From Degree Link applicant to Colleges Engagement Assistant at RGU

David Lawson transitioned from college to university by applying to RGU via the Degree Link and is now advising prospective students going through the same journey in his role as Colleges Engagement Assistant within the Widening Access Team. Read about his journey, his experience studying Applied Social Sciences at RGU, and how he is getting on in his role.

Applying to RGU via the Degree Link

I studied HND Social Sciences at North East Scotland College (Nescol) and fell in love with the subjects so much, I wanted to study it further. RGU offered a direct entry route into third year of the BA (Hons) Applied Social Sciences course, so the decision to keep studying at RGU was a no brainer. Being the first in my family to go to university, I did not know what to expect coming into RGU, but the support the university provided was second to none.

The application itself was very similar to a normal UCAS application. Staff from RGU and the Social Studies department had come to visit us at Nescol to provide us with information on the course and RGU itself, such as the campus, the facilities on offer, and extra-curricular activities that we had the option of participating in. We were even invited to attend Applicants’ Day where we were able to ask questions about the course and receive answers from both staff and current students.

The transition from college to university

I adapted to the transition easily. I was a little bit older than most other people on the course, so I had gotten over that initial ‘first day’ fear pretty quickly. I had friends who also articulated from Nescol to RGU at the same time as me, so there were no times where I felt left out.

The staff were incredibly welcoming. Although they are professional, they have a personal touch to the way they interact with students and other members of staff alike, so it didn’t feel as if I was out of my depth when interacting with them.

The other students on the course who had been at RGU from first year were also welcoming. We were never made to feel like outcasts during discussions and were welcomed into already existed friend groups as soon as we started.

My experience studying Applied Social Sciences at RGU

I learned so much during my time at RGU and found speciality subject areas that I still research in my own time today. I fell in love with Urban and Political Sociology, Class Conflicts, and Social Theories. The lecturers are so passionate about what they teach, and it really helps you to learn and absorb the information you need.

My favourite modules were “Violence, Crime & Conflict”, “Community, Place & Identity”, “Global Development”, and “Terrorism, People & Places”. The essays and assessments for these modules were among some of the most fun I’ve had researching and developing throughout my time in education.

I really enjoyed working on my final year dissertation. My research centred around the gentrification of working-class communities in Scotland, looking at communities in Glasgow and Edinburgh where research is abundant, and applying what I’ve discovered to communities in Aberdeen and Dundee, where research is a little scarcer.

Advising students about the Degree Link in my role as Colleges Engagement Assistant

As a Colleges Engagement Assistant at RGU, I am responsible for creating that link between the University and the partner colleges throughout Scotland. We run “Hub Days” every week where we are physically on college campuses to provide information surrounding articulation and general information about RGU, the campus, and life at university. We also organise and run events such as visits from colleges throughout Scotland and help to deliver key resources such as Study Skills sessions.

I enjoyed my time at RGU so much that I wanted to come back and work for the university. When I saw this job being advertised, I knew I had to apply given my experience on the receiving end of this position.

The course I studied definitely helped to influence my career choice. It’s given me the ability to expand my outlook and understand the differences that some individuals may face throughout their lives and has allowed me to become more empathetic to those who may want to come to university, but do not know what their best route may be. Being able to provide that support to those who do not think they can make it to university is very rewarding.

Going through the Degree Link myself has definitely made my job easier. I can reflect on my own experience and provide prospective students with reassurance and with the information that I found helpful before starting my studies at RGU.

My advice to college students applying to university

I would say that even if you do not think you have the capabilities of studying at university, apply anyway. The support provided by support services, lecturers, and your peers are some of the best sources of support you can have. You will never be left out to suffer in silence. If you’re unsure about something, or just need a little boost, just ask and you will progress further than you thought you ever could.

My plans for the future

I would like to progress on to PhD study here at RGU, with the intention of breaking into a career in Academia. I would like to potentially get the opportunity to lecture future generations here at the university.

David Lawson

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