31-year-old student from Farnborough wins place at Cambridge

17 August 2017

Rosemary Harker, aged 31 from Farnborough found out today that she has a place confirmed to study English at Lucy Cavendish College, a unique part of the University of Cambridge. She had given up on her ambition of entering further education after failing to complete her A-levels, but an Access Diploma completed in her thirties made the dream possible again.

Rosemary left secondary school at 16, after a disappointing set of GCSE results. She had been unwell, and had to go into hospital for a couple of months. She tried to study for A-levels but was not able to cope with the pressure.

For a few years, Rosemary’s health didn't allow her to work or study. She felt that she had missed out on something that was important to her; she had enjoyed school work, especially English, and she had always assumed that she would go on to further study.

Rosemary found out about the Access to Higher Education Diploma whilst browsing the internet, and thought it sounded interesting. The Access Diploma provides adults with an opportunity to return to study and achieve a nationally recognised qualification, providing a route into higher education at university or college. When she started the course at Farnborough College of Technology, she liked the ideas of meeting like-minded people and working towards a goal.

She said:

“I wasn't really thinking about Cambridge that seriously, initially, but Lucy Cavendish's website showed me a community of slightly older female students doing just what I wanted to do. When I visited, it felt like somewhere I could fit in. Everyone was friendly, just normal people really.”

“The University as a whole seems really positive about disability and I got lots of information about how they could support me with my studies.”

Admissions Tutor at Lucy Cavendish College, Dr Victoria Harvey said:

“We congratulate Rosemary on her success and we are delighted to welcome her to the College. She has shown that it is possible to change direction and study at one of the world’s leading universities. We work closely with prospective applicants from a variety of backgrounds to provide advice and encourage them to fulfil their potential.

You can listen to an interview with Rosemary by BBC Radio Surrey recorded on 17 August here (fast forward to 18:33 minutes for interview).

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About Lucy Cavendish

Lucy Cavendish is the only women's college in Europe exclusively for students aged 21 or over, and a unique part of the University of Cambridge. Its undergraduate and postgraduate students come from over sixty countries, and a wide variety of educational and professional backgrounds. Many have changed careers or overcome significant challenges in order to reach University. The College is particularly strong in Medicine, Law, Veterinary Medicine, Psychology, the Social Sciences and English.

Contact information:

Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge – Kate Coghlan, 01223 339243, krc36@cam.ac.uk.

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