Student’s doctorate story inspires others

5th September 2013 12:52pm - Return to press releases

Student’s doctorate story inspires others

A mum-of-three who got back into education at East Riding College has told current students her story after being accepted for a doctorate at the University of Hull.
Michelle Connor, 40, of Beverley, graduated from the university in the summer with a first class BSc in Psychology and her dissertation is to be published in an academic journal.
But she returned to the College this week to tell learners who are following in her footsteps on the Level Three Access to Higher Education Diploma about the inspiration and support she received from tutors there.

Michelle said: “The Access course definitely provided me with a firm foundation on which to do a degree by enabling me to learn essay and report writing, presentation skills and referencing.
“The tutors really prepared me for studying at higher level so nothing was a complete shock. I had really good relationships with them and I have kept in touch with them.
Michelle said: “Having small groups was a tremendous help – compare that with university where you’re in a lecture theatre with 180 people – and the tutors were always available to answer questions and advise on your essays.
“The tutors really helped me get the best out of myself. They hold your hand a little bit but you need that when you’re getting back into education.”

Michelle, who has 20 and 13-year-old sons and a 9-year-old daughter, had a successful career as a buyer for a manufacturing firm but gave up work because of difficulties finding a childminder.
When her daughter started school, she enrolled on two counselling courses at the College as she thought about her next step in her career and education.
Having decided she wanted to study for a degree in psychology, she enrolled on the Level Three Access to Higher Education Diploma, which helps people who have been out of education to meet university entry requirements and teaches them how to write in the higher education style, research and reference.

The course is available in a variety of specialisms called “pathways” and Michelle chose the social sciences pathway, as that featured psychology, and passed with a distinction.
She has now graduated from the university and is about to begin her doctorate. Her dissertation, on reasons why students abstain from alcohol has been lined up for publication in a psychology journal.

One of her tutors, Gill Cook, said: “Every year the Access programme provides learners with the entry qualifications, skills and confidence to make the step up to higher education.
“Michelle worked very hard on the course and has clearly continued to do so in her degree. We are delighted with her achievement and wish her the best of luck for her doctorate.” 

There is a limited amount of time to enrol of the Level Three Access to Higher Education Diploma for the 2013/14 academic year and learners may be entitled to study for free or to a loan to pay their course fees.
For more information, call 0845 120 0037 or visit


Notes to editors

For more information about this press release, call Matthew Croshaw, marketing and communications manager, on 01482 390720 or email