Widening access initiative gets seal of approval from college graduates

Widening access initiative gets seal of approval from college graduates

A group of students from across Scotland have just completed a new initiative that prepares college graduates for life at the University of Aberdeen.

The University’s first Engineering Transitional Summer School was designed to act upon the recommendations of the Commission on Widening Access to encourage college students to continue their studies at university.

The two-week summer school focused on four key areas - mathematics, computer programming, materials science and integrating into university life.

Matthew Drummond, who studied Engineering Systems at Moray College, is transitioning into the third year of an Electrical and Mechanical Engineering MEng degree.  He said that the summer school has been invaluable in preparing him for what lies ahead.

“When I first applied to come here from college I was delighted to be accepted, and the fact that the University has held the summer school has shown me why it has been the right decision.

“On our first day we were given a test which helped judge any areas that we might be lacking in so that the course could be tailored to suit our needs.

“I’ve learned so much over the past two weeks and even though it has been intense I feel prepared and ready to hit the ground running.”

Natalie Solomon, who studied at Edinburgh College, will enter the second year of a Civil Engineering MEng. She said that a university degree was by no means a certainty when she first began her studies.

“When I first went to the college I didn’t think university was an option, but then the opportunity arose so I decided to go down that route. 

“I found that coming from an HND course was difficult when applying to universities, but Aberdeen has shown a real willingness to accept students from different backgrounds.

“Not only that, but we’ve had access to layers upon layers of support and interaction – including the summer school – which has been really enriching.”

Dr Sally Middleton, HE Progression Routes Manager at the University of Aberdeen, helped deliver the summer school programme alongside colleagues from the School of Engineering.

She said: “The University has made great advances in the number of routes we offer to college students who wish to study to degree level, with articulation routes in partnership with colleges across Scotland.  

“The transition between college and university can be daunting, and that is why we held the summer school to prepare students for their academic studies and university life in in general.

“Working with the students over the past fortnight has been a valuable experience that will help inform how we run this initiative in future, and I wish them the best of luck in their university careers.”

Professor Igor Guz, Head of the School of Engineering, said: “The School was delighted to welcome students on this, our first Transitional Summer School.

“We have been gratified at the response of the former further education college students who have enthusiastically engaged in this programme, which is designed to prepare them for their studies and help us deliver the best student experience to our undergraduates.

“We look forward to welcoming the students to the University when they begin their full time studies with us.”