“The preparation it gave me for university was excellent”: Former Kirklees College Access to HE Students share their experiences


students sit around a table chatting

Did you know that you can fast-track your way to university in just one year? An Access to HE Diploma is a Level 3 qualification that prepares students for university and degree-level study if they have been out of education for a while or left school with too few qualifications to be able to go straight to university.

Kirklees College offers a number of Access to HE courses in Art and Design, Business, Computing, Health Science Professions, Humanities & Social Sciences, and Science. The Access to HE Diploma is widely recognised by UK universities and many actively encourage applications from Access to HE students.

In recent years, Access to HE students at Kirklees College have gone on to achieve great things at universities across the UK. Simon Hogben studied Access to HE Humanities and Social Science in 2021/22 and is currently a Social Work student at the University of Bradford. Speaking about his time on the course, Simon said:

“I loved my time on the Access course. I think Access truly prepared me for the beginning of university as it gave me excellent knowledge of the theories I would use in my social work degree.

I personally believe that the preparation it gave me for university was excellent and skills such as referencing, citing, and essay structure were much better for attending an Access course. The tutors were a brilliant help with great feedback, great tutorials, and assisting with applying to university through UCAS.”

The college also offers Access courses at Level 2, which act as a stepping stone to the Level 3 Diploma and allow those who don’t already have sufficient GCSE/Level 2 grades to apply straight for a Level 3 Access course to start their Access journey.

One student who started at Level 2 is Georgia Cooke, a second year Physiotherapy student at the University of Huddersfield who studied Access to Health Sciences at Kirklees College. Speaking about her time at college, Georgia said:

“I started my Access journey on Level 2 as I had been out of education for 10 years. The supportive community fostered within the Access course was instrumental in my success. The guidance and encouragement from tutors were invaluable, providing reassurance during moments of uncertainty.

Level 3 can be intense, however, I gained essential skills that I implement every day in my university studies, such as time management and study techniques. These skills have proven instrumental in my transition into university. Many topics covered in the Access course are transferable to my current studies, biology and research in particular. The Access course can seem daunting, but it is a great stepping stone to a meaningful career.”

For Paige Wright, the Access to HE Health Sciences course at Kirklees College helped her achieve her dream of becoming a midwife. When asked about her time on the course, Paige praised the flexible nature of the course:

“I applied for the access course at Kirklees College in view of following my dream of becoming a midwife. When applying for the course I worked part-time and volunteered at the local Auntie Pam’s supporting women and their families. I continued to work part-time during the course and found the timetabling easy to follow as it was the same days/times each week which also helped for childcare planning.”

Paige has gone on to study Midwifery at the University of Huddersfield, after being offered a place at all five of her chosen universities.

Adriano Oliver, another former Access to HE student, praised the college’s tutors for their support in helping him to prepare for his Psychology degree:

“The tutors at Kirklees College are experts in understanding where you come from and what you need. They sit and talk to you. They see your strengths and the traits you need to improve and provide the tools for your personal and academic development. I can analyse and interpret statistics, describe theories, criticise scientific papers in such a way I thought it was impossible before, thanks to Kirklees College and its staff.”

Applications for Access to HE courses at Kirklees College for September 2024 remain open. To find out more about Access to HE and all its benefits, click here.

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