What is an IAG stand?
IAG stands usually take place at academic or careers focused events.
You are there to give students impartial advice and guidance about Higher Education, routes to HE, and to answer questions learners and parents might have.
Before the event, you should pick up a banner stand and suitcase of materials from your institution. Each suitcase should contain the following:
– GM Higher tablecloth
– Uni and Me guides
– SACU postcards
– Parents guides (if applicable)
- Talk about your experiences. How you chose your course. What informed your own decisions. Put yourself in their shoes.
- Why HE? Explain benefits such as – the demand for higher-level skills, the potential to earn more, that HE level is necessary for some professions. You are there to give advice about options after school – make sure to talk about non-traditional routes too.
- Listen. Active listening is a skill. Don’t go into ‘autopilot.’ Think about your body language. Smile. Make eye contact.
- Frame your language. Jargon and acronyms mean little to a 14-year-old. Take time to explain things in plain English.
- Be proactive. Welcome the ‘bashful’ enquirers. Use open questions to start a conversation. Do not sit at the table on your phone- stand up and look approachable, smile at learners as they move past, ask people if they have considered higher education, or what they want to do when they leave school. Start a conversation.
- Be impartial. You’re there to provide general information and advice about higher education pathways. You are not there to sell your University! Tell learners about the courses that your HEI offers, but also mention that the same courses are available at other institutions.
- Signpost. If you get asked about specific courses or pathways (eg. apprenticeships), point people to other exhibitors or reliable sources of information (eg. UCAS progress).
- Be positive and professional. A friendly and personable approach helps. Treat every inquiry as if it is your first – but be careful not to over-talk. You are representing your institution and the Greater Manchester Higher network.
- Age-appropriate. A year 9 student won’t need a detailed account of how to apply for a university course. Refer to the Uni and Me guide.
- Know your limits. No ‘educated’ guesses. Caveat information around course entry requirements (they change). You are not expected to know everything! If you don’t know an answer to a question, refer to the Uni and me Guides and recommend websites such as UCAS for answers. It is better to direct people to websites than to give them the wrong information.
- Start by asking them what their name is to get a conversation started with them.
- Perhaps show them the Uni and Me Guide as it might prompt them to talk about what they would like to do in the future or whether they would like to go onto Higher Education.
- Do not overload the student with questions, try and start with yes or no questions, and then ask leading questions when the student seems more comfortable.
- If the student does not want to talk at all you can always ask who they are with as they might feel more comfortable when their parent or guardian is talking and involved in the conversation.
- If you come across parents and guardians that seem particularly ‘pushy’, make sure you answer their questions, but always direct it back to the student or try and create a discussion together so that the student has considered more than one option. Ask them what they want to do and what their interests are.
- If there are two of you on a stand one of you could talk to the student and the other talk to the parent. This then allows the student to the opportunity to talk to you on their own, if they wish to do so.
- If you cannot find the organiser of an event, then use your initiative; go to reception and ask them where the event is taking place. Do not wander around the institution. If that fails then ring your outreach office, they will have the number and email of the event lead and they will be able to get in contact with them for you.
- Please do not leave without permission from your manager.
- Bring a bottle of water with you as you may be talking for a long time!
- Try to keep the energy high and look approachable
- Be honest about your experiences and don’t try to answer questions you don’t know the answer to