Every year at Plymouth Marjon University, students from far and wide come to the campus for a week in July, to gain some insight into what life can be like at university. The overall aim of the projects; one of which is run by Next Steps South West based at Marjon; is to allow them to explore their future options in a safe environment.
Taking place over two separate weeks at Marjon, the Summer Schools are hosted on campus, and the students can stay in campus accommodation for the week, giving them an idea of what it can be like to move away from home and live independently. The academic sessions that are run as part of the schools not only give the students a great idea of the curriculum and the topics they might be studying, but the sessions also allow the students to work together in groups of people that they aren’t necessarily comfortable around, to begin with.
Kari Eilertsen, Widening Participation and Outreach Officer at Marjon, had a major role in organising and delivering this year’s second Summer School. She said:
“The goal of Summer School is to help the young people to understand what university can be like, and to show them that they can do it. A lot of them are anxious about university, and the week shows them that it’s not as scary as it might seem. A lot of them are not usually sure if they can actually come to university, because of grades and other factors. We’re able to provide them with the correct information, and break down the barriers for them, which really opens up their options, and helps them to make the right choices for themselves when the time comes.”
Abigail Gurr, Institutional Outreach Officer for Next Steps South West, said:
“Summer School is one of the highlights of the year for us. It is a huge project that is so rewarding when we see the progress that the students have made over the duration of the event. We find that the young people become so much more confident as they make new friends, have new experiences and learn what it’s like to live away from home and study at university. We’re very proud to be able to offer this experience to the students and we hope that they can now feel more empowered to make informed decisions regarding their future options.”
The Summer Schools aim to alleviate some of the stress and pressure around the idea of coming to university, for those who would like to come. In some cases, the students who have come to Marjon for the Summer Schools end up coming to study here at Marjon. Hannah Prisk, who studies BA Physical Education at the University, is one of those students.
“I came to Summer School at Marjon in 2016. I knew that I wanted to come to Marjon, but I wasn’t sure which course was best for me, and I was a little bit apprehensive about living away from home. Summer School allowed me to experience living in student accommodation, and it really boosted my confidence. Three years later, and I’m working as a Student Ambassador on the Summer School, because of the impact they’d had on me in 2016.” said Hannah.
Marjon’s Summer School will be back in July 2020.
You can find out more about Marjon Summer Schools here.