Year 8 – HE familiarisation 

Hello Year 8s! We didn’t get to meet you when you were in Year  7, but don’t worry, we’ve created some catch-up material for you so you can find out what you missed in Year 7.

You can also go and take a look at the Year 7 webpages for more of what you missed. 

Year 8 catch-up material

Take a look at this quick summary of what we would’ve explored on a year 7 visit last year. 

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Now let’s get back to exploring what we do on Gateways Year 8 days and what else you need to know about higher education by this point.

During Gateways Year 8 days we spend a bit more time thinking about higher education (HE), the benefits of HE, and student life!

So let’s start with some HE facts…

UK higher education facts and figures

  • There are over 50,000 higher education courses in the UK.
  • There are over 300 Institutions that provide Higher Education (including Universities and further education (FE) colleges, and specialist colleges for the Performing Arts, Veterinary Studies, and Law).
  • Not all of these places offer the same courses! That is why we’ll be asking you to do lots of research into different courses and different places of HE study.

Higher education providers can be huge places with lots of students, but they often create a sense of community for their students by grouping similar subjects they offer into small mini departments (also known as faculties).

Here’s how the University of Manchester groups its 400 different courses:

  • STEM: Sciences (e.g. Physics and Chemistry), Technology (e.g. Computing and Artificial Intelligence), Engineering, and Maths.
  • Biology, Medicine and Health: courses from the Life Sciences and Medical Sciences, such as Biology, Medicine, Nursing, and Psychology.
  • Humanities: courses like History, Anthropology, Art History, Geography, Politics, Law, Economics, and Modern Foreign Languages.

Alphabet Challenge

On our Year 8 days we ask you to try and come up with a degree course for every letter of the alphabet. Why not start practicing now by visiting Just type the name of a degree you think might exist and see if you're right

Student life

On the Year 8 day, we also spend time thinking about student life. During a Gateways Year 8 visit day, we’ll get you to take part in a speed networking session with student ambassadors. Throughout this session, you get to ask them questions about four aspects of student life that we think are important for you to learn about in Year 8.

They are:

  • living in university accommodation and living at home
  • making friends, student societies and the Students’ Union
  • finding careers and volunteering
  • subjects and different ways of learning at university

This year, we’ve asked them to make a video we can show you at your virtual Year 8 day, so we hope you enjoy hearing from them directly.

We’ve put a bit more info about student life at the University of Manchester on the pages below… Go take a look to find out more and to build on what you already know.

Students' Union (SU)

The SU is a hub for students, where you can find events, gigs, take a minute to relax and so much more.

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Sports and leisure

Playing a sport is the perfect way to make new friends and take a break from your work.

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University accommodation is a great way to meet new people and learn new life skills.

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Careers and volunteering

An important service that helps you find a career and take part in volunteering.

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Why Study?

Why not check out our Why Study? page to find out what our students really think about their courses and about student life.

Visit the University of Manchester's Why Study? page!