Pathways to University - Molly Stephenson
If your exam results weren’t what you hoped, or you are not quite ready to take that next step to university, choosing to study at college gives you the opportunity to gain further qualifications and real-world experience in a supportive environment.
We caught up with past Edinburgh College pupil, Molly Stephenson, to find out how college helped her get to university.
Could you tell us a bit about you?
My name is Molly Stephenson, I am 26 years old, and I am from Edinburgh.
How would you describe your experience at school?
I left school almost 10 years ago and I feel like in many ways my school provided me with the support and drive to get me so far. However, as I entered my 5th and 6th year of school, the support dropped. I feel this happened as the grades I had achieved in my 5th year were not enough to get into any university courses, so therefore the school's interest and support in my further education was absent. There was a dedicated amount of time each week that the school would use with their 5th and 6th-year students to help them with their university applications and any other assistance they required for university but not as much for those choosing other paths.
What made you decide to go to Edinburgh College?
I decided to go to Edinburgh College as the grades I did end up managing to get were enough for me to do an access course for social sciences, which I was keen to then pursue at university. This meant that after one year of doing an HNC in social sciences, provided I passed, I was able to apply to universities to enter at second-year level in their Bachelor of Arts course.
After one year of doing an HNC in social sciences, provided I passed, I was able to apply to universities to enter at second-year level in their Bachelor of Arts course.Molly Stephenson
What was the application process like for getting into college?
I had to write a personal statement, fill out an application form and then attend an interview with one of the lecturers. At the time I was unsure about which of the many courses they offered would have been best suited for me, so I went in and had a chat with a few lecturers from different courses, for which I was extremely grateful as it was very helpful.
When you got to college, what was your experience like? What did you think of the teaching and facilities?
I had a very enjoyable experience at Edinburgh College, it was a great transition between school and university. I was able to experience the independent learning side whilst also still being able to get any additional support that was needed. I fondly remember my lecturers as they were all really passionate about the course and pushed us to do the best we could.
I never worried that I had chosen a course I wouldn’t like as I had already fallen in love with it at college.Molly Stephenson
What were your favourite things about studying at college?
I loved the campus that I attended which was Granton, as it was close to my home, so I didn’t have a long commute. The building was amazing with so much always on and the ability to benefit from services provided by other students such as the beauticians, hairdressers and massage students. They offer their services at a discounted rate for students.
How did college help set you up for university?
Being in an education surrounding that’s different and more relaxed than school helps prepare you for what it will be like. There is more emphasis on engaging in the learning yourself and managing your own time which definitely helps too.
Could you tell us a bit about what you’re doing now?
After finishing up in Aberdeen for university I returned to Edinburgh and became a manager at a local cafe in Leith, The Haven Cafe, which I adore. Although this is not necessarily a direct link from what I studied at college and then university, I wouldn’t be where I am without the knowledge and skills gained from social sciences and the result is that I feel I am a well-rounded individual.
How do you feel college has impacted your career journey?
College worked as a stepping stone for me to get to university - had I not gone I wouldn’t be where I am now.
What would your advice be for someone who is considering applying to college?
My advice for someone considering applying to college is to absolutely go for it, I honestly feel like the most support I have ever received was from Edinburgh College. Even if I had found myself halfway through my social sciences course and decided it wasn’t for me, I felt comfort in knowing the college provided so many other courses and support to find which one was right for each individual student which I think is amazing.