I mentioned that we need to be 'careful not to discourage ambition' and I think that's all about starting early. You can be as ambitious as you like as long as you start early preparing for it. Ashely Hever quoted Paul Redmond in a tweet last week saying that "first year is the new final year at university", and I think he's onto something there.
FocusedThis is where advice and guidance is really important - helping people figure out what they are suited to and what they would like to do. During a student's first year it's not unusual for them to be very unsure about what they want to do, and in the first year this is fine. There are loads of opportunities to try things out and figure out what a person likes and is suited to. It's only a problem when someone is in their final year and they are filling in applications to be a teacher, a police officer, an accountant and apply for postgraduate study all at the same time because they don't know what they want to do (you need a back up but you need to have some clue as well!).
RealisticIf someone comes to us at the beginning of their first year and says they want to be an investment banker, that's fine too (as long as they are doing a relevant degree - you have to start even earlier to get that bit right). We'll probably advise them to join the Traders and Investors Society, get some relevant work experience during their vacations, aim to get a relevant internship between their second and third year, that kind of thing. If they come to us in their final year and say they want to be an investment banker and they've done nothing that's relevant up to that point (this happens), then we have a problem.
So, this is just a brain dump for me to come back to and a chance to get some comments from others to check my understanding...