Ruskin’s flagship Access to HE programme is heading for another record year of success, with one student battling the odds to receive an offer of a place at the University of Cambridge.
Faustine, who is studying on the College’s Access to HE Diploma in Social Science, had been out of education for several years and fighting chronic illness. She is now celebrating being offered a sought-after place at a historic Cambridge college to study Human, Social and Political Science. This is the icing on the cake for Ruskin’s Access programme this year: all students are celebrating receiving offers from their first choice universities, putting them on course to match last year’s remarkable 100% success rate.
Faustine’s previous education hadn’t brought out the best in her and she had been suffering from epilepsy following a head injury. She went on to work as a SEN Teaching Assistant. She says: “I had almost forgotten how to study so I wasn’t sure how I would find the Access course. It has exceeded all expectations. I have enjoyed my time on the course greatly.”
Her achievement may be a remarkable one, but Faustine’s story is far from unique. Ruskin students come from all corners of society and the uniquely supportive learning environment is designed for adults who buck the traditional image – whether by age, background or circumstance – and it uniformly changes their lives: not only by offering them an education, but by showing faith in them, building their confidence and providing them with chances that they would once only have dreamed of.
Faustine’s experience is testament to this. She says: “When I first came to college I was fairly shy but I have blossomed, thanks to my classmates and teachers. I have felt able to ask my teachers for support and just knowing that they are always there has made the course less stressful.”
She continues: “I particularly want to thank Roy Gainsburgh, the Learning Development Tutor, who supported me from the start. His sessions, both online and offline, have been invaluable and I now feel more confident with things like academic referencing and essay structuring, which I struggled with at the start.”
As a longtime anti-racism and human rights campaigner, Faustine says: “I feel it is the perfect degree to help me create the change in the world that I have wanted to see for so long. I hope to progress onto a Masters in Law and go on to a career in the NGO/Humanitarian sector.”
Ruskin students would once only have dreamed of going to university, let alone ‘going up’ to a Cambridge college, but she hopes that her achievement can provide inspiration to others in a similar position: “I hope that my offer will encourage my friends and future Ruskin students from ethnic minority backgrounds to consider applying to Cambridge. Even though it may seem daunting at first, your teachers will always be there to support you in preparing your applications. Believe in yourself!”
With a little more hard work on her part, Faustine will soon be on her way to Cambridge to fulfil her dreams. She says: “I am super happy! Battling a chronic illness and trying to settle back into education after several years is not easy, but knowing I have been offered a place at such a fantastic university to study the subjects I love makes all the hard work worthwhile.”
This year’s success follows a record year in 2020, which saw graduates achieve an outstanding 100% pass rate. They secured places at universities including Oxford Brookes, London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Reading and Manchester studying on a wide range of courses from Nursing and Environmental Studies to Counter Terrorism and Computer Science.