Animal lover Meggie Batchelor is set to achieve her dream of becoming a vet, thanks to a higher education course at Telford College.
The former Newport Girls High School student took a break from education due to health issues, but returned several years later to enrol on an Access To Higher Education science course.
Now, after graduating with distinctions from college, she has passed her first year on a veterinary science course at Bristol University, with a view to becoming a farm vet.
Meggie, 24, says she wants to show that Access To Higher Education programmes can be an equally effective route to university as A levels.
“I would love more students to realise they can do a course like mine off the Access course. There is so much pressure to get into university after A levels, but for some people it could be better at a later time.”
She added: “I came to Telford College as a mature student as it offered me the ability to gain a place on my ‘dream course’.
“I had previously applied for veterinary school but been rejected, but Access to HE afforded me another opportunity to study veterinary science - and due to hard work it has paid off.
“Telford College’s HE science course is accepted by nearly all vet schools and was within a 15-minute drive from home, allowing me to balance learning with working in preparation for university.”
It meant that Meggie could keep a part-time job during her access course, which gave her more financial security.
“I found the college experience fantastic,” she said. “Care and understanding was applied by all members of staff to everything I did.
“My tutors were relentless in encouraging me to fulfil my potential and gain the 45 distinctions I needed to succeed in my chosen career path.
“The lessons were informative and interesting. I felt respected as a mature learner and distanced successfully from the younger students which allowed for a good work environment for all of us ‘oldies’.
“I always felt that my best interests were at heart at Telford College, my progress was always celebrated, and I felt I had a safety net built by the staff should anything go amiss.”
Meggie added: “I would recommend anyone wholeheartedly to pursue the Access course. It was an amazing experience that I will be forever thankful for.
“The science course is a fantastic foundation for careers in veterinary, medicine, or law.
“It is a well-established and recognised course for gaining entry to university; I believe I am a better all-round student for completing it.”
After university, Meggie says she is now looking to join a mixed practice in the north of England, near her family.
“At the moment I can see myself being a farm vet, as I love being outside and spending time with sheep!”
Telford College currently offers Access to Higher Education courses in specialist areas such as social science, science, and health professionals. More details can be found at www.telfordcollege.ac.uk
Caroline Bastow, learner manager for higher education and access, said: “These courses really can change people’s lives, with funding available in certain cases, and a wide range of career progression opportunities.”