27 April 2017

The Realising Aspirations programme at Ashton Sixth Form College offers all first-year Level 3 students the opportunity to ‘try out’ university study before they start making their applications. Beginning in 2012/13 with just 70 students on 9 subject strands, Realising Aspirations has now developed into Ashton Sixth Form College’s biggest enrichment programme.

Nearly half of the first-year cohort (340 students) enrolled this year across 15 exciting and wide-ranging subjects, from ‘Computer Science’ to ‘Design, ‘Psychology’ to ‘Business Management & Accountancy’, ‘Life Sciences’ to ‘Allied Healthcare’, ‘Law’ to ‘Performing Arts’. Each subject comprised a 4-month long series of events, including a university visit; two information and guidance events; and a number of interactive lectures, seminars and workshops led by visiting academics and postgraduates.

This year’s ‘Physical Science’ strand, included a fascinating lecture on ‘Space Weather’ by Jim Wild, Professor of Space Physics at Lancaster University, which challenged aspiring scientists to consider how Physics intersects with History, Economics and Politics. Meanwhile, ‘History of Art’ students tested their creative and critical abilities in a curation workshop with the Courtauld Institute of Art.

The Realising Aspirations Finale is a celebration of those students who have completed the programme in recognition of their commitment, hard work and enthusiasm. 

Students enrolled on the programme benefit from experiences that seek to demystify university life and study; enrich and broaden their understanding of compelling new subjects and approaches; and improve their higher-level study skills. 92% of this year’s participants would recommend that other students take part. One student writes,

‘It has made me less worried about the transition from college to university. It has shown me a range of courses that are available to me which I didn’t even realise were course options.’ 

Another student described the programme as,

an amazing experience, helping you get ready for university life!’

In 2016/17, Ashton Sixth Form College have proudly worked with over 20 universities and organisations, from local institutions such as the University of Manchester, MMU, and the Manchester International Festival, to farther-flung partners including LIPA, the University of Leicester, Durham University and Newcastle University.

Stevie Watson, Realising Aspirations Co-Ordinator said,

We are very grateful to everyone who has contributed a talk or visit to the programme over the last 4 years, without whom we couldn’t offer such a positive and enriching experience to our students!


Tags: opportunities careers trips realising aspirations