Participants on the External Speaker Programme get a taste of university life

Choosing a university degree can be a daunting task. With over 100 UK universities and over 80,000 courses to choose from, it can be difficult to work out which one is right for you. Whilst UCAS provides helpful online guidance, discussions with current students and graduates are truly invaluable. Their personal experiences provide a fascinating insight into university and really bring higher education to life.

Fortunately, for students on Christ the King’s External Speaker Programme, advice of this kind is plentiful and easily accessible. The programme, which comprises a series of talks and interactive workshops, spans the entire autumn term and operates across all three College sites. The agenda features a plethora of university students and recent UK graduates, and is open to all students.

Together, these guest speakers provide a comprehensive insight into university life, offer guidance on course choices and degree types and proffer invaluable advice on how to excel at a higher educational level. From postgraduate research at the University of Edinburgh to the application process at Liverpool Hope University, from Sports and Nutrition Science at Kingston University to art courses at the University of the Creative Arts, from undergraduate Biomedical Science degrees to Law qualifications, the programme includes something for everyone.

To kick off the autumn term, the College welcomed Mary Abayomi, a CTK alumnus and third year Manchester University undergraduate and Jessica Stoneley, a recent graduate of Liverpool Hope University. Both of these speakers provided a personal account of their time at university and reflected on how they had grown and developed over the course of their studies. “You should aim in life to do what makes you happy,” explained Mary, who is currently studying for a BA in Sociology and Criminology. “It’s really important that you take this into consideration when choosing both a university and a course to study.” During her talk, she discussed the challenges and benefits of moving away from home, and the freedom of starting her own life in Manchester. At the end of her talk, she hosted a question and answer session which enabled students to speak to her directly about her experiences. “It was really interesting to hear advice from someone who has recently left CTK and progressed to university,” reflected one student. “Mary was very inspirational,” explained another, “I have learnt so much from her today.”

For those who are currently in the process of applying to university, Jessica Stoneley’s talk was equally invaluable. She provided detailed guidance on the application process and discussed the many exciting aspects of undergraduate life. Like Mary, she also focussed on the benefits and challenges of moving away from home, but urged young people to take this opportunity, wherever possible. Jessica also emphasised the unique benefits of studying at Liverpool Hope University. The degree structure at Liverpool Hope, as she explained, provides each and every student with the opportunity to study abroad at an English speaking partner university. “Taking part in these opportunities really makes you stand out to future employers,” she explained to the audience.

Reflecting on Jessica’s talk, one Christ the King student explained that “it was really interesting to hear advice from someone who has recently graduated from university.” “I am very keen to study at a university in a different part of the country,” explained another, “and the talk has made me even more determined to do this!”

Christ the King would like to thank Mary and Jessica for taking the time to visit and speak with the students. Their personal stories were encouraging and inspiring, and we look forward to welcoming them back in the future.