Preparing for University with Student Success Advisor Miriam Bruton

School of Fashion Textiles Student Success Advisor (SSA), Miriam Bruton, gives her tips for preparing for university and talks about her role as an SSA, and how the School and University is set up to support students.

Miriam Bruton
Student Success Advisor

Group of students sat around table with laptops

Can you tell us a bit about your role and what that means for students?

Student Success Advisors in the simplest of terms are the middle man between student and academic. We are BCU Alumni employed to ensure students have the best experience possible and get the most out of their experience by signposting them to a variety of BCU Services, making events to create a sense of community, supporting student voice and generally offering one to one support for students.

What’s your favourite part of your role?

My favourite part of my role so far is meeting with students either on a one to one basis or through one of our events and be able to listen to questions and feedback that they have and work with the wider university to provide support and improve things. I also enjoy just sharing my own experience with students who may be having a hard time and being able to provide them with support and see them grow. It’s incredible to see how far our students go and the work they produce.

What are your top tips for making the most of the first year at university?

Get to know the BCU services because you never know when you might need them. Join a society whether that’s a sports team, creative group or any other interest you may have it is one of the best ways to meet others within the university and enhance your experience. If your course (one day) offers trips, do everything you can to get on those trips. It’s a brilliant way of learning and another way to connect more with your peers, I came away from my third year trip to Venice with friends and experiences I will treasure for life.

How would you suggest prepare for starting at BCU over the summer?

Over the summer I would recommend students (especially in School of Fashion and Textiles) ensure you’re researching what inspires your work. Having those inspirations fresh in the mind before you begin first year really gives you a boost for your first assignments and reminds you why you have chosen your course. I would also join the Facebook groups created for first years at BCU whether that’s for your accommodation or your chosen course, it’s a great way to meet friends before you get to university so you know a friendly face when you arrive. For those moving away from home I would thoroughly research how student properties work and how to budget, for some students this can be a hard transition to make so it helps to prepare and make any financial plans before following through with contracts.

Do you have any advice for students who are managing a part time job alongside their course?

When looking for part time jobs whilst studying at university, make sure you know what your student timetable is going to look like for the year so your part time work doesn’t clash with this and so you have enough time in between to study and make adjustments where needed. If you’re not sure where to start in finding a part time job, visit our Careers+ team or BCUSU website. These services always have jobs advertised and help students with their applications, through them you might even find a job that relates to your course.

What advice would you give to a commuter student that is worried about joining a group where people may already know each other eg. from student halls?

For students who commute, throw yourself into groups made on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp and any BCU events that are happening. Quite a large population of our students are from the Birmingham area so know that you’ll never be the only one that commutes. Introduce yourself and find out more about those who commute, some students find comfort in having a friend to walk with them to the train station or car share.

Find out more about BCU's Student Support Services