possible.” 4

5 Home or Away? A fresh start when school or home has been an uncomfortable place to be, or Too much change all in one go? Studying whilst living at home seems to work better for most people but... it can be better to choose a college that can work with the student’s specialist interest. 5

6 Getting there UCAS Visits Widening participation Before fresher's week Learner support: find out who the advice and support people are and where to find them. Care plans and person centred plans. 6

7 Were there things that were not as you expected? If so, what were they? “I can’t say that I remember being surprised by anything per-se. I didn’t have any wild expectations of what it was going to be like so there wasn’t any corresponding surprise when something failed to meet them.” 7

8 Organisation and Workload Expectations Timetables Reminders Deadlines. Priorities Home is home – structure the working day Designated work space 8

9 Thinking about the academic staff and the curriculum, what could have made your experience of college/university better? “I’m not sure if there is anything. The main problems I had are social problems. I suppose the group work could have gone better but I’m not sure how that could be facilitated.” 9

10 Practical stuff - survival Eating, sleeping, shopping, washing, socialising Managing money Coping with the behaviour of others: Lecturers not turning up, lectures being cancelled, people not doing what they said they would do, students walking in gangs down the corridor and in the middle of the road, sunbathing on the college lawns, swearing, wearing flip flops and shorts in winter, going to sleep in lectures, “borrowing” other people’s work. Finding your way around 10

11 Mental Health Getting organisation and survival right will help the person stay in good mental health Expect rising anxiety around deadlines and exams. Expect that high anxiety can/will tip into depression. 11

12 Thinking about studying and exams, what were the problems and difficulties you faced? “Neither were a problem.” 12

13 What were the best things about college/university? “Being able to spend time doing something I enjoy. The sense of achievement from getting good grades. Making friends.” 13

14 What were the worst? “Working in groups was difficult because they always seemed to result in friction between me and the other people in the group. I think this was because they were focused primarily on getting along with the other people or doing the least work possible, and I was focused on doing what I thought was doing the best job possible.” “Being forced to go on an “outdoor pursuits”-type weekend at the beginning was supposed to foster team- work and help people get to know each other. I hated it and it had the opposite effect for me.” 14

15 Moving on What advice is available? Do people on the spectrum know it’s available? If so, do they use it? Work placements need to be sustainable. Be honest about what is possible and don’t raise false expectations. 15

16 The WAG task and finish group report 3 specialist ASD colleges 12 further education colleges for people with learning difficulties 14 mainstream colleges of further education 8 higher education colleges/universities 37 responses in total 16

17 What do we know In Wales there are: 320 students in colleges of further education 48 in specialist residential college 115 in higher education institutions 17

18 The T and F group looked for evidence of: a structured transition process person centred planning insight into good ASD practice working with people’s interests adjusting the environment planning for the future. 18

19 We also found: suggestions for improvements to transition into provision suggestions for improvement post provision evidence of staff training suggestions for improvement during provision confusion over needs of ASD and dyslexia (or specific learning disability) confusion regarding academic support/non academic supportive roles. 19

20 Recommendations Raise awareness of the need for person centred transition plans which are underpinned by input from the prospective student with ASD and knowledge of good ASD practice. That institutions consider a range of sustained transition options for students, over and above an Open Day and Fresher's week. 20

21 Recommendations Recruit support staff early. Improve systems for sharing information; précis essential information about the individual and circulate to all staff. Have a clear locus for keeping information. Move to a “strengths model”. Support sensory differences. 21

22 Recommendations There should be strategic guidance for education professionals as to how to make environmental adjustments, for example a checklist and a “how to’ guide. There should be a consensus on the title, location and scope of support assessment and access across institutions. This may need to differ between FE and HE but should be uniform across type of institution. 22

23 If you have finished your course, try to describe what you gained from your studies, how do you now feel about your experiences of college/university? “I’m glad I went because I felt it was an important turning point in my life. Even if it makes no practical difference, it’s nice to have a degree.” ”Even though living away from home was sometimes a disaster I learned a lot and I made friends; my first real friends.” 23

24 If you were asked to give advice to students with Asperger syndrome who are thinking about studying at University, what would you say? “Identify the things you have trouble with that may interfere and look for ways to limit the effect they have on your academic and social life. This could range from taking advantage of support that the university offers to just being self-aware and not engaging with situations that cause you distress.” 24

25 Contact Mary Rendell Ceredigion Social Services Minaeron Rhiw Goch Aberaeron SA46 0DY 25


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