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Giving students a ‘step-up’

25 Awst 2010

Step Up students taking part in a clinical skills session at the University's summer schoolStep Up students taking part in a clinical skills session at the University's summer school

A successful University scheme offering prospective students a unique insight into life as a student has been praised by two successful applicants.

Former Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School pupil Alex Jones and Fitzalan High pupil Henna Ahmed’s transition from School to University were both eased by the scheme designed to give pupils a ‘step-up’ into University.

The two join a growing list of students to have successfully completed the three-year Step-up scheme – providing opportunities to learn about Higher Education and in particular about health courses and health professions.

This year some 57 pupils who took part in the Step-up Scheme are expected to take up their places at Cardiff University and some 89 securing places at Universities across the UK.

In total, the scheme has helped 146 pupils secure a place at University, an increase from 116 last year.

"At the end of year ten I joined the Cardiff University Step-up to Uni Scheme, after hearing about it through school," said Alex Jones who has successfully secured a place to study medicine, "The Scheme gave me the chance to attend a range of first year medical lectures at Cardiff University where I got to talk to many medical students who helped confirm my desire to do medicine," she added.

Organised by the University’s widening access team, pupils are visited at their schools and are invited to apply to join.

University Step-up Scheme Coordinator, Vicki Roylance, said: The scheme brings together pupils, student mentors and academic staff at a variety of events. Current students give talks about their experiences at University and there is plenty of information available on routes into Higher Education, University accommodation, costs of being a student and much more."

For South Wales pupils, student mentors also visit pupils at their schools and chat to them about their lives as students and what their career choice means to them. For those in other parts of Wales, pupils can contact their Mentors via an e-mentoring scheme.

A dedicated website allows Step-up students to chat on-line to Cardiff University students providing ‘role models’ for the pupils.

Pupils can also attend a two-day residential summer school in July. The summer school offers talks by health care professionals, project work, social activities, teambuilding and a one-night stay in University accommodation.

It also gives pupils the opportunity to witness what goes on in the various departments within the hospital along with a chance to experience a taste of student life.

Alex added: "During the school holidays in 2009 I attended a two-day Step-up residential summer school at Cardiff University. This gave me the opportunity to witness what happens within the various departments of the hospital and attend talks by many health care professionals.

"These experiences gave me the insight to see what it's like to study medicine at Cardiff."

The positive experience is the same for former Fitzalan High School pupil, Henna Ahmed who starts her Pharmacy studies next month. Henna said: "Step-up scheme has been fantastic especially the support I received during the Step-up Summer Science programme.

"I think the work they do is fantastic and very important especially targeting students entering year 10 as it motivates and interests them to do better and aim for something", insists Henna.

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