Lottie, a student at Blackpool Sixth Form College, is heading for university after being encouraged by her work with our outreach team.
Lottie felt that there was a lack of guidance about post-sixteen options when she was in school, and was given the impression that her teachers didn’t have any faith in her. It was only at the last minute, with encouragement from her Mum, that she decided to go to Blackpool Sixth.
Lottie has faced some personal challenges during her time at college, including being diagnosed with anxiety, depression and an eating disorder during her very first term; something which caused her to leave after just four weeks. However, the college worked hard to keep in contact with her; allowing her to come in for visits and integrate herself into college life through a series of sessions. They continued with this support when she returned to her studies, and Lottie has therefore been able to settle in well and enjoy her time at college.
During her time at Blackpool Sixth, Lottie has been engaged with Lancashire based national collaborative outreach programme Future U on a number of occasions. She has received one-to-one mentoring, advice on personal statements, UCAS applications and student finance, as well as guidance about the change from Sixth Form to University. Future U has also funded trips to several universities that the college have arranged, meaning Lottie and her classmates have had the opportunity to experience a variety of different types of university setting that they may not have otherwise had access to.
Having originally started on an Applied Science course, Lottie has subsequently found her passions lie in something more creative. Making the most of the college’s extracurricular activities, she attended Blackpool Sixth’s Creative Writing Club, and this has encouraged her to pursue this subject further. She initially thought that she would have to complete an Access to Higher Education course and was also unsure whether she was ready for the transition from college to university. This is something where the support provided by Future U was able to make a real difference, helping reassure and encourage Lottie. She says:
“After speaking to my tutors, pastoral mentors, the careers advisors and Future U, who encouraged me to go for university, I decided to apply for University for the year 2020, this was the best decision as I attended an Access to HE information event and realised that the course wasn’t for me”.
The activities and events provided by Future U are designed to encourage young people like Lottie to explore the options available to them and break down any barriers which may have previously have prevented them from engaging with Higher Education. By doing this, young people are empowered and given the confidence to help them reach their goals. Lottie’s advice to young people who are thinking about progressing onto university is “Go for it!”. She particularly highlights that: “The atmosphere is far different at university than it is at school/college and you don’t have to worry about fitting in as everyone is so different. There is also more support from tutors at uni than you get at school and they encourage asking for help”.
Lottie is now looking forward to going off to university in September to study Creative Writing and pursue a career as an author.