Access course students celebrate success

More than ninety per cent of students who have completed a new access course have been offered places to study for a degree.

Access course students celebrate success

The part-time, year-long programme provides adults returning to education with the skills and qualifications needed to study for a degree in arts, humanities or social sciences.

A celebration event took place in the University’s Playfair Library on Friday, 5 July, when the students received a certificate of completion.

Flexible programme

The programme launched in August last year with a group of 50 adult learners.

They worked with academics from the University’s Centre for Open Learning to complete 60 credits needed for entry to degree programmes, and receive support with university applications.

Forty participants have completed the course over two semesters, with 37 gaining a place at the University of Edinburgh in September this year.

Widening access

The students juggled their studies with full-time work, family commitments and caring responsibilities. Many also live in so-called SIMD20 areas – the 20 per cent most deprived areas in Scotland.

The programme is one of a number of initiatives being introduced as part of the University’s Widening Participation Strategy – launched in October 2018 – which aims to further improve access into higher education.

It is wonderful to celebrate the students’ remarkable achievements. I am delighted that such a large proportion are continuing their studies at Edinburgh, which is testament to the great support offered by our Centre for Open Learning. Widening access is an absolute priority for us, and I hope we are able to build on this success and encourage more adult learners to consider returning to education.

Professor Peter MathiesonUniversity of Edinburgh Principal and Vice Chancellor

Student testimonials 

Ross Morrison read about the new Access Programme online and thought it would be a great opportunity to help him achieve his goal of going to university. 

I didn’t achieve the grades needed to go to university after school, but always had a love for history. This has enabled me to get a place to study archaeology and social anthropology. The flexible nature of the course meant I could work full-time during my studies. It has been a fantastic experience.

Ross Morrison 

Emily Bruce suffers from chronic health conditions which were diagnosed three years ago.

She lost her job when her condition meant that she was unable to work. As a result, she was forced to live in several different homes in Midlothian. She now lives in council accommodation in Gorebridge.

My condition meant that I missed my first interview, but the course leaders were so understanding and supportive – as they have been throughout the whole year. There is no way I would have been offered a place to study Psychology without the programme. I still can’t believe that I am going to study at the University of Edinburgh – I am so proud of myself.

Emily Bruce

Tristan Craig has been working in administration and retail since leaving Forrester High School in Edinburgh.

Having completed the University’s Access Programme, he is going to study Ancient and Medieval History at Edinburgh in September.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the course has changed my life. I have been out of education for a number of years, and I felt that door had closed on me, and I didn’t know how to access it. The support offered to me – both professionally and personally – has been invaluable. Now I can’t wait to be a full time student in September.

Tristan Craig

Related links

University of Edinburgh Access Programme

Widening Participation 

Homepage and social media images © Mihaela Bodlovic 2019