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Q&A with Access to HE Learner, Heather Gent

Heather Gent has chosen to return to education as an adult learner to study the Access to HE Diploma (Science) at Stafford College. We recently chatted to Heather to hear all about her experiences of adult education and her hopes for a rewarding career in medicine.

Q. Why did you choose to return to education?

A. Due to various health issues, I never got the chance to complete my A Levels. Once my health improved, I took a complete change of direction and lived in Japan for a few years. I have worked in various roles but always knew that I wanted to go into medicine and healthcare. I have thought about returning to education so many times and then finally plucked up the courage to do it!

Q. Why did you choose to study the Access to HE Diploma (Social Science) at Stafford College.

A. I did some research and found that Stafford College were offering more flexibility which enabled me to work part-time. I also heard about the fantastic progression rate of Access to HE students, so it seemed like the best option for me.


Q. How do you juggle completing assignments alongside work and family commitments?

A. I make sure that I am organised and keep on top of all of my assignments. Once you start the course, you realise that there will be deadline dates for each assignment, and you can plan your life around those dates.

Q. How does the Access to HE course prepare you for university?

A.The course is helping me to develop my academic writing skills, referencing, essay structures and many other areas. It has also helped me to grow in other areas such as confidence building, communication and resilience. These are the things that you are learning throughout the course, you just don't realise it at the time.

Q. What support do you receive from your lecturers?

A. The lecturers are so supportive and allow for a variety of learning styles, whether you need more support or not. It is very individualised.

Q. What's next for you?

A. I want to go into Biomedical Science. I have applied to study at university in September with applications already submitted for University of Edinburgh, Queen Mary University of London, King's College and University of York. I am keeping my options open for now.

Q. To any adult learners out there contemplating returning to education, what would your advice be?

A. Don't give up on yourself. Just because your previous experiences of education didn't work out doesn't mean that is the end. There are always other routes to help you to progress to university. As one door closes, another one opens!

Q. Finally, what would you say to other people in your position, who are considering taking studying at NSCG?

Do it! Coming back into education as an adult learner can be daunting, but well worth the sacrifices. It’s so rewarding even if your unsure of going to university. The friends you’ll make and the experiences and confidence you’ll gain will be worth it.

If you've been inspired by Heather's story, find out more about studying an Access to HE course at Stafford College.