Access to Higher Education, Mature learners, Student Experience, Widening Participation

An inspiring and transformative 9 months, by Anthony Bailey

I discovered the University of Liverpool’s Go-Higher Access Diploma after making a conscious decision at the age of 48, and following a period of illness, to return to study and to aim higher. After considering courses at several different colleges and universities around the local area I applied to Go-Higher, because being an arts and humanities based course, with a bit of social sciences in the mix too, it was the course that not only offered myself the widest study options upon finishing the course, but it also allowed me to return to study first, and once I had got back into the swing of studying, then consider which subjects of study I would like to progress too.

Returning to study after such a long time was of course a little daunting but Go-Higher proved early on to be engaging and quickly brought both students and staff  together. With the course being taught on the main university campus every week, it places everyone at the heart of university life, and from the induction week onwards we were all encouraged to look beyond the course and take part in any of the day to day activities around the university, from joining student societies to attending open public lectures and discussions. That advice I’m so glad I followed. How rewarding it was to sit in a guest lecture and allow myself to be inspired by the same things that have inspired many others before me.

I started the course without any firm ambitions of what I was going to study after the course. I thought I would just see how my own marks worked out before I made any firm decisions. This course was cleverly structured so you learn what you need to learn as you progress through the course. There was no bombardment or overload of work, but instead structured modules increasing the level of challenge, and of course friendly and supportive tutors, most of whom started their own university careers through Go-Higher, who are never more than an email or a Wednesday session away. I also enjoyed being part of a diverse and collective group of students who were all gaining the skills and confidence equally to progress on to further academic study. We all watched each other begin the course, progress and finish the course with very similar shared experiences, and I’m more than sure we will all continue to provide mutual support to each other when starting our undergraduate studies too.

At the end of the course, looking back, I surprised myself, did I really get through all the work …… YES! …… And passed with a top mark too. I am now looking forward to studying for a BSc in Psychology, with the University of Liverpool starting this September, and I can’t thank Go-Higher, its tutors and support staff, and my fellow students enough for what has been a life changing opportunity.

My one and only regret from across the year was not having enrolled on Go-Higher years ago.

Aim higher, because you can do it.

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