How an Access to Higher Education course helped Kacie's nursing career
“When it comes to Access to HE, if, like me, you left school with no A Levels but then changed your mind and decided that you do want to go to university, then remember this course, as it’s a qualification accepted all by itself.”
Kacie, 22, North London
Kacie’s dream is to be a nurse and then in the future gain a master’s degree in nursing. In order to qualify for university, she required three A Levels, so she began her journey with Open Study College enrolling on an A Level Chemistry course. Soon after starting, Kacie became aware of the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Health, which is widely recognised by universities as the equivalent of three A Levels. Quickly, with the support of Open Study College, Kacie re-evaluated her study path and switched courses.
“Not long after I began my first distance learning course, Open Study College was really helpful when I explained that I wanted to switch to the Access to HE course. Even though I had already enrolled, received the study materials, and had technically started the A Level Chemistry course, Open Study College couldn’t have been more helpful and quickly guided me through changing courses without a hiccup.
“I’ve always enjoyed work, so with distance learning, it allowed me to earn a wage at the same time as studying. This was a key reason for following this path. Throughout my course, I’ve had a range of different jobs related to nursing as I’ve been trying to be in the best position for nursing while doing the course. I was a pharmacy adviser in Boots, I also completed healthcare training and then went on to being a healthcare support worker in A&E.
“Open Study College essentially offers you independence in your own learning. Some people don’t want to go to college, and I think especially these days younger people want to start work as quickly as possible. This way you get the best of both worlds - learning and earning.”
Going to uni after completing an Access to Higher Education course
Kacie is currently in her first year at university and explains that she feels a step ahead thanks to her studies with Open Study College. And as Kacie says, having already obtained her Access to Higher Education qualification will really make her stand out once she finishes university.
“I’ve just started the Trainee Nursing Associate course at Middlesex University, and it is incredible how much the Access to HE course has already been a tremendous help. A lot of the assignments I completed with OSC are forming the basis of tasks and papers I’m working on now. It has fully prepared me and has actually enabled me to help other students on the course too. Thanks to the Access to Higher Education course I have all this extra research, background, and knowledge.
“Although I’ve just started studying, I’m already thinking about my end goal. When students finish the university Trainee Nursing course, you then need to apply for a nursing top-up, and when it’s time for me to apply for this top-up, not only will I have the degree, but I’ll also have the relevant work experience I was able to complete whilst studying thanks to the flexibility of distance learning and, on top of that, the Access to HE qualification.
“When you look at two people on paper, one with a degree and the other with a degree and the Access to HE qualification, the person with both, which is me, will surely be a more attractive candidate.
“Currently only a handful of colleges actually offer the Access to Higher Education course so very few students will have the chance to gain this qualification. This means that one day I will definitely stand out! Also, when it comes to my master’s degree I’ll be working whilst studying and what my time with Open Study College will portray is that I’m more than capable of doing both at the same time.”
Kacie's words of wisdom for future learners
When asked about aspects she found challenging, Kacie explained that at first the level of support was a worrying factor for her, but she soon realised this wouldn’t be an issue and she offers some words of advice:
“Distance learning can be something that seems so daunting, especially when you hear the word ‘distance’, but if you do your research and choose the right place, you’ll understand that you’re not on your own at all.
“At first, I was worried about the level of support I'd receive, but with assignments I’ve been stuck on, my tutor has actually offered 1-2-1 sessions via Zoom, which has been incredible. Essentially, when I need to feel like I’m at school I can with the support of my tutor, and when I need some space from learning, I have that too with the ultimate flexibility.
“With distance learning, you manage your own education. You do need to be proactive with yourself and with your deadlines though. You have to want it for yourself.
“One thing that’s been a massive godsend is how thorough the assignment briefs are. With most assignments from school or even at university, I find myself thinking that I don’t know what they’re asking me, but this has never ever happened with Open Study College. I’ve always known exactly what is being asked of me as it’s really clear.
“When it comes to Access to Higher Education, if, like me, you left school with no A Levels but then changed your mind and decided that you do want to go to university, then remember this course as it’s a qualification accepted all by itself. It covers a huge range of interesting topics and subjects which means the end result is that you don’t need additional A Levels on top of it.”
Having successfully completed the Access to Higher Education diploma, Kacie is well on her way to pursuing her dream thanks to her hard work and dedication, as well as the huge advantages this course has already given her and will continue to give her in the future.
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