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From home-school­ing to uni­ver­si­ty – for­mer stu­dent talks about how Col­lege helped her dis­cov­er her pas­sion for adacemia.


It’s never too late to go back into education or start a career.

Whether you’re wanting to return to learning after a long break, or want to get relevant qualifications to progress onto university, our Access to HE courses are geared up specifically with that in mind.

Access courses are intended for adults who do not have A Levels or a Level 3 qualification and pathways include Health & Social Care, Science and Humanities.

Sarah Read, applied for the Access to HE course in Salisbury in 2018, with her sights set on becoming a lecturer.

Having been home-schooled, the classroom and College environment, was a completely new experience for the then 19-year-old.

Although it could have been daunting, Sarah, who lives in Tisbury, said she loved every minute of her time at the College and prepared her not only for university life, but also taught her a range of skills she will be able to use in life and her career.

The 21-year-old said: “This course was fantastic and I will never forget the year I spent on it.

“The people I met, the topics I studies and the skills I acquired, have all helped to shape me and me time in education.

“Having been home educated, I never imagined I would enjoy formal education. I’d also never written an essay in my life! But the introduction the Access course gave me, I am now working towards becoming an academic and want to eventually go on to ear a PhD.

“I plan on pursuing education for the rest of my life, and this positive, growing relationship I have developed with education, specifically Sociology and English. It is all thanks to the course and lecturers.

“Even if I just focussed on the study skills I learned alone, it was so worth it; I was much more prepared for referencing than anyone else on my course at university!

Sarah was particularly fond of her lecturer Sue Bailey, who she described as hugely supportive.

She said: “I adored my lecturers, especially Sue. I just can’t overstate how wonderful she is – like a god amongst mortals!

“Whenever I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, or lot, they all supported and reassured me. They helped me put things into manageable chunks and get my work completed to the best of my abilities. When I produced good work they congratulated me and helped me recognise what I had done right, and how to harness this knowledge. I really can't speak highly enough of any of them.”

Making new friends was also important for Sarah.

“I made some really good friends on the course, three of whom chose the same university as me. The friendly, safe environment the lecturers created really encouraged me to socialise more than usual, as I am quite an introverted individual, and I really value the experiences I gained because f the people I met.

Out of the six students studying the Humanities pathway that year, three progressed on to study at the University of Winchester and were later selected for the Highflier Achievement Award for students with an average mark of at least 70 per cent at the end of each year of study.

Sarah said: “From the moment I started looking at universities, I had my heart set on the University of Winchester. It was where my brother-in-law studied, the campus was very welcoming and the lecturers were all lovely.

“I didn’t know the scheme existed but was shocked and elated when I was invited to join at the beginning of my second year, so I accepted the invitation immediately! I am one of only a few Sociology students on the scheme, so the opportunity to meet people studying a variety of subjects is wonderful.”

Sarah is now almost at the end of her second year.

She added: “This year has been difficult, preparing my dissertation proposal and struggling through the pandemic, but we’re all muddling through.

“For a few years now, I have had my heart set on lecturing and becoming an academic. I am also looking into volunteering and social work as I have experience in this field and my studies have revealed to me even more social inequality than I had previously known about.”

If you would like to find out more about our Access to HE course, visit

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