Strategies for effective targeted support | Aspire

Strategies for effective targeted support

From evaluating Focus on Success, the following features of a targeted support strategy were found to be important or helpful to its success:

  • The support is focused on those students interested in going to university with the capacity to potentially manage a degree
  • The numbers are limited to allow each student to receive some one-on-one support, and the group to connect and share experiences
  • The support brings together students from different schools and communities to help build their confidence in socialising outside their familiar network
  • The support is delivered in a residential setting over several days so students have time to let go of some of the roles and mindsets entrenched in their home and school life 
  • The program is held in a regional location (if relevant to the cohort) to allow for the engagement of local industries and professionals and to relate to the students’ world
  • Local employers or professionals are involved to share their stories with students, widen their knowledge of different careers and teach them about planning ahead, making decisions and dealing with setbacks
  • The venue has a range of usable indoor and outdoor spaces that suit different sorts of activities  
  • The students are provided with high quality food they might not ordinarily experience and given plenty of break times to let off steam
  • Current university students are involved to share insider uni knowledge and relate to the students as peers
  • The learning experience is engaging and relevant through group/pair work, fun activities, real world examples, skills practice and varied presenters and delivery style
  • The students are treated as adults and encouraged to engage with the experience as self-directed and independent learners
  • The students are taught about mindset and growth and given formal ways to step outside their comfort zone and experience the confidence gained in 'having a go'
  • The students have fun and are given ample ways and downtime to connect with each other and enjoy the experience   
  • The environment is positive and affirming, and the experience memorable enough to build participants’ sense of confidence and aspiration for their future and the idea of going to university
  • The program is thoroughly evaluated through feedback from students, teachers and staff involved, ideally gained at the time and then later through focus groups or other methods
  • A training needs assessment is conducted beforehand to establish what to teach and how best to do it
  • The support is part of a wider ongoing strategy offered to partner schools
  • Participants are offered mentoring or support after the program to build on the learning and help them stay on track in the HSC and potentially apply for university.