Second year Biomedical Sciences student, Lauren Goodfellow, is walking evidence of the flexibility that the University of Manchester offers its students. She started her University experience on a foundation year after only electing to study one science based subject at A-Level. Upon competition of her foundation year she went on to study Genetics before deciding that Biomedical Sciences was the path she wanted to go down. Here, she discusses the impact that the foundation year has had on her and her university experience.
As I was growing up, I was interested in absolutely everything. I loved writing and reading just as much as I loved science and maths. So when it came to choosing my A levels, I found it incredibly difficult to choose which academic path to go down. In the end, I chose to do English Literature, English Language and History with Biology thrown in to satisfy my scientific cravings.
Throughout my A Levels, I realised that despite my personal passion for English, this didn’t translate into a love for the subject in academia. Having to read and write for assignments took all the fun out of it for me, meaning that I started to resent my favourite hobby. That’s when I realised that my academic future lay within biology.
I had always wanted to attend a Russell Group University, but many of them wouldn’t allow me to apply with just the single scientific A Level. Luckily, The University of Manchester offered a foundation year for people in my situation. I would be able to attend a great university and complete the degree programme that I wanted.
After my interview day, I fell in love with the idea of Biological Sciences at Manchester. They had put so much effort into organising the day and had so many enthusiastic Ambassadors that were happy to answer all of our questions and tell us what they loved about the University. I was thrilled when I got my offer, and immediately confirmed Manchester as my firm choice.
The foundation year itself was mainly taught in Xaverian College, which is at the top of Manchester’s famous Curry Mile, meaning it was very close to the main University campus. We would also occasionally have lab classes and tutorials that were held in the Stopford building, right opposite the Student’s Union. This made the transition from Sixth Form to University so much easier for me, as being in the same buildings all the time meant I couldn’t get lost in the new city!
Our course covered Biology, Chemistry and Maths in a similar way to A Levels. Again, this really helped with the transition to higher education as I was used to the formatting of the lessons and exams. I was quite nervous about studying chemistry and maths again after two years, but the teaching staff were incredibly helpful and supportive.
My classmates, who had done these subjects at A Level but just missed out on their offer grades, were also happy to help when I got stuck. Now that I’m in my second year of my Biomedical Sciences degree, it’s clear to see why I needed to learn these basics before starting out on my degree. Modules like Biochemistry and Data Handling would have been really difficult without a good grasp of these subjects.
For me, the foundation year gave the opportunity to gradually settle in to University life in Manchester. The skills I learned in this year, especially self-motivation and timekeeping, were incredibly helpful when starting my life sciences degree. I also found that coming from an English based academic background has actually helped me greatly during the past two years, mainly with writing scientific essays. I would definitely recommend this programme to anyone who had mainly humanities based A-Levels, as it gives you the foundation of knowledge that you need to successfully complete a biosciences course at Manchester.