Case Notes

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The Independent Online
Jon Prince, 26, from Guernsey, left school with a D in English, an E in general studies, a failure in religious studies, and an E in computer studies at AS level. At 24, he applied to University of Teeside to do a degree in mechanical engineering. He was turned down for the degree course, but accepted a place to do an HND in the same subject. Having gained the HND, he is now about to enter the second year of the honours degree course at Teeside

"I HADN'T really expected to do better in my A-levels, because I didn't really apply myself. I should have been doing sciences, but at that age I always had a problem with the maths.

"I did different jobs when I left school, including working at a motor cycle garage. But I decided I needed something on paper to progress in engineering. Initially I was disappointed not to get on to the degree course but I took up the HND option and I haven't looked back since.

"The HND has got a more adult feel about it, because quite a lot of people doing it have already spent some time working in industry. They see the HND as a way - the only way - of progressing, so they take it quite seriously.

"The lecturers have been excellent, and the course has been really well structured. My maths has come on in leaps and bounds.

"The vocational feel of the course has suited me, too: it's very geared to preparing you for industry.

"I'm not sure what to expect with the degree, but I feel very confident. The HND has been a good stepping stone for me.

"It has really clarified my aim, and I'm hoping to work with computers in engineering when I leave."

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