Connecting With Prospective Students Through Channel Talent
Channel Talent runs fully managed interactive webinars for schools on behalf of clients across the Higher Education and Business sectors. The purpose is to support, inform and inspire young people’s career and education choices whilst encouraging students to seriously consider opportunities offered by the organisation that is presenting. Events complement face to face activities with schools, allowing Recruitment and WP teams to reach out to more schools and more frequently, without incurring travel and accommodation costs and significantly saving employees’ time.
We operate from a UK school base with 12 years’ experience of working with state and private schools across the UK and worldwide.
Why Work With Channel Talent?
The Channel Talent approach to school engagement offers meaningful interaction through real conversations with school students, conversations that are often unlikely to happen otherwise. These events assist increasingly stretched SR and WP teams to manage the demands on their time with respect to travel, long working days, and time away from home. It also enables academics to connect with their potential students without eating into their valuable research and teaching time. Additionally, Channel Talent offers positive evidence in support of the university’s environmental commitment.
What Are Channel Talent Sessions Like?
For sessions that are delivered by a single university (see formats below), these generally involve school groups and individual students and so are entirely flexible for students who are in school and those who are not. Students taking part in school as a group use a webcam and microphone and the image and slides are projected onto a whiteboard in the classroom. Where webcams are used, all participants can see and hear each other. Connecting with multiple schools and individual students makes it even more cost effective for the university but, equally, school students often say that they really like to interact with other schools around the country, and beyond. For sessions that are delivered by a number of universities, the number of virtual rooms used is increased and therefore the capacity for more schools/students is greater.
About The Audience
Depending upon the time of year and university aims, the universities can elect to present to groups of Year 10 through to Year 13 students, mostly in the UK. Some international schools may also join. Student numbers will vary based on the subject being discussed and the size of the schools/colleges. Working with the university we can target particular schools and regions and dedicated international events are also available. For school groups, the setup at each of the schools/colleges will be tested before the actual event so that the university can concentrate on the delivery knowing that the schools will be ready.
The sessions generally last between 45 and 60 minutes and speakers should allow up to 30 minutes beforehand for setting up/getting comfortable. In advance of the event, many speakers benefit from testing and familiarising themselves with the webinar platform, which also affords the opportunity to discuss the session and what is required.
Who Presents And What Tech Do They Need?
The presenters are typically academics and/or undergraduate students although there is scope to involve postgraduate students and alumni. The technology allows the speakers to present from a wide range of locations within and outside the university, giving school students a feel for the environments in which they can continue their studies.
Simply, a lecturer can present using their laptop or, if available, a videoconferencing room at the university. We will discuss and test this with you.
What Data Can Be Collected?
For single university events we can provide data on the number of students that take part from each of the schools. Universities will typically review trends in applications from participating schools following the sessions. We will also provide a mechanism for registers to be made available to schools either as hard copies to be forwarded to the university or using online tools. Online feedback is also requested of the schools and compiled for review.
What Does It Cost?
Please contact us for current prices. Many universities will subscribe to a certain number of events thus reducing the cost per session. Sessions dedicated to international schools are charged at +50% of the cost for a UK schools session.
About Sixth Form Session Formats
Before explaining the various session formats, consider the sixth form student pathway above of a student studying for A Levels, or equivalent qualifications, who might go on to study this subject at degree level. Let’s say this particular subject is History, as an example. With increasing pressure on schools and colleges to deliver results, the sessions that are most likely to be picked up by teachers are those that have a reasonably strong connection to the A Level syllabus (green spot above). This does not mean asking university academics to teach the A Level syllabus for schools but teachers generally welcome an external expert voice to support what they are teaching whilst also demonstrating how the subject evolves at degree level. With this approach we are more likely to be successful targeting lesson times as well as lunchtimes.
When planning sessions which address areas related to the university curriculum and student life (i.e. hollow green spot above), we will look at the timing in relation to the time of year and the time of day carefully. (There is generally a difference between our talks beamed into the classroom and those that are run on campus. Often Channel Talent talks are the step before students have decided to visit a university).
Sessions that work well are talks about what it is like to study a subject, in this case History, or guidance on personal statements, student finance, etc. More diverse academic talks where it is difficult to the relate the content to the school/college curriculum may be picked up as enrichment sessions by certain schools but the timing is crucial and generally they are more difficult to gain commitment to from the schools.
Please see below some formats that follow these principles and are either delivered by single or multiple universities.
Format 1 tasters-workshops
Here, the university presents a talk to school students interspersed with interactive elements. The interactive elements might involve questions which schools consider in their groups and feed back on or more developed activities/games can be arranged with the schools in advance. Time permitting, there is also an opportunity to talk, and field questions, about studying the subject at university.
This format gives academics the chance to engage with prospective students whilst respecting their research and teaching commitments. This engagement can be very motivating and inspiring for school students as well as influencing the discussions teachers and advisers are having with their students about university options.
Format 2 right4me
In right4me sessions, 3 universities will each talk to Year 11/12/13 students to convey the requirements, format and strengths of their degree courses in a specific subject area, highlighting areas that differentiate their courses from others and drawing upon student experience and progression. There are 3 virtual rooms which schools will connect in to for the hour and universities will cycle between them, spending roughly 20 minutes in each. The universities decide how to manage the time but a rough guide would be a 10-12 minute talk followed by questions from the schools.
This is a great opportunity to communicate your unique selling points to a large number of schools (8 -12). The students have generally elected to take part and are usually very keen. From their perspective the session can encourage them to think further afield whilst recognising that, although the subject may be the same, the university experience can be very different between institutions.
Format 3 insight4me
Similar to right4me, 3 universities will each talk to Year 12/13 students about a specific subject area. However, they will address a particular topic related to the A Level syllabus. The challenge is to distil and argue the salient points of the topic/theme and then offer an insight into how this might be taught as part of the degree course. There are 3 virtual rooms which schools will connect in to and universities will cycle between them, spending roughly 20 minutes in each. The universities decide how to manage the time but a rough guide would be a 10-12 minutes talk followed by questions from the schools.
Again, this is a great opportunity to communicate to a large number of schools (8 -12) without travelling. This format directly supports the students and the teachers and, whilst assisting their studies, will give them a valuable and hopefully motivating insight into university study and different approaches to teaching and learning; a great chance to differentiate your courses from others whilst motivating prospective students.
Format 4 challengeseries
The university presents a series of three sessions involving the same schools across a period of 3 weeks or across a term. The first session would typically be used to provide input and the context to the challenge. The second session could be used to check progress and introduce further elements/activities. The series culminates with the third session in which each school presents their responses. The series may involve a larger audience from one school with groups potentially connecting in from different classrooms or, alternatively, involve up to four different schools.
This format affords a prolonged presence in one or more schools and can be timed so that this relationship is built up close to when students are making their UCAS choices.
Format 5 pathwaysfrom ......
In addition to offering insight into students’ current studies, we are also keen to recognize that students very often do not have a good tangible sense of the options that their current studies open up for them. In a pathways from sessions, an A Level subject area/syllabus related question is posed and the single presenting university asks up to 3 of its academics from different disciplines to discuss it from their unique perspectives. It is intended that the different disciplines represented would be looking to recruit from students studying this particular A level. With a strong curriculum focus, this should run well in lesson time attracting the attention of teachers.
This is a great opportunity to assist school students directly with their studies whilst giving them an insight into the possible paths their current studies could lead them to. This may include more obvious course choices combined with more specialist, e.g. History and Archaeology.
Format 6 alumniconnect
Developing the pathways from theme further, the technology also allows us to connect in university alumni from their workplaces illustrating real live interactive examples of destinations once the student has studied a particular degree. Generally this format will work best in terms of audience numbers for subject areas that are studied at school and college or are well known, rather than more specialist subjects.
The event deals with a particular degree course or group of closely related degree courses, e.g. Psychology. The university presents a talk similar to a right4me talk (10-12 minutes) and school students will then hear from up to 3 graduates from their workplaces who studied the degree. The alumni will talk about their experience on the course and how it led on to/prepared them for what they are currently doing.
This engagement can be really motivating and inspiring for school students as well as influencing the discussions teachers and advisers are having with their students about university options.
Please Note, These Formats Can Be Combined To Offer A Dedicated Week Of Events OR An Open Day
Schools Are Busy - When Can We Run These?
We think carefully about when it is best to schedule each session. Below, the formats are listed with an indication of how they work across the school terms (red, amber, green) and whether each can be targeted at lesson times or lunchtimes. (The lunchtime icon also includes enrichment times which are often timetabled for Wednesday afternoon). Much of the scheduling will reflect the relevance to the curriculum. All of this will be discussed session by session.
Connecting With Younger Students
Whilst many of the session formats above are focused on sixth formers, many work very well with younger students and we are keen to offer more events for students making A Level and GCSE choices. There is certainly demand from the schools for support for students at an earlier stage.
Finally we also offer schools and colleges the opportunity to make requests for sessions. If you would like to hear about requests that come through please get in contact. Please click here for full details of the scheme.
Furthermore, this is a great offer to make directly to your target schools. In this case we will then make all of the arrangements once you have agreed a session in principle with a school.