Go Higher Blog | Opening doors to Higher Education
This blog is written by students and staff of Go Higher, Liverpool University’s unique one-year, part-time access Diploma for people aged 20 without the traditional entry qualifications for degree-level study. The programme has a long history of helping hundreds of talented individuals in to higher education, many of them people who had assumed that university was beyond their reach.
Visit Go Higher at the Tate, Albert Dock, Monday Oct 29 – Sunday Nov 04 for
Transits and Transformations: An exploration of learning as a mature student
We are putting the finishing touches to the schedule of activities running at Tate Liverpool when Go Higher takes up residency from Monday 29 October to Sunday 04 November. Our student videos are recorded, student artworks delivered, our banners and postcards have arrived (the right size and no spelling mistakes – phew!) and we are now ready and raring to go.
We have had lots of fun planning events for the week, in the hope that we can encourage as many people as possible to participate. We are really looking forward to hearing the learning stories of people from all kinds of backgrounds, and seeing visitors map their life and learning journeys as part of our artwork wALLstories.
Other events during the week include Mature Students in Conversation before an audience, an Art and Protest Seminar and a chance to record a vlog about your learning experiences and aims. Our full schedule is below. All are welcome and no booking is required.
Staff will be on hand all week to chat and answer your questions. We hope to see students old and new and everyone else who has an interesting story to tell (and that’s everyone).
Go Higher is the University of Liverpool’s part-time, one-year, access foundation Diploma for mature students. A stepping stone to degrees in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
My name is Amy, I am 27 and today is the day I got my overall grade for Go Higher and I got 70%! I could not be any more ecstatic with myself if I tried. However, I could not possibly take all the for credit for my final grade, the lecturers and the other students played a massive part in my studies and achievements and I do not think I could have got such a great grade without the support from them all! But enough about me boasting about how intelligent I think I am (or now know) It is the journey that I and so many others took to get to this point that really matters and in the words of Drake “We started from the bottom, now we here”
I finished Secondary School with 10 GCSEs and teachers had set high expectations for my A-levels, I wanted to do Law and become a barrister. I had set high expectations for my myself telling everyone that I will attend a law school after my A-Levels, but it definitely did not work out that way, in fact everything went in the opposite direction. After 3 months of 6th Form I realised that I didn’t enjoy Law as much as I though I would and before Christmas I dropped out of my A-levels and in the following September I went back to college and studied Beauty Therapy. I know what you’re thinking, how did I go from a barrister to a beauty therapist? Well I still don’t know the answer to that, my new dream was to join the Police, I was still interested in Law just a different aspect of it and I needed something to fall back on just in case. Once I had finished my NVQ 3, I pursued my dream of becoming a police woman. Spoiler alert, it never happened! I applied numerous times and went for panel interviews, but I just never made the cut so eventually I gave up. I blamed it on fate and believed that there must have been a reason, there had to be something special waiting for me.
Then it all started around 3 years ago when I found out that the University of Liverpool actually taught Egyptology as a degree and I knew that I had to make my dream a reality. What where the
Amy and friends on Go Higher trip to Suffolk
chances that a University so close to home actually taught the subject that I desperately wanted to do? There are only two other Universities that teach Egyptology in England, Oxford and UCL in London. It was fate, it had to be! So how did my dreams go from barrister to beauty therapist to police officer to EGYPTOLOGIST? It was something that I always had a fascination with, it was more of a research hobby than anything but when I found out that it was something I could actually be paid to do I knew why nothing else had worked out for me in the past.
My GCSEs were out of date and I had no A-levels, so I would not have been considered for direct entry to start the degree, but then I found the holy grail: ‘For adult learners with few or no formal qualifications, the University offers a one year, part-time, fast-track foundation course.’ I had just discovered the Go Higher course.I had just missed the deadline for the course that year, but the Administrator Anne promised me that once the applications are open for the following year she would contact me with all the information I needed to apply and she did not disappoint as, in November 2016, she emailed me a copy of the application and before I knew it I was invited for an interview.
Dr James Bainbridge was the first lecturer I met, he conducted my interview. I was so nervous because I really didn’t want to fail this interview, I have never wanted anything more! I can’t describe how nice he was during my interview, he even laughed at my awful joke about how I would now be put into the overs category on X Factor with Steve Brookstein and all the other mature contestants, and I just remember hoping that he would be my tutor if I got a place on the course. I was offered a place on the course, I think it was the X Factor joke that secured it for me, it was obvious proof that I had potential!
I arrived in September honestly very scared and a little confused, what had I got myself into? It had been 8 years since I last stepped into a classroom and I didn’t enjoy it then so would I enjoy it now? Honestly, I loved it, being in a classroom because you want to be gives you a completely different experience when it comes to education. And guess who my tutor was? JAMES! I knew this was going to be great. We were thrown into the deep end straight away, group presentations. HELP ME! I was lucky enough to be put into a group that all had clear ideas and we could actually all agree on most things. The support from James and Julia our Learning support mentor were amazing as well and really helped to calm nerves and talk about any worries that you or your group had.
Amy working on a philosophy assignment
I honestly looked forward to Wednesday every week (not only because I had a day off work) My favourite stage of the course had to be stage 3. I had chosen Literature, History and Philosophy for my final stage and I loved every single one of them. The passion James has for literature is the most inspiring thing, he made every lecture enjoyable and seeing his excitement when someone would discuss an idea that he hadn’t considered was the best thing ever. (Can you tell who my favourite lecturer was yet?) Dr Claire Jones who is the Academic Director of the course taught History and Philosophy, she is just as inspiring as James. Her presence was so calming, and she kept you engaged throughout the entire lecture always starting class debates and keeping everyone involved. Her classes in stage 3 were my favourite classes on the entire course, Votes for Women for History and Consciousness for Philosophy and I still get into debates with strangers about these subjects now.
And the other students! Where do I even start? The passion and motivation from them all was inspirational. We all supported each other, and we would all go out of our way to help someone who was struggling. The work load is equivalent to your 2nd year at University so it could get tough sometimes and there were plenty of tears and tantrum but the support from the other students was second to none. I have definitely made some lifelong friends, how can you not? Nobody understands more than they do what you are going through, and nobody can motivate you more. I cannot wait to see that the future holds for us all and I cannot wait to hear about the new students who have made the first step to the future. Go Higher has been the best experience ever, I would do it all over again for the rest of my life if I could!
After recently completing Go Higher at the University of Liverpool, I can honestly say it is by far one of the best decisions I have ever made and I am so pleased I decided to take up the offer of a place. I am a mum of two children (22 and 17, now grown up). I left school at 16 with a couple of qualifications O level/CSEs, yes that long ago! By the way I am 48. I went on to find myself in many different jobs that were very much without opportunities and once I had my children I suppose I was content to work part time to fit around bringing up the kids.
I have worked as a domestic for the University of Liverpool now for many years and it was here that I heard about Go Higher. So I thought I would give it a shot, well apply anyway, as I seemed to fit all the criteria on the application. Although I didn’t hold out much hope after all it was a university I was applying to! I quickly received a friendly email asking me to go and attend an assessment and an interview, (panic). I attended the interview and assessment thinking I probably won’t get past this part. I remember being so nervous especially at the thought of the maths paper, I hate maths, or used to! I had no need to be scared as the staff were so friendly and made me feel at ease which in turn made the whole process feel very informal. I will always remember one of the tutors that day telling me I had taken the biggest step just by turning up for the interview.
I still didn’t hold out much hope as my maths and English were so rusty. However, a couple of weeks later I received an email with the news that I had been offered a place on the course. I was thrilled as I had also been given the time off work to attend. So I began to look forward to September. The Go Higher course requires you to attend all day Wednesday with the requirement that the rest of your studies and assignments are to be done at home.
September arrived and so did the nerves, I remember asking myself the usual questions: was I capable? Am I too old? Is everybody else going to be a brain box! So I talked myself into just turning up and seeing how the first day goes, and maybe I could do a runner if things got bad. Around 10.30am on the first day of our three-day induction, somebody suggested coffee, what a word. So we all sort of ambled over to the coffee shop, we were all complete strangers, all scared and confused, not just me. What strikes me about that time is that friendships were formed that morning over coffee, and probably long lasting ones too.
To my amazement I survived day one, and so retuned the next day making the same deal with myself that I could always do a runner if things got bad. That day was our first lecture it was so exciting. It was with James our English lecturer. He gave a reading from ‘Jude the Obscure’, and it was at this moment I thought I’m in, and I guess I knew that I would be in for the long haul.
This past year I have thoroughly looked forward to coming to campus each Wednesday. There have been many highlights not to mention an amazing long weekend residential trip to Suffolk which tied in perfectly with my Literature and History modules. A weekend away with no Wi-Fi no and no television with the added bonus of snow and the most beautiful landscapes. It certainly was an unforgettable trip. I have met some truly amazing people and hopefully made a few lifelong friends along the way. The tutors and lecturers are always ready to help and their feedback has been invaluable, nothing is ever too much trouble. There is also plenty of support from fellow students and I think this is what makes Go Higher special, it really is a very supportive environment.
I now hold a conditional offer to study English Literature and History here at the University of Liverpool, and I am waiting, fingers crossed for the rest of my grades to come in. Looking back to this time last year I never would have dreamed that this was at all possible, just by forcing myself to turn up and then taking one step at a time, I soon began to love it.
Go-Higher has given me so much confidence, I still cannot believe how far I have come. Also, it is actually fun, it can get a little stressful around deadlines but there are many laughs. Finally, I have to say that I would just love do it all over again as I miss Wednesdays so much, along with some of the friends I have made, but I know it is time for me to take another step.