As university students across the country are preparing for the start of term, we talk to two of our alumni who are about to start brand new degree courses in the capital.
Looking forward to LSE
Laura got a four As in her A levels and is heading to the London School of Economics to study Environment and Sustainable Development.
“I am super happy with the fact that I will be starting my BSc at LSE in September, and I know that The Access Project has definitely helped me get this far. To be honest, as a first generation student it all also feels somewhat surreal and I hope I can tutor others in the near future, doing my part to help students as this programme has helped me.”
Laura also spoke to us about being part of The Access Project programme.
“It was a great experience and Lucy was a lovely tutor. My lessons varied from help with revision and understanding the subject I was tutored in, to choosing the right university course for me, and making sure my application was at the highest possible standard. These past two years have been challenging, but The Access Project managed to ease my nerves and make it seem somewhat enjoyable.
From the guidance with UCAS, to the time Marcella and Beth, my University Access Officers, spent with us explaining our options and easing our worries of the future, The Access Project acted as comfort and reassurance amongst the overwhelming stress of A Levels, (and of course the snacks were always a bonus haha!). I am very pleased and grateful for taking part in The Access Project and truly believe that you are all doing an amazing job, so thank you.”
Excited for King’s
Laura’s best friend, Layla, also got four As at A level, in Economics, Politics, Geography and Business Studies, and is preparing to study Geography at King’s College London.
Layla told us,
“I am really excited to attend my first-choice university, King’s College London. I am hoping I’ll be able to adjust to having more of an independent study style of education, rather than A levels which are more guided study.”
Layla joined The Access Project at the start of Year 13 and she explained why she decided to apply for our programme.
“I knew some of my friends who had participated during GCSEs and found the programme very helpful so I really wanted to apply when it came to A levels. I had been told by friends and siblings that the transition into A levels from GCSEs was intense, so having the opportunity of extra support was definitely something I was interested in. Moreover, I really wanted to attend university and wasn’t sure where to start when looking for the best course and university for me, so I wanted guidance and advice during this stressful process.”
We asked Layla what she felt she had learnt on our programme.
“My tutor, Philip, really helped me in Economics. Having that extra support in areas that I found particularly difficult was beneficial and made sure that my knowledge did not have any gaps, preparing me for anything that may come up in my exams. One of the best things was that any question that I may have been not confident enough to ask in my school lessons, I was able to ask in these tutor sessions. Lastly, during half term when I was not in school, having these lessons kept me on track which was great.
In Year 12, my University Access Officer Beth was really helpful in guiding me in which courses and universities would be suitable. In Year 13, my University Access Officer Marcella was a huge help when writing personal statements. She kept us on track and made sure our applications represented us as well as possible. As well as educational guidance, she provided us with emotional support. She always gave us encouragement and motivation which helped so much during this difficult and stressful period.
The programme also helped me to develop my communication skills. I had to be able to say what I needed help with and ask different questions. This allowed me to be more confident when speaking and in being able to identify my own needs that I wanted extra support with.”
Finally, we asked Layla what she would say to any students considering whether to enrol on our programme.
“It’s definitely worth applying. This is because you receive support on your education through tutor sessions and you get access to the programme Uplearn. I used Uplearn for Economics as that was one of the subject courses and it was great. For every topic there were videos as well as exam style questions. It is expensive so having it included in the programme was fantastic as I used it a lot.
Additionally, you receive guidance when applying for university and in the processes that follow this, such as student finance and booking accommodation. This makes Year 13 so much less stressful and manageable. The Access Project gave me the best opportunity to succeed and I don’t think I would have done as well without it.”
We wish Laura, Layla and each one of our alumni all the best as they embark upon their studies.
Laura and Layla are just two of more than 1,800 students who enrolled on The Access Project’s programmes last academic year. Our students are almost twice as likely to place at top UK universities in comparison to statistically similar peers. One hour of volunteering per week can help students who are underrepresented at universities to access a top university, giving them the best chance at social mobility.