University education should be available to people from all walks of life, however unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way. With the financial strain that university can put people under and the misconception that it’s only for the higher classes in society, many individuals are put off. Thankfully, the Manchester Access Programme (MAP) helps those who don’t believe University is accessible for them. One student who benefited from the programme is Biology graduate, Rory Platt. Here, he explains more about the programme and how they could help you too…
Being the first of my extended family to even think about going to University, I was put in a position where I had very little knowledge of even how to apply, never mind succeed at uni. The Manchester Access Programme (MAP) gave me the confidence to pursue a place at the University of Manchester studying biology.
Throughout the programme I was introduced to various techniques such as how to research a topic, how to write about it scientifically and finally how to present it to an academic audience. I am currently working for a biotechnology company at the very forefront of biology and I still use the same skills I first began to learn through MAP. Most importantly, MAP provides people like myself with the belief that they can achieve something more, it’s an initiative that I am very thankful for as it got me to where I am today.
I was introduced to the Manchester Access Programme during my first year at college. MAP ambassadors gave a presentation on how the programme could help people like myself secure a place at university. To be eligible for MAP I had to be from a background where neither parent attended university, go to college in the Greater Manchester area and not attend private school for any part of my education.
Because Manchester was the city that is closest to where I grew up, UoM was the first university I had ever found out about, so getting involved with a programme that brought me closer to it was something that really excited me. Until this point, UoM seemed like a university that was out of my reach. None of my family, or even extended family, had been to university so my current position of a good set of GCSEs and the capabilities to study A-Levels could have been defined as very successful in my circumstances.
MAP closed the knowledge gap for people like myself who were in a situation of knowing nothing about university. The programme focused on key things like how to apply, what to apply for, what to expect from my degree and what to expect from university life. MAP boosted my chances of securing a university education at UoM. However, everything that I learnt during the programme could be transferable to any university application.
I have always been interested in science. I was, and still am, fascinated with the “why”. Biology gave a lot of big questions with few answers, but what set it apart from the other sciences was it had easy and real applications. From plants to genetics I could not get enough of it. In secondary school, I had no idea of how to get into a scientific career, so when it came for me to do two weeks of compulsory work experience during secondary school, I decided to do it with my Dad, who has been a builder for his whole life. It was in those two weeks that it dawned on me that I was capable of a lot more, something my Dad already knew because he always pushed me to achieve my absolute most.
When It came to making those decisions that set a career path for me it was always hampered by what was realistic. This is really where MAP grabbed my dream and made it real in the sense that it got me to a very good university such as UoM which I had always thought was out of my reach.
MAP is an opportunity that cannot be missed. The commitment to the programme is massively outweighed by all the benefits it gives you whether you apply to university or not. In my case, it took a young prospective biologist and allowed me to thrive in an education system that heavily favours those from privileged backgrounds.