Preparing for an Access to HE Diploma

September is fast approaching, which means a new cohort of Access to HE Diploma students are about to start their course. If that is you, then this is a fantastic opportunity for you to take the next step in your education and open doors to a wide range of degree courses and career opportunities.
Starting a new course may feel overwhelming and nerve-wracking, but with some advice you can feel confident, prepared and ready to start your course.

Top Tips

Below are a few tips from the CAVA team and Access to HE Diploma Alumni on how you can prepare for your course.

1. Make sure you are organised and prepared 

This could mean setting up a schedule or finding a quiet place to study where you can focus without distractions. Make sure you have all the necessary materials for your course. If you're not sure what you need, get in touch with your college. An alum suggested “Organisation is key! Even if it’s just starting with putting deadlines in your phone calendar, plan ahead and give yourself time to relax.” Another said, ““Buy a whiteboard for your study space. It can be used in many different ways.”

2. Be proactive in your learning

Don't be afraid to ask questions if you're unsure about something. Your tutors and lecturers are there to help you and want you to succeed. Take advantage of their expertise and ask for extra help if you need it. You could also form study groups with your classmates, where you can discuss and work through challenging topics together. An Alum recommended, “Remember to make sufficient time to study, revise and reflect, however most importantly take the time to appreciate where you are and what you have achieved or may achieve.”

3. Build your support community

Embarking on a new educational journey can be daunting, so it can be really helpful to have people around you to encourage and motivate you. Get to know your new classmates to build a safe space to share experiences and exchange ideas. Research the wide range of support services that will be available at your college so you always know who you can ask for help. See if you can schedule regular catch ups with friends who can act as cheerleaders throughout your course.

4. Manage your time efficiently 

The Access to HE Diploma is a one year course which goes by very quickly. It can be fast paced and consists of a range of different units and assessments. Try to stay on top of your time to avoid falling behind. An alum advised “Use time efficiently. I made an essay plan sheet that I used throughout the Access to HE course and university.” Another shared “Time management! Starting assignments in good time allows for formative feedback, which hones your work toward what the question is actually asking. Aim to finish a week before the deadline, the workload does get tough at times but it is achievable! Good luck.”

5. Stay motivated and focused on your goals. 

It may be difficult to adjust to being back in education, and it's easy to lose sight of why you started your course. Take some time to reflect on why you wanted to start your Access to HE Diploma course in the first place. This could be to pursue a particular degree course or to enter a specific career. Whatever your goals are, keep them in mind and use them as motivation to keep going. An Alum suggested “If you know what you'll be learning next, do a bit of research and familiarise yourself with the topic so you don't get lost in the lesson.”

The CAVA team wishes you all the best with your studies. Remember, you are heading into #OneLifeChangingYear.