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

Twelve months later – by Lisa Hopkins, class of 2016

Twelve months ago I was lost. Having left school at 15 I had no GCSEs, I found myself turned away from many institutions and possible career paths because of this. As taking GCSEs as an over 25 is no longer funded I was caught between a proverbial rock and a hard place. I had almost begun to believe that this was my lot in life… But then I found Go Higher, an Access to the Humanities course at the University of Liverpool. What’s more, my lack of qualifications did not exclude me from entry.

Taking this course has changed my life and my prospects – but I am not special, these things have also been changed for the majority of my classmates too. I’m sure they won’t mind me saying that we started as a ramshackle, mismatched group over under confident adults. Some too shy to speak their thoughts at all, others speaking our thoughts too loud and without much thought. We are no longer that. Over the course of 12 months I have witnessed us all evolve in ways I could not have even appreciated before. I will not reveal all of these personal evolutions and ruin the surprise of it for any future students reading this; but I will tell you that not one person who has completed the Go Higher course regrets taking it, the only regrets I have heard are from those who chose to leave early.

Those from the ramshackle, mismatched group who have stuck it out and chosen to go on to full time university – and we are the majority – have all received offers from dream universities all over the UK. Our chosen future courses include things like Psychology, English, Philosophy, Sociology, History, Egyptology, Architecture and our time on Go Higher ensured we were applicable for every one, even those of us without other qualifications! Those of us who have finished and chosen not to go on to undergraduate programmes at university next year are still more confident, more educated and in my opinion, nicer people to be around after completing the Go Higher course. But please don’t take my word for it, take the opportunity to enrol on the course for yourself; if you finish the course and disagree with anything I have written here you will be able to write your own statement for future students!

Whatever you choose, all the best for your future endeavours,

Lisa Hopkins – Go Higher Class of 2016.

4 thoughts on “Twelve months later – by Lisa Hopkins, class of 2016

  1. Dear Lisa
    Hi! After you expressed so much and so eloquently I’m sure my comment – a mere sentence, or two, can’t match your depth of expression and creativity with words.
    I was fortunate enough to be accepted onto this years programme.
    After reading all you said, I am less nervous about pushing and developing myself in new and exciting ways.
    PS I still can’t believe you left school at 15! Cos the way you wrote was breathtaking.

    1. Dear Richard,

      Congratulations on your acceptance! Go Higher is the type of place where you get out what you put in – if you want to coast and sail through the opportunity is there for that. If you want to learn as much as possible, gain new perspectives on things and new appreciations, the option is there for that also. The fact you have come and put in the extra effort of reading comments and partaking in discussions here bodes well for your future on the course, in my humble opinion.

      All the best


      P.S. There are some things I wish I’d known at the start – The Font bar has a great reasonable priced menu for future lunches. If you drive you can park all day at the uni for 6 pound, or under the cathedral for 5 pounds until 6pm – but there is also free parking in some side streets about a 5 min walk away! You’re going to be part of a great support network, so if you ever need anything or have any struggles just let someone know (Anne is a legend) enjoy your year. Have fun. If it ever feels like it’s really tough and no one else is struggling like you – they are. Thinking and verbalising is actually kinda tough – especially as we’ve all been out of school for a while. The mentors will help. The only difference between the people who made it this year and those that didn’t, is the ones who made it never gave up.

    1. Hello Dee

      The cost depends on your status: as a rough indication, full fees are c £950 (payable in 3 instalments); there are half fees for anyone over 60 years of age; if you are in receipt of means tested benefits the cost is only a £50 admin fee.

      Do come along and see us at a University Open day – our next one October 8 2016.


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