Alumni Case Studies
Learners on the Aimhigher London sustained and progressive programme come from a low socio-economic background, (read more on Our Learners). These young people are selected by their school coordinators to take part, on the basis that they are less represented in universities across the country. Our funding through UniConnect and from our members, delivers opportunities to address inequalities of access to higher education. These stories illustrate the impact of the sustained and progressive interventions.
A student at Carshalton Boys Sports College, Kieron first engaged on the Aimhigher London programme back in 2016/17 when he was in year 9. Over the coming 5 years, he attended about 15 different engagements including university campus visits, in-school workshops and activities to support choosing a course, applications and finance.
“In year 9 thinking about going to university was far from my mind. My first experience with Aimhigher London did mean at least I was introduced to higher education as a possible pathway”
Kieron enjoyed school and thought he was good at his subjects, but he was not especially focused on the future. Between year 9 and year 11 he was involved in a number of activities which
“started to breakdown some of the unknowns. I thought university was all just academic work, similar to school where teachers pushed you to do your work, or somewhere where people from boarding schools or private schools mainly went.”.
Kieron went on to attain great GCSE results, and to think seriously that maybe university was an option. Having stayed on at Carshalton Boys, Kieron took advantage of the more bespoke offer from the Aimhigher London sustained and progressive programme, these included a number of university visits – he remembers Roehampton University and St Mary’s University visits in particular as being key to his decision to look into sports coaching and management as his future options.
The programme also brought him into contact with a range of new people, new experiences and new insights into his possible future pathway. These alongside the consistent support from the school coordinator, Ms Lorna Ellis, who was always available to answer questions and give advice, meant he had the information to make the right decisions for him.
“I felt myself growing in confidence – something I bring with me today, I am at ease with people, irrespective of their background and enjoy the sense of togetherness that I get from football and futsal coaching”.
The application process can be particularly daunting and Kieron did find the process overwhelming, however, he had learnt how to ask for advice and support and started to ask further afield about potential courses that interested him – which is how he found UCFB, which became his top choice.
“All the preparation over the years had fine tuned my thinking along the way, such as the visit to St Mary’s University Twickenham (which was one of my UCAS choices) with Aimhigher London, this trip clarified my thinking towards a sports related degree and this focus led me to my successful place at UCFB”.
The next challenge was finance, Kieron used all the resources made available to him to plan his money and how to make ends meet, getting to grips with the student and maintenance loans to see a way forward, with a part time job too.
Another key challenge for him was self-belief, the mental challenge of whether he was good enough to go to university, or whether he would excel. Ms Ellis from the school, alongside the information from the Aimhigher programme and support from his family all helped, but what really made the final difference were the student ambassadors.
“The ambassadors I met along the way in various trips with Aimhigher London were so helpful to be able to see that there were people like me at university, so if they felt like they belonged, so could I.”
Kieron is delighted to be settled at UCFB, is very involved in the university rugby society and working at the Bloomsbury Football Foundation as coach for the under 16yrs team and Futsal teams of all ages from U8 to Adult.
We wish him all the best in his final year and look forward to seeing him thrive in his future career.