Gateway to HE: Social Studies – Why this course? Why now? – OurWarwick

Gateway to HE: Social Studies – Why this course? Why now?

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As this is my very first blog post ever I wondered how on earth I was going to start it off, so I decided the best way is to just to dive right in and start from the beginning.

As I have put in my Profile I had wanted to find a way to further my own education for some years, well to be honest right from when I didn’t get the A Level results I wanted. Back when I was 18 it didn’t seem possible or practical to re-do A Levels, so I ventured in to the world of work. I worked as an administrator mostly in Marketing, Commercial contracts, and IT Support roles. I got married, had my daughter and son, took a short break from work whilst they were very small, and then back full-time into more admin roles, this time in Sales, with a little foray into Finance.

Although I obtained Marketing and IT related qualifications, I still felt the deep regret at not having gone to University to do a degree.

My daughter went off to University a few years ago, and my son went off to the University of Leeds in September just gone. With more time on my hands, and a few life changes taking place I decided now was the time to really investigate if it really was too late to get that degree after all.

Internet searching led me to the Gateway to HE: Social Studies course here at the University of Warwick. I skimmed the course contents and really liked what I read. The course sounded varied, interesting and thought provoking. It is a level 3 course which is like A level, and successful completion (attendance throughout the programme and passing all 3 pieces of assessed work), guarantees a place on the BA (Hons) Social Studies degree.

My initial thoughts were that there would be some reason as to why this wouldn’t be possible for me. I am not a natural pessimist; indeed, I am often thought to be quite the opposite, but I didn’t honestly think I would find a way on to the course. Maybe it would be yet another Access to Higher Education course that was full or part-time during the day which again would rule it out for me as I work full-time and need to. Maybe it would be too expensive (finances being a bit of an issue for me right now). Maybe my old qualifications wouldn’t be good enough, and maybe I would be too old to be accepted (being post 30!!).

To my absolute amazement, the course was run twice a year one evening per week (Nov-May), or one morning per week (Apr-Aug). That was one tick in the box. It was unbelievably free of charge (two ticks…). The entry requirements were flexible, with consideration given for non-traditional qualifications, work and life experience, and applicants normally interviewed by the course selector (three ticks…). Finally, there didn’t seem to be an age restriction (four ticks….).

This seemed too good to be true, especially as it was at an institution like the University of Warwick which is so prestigious and typically only takes students with high grades going in from A Level or equivalent route.

I almost didn’t apply as I felt I probably wouldn’t get onto the Gateway course in the first place.

I decided to research this a little further. I watched the video by Steve Gascoigne, Gateway Tutor. His video inspired me to look further into the course so I watched videos from students at the Centre for Lifelong Learning. These were people I identified with. People who didn’t think they could do the course, but gave it a go, and would recommend others to do the same.

After a self-doubting do I or don’t I moment, I thought go for it, fill in that online application. The application was very straightforward. I wrote a 500-word personal statement saying why I wanted to do the course, and I was just entirely honest about why. I received an email asking me to go along to interview with Steve Gascoigne very soon after my application had been sent. I must say I was somewhat nervous.

Steve was excellent, very friendly, very welcoming, and he put me at my ease very quickly. The interview was based around why I wanted to do the course. Once he asked that question I had lots to say, as you can imagine. He had taken the trouble to print off my personal statement, had clearly read it, and asked me questions about it. How refreshing was that, I have been for interviews in the past where the person clearly hadn’t read anything about me until I was sitting opposite them.

I was offered a place on the Gateway course. I did have to pinch myself a couple of times, and didn’t quite believe it until I had it in writing. To say I was truly delighted really is an understatement.

My next blog will be about turning up on the first night, my group, and the first few weeks.

If you have any comments or questions please ask away, I will answer quite happily.

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