Back in January, the LSE Volunteer Centre and Faith Centre came together to host IntoUniversity, a charity that offers an innovative programme that supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get into University or another chosen aspiration. Whilst on campus, they got to know more about faith at LSE, and the young group of students in attendance were able to discover LSE and to meet and talk to some of the current students. Below, Angharad Thain, the Faith Centre Programmes Manager, shares her experience of the day. This blog was originally posted on the Faith Centre blog.
Since being involved in Widening Participation initiatives during my time at University, I have been interested in how we can support students to raise their aspirations about attending university as well as busting some myths about what it is like to be a student at an institution like LSE, and how different it can be to assumptions. So it was wonderful to have the opportunity to collaborate with the LSE Volunteer Centre to invite IntoUniversity onto campus for a day exploring the LSE, and to learn about faith and belief on campus, something that is not often covered in tours and presentations about university life in the UK.
The trip involved a campus tour of the LSE and the chance to ask questions about student life, from essays, to societies, to friends, to where you would live and what the options are for teaching and course choice. The students enjoyed this because they learned about the diversity of the school and saw university facilities, some for the first time.
From the tour, the group of 25 Year 8s came back to the Faith Centre to hear about our programmes and what is available for students of faith and belief during their time at the LSE, including volunteering opportunities with the Volunteer Centre, Faith Centre leadership programmes, and the opportunity to travel abroad for a week to Israel-Palestine on Interfaith Encounter.
One of the highlights of the day was for them to hear a number of students across our programmes reflect on their time at LSE and answer lots of questions about student life. This was popular as it illustrated the reality of studying at university, both the positives and the challenges, straight from the students themselves. Some of the most popular questions included comparisons between student life in the UK and abroad, why certain courses were chosen by our students and what you can get involved with in student societies, and learning that it is possible to go on trips abroad. The students enjoyed using the prayer rooms in the Faith Centre and also learning that university isn’t as scary as you might think!
We were delighted to hear that the IntoUniversity students had enjoyed their visit to the Faith Centre and to LSE: ‘We had a great day. It was fantastic that there were so many different students who came to speak. I feel the KAA pupils truly benefited from seeing there are people from so many different backgrounds at LSE. Just the fact that they were listening so attentively shows that they were truly interested!’ It has been a pleasure to collaborate with IntoUniversity, and the Volunteer Centre, and we hope to engage in future visits.
If you have been inspired to volunteer with IntoUniversity, then why not apply to be an Academic Support Tutor or IntoUniversity Mentor? You can also check out one of our other 200+ ongoing opportunities or book a one-to-one with the Volunteer Centre Manager if you have more questions. And why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with our events and opportunities and read our blog for more volunteering tips and stories.