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I was given an hour-long lesson with a class of year 12 students where I asked the question, ‘why study theology and religious studies at university?’

With UCAS application on the horizon for many of these students next year I felt it was important to talk them through my own personal experience with the UCAS application and why I had chosen to study theology and religious studies at the University of Chester. But before I started to explain my story I asked the students to explain their story and in particular, what made them pick studying philosophy and ethics at A level.  Their responses were a mixture of being strong at the subject and having an interest in the subject. A clear interest for the students was the ethical side of the subject. I explained the different ethical topics taught within the subject from medical ethics to animal ethics and the broad possibilities within the course depending on their different areas of interest, whether that was to study a particular religion or understanding spirituality in today’s culture in more depth.

After discussing the different modules and areas the students could study the key questions the students wanted to know was what are skills sets gained from doing TRS and what job opportunities come from doing TRS?

Talking from my own personal experience I explained three key skill areas I have improved in during my study of TRS, and how they will be beneficial for me in the future when looking for employment. The first skill that I’ve gained that is valued by employers is critical thinking and the ability to interpret information, formulate questions and solve problems. Critical thinking is this linked in with my next two key skill-set gains: the ability to work methodically and accurately and to gain a greater sense of empathy for people, to understand people and appreciate other views. We explored employment opportunities for those considering doing TRS at university and the different sectors of work they could go into, whether it is teaching, working for an NGO or working in the civil service. They asked about the employment rate for the TRS students and I told them that Chester University sees 96% either employed or go on to further education within the six months of leaving university.

The aim of my lesson was to not just give them information about the course but also what it means to study TRS and the opportunities that arise from it. The feedback from the students and staff was extremely positive and allowed them a chance to see what TRS was like from a student’s perspective. It was great to see that the session had been beneficial, not just for them but also for me as I continue to develop my teaching skills.