Over 50 individuals are soon to become full-time students at the University of Stirling, having successfully completed an Access to Degree Studies programme.
The Access students were presented with special certificates at a recent awards ceremony at the University to officially recognise their achievement. The students’ friends and family were also in attendance to celebrate their academic success.
The students were joined by Programme Director, Dr Kevin Brosnan, who congratulated them on their accomplishment. He said: “It’s very rewarding to work with Access students - who enhance the learning environment with their rich and varied life experiences.
“The Access Programme can be a steep and challenging learning curve but, additionally, many of the students complete the course whilst juggling other important responsibilities – such as looking after children or relatives and working – so these awards are a real testament to their impressive commitment.
He added: “We are delighted to be able to mark the students’ tremendous achievements in this way. We wish the graduates continued success and look forward to welcoming them back to the University in September when they will embark on various undergraduate degree programmes.”
Care leaver, Ashley Cameron (24) from Stirling – who won the prestigious NUS Scotland student of the year 2014 award earlier this year – has been accepted on to the University’s BSc (Hons) in Politics & Social Policy programme, starting in September.
She said: “I always knew I wanted to come to university; I just didn’t know what I wanted to study. The Access course provided the opportunity to try out different subjects which I really enjoyed.
“I feel like I’ve developed personally and socially as a result of the programme and that the world has opened up a lot more, so it’s really exciting and scary at the same time. I’ve learnt that anything is possible and I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to. I used to belittle myself and thought I would go nowhere in life, whereas now I know I belong at University and the world is my oyster.”
Another successful participant, Carol Stewart (41) from Balfron, was delighted at how easily she fitted into University life. She said: “I decided to do the course to see what I was capable of and totally surpassed my own expectations. I am really looking forward to starting a degree course in September.”
Ric Glynne-Owen (37) from Falkirk will progress on to a degree in Nursing in September. He said the best thing about the Access course was meeting new people with similar ambitions and gaining confidence in his capacity to learn and work at a higher-educational standard . “Gaining a degree is always something I have wanted to do,” he said.
“For someone who was told at college that they didn’t belong on a degree course, the Access course experience has been life-changing. I am now going to attend full-time study in the knowledge I have the right to be there because I demonstrated to both the University and myself that I have the right skills and attitude. ”
During the Award ceremony, Dr Kevin Brosnan also acknowledged the generous support provided by the campus bookshop, John Smith’s. The bookshop awarded ten special book token prizes to students whose academic performance had improved the most over the academic year. The ten prize recipients will use the book tokens for progressing on to their undergraduate studies at Stirling.
The Access to Degree Studies Programme is aimed at mature students who have been out of education for some time and have few or no relevant qualifications for entry to a degree. Run by the University’s School of Education, the course provides students with the academic requirements and study skills to get into university.