Charlotte Newton, Access to HE Level 3

Charlotte Newton came to Reading College to study an Access to HE course in Humanities in September 2018.

“I’ve been wanting to go to university for a while. I knew roughly what course I wanted to do since the age of 15 but I struggled in secondary school and further education because I’ve got mental health problems and social problems so I couldn’t do A Levels at the time and I couldn’t do an Access course before September 2018.

“I’d known about Access courses for a while. I did a lot of research on student forums and how to get into university without A Levels. I looked at two other colleges that were closer to where I lived in High Wycombe, but they didn’t offer a straight humanities pathway, they combined it with social science which wouldn’t have got me into my chosen degree at university.

“They had a combined humanities and social sciences course so I couldn’t do English and history, I could only do one or the other and combine it with other social sciences such as psychology or sociology. Reading College offers the widest range of courses for the access courses.”

Charlotte took the plunge and started the course at Reading College where she went from strength to strength and achieved 45 distinctions. Charlotte’s achievements were not just academic as she also grew in confidence and made friends for life.

“Studying an Access course was very difficult as it was a very intense course. If you’ve got enough perseverance, it’s completely manageable and I think it’s primarily attributable to the fact that our course was so tight knit.

“The facilities at Reading College are better than other colleges as they accommodate for a broader range of courses and have a lot more to offer here. The library has a very broad range of books, even language books, they’ve got Chinese and Japanese even though they don’t teach that here!

“The college offers counselling. The staff were extremely supportive and helped me in any way they could, and they treated me as more of an equal.

“Doing an Access course really helped to build my confidence as before I started college I wasn’t used to being around people so going from a place where I didn’t think I could make friends to being friends with pretty much everyone on the course and finding interaction with other people a lot easier, it’s quite an impressive feat for me personally. I didn’t think it was possible.

“Throughout the course, I had many trials and tribulations regarding my mental health. I found the stress quite a lot to deal with and I had a lot of down moments, but the support of the staff and my peers was really helpful for the motivation to actually get through it.

Since finishing at Reading College, Charlotte has progressed to university.

“I’m currently studying Chinese and Japanese Studies at the University of Leeds. It’s got two years abroad. The second year’s in Japan and the third year’s in China. Two years abroad is going to be really useful.

“In the future I would like to work with my languages, so I want to be interpreting or doing translation. I’ll probably go into some further study after finishing my degree and study a masters in either translation, interpreting or something similar to enable me to do this.”