What is the Academic Session Scheme?

The scheme is coordinated by the Schools Liaison Officer (SLO), in collaboration with the MCR, in order to recruit graduate students who are able to support our WP work by delivering academic sessions.

Throughout the year, numerous school groups are invited to visit the college and university in order to gain an insight into life at a top university. As well as being aspirational, these visits also serve an educational purpose and we hope students leave with a well-informed view of university life. Your academic session would therefore form part of the programme of events that students experience when they visit Selwyn College.

There are approximately 50 school visits each year, as well as a number of other events such as HE+, the Scholars Competition (for primary school pupils), the Easter Residential for Scottish students and our Summer Schools, where we envisage a need for graduate academic sessions.

What are Academic Sessions?

Academic sessions can take a variety of forms. They may be a ‘taster’ lecture on a given topic or they might involve more workshop/seminar-based teaching. Sessions usually are 60 minutes long but can be broken down in a number of ways. We leave the exact content for you to decide and plan, but in general, academic sessions should follow a few key guidelines:

  1. The main purpose is for students to learn something new from the session. Whether it is about a new idea, a new way of thinking or a new approach to a familiar problem, students should come away having learnt something.
  2. Sessions should aim to be engaging and inspiring! Plenty of visuals, handouts and activities will help keep the session engaging throughout – school students are generally not used to just sitting and listening for a full hour.
  3. Consider your audience. Sessions may need to be adapted slightly for each delivery depending on the age of the students. Try not to assume too much prior knowledge and start from the basics.

Sessions do not have to be directly related to your current research but can draw on any number of topics that you feel equipped to deliver a session on.

It is also a good idea to provide some context/background to yourself at the beginning of the session. Students love to hear about where you are from, where else you may have studied and a few personal facts which can help make the session more relatable.

How do I sign up?

We would like, in the first instance, for you to consider what kind of academic session you could offer as your ‘standard’ session, which could be used on more than one occasion. The hope is to create a ‘pool’ of willing graduates and sessions.

  1. Read the ‘Academic Sessions Guide’ and have a think about what kind of session you could deliver.
  2. Fill in the MCR Academic Sessions Form and return to the Schools Liaison Officer (SLO): schools-liaison@sel.cam.ac.uk
  3. The SLO will then contact and liaise with you directly regarding events and delivering sessions.

If you have multiple ideas for sessions, feel free to fill in multiple forms!

Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that everyone who signs up will deliver a session, however we will endeavour to give as many people as possible a chance to do so.

Bespoke Sessions

Occasionally there will be calls for ‘bespoke’ sessions where schools have requested specific things. These calls will go out on an ad-hoc basis initially to graduates who sign up for the Academic Sessions Scheme before going out to the whole MCR if a suitable person cannot be found.

Will there be any training?

The SLO is happy to run short training sessions on how to plan and deliver high quality academic sessions, subject to interest. If you are interested in this scheme but would like some further training before delivering a session, please get in contact with the SLO, who can arrange either a quick meeting or a more formal training session if there is enough interest.

The SLO is also available to give feedback, advice or consult on any sessions.

What do I get in return?

You will receive £50 per academic session that you deliver.

You will also receive an invite to the annual Outreach Garden Party.

You would also be welcome to join the group for a free lunch on the days that you deliver sessions.


For any questions, please contact the SLO: schools-liaison@sel.cam.ac.uk