Click on the play button to hear Marta's interview:
In this episode I talk to Marta, one of our recent students that completed the access to biology diploma at AOLL. I will be asking how she heard about the online course, what it was like to be a distance learner and what obstacles or opportunities she had on her personal route to university.
Hello Marta, thank you so much for taking part in this special podcast series. I'm going to ask you a few questions about your time on the course and where your future is heading in terms of your education. You've studied the Access to Biology Diploma at Academy Online Learning. How did you hear about the course?
Hello Sam, thank you for having me. When I did my research regarding to the Paramedic science course I was aiming for in Greenwich University, I have found out they asked for GCSE in Math, English and Science. I completed my Maths and English GCSE, but last year I was quite confused about how to gain the qualification regarding to Biology. I was looking for a suitable and accessible online course where I can manage my time effectively and this is how I found Academy Online Learning by searching on the internet. If I want to be honest, I have found a couple of other options, but after reading the feedback from previous learners, I was 99% sure I will go with your course. I just needed to confirm with the uni if the diploma will be acceptable. And when they said yes, I was delighted and excited at the same time and this is how I enrolled to the course.
I really enjoyed the whole experience
Great. How was your experience studying this online course?
I really enjoyed the whole experience because I've never completed an online course before, so it was something new and despite I had doubts at the beginning, everyone was just so helpful and supportive that I gained a lot of confidence and that I can do it attitude. The enrolment was quick and I had every information available from the get go staff who answered my questions at basically any time. I personally enjoyed the Intro quizzes before each unit and how organised and straightforward they were. It was also professional and at high standards. The whole course gave me a very detailed and wide range of knowledge and I believe it is perfect for someone like me who didn't engage with Biology studies in the last 20 years.
As you have gone through the process of studying online, can you tell us about the tutor support and feedback that you received.
I was grateful for the ongoing feedback from the tutors and their positive criticism because it helped me to prepare myself for the assignments and they may be able to learn from my mistakes. The grading system is fair and in terms of preparing for university, I believe it is also a good thing to become familiar with it. When I was stuck, at one point I sent a private message to my tutor and she or he gave me advice or sent links where I could go and find my way all the information I needed to proceed with my assignment.
How the UCAS system works
You've applied to Greenwich University via the UCAS route. Can you tell us about the guidance you received from the team at Academy Online Learning when writing your application?
One of the first units on my Academy Online Learning course included tasks to learn about how the UCAS system works and also to compose my personal statement, which is a big chunk of the application based on my detailed feedback. I needed to adjust it many times, but at the end of the day it was worth listening to the experienced teachers because I had been on an interview since and I was offered a place on the course from September 2023.
Congratulations. That is wonderful to hear. Although you speak it very well, English is not your first language. Many of our students that are listening might ask what strategies did you use to support your learning in a second language?
I would definitely recommend to read as much as you can, especially about the profession you are interested in. Listen to specific podcast, watch documentaries, build your vocabulary every day and don't be afraid to ask for support or help. Writing confidently using the right terms and expressions sometimes can be challenging, but online tools like a simple translator or the service can be very helpful. I also decided to learn Makaton and started to look at British Sign Language because as a future paramedic, they may become handy to communicate with patients. It is never too late to learn new things or approaches.
If you are dedicated, nothing is impossible
That is so positive. Thank you so much for sharing that. And as a parent, how did you manage your time?
It was definitely a challenge to finish this course, but because of the nature of the learning process, it is doable. Despite I had deadlines two weeks for the units with three credit and four weeks for the six credit units, I believe I could manage my time for myself. I am working part time. I also went to college twice a week because of my GCSE studies and obviously I have responsibilities as a single parent. But if you are dedicated, nothing is impossible. That's one of my motives. Most of the time I was working on my assignments through the night when my son was sleeping, but I still managed to finish the course within ten months, which I am really proud of.
It's been a pleasure talking to you and congratulations on completing the access to HE level three. Thank you for your time and I wish you all the very best with your studies at Greenwich University and future career.
Thank you very much for inviting me and listening. It was a pleasure.