Press release

Summer of success for Access course students

Published on 28 July 2020

Hundreds of students are celebrating after completing an intensive course to earn an undergraduate place at the University of Dundee. 

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Hundreds of students are celebrating after completing an intensive course to earn an undergraduate place at the University of Dundee. 

Over 300 participants of the Access Summer School have now graduated from the six-and-a-half week programme and will go on to study at the University. 

The programme helps students whose academic performance is hindered by circumstance prepare for entry to degree courses across all ten of the University’s Schools, offering a key route to prepare and where necessary qualify for degree-level study. 

The courses had been moved fully online for the first time to ensure that despite lockdown, as many students as possible benefited. This year, offers were made to all contextually eligible students, with uptake rocketing by over 80%. 

Since launching in 1993, the Access Summer Schools have helped 3,000 students toward higher education and the programmes have been cited nationally as an example of best practice. 

Beatrice Rae (18), who will go on to study Medicine, said the course has better prepared her for higher education. She said, “Having been out of a study regime for a long time due to lockdown, having the opportunity to engage my brain will make starting university less of a shock to the system. 

“I would definitely recommend it. It gives you a taster of what university will be like and allows you to gauge how you might cope on arrival. It has also built my confidence in the sense that this ‘head start’ puts me on the same level as other students.” 

For Ian Dickie (28), who will now study Mental Health Nursing at the University, the Summer School has been extremely rewarding. 

“Summer school has been hard work, time consuming and exhausting, but definitely worth it,” said Ian. 

“Being out of education for 12 years, I was worried about the level of study suddenly expected of me. Thanks to summer school I am going into university with more confidence and knowing what to expect, which will be invaluable!” 

Lynne Mclaughlin (35), who will also go on to study Mental Health Nursing, said the Access course has given her new confidence in entering higher education as a mature student. She said, “There is no other experience that will give you a clear view of what will be expected of you at university. 

“For mature students like me that are returning to study after many years, summer school has been a life line that has shown I am more than capable of undertaking a degree at my age - even with the added stresses of running a house and raising children. I would never have believed in myself to this extent if it wasn’t for summer school.” 

Course Director Dr John Blicharski added, “It is amazing how the University’s learning community pulled together, with around 100 staff providing over 50,000 hours of learning this summer – all delivered from their own homes to students also at home.  

“The fact so many students now have such bright futures is a huge tribute to the commitment of all involved and an extraordinary effort. We remain as determined as ever to encourage those with the greatest potential, regardless of how tough their learner journey to us has been.”   


Jessica Rorke

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 388878