UniFest - Aimhigher West Midlands

What is UniFest?

Want to find out what university is really like?

Our UniFest event is the perfect opportunity for you to learn more about Higher Education and experience what life is like as a ‘Uni Student’. Come and stay in university accommodation and take part in taster lectures, careers sessions and social activities just like a real Uni Student. We deliver this event in partnership with Aston University, Birmingham City University, Newman University, University College Birmingham, University of Birmingham and University of Worcester.

Who can go to UniFest?

UniFest is for Year 10 students who want to learn more about what University is like. Perhaps if you are the first in your family to be thinking of going to University, or maybe you worry whether it’s a suitable option for you, then UniFest is the perfect event for you! UniFest is a targeted programme and places are offered to young people who meet certain criteria, you may need to ask your parents/carers/teachers whether you’ll be able to apply (see below for more details about the targeting).

How to get involved?

UniFest 2021 has now finished, check back in early 2022 to find out about next summer’s event!

UniFest 2020

This July we ran our very first virtual UniFest Online event – thank you for taking part!

As part of UniFest Online we ran a live Q&A session with student ambassadors from each of our partner universities. Head over to our Aimhigher YouTube channel to watch it back if you missed it!

"It has given me a clearer idea of life at university and disproved the stereotypes."

"Helped me decide I definitely want to go to uni."

"UniFest Online was brilliant I loved every second of it and now I have some more information on universities and colleges."

"I am very thankful for the opportunity we had for participating in this online; I believe this was a wonderful experience for all and was highly insightful."

The important bits…

Who is eligible to apply?

UniFest is a targeted programme. Universities must ensure places are offered to young people who meet certain criteria, using a weighted system to identify and prioritise applicants based on information about their backgrounds gathered as part of the application process.

Criteria Weighting
Disadvantaged home postcode* 1
Eligible for Free School Meals / FSM6 / Pupil Premium or the 16-19 Bursary 1
No parental experience of higher education 7
Disability and/or learning difficulty 7
Children in care 7
Young carers 1

* Aimhigher can help you identify postcodes that meet our criteria. Contact aimhigher@contacts.bham.ac.uk for more information

Although we do not weight or select by gender we would like to remind you that boys are underrepresented in higher education. When identifying students for UniFest it would be very helpful if colleagues in mixed-gender schools could encourage boys to consider the opportunity, and aim to submit a gender-balanced number of applications.

Is there a cost?

UniFest is free of charge however, if you were to get a place and then drop out at late notice, fail to attend, leave an event early or are excluded for breaching rules, your school will receive a fine of £200. Please make sure you definitely want to attend before accepting your offer.

What are the benefits?

UniFest 2019 gave 273 disadvantaged students the opportunity to explore the world of higher education and make informed decisions about their future.

94% of learners that attended UniFest 2019 were very satisfied/satisfied with the event!

Download the UniFest 2019 Evaluation

Aimhigher summer schools have been running for many years. Students who have taken part in Unifest become more motivated and confident in their learning, are known to have better grades at school and are more likely to go to university.

What about missing school?

If UniFest clashes with school activities please speak to teachers as their support is required on the application form. Please consider the best interests of the young person. UniFest may be more beneficial than work experience for someone who is considering higher education rather than employment or training options.

Is there any flexibility on age groups?

UniFest is designed for year 10 students only.

What should go in the supporting statement?

We want to hear about you and your interests, the subjects and qualifications you are studying, your career ambitions, any work experience you have completed and why you’re applying.

What about supervision and safeguarding?

Parents do not need to supervise young people on residential UniFest events. The universities take full responsibility for safeguarding, and will liaise directly with parents/carers to agree transport/hand-over arrangements etc. This includes inviting all successful applicants and their parents/carers to an on-campus information evening in advance of their event. Aimhigher universities operate comprehensive safeguarding, child protection and health and safety policies and procedures. They will undertake risk assessments for all events and activities, and make these available to you for assurance purposes. For more information please view our UniFest Safeguarding information.

What about transport?

Universities liaise directly with young people and their parents/carers about travel arrangements, and reimburse all reasonable transport costs for the pre-event information evening and the residential itself.

What if learners drop out?

Aimhigher will do all we can to minimise drop out before events, but it is inevitable in a small number of cases. We strongly advise you to:

  • Actively support your child in the period between them being offered a place and the event taking place, and reinforce the importance of attending
  • Notify Aimhigher immediately if your child wants to withdraw or is at risk of withdrawing…direct contact between the university, the applicant and their family can often help reassure and overcome any worries or concerns

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