Scotland’s Armed Forces Children’s Charity

This month’s #DreamBig Blog is from Dr Peter Tormey. Dr Tormey is Senior Widening Participation Officer at Napier University. He encourages young people from service families to realise their potential when considering higher education options.

Peter Tormey (@TormeyTweets) | Twitter
Dr Peter Tormey

As we enter 2021 and look forward to brighter times (both literally and figuratively!) this new year many young people about to leave secondary education start to make decisions about their future. As someone who works in higher education my advice is to #DreamBig!

College or university study is certainly not for everyone but for too many young people, including those from Service Families who have the talent and potential to achieve great things in life through higher education, do not consider it a realistic option for them. This might be because no one in their family or community has gone on to study in higher education, or possibly due to the perception of not having achieved good enough exam results or simply due to not enjoying the secondary school experience especially so if they have moved schools on numerous occasions.

However, the most important message I would like to highlight is that there are options for EVERYONE to continue their studies after they leave secondary school. There are over 50,000 fantastic degree courses on offer in the UK. Courses to suit everyone’s interests and career goals. Many study options are as straightforward as completing a UCAS application before the submission deadline (6pm on 29th Jan 2021), achieving the required grades and enrolling onto a chosen course in September. Other options require a bit more planning, for example selecting the relevant subjects at National 5 level and in S5 and S6 to meet degree programme entry requirements.

My second #DreamBig take-home message is it is never too late to consider higher education study. Never! It is true that routes to a chosen degree course or career may take a little longer or require moving from one higher education provider to another, but in the vast majority of cases, options are available. It is important at this point to highlight that in Scotland higher education includes level 7 courses called Higher National Certificates (HNC) and to level 8 courses called Higher National Diplomas (HND) delivered at college and university degree courses. Importantly many universities allow a form of ‘credit transfer’ called ‘articulation’ which permits students with relevant HN qualifications direct-entry into 2nd or 3rd year of a degree course with a HNC or HND qualification. So if secondary school results do not go according to plan or if exam expectations are exceeded this year, why not consider contacting colleges and universities to explore study options? Why not #DreamBig in 2021!

This Higher Education Checklist might help you on your higher education journey:

See SAAS or relevant student funding body for bursary, loan and tuition fee information;

Compare college and university study options to find the course that suits individual circumstances – location, qualifications, career and study progression and interests;

Check college and university webpages for ‘virtual open day’ recordings and information;

Apply for university places using UCAS by 29th January 2021 and college courses by respective institutional deadlines (often open until spring or summer);

Contact colleges and unis directly to ask any questions you may have and feel confident to share information about yourself and your background to ensure information about entry requirements is tailored to you.

Your Mind Matters

Mental health & wellbeing service graphic

RCET is creating a bespoke mental health and wellbeing service, for Armed Forces young people across Scotland, and you can help!

Find out more

Forces Life

Mental health & wellbeing service graphic

We're looking for Armed Forces families to help design a new board game and comic book resource to help friends, classmates and professionals better understand military life.

Find out more