Post 16 - Aimhigher West Midlands

Many learners in year 12 are adjusting to the change in learning / teaching styles and the increased independence on offer. This year, learners are looking at the ‘for and against’ debate of going into higher education, and are mindful of courses and careers.

Mentors working with year 12 learners will possibly be helping learners carry out thorough investigations to their skills and look to match them with suitable careers and courses. Looking at alternative progression routes and making applications to higher education will also be very pertinent. Mentors may spend time working with learners to dispel myths about HE and also work through money worries.

The following table can be used as a guide to help you plan your mentoring sessions. The resources and activities found on our mentoring scheme pages will help guide you through addressing the above issues as well as other pertinent areas for this year group. It is strongly advised you familiarise yourself with these online resources.

Topic/Theme Description Online LEP Resource
General post-16 study options and progression support A wide range of information for new 6th form and college students, covering A level choices, revision and study skills, UCAS research and preparation and more. The Council for Independent Education
Learning Styles This session helps learners to identify different learning styles and forms of assessment.

Online LEP resources – The activities raise awareness of the different approaches to study and assessments. This can be used to assist with the change in demands between year 11 and yr 12 studying.

Check on applications and arrangements for Masterclasses and Subject Enrichment Programmes organised by Aimhigher and the HEIs.

Brain Boxx – activity quiz to determine your style.

The Student Room – starting sixth form.

What can higher education do for you? And what’s it all about? Use this session to outlines the benefits of higher education and explore progression routes.

Online LEP resources – Activities help learners answer some important questions related to higher education. It raises their awareness of the extensive range of courses available, and looks at the different types of university or college.

This session can be conducted individually, or in small groups.

Tutor’s Pack – What Is HE and What is it all About? – Activity 1 and fact sheets 1-3 (be aware the financial info will be need amending).
What about employer-sponsored alternatives to university There are a growing number of employer-sponsored and Higher Apprenticeship pathways for A Level and BTEC students to consider. Increasingly, large employers are trying to attract bright candidates at 18 or 19, rather than wait until they graduate. In return they offer an “earn and learn” pathway that may include funding candidates though part-time degrees, professional or Apprenticeship-based qualifications as part of a salaried career package.
A website sponsored by some of the UK’s largest employers, with a searchable database of school/college leaver direct entry programmes.
Recognising your skills and potential Learners to investigate and discuss qualities employers look for in potential employees, and why.

Online LEP resources – activities look at discussing skills and attributes: Working with others; Improving own learning and performance; Problem-solving; Information technology; Communication; Employability skills.

Search for university summer schools here
Which subject? Which Qualification? It is important to help learners think about their subject choice and qualification – Decisions to be made before attention is given to where or how to study.

Online LEP resources – Detail qualification types and pathways, also Introduce learners who are unsure of their subject interests to the online questionnaire.

Investigate and discuss the opportunities that are being provided for study skills workshops and extra revision sessions, and encourage the learners to attend as appropriate.

Course Finder – for online study interest questionnaire.

Prospects – find a career and find out what qualifications are needed to enter the profession.

UCAS – for course search. – education and learning – including apprenticeships and Foundation Degrees.

Where to study? Focuses on narrowing the choice of 300 plus UCAS institutions, over 150 of which provide only higher education courses.

Online LEP resources – Video of uni student talking through her experience. Activities and online info.

Check dates of Higher Education Open Days and liaise with school regarding visit arrangements.

UCAS Videos – lots of videos exploring all aspects of applying

Open Day Dates

Map – for an interactive map showing uni contact details.

Bright Knowledge – see Education Pathways: Choosing a University.

UCAS process. Applying for a course. The activity explores the application process and qualification requirements.

Online LEP resources – Activity and signpost sites for information especially getting to know UCAS.

Most schools will address this, but support your learner to ensure they have a clear grasp.


Bright Knowledge – see Education Pathways: Applying to University.

UCAS Entry Profiles Use this session to assist learners in the process of narrowing down choices.

Online LEP resources – Research entry profiles for detailed information about HEIs, their admissions policies and the selection criteria for each course.

Consider working on ‘making decisions’ activities from yr11 if necessary.

UCAS Tariff Table – 2022-23 academic year entry
Getting it right first time Ensures that applicants are aware of some of the reasons that lead students to discontinue their studies.

Online LEP resources – The activity is designed to show how they can minimise the risks of this happening.

Check applications for the local Higher Education Convention taking place in June/early July 2014.


The Student Room – read through and select examples with appropriate message of researching the Uni and the course, and having realistic expectations of Uni life.

Student Finance Use this session to highlight the financial issues that students and their families need to consider.

Online LEP resources – Fees, loans, grants, bursaries and scholarships. The question of whether it pays to study at this level is also explored.

Check that parents/carers are aware of HE information evenings. Many HEIs also have sections on their websites specifically designed for parents in addition to

What is Student Finance? – Aimhigher video explaining students need to know about Student Finance and paying back student loans.

Money Saving Expert – 20 key facts about student finance (great signpost for parents/carers and learners together) and also excellent printable guides for parents/carers, learners and teachers. You may want to dip into the ‘current students’ section here too.

Student Life The aim of this session is to prepare for the changes in lifestyle and learning whilst studying at University.

Online LEP resources – Activities address balancing demands, self esteem and how to cope with all the pressures that come along with additional independence.

Managing expectations is vital to ensuring learners know what to expect and feel sure it is right for them.

Push – for an independent view.

NUS Advice for Students – student life.

Get Involved Encourage learners to see that applications to university depend on more than just academic grades.

Online LEP resources – Information on how to get involved in additional activities and/or employment.

Ask learners if they think that your role as a mentor is a good thing to be involved in, if so why?

Do It – How to become involved

DoE – find your local Duke of Edinburgh contact.

Red Cross – Volunteers.

Draft a UCAS personal statement Use this session to discuss points to consider when attempting the first draft of the personal statement.

Online LEP resources – The activity emphasises the reflective nature of the process.

Check dates and registration for any subject or institution-specific entrance tests.

Push – Personal Statements.
Review first draft of UCAS personal statement This session will focus on the personal statement.

Online LEP resources links to the section of ‘Apply’ from the UCAS website which is very appropriate.

Encourage your learners to read their personal statement out loud and to show it to others for comment.


Exit Strategy

Post 16: Year 13 Learner Engagement Plan

Issues with year 13 learners are often very specific and focussed on exams and ‘what’s next’. Here mentors will possibly find learners need study skills support during their current year, but also to prepare them for the year ahead. Helping learners gain a realistic view of what to expect whilst in Higher Education; study time, independence, finance, budgeting, work/study/social life balance – will be of paramount importance. Mentors may find themselves preparing learners for university interviews and possibly helping to identify useful additional work experience.

The following table can be used as a guide to help you plan your sessions. You will find comprehensive resources and internet links to compliment this information on our mentoring scheme page. It is strongly advised you familiarise yourself with these online resources.

Topic/Theme Description Online LEP Resource
Where to study.
Lifestyle: home or away?
These sessions can help learners gain an understanding of where universities are geographically and what that means in terms of lifestyle.

Online LEP resource – Activities to match HEIs to their locations, and allow learners to discuss the distance and length of time it would take to get to each location. Activities also focus on the advantages and disadvantages of different locations. The activity enables learners to consider whether it is better to live at home, or to move to a new area

Remember that some of these suggestions can be carried out by the learner at home, maybe with parents, carers and siblings too.

Aimhigher Tutor’s Pack – Careers; skills, courses and qualifications – Activity 10 : where to study
UCAS Tariff.
Understanding HE league tables
Looks at the system for allocating points to qualifications used for entry to HE, how to apply and also league tables.

Online LEP resources explore the non-qualification criteria that might be used by HEIs when making decisions about offers. The activities also examine what happens to the UCAS application after it has been submitted. Also looks into what factors have fed the demand for HE league tables, and explores the arguments for and against such tables.

Check dates of Higher Education Open Days and liaise with school regarding visit arrangements. Check internal school deadlines for the submission of completed UCAS application forms, and discuss the implications with the learners.


Go2Uni – for a UCAS Tariff Table.

Open Day Date

Aimhigher Tutor’s Pack – Applying for a Course – Activity 24 – use this and factsheet 7 as a basis for a session. NOTE this will need amending and preparation.

Bright Knowledge – see Education Pathways: Applying to University.

The Complete University Guide

University statistics and the Student Satisfaction Survey
UCAS personal statement review
Enables learners to see what over 177,000 undergraduate students felt about the quality of their HE experience. Also this session can be used to look at finalising the personal statement.

Online LEP resources – The initial activity allows learners to investigate and compare university statistics for their chosen subjects and HEIs. This session could also use the activity to allow learners to refine and begin to finalise their UCAS personal statements.

Encourage learners to show their personal statement to others, to not get attached to their first drafts and to read their personal statement aloud.



Which? Uni

Push – Personal Statement

Bright Knowledge – see Education Pathways: Applying to University.

Work experience and/or employment while you study
Gap Years?
Look to highlight the benefits of work experience whilst in HE and describe the different types. Also focus on the strategies for seeking and securing work experience or maybe take a gap year

Online LEP resources look at what would be relevant work experience and Explores the benefits of taking a well-structured and purposeful ‘gap’ year. Also looks at the different types of ‘gap’ year.

Share your experience of work experience/employment and how you make/ made the most of it.

I to I – for ideas on gap years.

Prospects – for clear info on gap years.


Skills, strengths and part time employment. Enable learners to idea-storm a list of skills and attributes needed for a particular profession/job.

Online LEP resources – Give learners the chance to investigate the level of qualifications they need for different jobs, and to look at real-life job adverts and the pay offered.

Show students examples of jobs advertised through your uni ‘workplace/jobshop’.

Aimhigher Tutor’s Pack – – Careers; Skills, Courses and Qualifications – Activity 11 : Skills and Strengths. Activity 15 : Work it out!
Study skills This session shows how learners can maximise the academic experience by gaining an understanding of ‘how it all works’ effectively from an early point.

Online LEP resource topics include, time management; taking lecture notes; managing stress; memory techniques; action learning; skimming tips; classroom participation; learning styles; project management and examination tips.

Check on revision courses being offered either in school/college, or by external providers.

Academic tips

Study – lots of study tips info.

Bright Knowledge – see Study Support.

Prospects – study advice.

The Student Room – locate a suitable thread from within the many discussion topics.

Identifying visible and invisible barriers to HE
Handling HE and job interviews
Help learners to recognise and be encouraged to address the possible barriers to HE, including the possibility of an HE interview.

Online LEP resources – Activities are written to really help learners to allay their own fears and Investigates the factors which might determine whether an applicant is called for an interview and what to expect. Also suggests suitable ways to prepare for such interviews.

Ask your university coordinator for a copy of past interview structure and questions for relevant subjects.

Aimhigher Tutor’s Pack – What is HE and What is it all About? Activity 3 : ‘Why do people go on to higher education?’

Bright Knowledge – see Education Pathways: Applying to University.

E4S – interviews.

Reasons to be cheerful – social and non-academic benefits of HE Use this session to explore the broader aspects of life at university and examines the social and non-academic benefits.

Online LEP resources – information sites covering discounts, societies, sports, overseas opportunities and preparing for uni activity.

Emphasise the importance of getting the study work/fun balance right.

NUS – student life.

Real Uni – student life.

Additional support for students with a disability This session will be very useful for students with an already diagnosed disability, or suspected disability such as dyslexia.

Online LEP resources investigate the issues relevant to learners who may have support needs, e.g. accessibility, study facilities and finance. Makes reference to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

Share what support your own university offers students with a disability.

Bright Knowledge – use keyword search ‘disability’ for a host of articles.



Dyslexia – Finance.

Disability Rights – helpline.

Money facts Use this session to examine the financial problems that could be encountered. It is also an opportunity to look at the reality of graduate vs. non-graduate earnings to put things into perspective.

Online LEP resources highlight the extra financial support to which HE students may be entitled if they meet certain conditions set by their university or college, bursaries or scholarships offer additional funding that the student does not have to pay back. Information sites for graduate earnings too.

Each University or college will have information on its own bursary scheme on their website.

Student Loans Company – lots of resources and up to date facts.

Prospects – Have a look at How graduate and non graduate salaries compare.

Student Calculator

Bright Knowledge – see Money section for accurate information.

Save The Student

Next steps checklist Within this session encourage applicants to develop a calendar/checklist in support of their applications.

Online LEP resources –Activities looking at how to be organised and prepared.

Drawing up a timetable may take some time and research, however it will save the learner time (and worry) in the long run. They will be more in control of their progress.

Aimhigher Tutor’s Pack – Next Steps – Activity 25 – Next Steps Checklist.
Revision programme Introduce the learners to the host of online support available for revision.

Online LEP resources – Clear and easy to follow notes and activities, divided into three sections: ‘learn it’, ‘test it’ and ‘revise it’. Aims to complement, enrich and broaden the online learning experience by providing high quality information via links to other good sites.

Suggest and help the learners create a revision timetable……is it realistic, do they want you to check each session if they are sticking to it? If they aren’t following the timetable, what issues need to be addressed so they can?

Get revising – for a selection of A’level revision notes.

A Level revision support

Bright Knowledge – see Study Support.

A day in the life including… How I got where I am today. Use this session to Illustrate the marked differences between a typical day in the life of a school/college student and HE student.

Online LEP resource – Some great printable activities to cover this theme. Also includes an activity where learners are encouraged to match the quotes from six successful graduates about their HE experiences.

Its important to share ……see if any of the teachers are willing to share their experiences.

Aimhigher Tutor’s Pack – What Is HE and What is it all about? Activity 5: ‘A day in the life’. Activity 4: ‘If I were you’, Handout 4a.

Bright Knowledge – Bright Voices.

Spend, spend, spend! Balance your budget This session will look realistically at student spending.

Online LEP resources – Look into the moving-in costs for either a hall of residence or student flat. Also helps to distinguish which are needs and which are wants. Introduces learners to the likely costs of being in HE and to managing funds through budgeting.

Managing the learner expectations to finance and budgeting is key. If your budgeting skills are a little shaky, learn alongside them.

Aimhigher Tutor’s Pack – Finance – Activity 18: Spend, Spend, Spend. NOTE – just this as an idea ONLY – ALL financial figures will need updating before you start. Activity 19: Balance your Budget.

Bright Knowledge – see Money section.

University challenge: are you ready? This session is light and quick, additional time can be used to plan where the learner would like additional input perhaps?

Online LEP resources A short, light-hearted test that assesses learners’ readiness to cope with a new lifestyle in HE.

Were you ready? What would you have done differently? Is there anything you whish you’d been told?

Finance – loans and supplementary income This session will look at when a loan isn’t a loan and talk about ideas to supplement the student income.

Online LEP resources By using the internet, learners are encouraged to explore the range of loans available, including student loans. Activities also enable learners to idea-storm as many ways as possible of supplementing income before going into HE or whilst at college/university.

What ways do you know of for University students to supplement their income – mentoring for example?

Aimhigher Tutor’s Pack – Finance – Activity 20: ‘ When is a loan not a loan?’ – MUST amend financial info before use. Activity 21: To work or not to work? – MUST amend financial info before use.

Money Saving Expert

Bright Knowledge – money.

Loan repayments Use this session to look at how the loan system works and how and when repayments are made.

Online LEP resources – information sites to use with students – including student calculator.

This may be a good time to recap/reassure why people go to university and why this are being encouraged by the government.

Money Saving Expert – student.

Student Finance England

Aimhigher Tutor’s Pack – – what is HE and what is it all About ? Activity 6: Encouraging people into HE – why are you being encouraged?

If I were you This session is a really useful to help learners realise they are taking the progression route that is suitable for them.

Online LEP resources Consolidates what has been covered in previous sections, and gets learners to act as ‘Mentors/Personal Advisers’ for three young people.

Positivity and praise go a long way ……the learners success in this activity will reflect on what you have helped them learn. Enjoy seeing them give measured well thought out responses.

Aimhigher Tutor’s Pack – what is HE and what is it all About ? Activity 4 : Handout 4b.

Exit Strategy

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