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Experience of current students

Meet some of our current students who came through the FE-HE pathway and learn a little on what they study and enjoy here at St Andrews.

Audrey

Fourth Year Geography student who completed the SWAP course at Dundee and angus College before coming to St Andrews. Audrey is from Dundee and worked in local rubber factory for 17 years before embarking on her educational journey.

Katie

I started studying at St Andrews after completing an HNC in social sciences at Dundee and Angus College. Social sciences reignited my passion for history and St Andrews appealed to me as it offered a variety of history courses and the flexible degree path meant that I would be able to try more than one before choosing which one to take to honours. I knew university would be challenging with two small children at home but absolutely everyone, both staff and students, is so supportive.

The commuter’s room offers a place to have lunch, a cuppa, a chat or some last-minute reading before a tutorial, for students who do not stay in St Andrews. There is also always something social going on at St Andrews to get involved in, some of which are family-friendly – I sometimes take the kids along to the pier walk and they love a freebie at the Fresher’s Fayre! It is also reassuring knowing Joanna is always on hand for all of her STARS whenever needed and whatever the reason.

I couldn’t be prouder to be a student at St Andrews; I am loving every minute of my time here and can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.

Steve

My name is Steve and I am currently about to start 3rd year of my BSc in Cell biology. I left the armed forces in 2017 after a 14-year career and started the Access to Life Sciences course at Dundee and Angus College. The course was fantastic and covered a wide variety of subjects, some of which I had done before and some, like biology, I had never studied. It also gave me an excellent grounding in lab work and writing up lab reports and evaluating data.

In Sept 2018, at the tender age of just shy of 38, I started at St Andrews, initially studying Chemistry, Biology and Psychology with a view to study Medicinal Chemistry. That changed when I discovered how much of an interest I had in Biology. In 2nd year I specialised and took all Biology modules and I am specialising even more, looking to study disease, infection and viruses under the Cell Biology degree. My aim is to apply for the Scot GEM course after completing my degree and study medicine.

Honestly, before attending college I would have laughed at the suggestion that I would be qualified to apply for, let alone enjoy, studying at St Andrews. It has been a fantastic experience and I have gained a lot from it besides the educational qualifications. My advice to anyone on the access course who is considering applying for any university would be to go for it. Make the most of the access course and work hard. You will be surprised how far it can take you. The only thing stopping you is you.

Zainab

Fourth Year Arabic, Spanish and International Relations who came from Glasgow college.

Iain

After finishing up at Brechin High-school I was all set to study engineering at Edinburgh University. A lot of my friends had applied for the same course, so it seemed like the best choice. However, before I started, I decided that it wasn’t for me. I realised that I was only doing it to follow the crowd. So, with no time to apply to a new university course and no money for an exciting gap year, I found myself at the Kingsway Campus of Dundee College studying an HNC in Biomedical Science.

St Andrews is such an amazing experience, which is a result of the international student body, experiences that isn’t offered at other universities, and the really top-class lecturers! My time at St Andrews exposed me to new walks of life and gave me a really strong desire to succeed more than I had ever felt at high school or college. Coming from the college route also gave me access to the ‘Star Student’ program ran by Joanna Fry. This group really was the cherry on the cake and gave me a lot of fantastic guidance and support.

During my fourth year, I applied to the Robert T Jones Scholarship which is exclusive to St Andrews. It has allowed me to spend a fully funded year at Emory University in America which has given me even more fantastic opportunities. At present, I am currently working for CNN on their international desk and loving it. Without a doubt, I am here because of what I learned at St Andrews and the opportunities that were made available to me. I would urge anyone thinking of applying for university to consider St Andrews, in my mind, it really is the best that Scotland can offer.

Brogan

I chose to go to St Andrews after a talk was given at my local college where I was studying HNC Applied Sciences. I had never really considered it before this as I had the usual preconception about it: that it was full of posh people and the super-rich. Nonetheless, I went on to study Biology. During my time at St Andrews I made lots of friends from a variety of backgrounds and across different disciplines within the school. There were lots of extracurricular activities and social and sports groups throughout the university.

A key element which sticks out in my mind about my time in St Andrews was the support that I received throughout my studies. This support system (which including Joanna my mentor, student services and the biology department) was extremely invaluable to me and allowed me to complete my studies despite some curve balls that life can throw at you from time to time. There was also a strong community of support between the STAR students which I found reassuring throughout my time at St Andrews.

I have now completed my teacher training and have been teaching science internationally. I have just finished 2 years in China, and I am about to start teaching in Dubai. I have found that due to St. Andrews prestigious reputation my degree is immediately recognised and highly valued across the international community.

Melissa

I joined St Andrews from Dundee college after completing a Scottish Wider Access Programme. I was a mature student returning after a prolonged gap from education. During my time at St Andrews I made sure to join in with as many activities as I could. Taking advantage of the madness of raisin week to act more like a child than the adult I was.

I made some amazing friends from around the globe who accepted me and supported me fully embracing my differences from them and others at the University. They helped me when I struggled and found ways to connect with me and include me. Lecturers embraced me and the journey I was on and helped me achieve my goals. Despite my differences from the majority of the student body, there was a place for me and the unwavering support and understanding inspired me to look further.

I left St Andrews with an Honours degree in Geography and Social Anthropology and moved on to a Masters in Transformative Learning and Teaching. Today I am a teacher trying to instil in my students a love of learning and a sense of feeling welcome and understood. Something the students and staff at the University of St Andrews made sure I felt when I was there.