University was always inevitable for me, I knew I wanted to get there, one way or another. However, I was unsure of what I wanted to do and this was reflected at the open days I attended. I had a passion for writing and being creative but the choice was so vast I couldn’t pinpoint a career choice.
Before I left secondary school, I attended an open day at North East Scotland College (NESCOL). I went with the idea of doing something in Media or Social sciences (even though I hated the subject at school) – I was pretty clueless. I began panicking as my time at secondary school was ending and I was completely unprepared. After chatting to a few lecturers I still wasn’t sure what course I wanted to do. Just as I was leaving I stopped to speak to a lecturer, who unknowingly would shepherd me to my current situation. Margaret McNaught had relayed to me a fantastic course, Advertising and PR. At this point I was still unaware as to what this course would entail but I was eager to find out. She also mentioned that this course was part of a Degree link that meant you would study two years at college and 2-3 years at university. This was a great option for me and really pushed me to go forward with the course.
After Summer I was ready to begin my course at NESCOL, I was very nervous as it was a completely different scene to what I was used to, but exciting all the same. Nobody knew each other which meant it opened up an opportunity for some icebreaker sessions. During my time at college I was really lucky to have met some life-long friends and this was one of the benefits of college. You will realise that as you progress through your studies, you meet new people and more often than not it will be people you have loads in common with. I have also been lucky enough to have the same friends join me in the Degree Link.
During my Advertising and PR course I was never short of work. We were given various projects to do such as, creating campaign ideas, writing press releases, presenting our ideas, holding press conferences, managing events, fundraising, working with organisations and gaining feedback on our work from them. Don’t get me wrong there were less stimulating projects such as assessments and reports in which I spent many a late night working on a mock media schedule to last a whole year to only delete the document and start again! However, these assessments play an important role in your overall grade and you really have to put your all into achieving them.
I would say that I was never bored during this course, there was always something to work towards and you had to do a lot of different things and juggle them from time to time but that helped me with time management.
College really did prepare me well for university and I feel that the projects and experience I achieved at college helped me to get a placement. The type of work you are given and the way you are assessed is really different to uni, however, you are still given a final grade at the end of the year, which of course contributes to the Degree link.
When I started studying Management with Marketing at university it was a shock to the system. First of all, there is more than one building! The distance means more travelling and I would have a different tutor for every module.
It doesn’t take long to get used to, you are usually based in the same building depending on the course you take. If your timetable says you will be in another building don’t panic! If you can’t find your way around there are maps around campus, and there is always someone who will be happy to give you directions.
Once I began my modules I was surprised at how much I already knew. This wasn’t a bad thing at all as it deepened my understanding of the subject, and meant I achieved really good grades in the subjects I had already studied at college. The projects we were given wasn’t unlike what I had done over the two years of my HND. Group work was easy to adapt to and I was a lot more confident doing presentations as I had done loads already.
During my time at North East Scotland College I carried out a number of practical skills for example, I did a mini placement with the Aberdeen Cyrenians where I helped them with their social media. I feel doing this type of practical work and communicating with an organisation like this gave me the experience I needed to obtain my third-year placement.
I have graduated from RGU now with a 2:1 in Management with Marketing, I believe that throughout university I achieved very good grades and I put this all down to the Degree Link, having that background knowledge and practical skills from college definitely gave me the push I needed to get ahead of my course at university. I have now obtained a job straight out of graduation and I am learning continuously as I go.
Just know that if you are unsure of what you would like to do, there are so many courses that allow you to study a couple of years at college, which will branch out into slightly more defined courses involved in the area you’re studying at uni.
I know that after I selected my course I felt more focussed as I knew the direction I was heading in. By the time it came to applying for UCAS I was given more choices but limited to what would be most suitable for the HND I had. This was actually so helpful as I didn’t have to clog my brain with thousands of different courses.
I hope I have given you all a better insight into the Degree Link, I would highly recommend it if you are unsure of the course you want to do but have a rough idea. Take your time when choosing a course, it is a big decision and you don’t need to rush it.