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Headstart is a three day long program, specifically designed for mature students, students with disabilities, care leavers, estranged students and sanctuary scholars to support your transition into University life.

HeadStart takes place the week before Welcome Week. It provides students with a strong start to the academic study skills required to succeed at university. The program also provides an overview of the services available at Brunel so new students can feel supported when they begin their studies. The Academic Skills team run the study skills sessions based on the colleges for a more personalised outlook on what lies ahead for the rest of the academic year. 

During the three-day programme running from Wednesday 7 September - Friday 9 September 2022, you will be guided by our current students, known as HeadStart Ambassadors, who will share their experience and knowledge with you to help with your transition into university.

HeadStart provides:
  • An introduction to the academic study skills required to succeed at university
  • An overview of support services available at Brunel
  • Targeted study skills sessions outlining what to expect during your academic year
HeadStart helps students to:
  • Start to develop your independent academic study skills – a key component of university success
  • Learn more about university life, for both personal and academic needs
  • Gain a clear vision of the level of work expected and the study skills support available
Examples of HeadStart sessions you can take part in:
  • Assignments: How do I get started? (Academic Skills Team)
  • Understanding Timetabling (Timetabling Team)
  • How to Make Use of your Lectures (Academic Skills Team)
  • Maths and Statistics SOS (Academic Skills Team)
  • Life skills sessions i.e. budgeting and finance, socialising and making friends
  • Introduction to the Student Wellbeing Team

You will receive an email from us with how to register for HeadStart 2022 if you are eligible to attend.

What to expect from university 

Skills for University
Studying at university will require you to develop your academic skills, from learning how to be self-motivated and work independently, to learning how to process complex information and write in an academic style. Throughout Headstart you will attend workshops that will help develop these skills.

Independent Learning
You are responsible for your success at university, and much of that depends on how you use your spare time. This is often the biggest challenge students face when they look at their timetable and realise that there is a lot of space for independent study. Some people find it useful to form study groups – this makes your learning social and helps keep you accountable. It is also important to keep on top of your time management and learn to understand feedback that is given.

The Peer-Assisted Learning Initiative (PAL) is also a great support mechanism which focuses on peer-to-peer learning to support you as you further develop your independent learning. For more information on this please visit the PAL page (click here for information)

Wider Scope
You will be asked to delve into much greater detail with your study topics, and you will need to think in new ways and make connections across ideas and theories in your field. Tutors will expect more sophisticated academic writing, and your essays will have higher word counts. Also, you will find that you are given different types of assignments, such as group work or presentations. For the most part, the transition will be gradual and one you are more than capable of taking on.

It is called ‘reading for a degree’ for a reason, because on most courses you will be given a reading list setting out essential and recommended books and journal articles. Familiarise yourself with the Library and catalogue early so that you can easily find the information you need. You will be expected to read critically, meaning that you should question what you read and not take everything at face value.

You will encounter many new terms and abbreviations in your first weeks.

Greater Flexibility
You will have many more choices to make at university, from the modules you take to assignment titles for your coursework. This is empowering, but it can also be overwhelming, so it is important that you think carefully about the choices you make and talk them over with others – your family, friends, and tutors.