Getting Into Cambridge: Mature Students Offered Places

Two of our Access to Higher Education students have been offered conditional places to read English at Cambridge.

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a one or two-year course that prepares adults for university-level study. Ahead of our Access to Higher Education Open Event on the 17th May, we sat down with Emma and Rosemary to find out more about how their Access courses helped them prepare for university, and get offers from Cambridge.

Rosemary said: “I found out about the Access course while I was looking around on the internet, and thought it sounded interesting. When I told my family and friends about the course, they didn’t know what it was. When I started the course, the biggest things were that it was a way to meet like-minded people, start doing something meaningful, and have a goal to work towards.

“The atmosphere at Farnborough college is great – the staff, the students, they’re all welcoming, accepting, and you get all the help you need. The staff here all really put in the effort to make sure you do the best you can.”

[Left-Right] Rosemary and Emma 

Emma said: ‘My friend is at university studying Nursing now, after doing the Access to Allied Health Professions course, and recommended it to me. I was unhappy in an office job, and wanted to do something about it, so I applied for the Access course here. It’s been amazing – all the teachers are incredible, I can’t give them enough praise. They’re all really helpful, and always reply to any emails we send really quickly.

“I think people are put off by Access courses because they think of what school was like, but this is completely different. 

“As a mature student, the College is a happy environment where no-one’s segregated based on their age or background, and it’s just a great place to study. The course prepares you for what it’ll be like at university, on a small scale. [Rosemary: The Access course is tailored towards skills in university whereas sixth form isn’t!] That’s true. I don’t think many people know about Access – it’s like A Levels but better – we only have 2 exams a year, and a lot of us haven’t done anything like this for years, so we do get help with how to do essays and exams.”

Previous Access to Higher Education students graduate from University Centre Farnborough in October 2016.

Lecturer in English, Dan Lane, said: “The fact that Emma and Rosemary were given offers to read English at Cambridge is a real testament to the application and dedication that they put in to their studies.

“It’s really exciting and interesting that on the course, students get the freedom to choose what they do on their Independent Projects on just like with essays at university. Emma did her project on madness in women in the 19th Century, and Rosemary did hers on 1950s Science Fiction.

“It’s brilliant that they’ve had the confidence to put themselves forward for Cambridge – they’re part-time students who have been studying over two years, and have established themselves, persevered, and applied to a prestigious institution – they should be very proud of themselves.

“I’m sure that Emma and Rosemary will have a great time, and it’ll be a great experience. I’m looking forward to seeing how they get on while they’re studying towards their degrees, and seeing what happens next!”

Programme Manager, Brian Rubin said: “Congratulations to Emma and Rosemary who have secured offers to Cambridge – we’re very proud of all of our Access students’ progression, and this is particularly inspiring as it shows that students can go anywhere with this course.

“The Access course is an important stepping stone for preparing students for university-level courses, and we have seen students progressing to Higher Education both at our own University Centre, and elsewhere, including Royal Holloway, University of Portsmouth, and University of Winchester.”

Emma and Rosemary are now looking forward to getting their results, and we wish them all the best!