What does the programme involve?

A FREE summer programme for mature students currently completing an Access to HE qualification. 

We understand that there might be a lot to think about for students who have just applied for university. This programme has been created with you in mind. We aim to provide support for mature students throughout your post-application journey and transition to UEA. You will have access to a mentor who might be studying in a similar field as yourself, who will support you with discussing and accessing services available to you, help you practice study methods and see the range of opportunities available to you at university.

Applications for this year’s Peer Guide Programme have closed. If you require any support, please email Gem on maturestudents@uea.ac.uk.

Here's some core elements that you might expect:

Student mentors will be available online to support you and help answer your questions. Online sessions will be delivered using Unibuddy. Our mentors will be a range of our current students who may be studying in similar courses or have experience of things you’d like to know more about – for example, studying and commuting or working part-time.

Join us to celebrate completing your course Access course, explore campus and meet mentors and current students, take part in a Q&A session and networking opportunities, and an introduction to our UEASU.

Please register for this opportunity before 17 June 2022 to be in with a chance of visiting campus ahead of the start of next term

These will be offered virtually throughout the summer holidays, and end with you being invited to Headstart, an in-person event that will help you embed these skills before you start your degree. The aim is to focus on preparing for study and keeping university skills fresh. Skills include academic writing, referencing and Maths & Statistics. These sessions will be available throughout August and September 2022.

Join us online to find out about opportunities and services for mature students and hear from current students through their lived experience. You can view the range of dates available on our website.

A big part of this programme will be introducing you to your communities. Our Unibuddy community will allow you to join in on wider discussions with others on the programme as well as speaking to current student mentors.

Headstart is our transition to university on campus event (held on 12 and 13 September 2022), where you will get to meet other fellow students and take part in exclusive activities to help support you transition to student life at UEA within a classroom setting.

When will it take place?

Various events will take place between June - September 2022. You can tailor which parts of the programme you would like to be involved with! Simply complete the sign-up form and let us know which parts you’re free to be involved in.

Here's a sample programme (final details will be confirmed following sign-up):

Event When


Mentoring (online)

W/C 30 May - 2 September 2022

On Campus Introductory event (in person)

Saturday 18 June 2022

Study technique sessions (online)

Wednesday 3 August 2022
Wednesday 17 August 2022
Wednesday 31 August 2022
Wednesday 14 September 2022

6-7PM - Facilitated online

Student webinars (online)

Available between June – August 2022

Headstart (transition to university event) (in person)

12 and 13 September 2022

Who is it for?

To apply, you must be a UEA offer holder who is in the process of completing an Access to HE qualification from our partner Further Education Colleges:

  • City College Norwich
  • East Coast College
  • College of West Anglia
  • Wensum Lodge
  • Cambridge Regional College
  • West Suffolk College

Please note that places are limited: signing up doesn't guarantee a place.


This particular programme has been designed for UEA offer holders who have completed an Access to Higher Education diploma to gain entry. We offer a range of information through UEA’s email communications and social media accounts to help people prepare for university but understand some people may have more specific questions about their upcoming experience. We have a range of support for all students but wanted to highlight specific information for mature and commuting students as well as those who may have caring responsibilities. Our data shows that students who enter UEA from an Access diploma pathway hold more of these characteristics so are offering this programme as an optional enhancement activity to support your transition.

The wonderful thing about the Peer Guide Programme is that you will be able to tailor the experience based on what you want or need to know before you start. If you decide to apply to be involved in PGP, you will be able to specify your preferences in the application form.

After we confirm the places on the programme, you’ll be invited to join Unibuddy where you’ll be able to choose a current student mentor. Your mentor will be in touch to introduce themselves and explain when you can expect to hear from them and how often. You’ll be welcome to ask any questions through Unibuddy’s platform and your mentor will get back to you as soon as they can.

If you decide to join the wider community, you can also ask questions to all mentors and UEA’s Mature Student Adviser, Gem Standen. You will also be able to speak to other students involved in the programme as well.

Mentoring and the community will begin on the week commencing 30 May 2022 and end on Friday 2 September 2022, in time for Headstart and the start of term.

If you have a specific or sensitive question and would like to chat with Gem, please email maturestudents@uea.ac.uk.

The current students supporting this programme will be from a mixture of backgrounds and pathways but have a multitude of insights. When you join our mentoring platform, Unibuddy, you will be able to see a short bio for each of the students available to chat to. You can choose who you would like to speak to based on what information you would like to know or feel the student could offer you.

We’ve recruited students from a range of schools; if there isn’t anyone from your specific course, we will work with you to help answer any questions you may have relating to your course.

We have structured the programme to ensure we signpost you to relevant information and help you make informed decisions about navigating student life. The topics below are some examples of things we can help you learn more about:

  • UCAS, Myth-busting and your expectations

  • Student Finance and budgeting

  • Managing study and life at UEA

  • University workload and academics

  • Graduate and Postgraduate employment

We understand that things can change and understand if you’re unable to attend aspects of the programme. If you could please let us know at your soonest convenience if this should happen so we can adjust our plans accordingly, we would be incredibly grateful. Simply email Gem on maturestudents@uea.ac.uk to let her know.

Unibuddy is a digital platform that allows people to chat with university staff and students. It’s used by lots of universities – it’s really easy to use and once you have an account you’ll be able to start chatting away with just a few clicks.

There are a few different parts of Unibuddy you’ll use as part of the Peer Guide Programme – you can use the same account to access all of them.

1-2-1 chat – mentoring

Our peer guides are ready and waiting to answer your questions. Use filters and read profiles to decide who you want to chat with, and then simply ask away. Ask as many questions as want to as many peer guides as you need. You’ll also be able to see the questions other people have asked so you can learn from your peers.

Group chat – community

Download the community app on your phone and join the group chats – there is UEA staff and other people taking part in the Peer Guide Programme on there. Don’t have a smart phone to download the app? Don’t worry, you can also join the community online.

Live events – webinars

Simply wait for a link from Gem in your inbox, log in to your Unibuddy account and sit back and watch the webinar. Gem will be in regular contact about upcoming webinars so keep an eye on your inbox.


Watch Gem chatting through an overview of Unibuddy


We’re excited to chat with you via Unibuddy Community – it will be the main base for Programme information and wider group discussions about popular topics including:

  • Information about commuting to university
  • Managing studies and other commitments
  • Managing health & wellbeing
  • Networking and student opportunities

Once your application is processed and you’re invited to join the Programme, you will receive an email from Unibuddy asking you to create an account and join the Peer Guide Programme Community. Keep an eye out in your spam folder in case it gets lost there. Once you’ve created an account you’ll get sent a verification code to your email address. Don’t try and copy and paste the code – type it out. You should then be able to log in and join us!

We’d recommend you download the community app on your phone and join the group chats so you can get notifications of new posts and updates – think of it as an extended UEA WhatsApp group. Don’t have a smart phone to download the app? Don’t worry, you can also join the community online.

On the mentoring side of the Unibuddy platform, you will be able to have 1-2-1 conversation with current UEA students. You’ll need a Unibuddy account to ask a question; you just need to enter an email address and answer a couple of questions and then you’re on.

Please take a few minutes reading about our guides – they’ve all got profiles so you learn more about them, and you can use the filters to find people like you. Once you’ve found someone you’d like to chat to, simply ask away. Ask as many questions as want to as many peer guides as you need – you’re not restricted on number of questions or number of peer guides you’re chatting with. You’ll also be able to see the questions other people have asked so you can learn from your peers.

The peer guides will be available to help you throughout the programme, so please do make the most of them and their valuable, lived experiences. Please note that these conversations are viewable by other people on the Peer Guide Programme so you can learn from each other, so if you have anything sensitive or personal that you would rather share confidentially, email Gem on maturestudents@uea.ac.uk.

We’d recommend you access mentoring via our website, but there is app available if you’d prefer to ask questions that way. You’ll get an email about how to download the app from Unibuddy after you ask your first questions.

We can’t wait to meet you on campus for the introductory event on Saturday 18 June. If you’ve let us know that you’d like to come we will send you all of the details closer to the time, but the day will look something like this:

  • 11am – 3pm
  • Lots of activities that cover common elements of student life
  • UEA staff aplenty – wellbeing teams, Students’ Union colleagues and student life experts will all be on hand for lots of chats
  • Campus tours so you can have a nose around UEA

The day is totally free – we will provide lunch and drinks throughout the day and pay for parking if you drive to campus. If cost is in any way a worry for you for this event please let us know – there is a travel fund available if you’re struggling to get to campus to see us.

If you have any questions at all about the campus event, please email maturestudents@uea.ac.uk.

This is our event for new undergraduate students to provide a more subject specific overview of what teaching could look like for you. The event is split into two days, each one focussing on two of our four faculty areas, held on 12 and 13 September. Further information will follow shortly if you’ve indicated you would like to be invited to this event, where you will be asked to complete an application form.

Please contact Gem as soon as you can on maturestudents@uea.ac.uk who will work with you to resolve any issues.

Yes – Gem is UEA’s Mature Student Outreach Officer and can provide discreet support through email, maturestudents@uea.ac.uk or through booking an online meeting at a mutually convenient time. You book any time online via Meet Us.

You’re welcome to continue gaining insight from the programme and liaise with Gem on what you may need to do if you want to revisit your application next year.

Not to worry, please just let us know by emailing maturestudents@uea.ac.uk.

Simply engage when you can, ask questions of the student peers and read information sent to you to give you further insight and hopefully spark more ideas. There is no such thing as a daft question in our opinion, so please do ask us anything that springs to mind.

Before the end of the Programme, we will detail what you can expect from Welcome Week, held from 19 September 2022. You will also be invited to sign up to the Buddy(su) scheme as well as invited to attend Headstart to support the final part of your transition into UEA.