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College life is the way forward for Sophie

We recently caught up with Childhood Studies student, Sophie, who’s just a few months away from graduating from the College with a foundation degree.

With the lifelong aspiration of becoming a primary school teacher, Sophie’s insistence that she did not want to go to university could have prematurely ended that dream, until her Sixth Form had a visit from Gower College Swansea.

“I was adamant that I did not want to go to university,” says Sophie. “I felt that it was not right for me. I study and work better in small groups because I doubt myself and my work a lot. Then, a speaker from Gower College Swansea visited us the day before the UCAS application deadline. He mentioned the twilight delivery of the Childhood Studies Foundation Degree and I knew straight away that it would be something that I would enjoy and potentially be good at.”

The fact that a Higher Education course could be delivered in a college environment, with small class sizes, and an abundance of support was ideal for Sophie.

“Gower College Swansea was the perfect opportunity for me to get a degree in better-suited surroundings, whilst also being closer to home,” says Sophie. “The class sizes were what appealed to me most; there are only seven in my class. The idea of one-to-one help from the lectures coupled with the fact they would be able to get to know every one of us on a personal level was a big draw.”

In addition to the supportive surroundings, Sophie likes the flexibility of studying at a college.

“The College is very lenient and flexible with your studies and considers the fact that some people have full time jobs,” adds Sophie. “The twilight hours delivery of the course worked extremely well for me because I could still work three or four times a week and still get my placement hours in on the days that I had lectures.”

The College’s atmosphere has helped Sophie grow on a personal and academic level.

“My favourite thing about studying at the College is all the new friends I have made,” says Sophie. “If I were to have studied this course in a university setting, I do not think I would have made as many friends as I am a very shy person. If I were to study in a room with a few hundred students, I would have been very anxious. I definitely would not have learnt as much as I have now.

My favourite experience has been learning how to write academically. I never thought I would be able to do so, the same goes for referencing. At first, I thought it was the worst thing in the world and I really struggled to pick it up, but now I can even reference without my handbook.”

After completing her course, Sophie is determined to further push on with her studies.

“I am planning to top up my foundation degree and then following on from that I would like to get my Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGCE) in order to become a primary school teacher as this has been my lifelong aspiration,” says Sophie. “I am really looking forward to graduating; it is such a big milestone to be able to say you have graduated from a higher education course, especially because neither of my parents went to university.”

Sophie’s experience at Gower College Swansea has prompted her to recommend the course and the College to others.

“My experience at the College has been amazing. If I could do it all over again, I would,” added Sophie. “The staff are so friendly, and they do not make things too serious. You can have a laugh with them and still be able to get things done. The library staff are also extremely helpful; they are always willing to read any work and proofread it before you submit it.

Coronavirus had an impact on my experience at the College, as most of my second year has been remote online learning. However, the College delivered excellent lectures and was still able to help as much as they could, given the circumstances. I think that this course is a perfect course for someone that may feel that the university environment is not for them or if they work better in smaller class sizes.”

Anyone wishing to follow in Sophie’s footsteps can apply for the Childhood Studies Foundation Degree (Twilight delivery) at Gower College Swansea.

This course is suitable for those who want to achieve a formal qualification that combines work-based activities and academic study.