Coleg Y Cymoedd

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A Level Case Study - Jacob Lewis

About you and background
I’m 22 and from Cardiff. After leaving school with 10 GCSEs I sat my A/S Levels another college, achieving 4 As in History, Politics, Law and English Language plus the Welsh Baccalaureate. However, I was forced to abandon my studies midway through my second year due to the recession (this was in 2010) and find full-time work. I started off doing PPI claims over the phone but progressed into Debt Management and eventually at the age of 19 becoming a mortgage broker where I stayed until the start of the 2014/2015 academic year. I decided that I didn’t want to broker mortgages and sell life insurance for the rest of my working life so I packed it all in, got a job in a bar to pay for my travel and rent and decided to come back to College!

What course did you study at Coleg y Cymoedd?
I wanted to finish off three of my four A levels (plus the Welsh Baccalaureate) and progress to University. However, as Politics and English Language are not offered here it was agreed that I could finish off Law and History and that I would complete a two-year Sociology course in one. I will always be grateful to the College for offering such flexibility as in doing so it means I can go to University next year rather than waiting two years.

What made you decide to study at Coleg y Cymoedd?
I had heard that this College had opened recently and had a high pass rate for A-levels. Furthermore I knew a couple of former students who had nothing but praise for the College. It is within easy commute of Cardiff central which is where I live and upon going to an open day I was sold. After being out of education for so long I wanted to be in a flexible, supportive environment and the College has been nothing but that in the time that I’ve been here.

Why did you choose to study this course?
Because I had already got my A/S Levels I only had one choice of additional subjects and I knew that I would need to complete it in one year. Sociology seemed ideal; it’s a very stimulating subject, full of real-world applications and the debating that follows is always lively. If you are considering the social sciences Sociology is fantastic; you discuss real-life problems such as crime, youth culture and social inequality from both academic and practical viewpoints.

What are the benefits of studying at Coleg y Cymoedd?
The support in place in unbelievable. The pastoral team and A-level co-ordinators are truly dedicated to helping you achieve the best of your ability. I hadn’t even considered applying to Cambridge University when I applied to College and now just five months later I have my offer letter as well as one from the highly prestigious London School of Economics! But the College, unlike others, do not just focus on the high achievers. They do their very best to ensure you make the most of your time here and achieve the best grades you possibly can. I cannot recommend this College highly enough. The support with UCAS is also fantastic, they really do help you choose the best University for you; they even helped me arrange accommodation for one of my interviews as they genuinely want to give you the best chance possible to realise your ambitions.

What do you intend to do next/what are you doing now that you have left?
I am currently studying hard for my A2 examinations and thanks to this College I have a genuine chance of completing a Law Degree at Cambridge University. Less than a year ago I was stuck in a job I didn’t enjoy doing the ‘same old same old’ but now there’s no limit as to what I can achieve! It would not be possible without the dedicated support of the College.

How is the course helping you achieve your ambitions?
The teaching is great, very clear and concise and it makes all the information very easy to digest. As a mature student I was worried that sharing a class with sixteen year-olds would almost be like being back in school but it’s not like that at all. Because the teaching is so clear it makes it easy to revise and therefore you’ve got a better chance of getting the grades you need to achieve your ambitions.

How will studying impact on your life?
I’ve quit the job I didn’t like and accepted the challenge of returning to education and I can honestly say that it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made and I wish I had done it sooner. Firstly, once I’ve completed my course my career prospects will be much better; without A-levels your choices of career are limited but whether you intend on going to Uni or not employers will hold you in higher esteem with A-levels on your CV. And honestly, having been to another College, I cannot recommend Coleg y Cymoedd highly enough as the place to do them in. Returning to College and doing my A-levels at Coleg y Cymoedd will help me realise my ambition of becoming a lawyer rather than doing the same job day-in day-out!

Would you recommend this college/this course to others?
Yes of course!

Ian Rees Head of Coleg y Cymoedd’s dedicated Sixth Form Centre said:
“Jacob’s achievements since returning to education at Coleg y Cymoedd have been significant. He is the first ever student from the College to have been given a conditional offer to study at Cambridge University, and is currently putting everything into achieving the challenging Grade requirements he has been set. He evinces a strong sense of self-belief and impressive levels of focus and determination, overcoming considerable personal obstacles to achieve to such a high level. We as his A-Level tutors are delighted with his successes to date, and look forward with anticipation and pride to what we are sure will be a bright future for him in university and in his future Law career."

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