Sophi Noble
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Student earns First Class Honours after starting journey at City of Bristol College

One of City of Bristol College’s adult learners said returning to learning was ‘one of the best decisions she ever made’ after securing an Access to HE diploma, followed by a First Class Honours at university and now is studying for a Masters.

Sophi Noble, now aged 37 years old, was able to ‘realise her true academic ability’ after completing a Social Sciences Access to Higher Education course at City of Bristol College in 2016, 15 years after she left college after studying a BTEC in Performing Arts in 2001.

She said: “I loved my old course but it didn’t exactly set me up for academia! Without having completed the Access course at City of Bristol College, I would not be as far into higher education as I am now. It was a real stepping stone and entering the academic world is definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made!”

After completing her Access course with the college, Sophi went on to secure a place on the BSc Social Policy with Quantitative Research Methods course at the University of Bristol. She finished this course in June and earned herself the top accolade of a First Class Honours.

She added: “I then decided I wasn’t quite finished with education so am now engaged on a MSc Policy Research in the same school at University of Bristol. I am doing this full-time and also working part-time for a charity, working with women released from prison.”

Sophi said her teachers on the Access course were ‘absolutely amazing’ and helped her feel at ease when she felt ‘terrified on her first day’.

She explained: “I had not really enjoyed ‘school’ as a young person, so entering it as an adult I was very nervous. But the lecturers really want you to succeed and never once did I feel my questions were ‘stupid’. I was helped to realise my true academic ability and was encouraged all the way through to engage in a meaningful and authentic way. Everyone is professional while really personable.”

Sophi, who never felt confident in maths, was supported by her statistics tutor to access material as they ‘helped [her] see [she] really could do it’.

The adult learner found psychology and sociology ‘fascinating’ and told us she still uses the tips and techniques taught to her by her college tutors when completing her masters.

She added: “I absolutely loved college. If someone had told me as a teenager that I would be returning to education in my thirties, I would have laughed. But, it was an amazing experience and I’m still loving it. With support and encouragement, I was able to see that I could do academia. I just needed to be studying something I was interested in. Don’t get me wrong – the Access course it hard work and there won’t be much time for a social life but it is so completely worth it!”

City of Bristol College offers a range of Access to HE courses in a number of areas, including: Environmental Science, Business Studies, Health and Social Care, Humanities, Engineering and Science.

Find out more about Access to HE courses on our website or calling 0117 312 5000.

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