When Olivia was asked by a teacher on her Access course “have you considered applying to Cambridge?” she thought it was some kind of joke.
“As someone who had spent some time working and then as a stay-at-home Mum, I did not have the confidence to imagine that a prestigious university such as Cambridge could ever be a viable option for me.”
Whilst many students returning to learning choose to take A-levels, Access courses are also an excellent option. They are designed for people thinking about returning to Higher Education after a gap and don’t have the conventional qualifications to enter a competitive course. Olivia thought ‘why not!’ and so applied.
”When I arrived at Wolfson College I found a warm, welcoming, and non-pressured environment.” Olivia is now in the second year of her English degree.
The University of Cambridge has three colleges specifically for mature students aged 21 and over: Hughes Hall, St Edmund’s and Wolfson. The three colleges have come together to launch Cambridge 21+: an outreach programme aimed at UK students who will be 21 or over when they start their degree.
The programme will offer information on studying at Cambridge, advice on making a competitive application and support with study skills. The programme starts with a series of free online advice sessions between the 20th to 22nd April. These will give a taste of what life is like for a mature student and tips on how to navigate the process of returning to the world of study. Participants will then be able to book free 1:1 video call advice sessions with Admissions Tutors from the three colleges and take up the opportunity for a free visit to the University in July, when they can visit the colleges and meet other mature students.
Hannah Elkington, Outreach and Student Recruitment Officer at Wolfson College, says:
“The application process can be daunting for someone who is returning to education after a period away. We want to make it as easy as possible to navigate. One of the things that we know a lot of potential students struggle with is the lack of confidence in believing they can secure a place. There are a range of courses that may suit them and their skillset so it’s often just a matter of tailoring their expertise to the right pathway. Cambridge 21+ is here to provide that inspiration and support.”
As Sophie, a third-year Education student at St Edmund’s explains:
“I had wanted to go to university but life kept getting in the way. I wished I’d applied when I was in school so I thought why not give it a go. I thought that it would be a bit of a long shot but I gave it a go and hoped for the best!”
And Beth, a Law student from Hughes Hall, says:
“It can be an incredibly daunting prospect to go to university a bit later, let alone applying to Cambridge. Try not to let those fears deter you from applying, it’s an incredible experience to be here, and you gain so much more from studying when you are a little bit older…you appreciate every moment so much more. So, apply, don’t be scared”
The deadline for applications to attend the online sessions is the 13th April. Details can be found here..
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