Meet two of our adult full-time students, Sophie & Chloe, who have just completed a one-year Access to Higher Education course and are off to University in September.
AM: What course are you studying at Kendal College?
Both: Access to Higher Education: Science
AM: Why did you choose this course?
Chloe: I was looking for a course with Maths in it, as I knew I wanted to do something with Physics at university. I didn’t already have the A-Level results to do Physics and A-Level Maths on its own wouldn’t be enough. I didn’t realise I could do this one-year course to access university until a friend found it for me.
Sophie: I was looking for a one-year A-Level equivalent course. I’d already completed an Art & Design course at LMC so I didn’t want to do another 2-year course. I heard about access courses on student forums and then found the one here. I didn’t fancy going to a big sixth form college, I wanted a smaller place with a mix of students.
Chloe: I want to work for CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland. I went for a tour there and they said they needed people who already had degrees in Physics. This course included Physics modules and it made me realise I’d like to get into particle Physics – this is where you open up an atom, study the building blocks of life, and find new and interesting particles. If you understand how atoms work, you understand everything!
Sophie: I went to university but I dropped out as the subject wasn’t for me. I took some time to figure out what I wanted to do and did some short online courses. One was in Astrobiology which was really good. I’ve always been interested in space and astronomy.
AM: Is College like you had expected. If not, why?
Chloe: I was worried there would be a lot of people younger than me, but there were lots of people my age on the course. We also met the Access to Health & Social Care pathways at the beginning, which was good to meet people with similar interests. There are spaces to learn, a learning centre and a large quiet room. There’s lots of help if you need it, our tutor has been really supportive.
Sophie: I agree, there are professional study spaces which I didn’t expect.
AM: What do you most enjoy about College life?
Sophie: The freedom to be responsible for your own work. We are trusted that we know what we need to do and can get on with it ourselves.
Chloe: It feels relaxed, you’re not under pressure by constant hounding. The teachers are open to you asking questions and having discussions about things, rather than just being told to get on with the work. This course is really good as it’s paid for if you progress to university and complete the first year. If you did A-levels instead, you would have to pay.
I also applied to the Bursary Fund to help pay for petrol, so got some money for that too.
AM: What is the teaching style like on your course?
Both: We have 15/16 units over the year and every month have an assignment to hand in. The teacher goes through the assignment beforehand and you have a taught lesson, which is group orientated with discussions. The teachers are good at looking at your work and seeing if you’re missing anything. They are easy to talk to and genuine. We have practical sessions in the lab and our final project was experiment based, where we had to collect our own data and analyse it.
AM: What are you hoping to do after College?
Sophie: I’m going to Edinburgh University to do BSc Astrophysics. I was really interested in the opportunity to travel and study abroad and I’ll get time away in the summer to do a work placement – e.g. working on telescopes in Hawaii!
Chloe: I’m going to Keele University to study BSc Physics. I would like a career in particle Physics & then work for CERN!
AM: If you could give one piece of advice to people considering College, what would it be?
Chloe: If you’re interested, just do it, don’t have hesitations as they stop you and put you off. Once you’re here you’ll see everyone is friendly, so make the first step.
Sophie: It’s really worth it, but you have to work hard and really work for it. We spend about 20-30 hours a week on the course and doing the assignments. I do a little bit each day… don’t leave it all to the last minute! Other students work for 4 days a week and then have 3 full days working on their course – so find a strategy/ way of working that works for you.
If Sophie & Chloe have prompted an interest in Access to Higher Education @ Kendal College, we offer a fantastic range of courses. Start your future on our website.
The interview was conducted by Adele Mundy, the College’s Student Services Manager.