Gifty is a reflective, resilient and independent young woman from Hackney, east London. With no family history of university attendance she made the most of her three years on The Access Project and is now enjoying life at The University of Sheffield, where she is reading International Relations. But her journey to get there wasn’t simple.

Project Helps Disadvantaged Students Go To University

Photo: The Access Project

Her parents’ lack of experience with university applications meant Gifty was not sure what universities expected from her, and her dyslexia limited her ability to write down her thoughts in her personal statement. Neither held Gifty back though- intensive and personalised support from her programme coordinator via The Access Project meant she was able to make a university application which did both her ambitions and ability justice.

Gifty loved the tutoring model that The Access Project runs, as it gave her the opportunity to spend time with someone and focus on exactly what she found difficult — her tutor coached her to find the answers to questions and theories she didn’t understand. “He wasn’t like a teacher,” she says.

Currently working hard at university, Gifty is aiming high, with ambitions to work for the European Union or United Nations. Gifty is making lots of friends and has even found herself a replica tutor, a fellow student who helps her with anything she doesn’t understand.

However, Gifty’s journey to get to university was definitely rocky, relying on a scholarship from university to be able to attend. On results day she discovered that she was on a waiting list for this and she spent the next two weeks working in NEXT trying to work out whether she could pay her own way through university. But on her birthday she received the life-changing news that she had been awarded with the scholarship from Sheffield University, “Oh My God I was so amazed” was the only way she could articulate the relief and joy she felt.

Gifty says she is “so grateful” for the time her tutor spent helping her. She has loved meeting so many open-minded people at university, something her tutor assured her she would — one example that stood out was a six-hour conversation she had with her flatmate about religion.

Find out more about The Access Project here.


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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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