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Carmen Tulloch

Working with Children, Young People and Families with Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

Growing up, Carmen had never given university a thought. After leaving school, she went on a Youth Training Scheme (YTS) course and during her work experience, she was offered a permanent job. It was only after her second child turned two, when she was 38, that she thought about returning to study.

"Being a stay at home mum was not for me, and I felt that if I wasn’t working, I need to be studying. This was my opportunity to do something I was passionate about and I signed up to start a course within three weeks of leaving work. I attended college for two years and found a love for studying. 

I first visited BCU to speak to students about doing their placement at the children’s centre where I was volunteering. While I was there, I discovered the degree I am now preparing to start in September. I fell in love with it straight away and asked about applying. At the time, I didn’t meet the entry requirements so I went away, got the relevant qualification and enquired again the following year. Unfortunately, the criteria had changed so I was no longer eligible. I also started a permanent role at the children’s centre so I gave up on my uni dream. 

In early 2018 (four years on from my initial enquiry), something drew me back to the degree I had so loved. The name had changed but it still covered the areas I wanted and it had also introduced a foundation year option. I emailed one or two members of staff explaining my story and they invited me to an Open Day. 

When I was made an unconditional offer, I was beside myself. I honestly cannot believe I am here now, in my last few weeks of my foundation year, getting ready to study for a degree. This has given me confidence and I am so grateful for this opportunity. 

There have been challenges - my foundation course was every day, which meant I had to give up my part time job. I also worried about the later finish sessions and who would collect my children from after school club as all my family are in London. But I took a leap of faith and handed in my notice.

Everything is new to me; I’m learning so much and many times I feel out of my depth but getting the assignments in, producing the work and getting the grades and feedback has made me proud and instilled self-belief. My grades have improved with each assignment from when I first started. This gives me a huge sense of accomplishment. 

I’ve had lots of advice and support from tutors, personal tutors and the ASK service in relation to assignments, finances and my career path. I just love the learning and style in which we are taught and the tutors we have been blessed to have this year. From my first enquiry about the foundation year until now, I cannot fault the way in which BCU have made me feel welcome. This has made me feel more committed to the course.

I think I have definitely become more knowledgeable about things I probably didn’t really care about before becoming a student. I am more self-disciplined and organised with regards to the time and effort I need to put in to meet deadlines. 

My goal now is to master academic writing and critical thinking in my assignments and for these to become second nature to me. I also want to be proficient in knowledge so that I am confident to go for my dream job on graduation."

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