It’s the end of the holidays. You’ve enjoyed a few weeks off and unfortunately, the sun, sea and sand of the last month is soon to be a distant memory as you move forward into September and prepare for the latest UCAS cohort to begin their applications.
Every year, I try to refine the process and subsequently create an ever-growing list of dos and don’ts for newbie applicants. The form filling is only the first hurdle. ‘What does Student Support Arrangements mean?’ What is my fee code?’ ‘It’s not showing the course I want at the institution I want to go to ….’ And so it continues. In my case,
75 times over. And just when you start to see the finish line on the horizon, you hear the dreaded words ‘Personal Statement’ muttered and know that you’re back at square one.
This year though, I have done something different.
And it has made the whole process significantly easier.
I’ve used Kloodle.
College is a transitionary time for many. School has finished and students have their results. Some are happy – some disappointed. But they come to college ready for a change. No uniform. No bells. No ‘having’ to study a subject you don’t like. It heralds a fresh start, a clean slate. The start of their Kloodle profile.
Students were informed at the start of their first year that they had to stay on top of their Kloodle profiles because it was the only way that they could prove all of the claims that they would be making 12 months down the line when making a UCAS, apprenticeship or employment application. Students were responsible for updating Kloodle with their activities, work experience and voluntary work as proof of their involvement, interests and extension activities. If it wasn’t on Kloodle, I wasn’t prepared to support it and I certainly wasn’t going to discuss it on my reference.
We had an epiphany!
In using Kloodle, students started to write their Personal Statement from day 1. Their bio acted as a scaffold to start the writing process. Their top 3 achievements had already been prioritised and provided me with points to refer to in my reference. Blogs, photos and documents provided a ready source of evidence to support the student’s interest in a course. No longer did I read, ‘I have long been fascinated by [insert subject]’ or ‘I have a genuine passion (how I hate this word!) for ….’ as students could prove their claim and write confidently, evidencing their subject interest without making grandiose and subsequently, naïve claims, that made admission tutors and recruiters sigh in frustration.
At key intervals throughout the year, we revisited Kloodle profiles – usually following key college calendar events. Skills’ weeks, enrichment week and key assessment weeks all provided a rich source of activities for blogging and skills’ tagging. Regular updates following subject support and extension classes gave students time to reflect on their learning and catalogue their extra reading to evidence their industry and reward their enthusiasm. Work experience and relevant enterprise was evaluated and skills discussed through a meaningful, retrospective lens.
And by the end of the first year, students had full profiles. There was no last minute panic or frantic activities taking place. There was a reassuring absence of blank faces when students were questioned about their skill-set and how these had been exhibited. There were no ultimatums when requesting the submission of Personal Statements. Students were proactive throughout the year and understood the concept of creating a professional Kloodle profile.
Students were prepared.
Staff were confident.
The process had improved.