29 November 2016
At BCoT we offer a range of Access courses which are designed for people who do not have the qualifications to enter a university level course but who do have the life experience and a willingness to learn. They are a nationally recognised qualification and are suited to mature students as an alternative to A levels.
Two former Access students explain why they chose to study at BCoT, and talk about their journey since leaving.
It was whilst working as a Therapy Assistant in a hospital that Pippa realised she had the ability but not the qualifications to work as an Occupational Therapist. Encouraged by her friends, family and colleagues she enrolled on the Access course at BCoT which she describes as “slightly daunting,” adding:
“Going to college as a mature student is not something I ever saw myself doing. What’s great though is that there a lot of others in the same boat so you quickly settle in and feel like part of a team.
Returning to studying takes some adjusting to, but there is support in abundance from the teaching staff at BCoT, you just have to ask for it. I had a clear focus on where I wanted to be at the end of the course and I think having a clear goal really helps.”
Pippa is now almost half way through studying for a degree in Occupational Therapy at Oxford Brooks University which she describes as “the best thing I have ever done.” She said:
“It is certainly challenging me and it’s not easy juggling the demands of a family and life in general. However, I am seizing an opportunity which I never thought would be available to me and this all stems from doing the Access course at BCoT. It really is never too late to learn, you just have to be brave and believe that you can do it.”
After the birth of her first child, Nicole decided it was time to “turn things round and make my life better.” She was working as a Health Care Assistant, which although suited her circumstances, was not fulfilling nor personally challenging enough. Her ambition was to go to university, study Psychology and become a teacher. However, she did not have the right entry qualifications to do this, so enrolled on an Access to Higher Education one year course at BCoT which she describes as a “life changing moment for me.”
“I never liked school, I thought I was stupid,” said Nicole. “As a result, I didn’t push myself and came away with average qualifications which were not a true reflection of how capable I really was.”
After one year on the Access course at BCoT, she went on to Bournemouth University to study Psychology and moved there with her family. After three years, she came away with a First Class Honours degree, and is now training to become an A level teacher in Psychology.
“BCoT turned my life around. The staff gave me confidence in my own abilities and encouraged me every step of the way. The Access course opened so many doors, allowed me to study for a degree and frankly, changed everything about me.”