How valuable would it be if there was an interactive online course that equips you with the ins and outs of university life, as well as introduces you to the city of Bath, if you have never been to Bath and have no idea what a UK university is like? I think that's really valuable. And little did my 17 year-old self know that course was called 'Access to Bath', provided on the online learning platform FutureLearn, and available for me, and other students from underrepresented groups.
So what is Access to Bath all about?
Access to Bath is a course tailored to prospective University of Bath students, in which you can complete a series of modules about university-related topics, such as money and budgeting, exams and feedback, and accommodation. This course is mainly offered to prospective students from widening participation backgrounds. In my case, I received an invitation to this course as I currently live in a 'lower participation into higher education' area.
Essentially, the course takes you through different aspects of the transition to life at university. Once it's completed, you can receive a digital certificate that not only looks pretty cool but can be used to lower the grading requirements for the course you pick at Bath!
The accessible, easy-to-read nature of the course, thanks to the infographics and style of the FutureLearn website, and the interactive comment section allows you to discuss your experiences with people in similar positions to you. This made completing the course so easy and provided the much needed reassurance I needed to ease me into this big milestone in my life. Here's how neat the certificate looks, in case anyone is interested!
Every Access to Bath module included videos of Bath students discussing their student journey, whilst supplying useful tips and tricks for particular areas. Some of the course content provided downloadable PDFs with exercises that increased my knowledge on different topics. For instance, the 'Assignments' module had a note-taking and summarising template, a time management worksheet, a step-by-step guide of the writing process for assignments, and many more. All of these resources were invaluable to my transition into a whole new arena that I was clueless about at the beginning.
Why is Access to Bath so great?
For me, this course was my solution to the genuine fright I had after receiving my offer from Bath and, amidst the celebrations, realising that I have no idea what university is actually like, and what I should/shouldn't expect. I had never been to Bath or had much knowledge of higher academia settings, and I had no clue how I was going to keep up with everyone else. But through Access to Bath, I was able to gain knowledge and skills related to higher education settings, and I was equipped with resources to supplement my learning and a newfound confidence to start university.
With Access to Bath, my socio-economic background was not as big a barrier to settling into university life, as I thought it would be. Anyone that receives an invitation for the course should 100% take up the opportunity!