Student Profiles

Here you can find a selection of profiles that current and former access students have submitted sharing their memories of studying at Glasgow and their new career journey's.

Victoria Partridge

My name is Victoria and I am 30 years old currently in the third year of an Earth Science degree at the University of Glasgow.Victoria Partridge

My access programme 

I found out about the access programme whilst looking over many different types of access to University options online. This access programme in particular appealed to me as I could continue to work through the day and attend at night. I remember what eventually gave me the push to apply was reading a former access student quote that said, “Don’t worry about what age you will be when you graduate, you are still going to be that age so you might as well be that age but have a degree and a career you can be excited about!”

At the time of applying I honestly did not have any career goals, I would constantly keep setting little goals. Such as the first semester of access then the second, then when I started at University I would think just get to Christmas! Now three years in my goal is to become a volcanologist, I hope to go on to further study after graduation and do a master’s degree.

My Glasgow experience 

One of the highlights of the access course for me was just feeling like I had a brain again! Having been in a rut of a not very stimulating job for years, just getting out a couple of nights a week learning and studying again was fantastic. The tutors on access are amazing and a great support, they really do give you all the tools you need to succeed. Making new friends is good too and having people in the same situation as you to share the experience is really nice. I still keep in  touch with my access pals and see them about the University which great. Doing an access course at the University of Glasgow makes you feel a part of the University before you even start your degree. You can also use the library whilst on access and it is really impressive!

The outstanding reputation that the University of Glasgow has means you will feel very lucky to have the chance of studying here and the architecture of the main building still has me in awe a bit every time I walk through the quads! 

The only challenging aspect of the access course for me was my confidence, once I realised I was intelligent and I could do it there was nothing to hold me back.

What now? Vic group shot

After completing the access programme I accepted my offer from the University of Glasgow and started in September 2014. It was very daunting leaving a full time job with a wage to be a student, however it’s the best thing I ever did. Since starting my degree here I have been lucky enough to enjoy many field trips and travel opportunities both in Scotland and abroad. Last year I applied and was successful to gain a place on a leadership programme which took me to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This was a fantastic life experience I will never forget and fully funded by the University. I was also part of a geological expedition to the Canary Islands where we observed active volcanism, carried out field work and explored lava tubes.

Over the next few years I hope to graduate with a good degree and hopefully go on to further study maybe a masters or even a Phd, as I love what I study! Ultimately career wise the aim is to become a volcanologist and travel the world doing something I enjoy.

John McDowall

My access programme

A few years ago, I was working full time in an unsatisfying retail job when I decided to enrol in the access programme.I had become interested in physics over the previous year or two but I didn’t‌ study it at school. The access programme provided a way for someone with no previous academic experience of physics to get into a degree course at Glasgow whilst also fitting around my work schedule.


My Glasgow experience

I enrolled in the physics and maths access courses. The experience was excellent, the lecturers were extremely helpful and supportive. I found that what i learned there was challenging, but a great basis upon which to build when i started my undergrad degree. The whole experience was very positive.

What now?

After I completed my access course I began my Physics degree at Glasgow. I graduated with an MSci in Theoretical Physics in 2014. I’m now I’m my 3rd year of a PhD in Particle Physics Theory at Glasgow. I’m hoping to continue in academia with a postgrad after I graduate. Enrolling in the access programme was my first step towards doing something that I really love and although its often been a difficult path I don’t regret any of it. I’m extremely grateful for all of the help and support that I got.

Susan Bloor

My access programmeSusan Bloor

I chose the Access course because I wanted to see if I could handle the academic standard that I knew would be required to re-train as an accountant. Yes, I pretty much had that career re-training path in mind when I started.  Obviously I was pleased that the course was with an established university- I didn't feel like it was one of those for-profit courses that are rarely useful but always expensive.

My Glasgow experience

The highlights of studying on the course were the friends I made (and still have). Chris and I have come through the university accountancy course together and I have found that, as mature students, the mutual support is pretty indispensable. The Access course was challenging, but not as difficult or time-consuming as university. It was the perfect preparation really- if you can't hack Access, then you won't be able to handle the demands of university. The instructors, including Alec, were great and the content of the course that I took was actually very valid for the university course. The Economics course in particular was virtually repeated (at a higher level) in the first year at UG. Very handy!!

My experience at UofG has overall been very positive, but juggling everything (part-time work, family, etc) has been a real challenge. I can say hand on heart that Access really set me up to deal with that pressure. I had initially thought that, as a very mature student, I would be very much ignored by my fellow students. However, I've got quite a few friends here and find that mature students like myself are generally regarded as less of a novelty in the UK than they are where I'm from in the US.

What now?

I'm not sure what's next for me. I'm currently applying for positions in accountancy firms but may not go down the graduate trainee route. Ideally, I'm hoping to be self-employed at some point, but will definitely be utilising my degree for whatever work I choose to do. 

Kieran Docherty

My access programme

I was sitting in a job that was going nowhere, in a call centre, reading with every chance that I got and I decided I didn't want to be there anymore. But I'd been there for around 7 years at that pointKieran Docherty and didn't know how to move on. One of my friends lot me about the access programme and how they really enjoyed it. So I researched it and it was maybe the first time I was genuinely excited about anything like that since I was a teenager.

I've loved reading for such a long time so I wanted to get into something were I can use that love, and I discovered that I love to write through the blog I set up for practice. Without the qualifications, I knew I didn't stand a chance if I was to apply for writer or editor positions, or jobs at a publisher, so I had to pick subjects that could help me get there. I completed access and picked Comp Lit, Film and TV, and English Language in my first year. I've also joined the Glasgow Guardian to help me get experience in that field.

My Glasgow experience

I was so surprised at how accessible it was. I think there's been this misinformation that Glasgow is a University for a certain type of person, but that's wildly untrue. I meat such an eclectic mixture of people and tutors on the access programme alone, friends that I've kept even now that I've moved onto to full-time study.

A big pro for me was being taught by people who seemed to have a genuine love for what they do. That love was clear in how they approached teaching a bunch of people with other things going on, like work and family.

It's also incredibly satisfying when you see that grade you were striving for, or when you get that certificate in June.

The Access team were a huge help with the important things, like applying to UCAS. They're also there to help with any queries and I learned very quickly that they don't see your questions as dumb, even if you might. Irene, Alec, and Monica should have got a medal for how much they helped all of us throughout that year.

A big challenge for me was trying to relearn how to write an essay. It had been 9 years since I'd actually written an academic essay, but the support and resources that the university provides were excellent. My grades got higher as the course went on and this was due to the feedback I was given, and the support I received. 

Chris Lowe

My access programmeChris Lowe

I first found out about the University of Glasgow (UofG) access course during a visit to a career centre in Glasgow, I was working in a bar at the time and thought there must be more to life than this. I left school at 16 years old to follow my passion at the time and attend college to study music, this was a mistake. After the course finished I realised there was very little demand for musicians of any type and decided to get a full-time job.

From the age of 18 until 24 I worked in a minimum wage job with the only prospects being a one-step promotion and earning an extra 25 pence an hour. It was then that ‘the penny’ dropped and decided that I had to at least try and make a better future for myself. Originally, I wasn’t entirely sure which course or even what I wanted to study! But after careful consideration and plenty of advice, I chose to study maths and economics at the UoG access course at the St. Andrews Building campus.

My Glasgow experience

The highlight of the course was the sense of achievement it gave me, as mentioned I left school with no prospect of ever going to University so to get a chance and then take that chance was massive in my development as a person and as a student. I also made many friends and to this day 5 years later I still see and talk to the ones who are still at the University. Both the maths and the economics courses were very challenging as I was working near full time alongside my studies, I found that if you did the handouts and homework as soon as you were given them then it made all the difference. I would suggest to future students that a WhatsApp group of some sort would be beneficial as homework could get challenging and different points of view always help. The two end of year exams were slightly harder than expected but I still managed to achieve the goal of getting accepted onto the (Bacc) accounting with finance course at the University of Glasgow.

What now?

After completing access I began to get in the mindset of going to full time education once more as it had been nearly ten years since school! I made sure to keep up with all the coursework as and when it arrived during my first two years on the (Bacc) course. I felt like I worked harder than a lot of students but this is attributable to me being away from learning for a long time. It has worked for me as I am now one week away from submitting my dissertation and I have 2 exams to go, from access until now I have taken 22 exams at the University. The first one at access was as nerve-wracking as my 22nd one was, they don’t get any easier but as long as you listen to the lecturers then you can’t go wrong.

My career is currently undecided, I would like to go into postgraduate studies in the form of a PhD in accountancy with finance but I am not sure if my girlfriend will let me be a student for another few years! I have had interviews recently for some accountancy firms and for industry firms too, I would like to keep my options open for now but it is a great feeling to know that you belong at this level now rather than working what could be a dead-end job forever. I always remember the two speakers they had at my Access introduction and I always wanted to be that person standing there telling the next generation that “If I can do it, then you guys will have no problem.” I think the more information that potential students get then the better, it can be a daunting task deciding as an adult to go back to education.