Meet: Christa Hetherington

Meet Christa, a fast-track A Level Sociology student at Oaklands College.

Christa-square

Name: Christa Hetherington
Course Studied: A Level Sociology

Meet Christa, a fast-track A Level Sociology student at Oaklands College who plans to study Law at university.

How have you found the experience at Oaklands College?

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Oaklands College studying intensive A Level Sociology. Oaklands has provided me with so much support and opportunities over the past year I have been here.

There is a real push to encourage students in their preparations for university and post-A level plans. There is a brilliant support network in completing the UCAS application with advice on what Universities/courses were available, as well as doing our personal statements. I have always been able to voice my opinions and concerns with members of staff if I have ever needed any assistance and it has always been available for me. My experience at Oaklands has been far more enjoyable then the typical sixth form environment that I previously attended, the teacher-student relationships are much more personal and I think this is key to students succeeding.

The college is very involved in creating the best experience possible for their students and this is very encouraging to see.

I would also like to add, with the cancellation of exams, the A Level department were very well prepared to avoid what happened in the previous year with exam results and therefore a very organised grading system was devised to help students with evidence of their grades, which was the fairest possible way. This was excellent as from the start we were aware that this system was put in place and everyone knew that all assessments were important in case exams did not going ahead as planned.

What have you enjoyed about your course(s)

A Level Sociology has been my favourite A Level, in comparison to the other subjects I studied at my previous school, which were Biology, Psychology and English Literature.

The course itself is brilliant for intensive students as you do not need any AS knowledge to help you with the A2 classes, so it worked really well in terms of teaching and learning.
The units I most enjoyed learning were ‘Education’ and ‘Crime and Deviance’. I was enlightened when learning about so many current problems in our society, which I feel very passionately about, as well as the inequalities there are between individuals and groups.
I found these modules particularly inspiring and were very important to me in terms of my future plans.

Learning about different theoretical perspectives was also enjoyable as it presents you with views that you may not have considered before, and helps you to view problems in another light. In addition, I found the subject made me much more aware of daily affairs in the news and media which has educated me further as an individual and I feel confident arguing/presenting my view on topics.
The other modules ‘Global Development’ as well as ‘Families and Households’ were also just as eye-opening.

I highly recommend Sociology as an A level to take as it gives you a wide range of skills such as discursive essay writing, which is highly valued at University and important knowledge about society.

Lastly, the tutor who teaches A level Sociology – (Denise Tinant) has been truly amazing in helping me achieve the grade I strived for. She has always explained concepts in great depth and if you ever need additional support/assistance, she is always there to push and help you. She has really helped me and knew exactly what my aims/plans were and I could not recommend her enough.The 1-1 system is extremely helpful for students who may feel they need more help or who are falling behind. This is something that was not available at my previous school and if you needed help you had to do it yourself, which is not possible as such with A levels.

I could not recommend both Oaklands college, Sociology and the staff enough to any students wanting to pursue intensive courses.

What are your plans once you finish?

I am planning on going to the University of Sheffield to study either Law or Law with Criminology, which will be the first steps in becoming a solicitor.

Would you recommend the intensive study programme? If so, why?

I would highly recommend the intensive study programme to students, because although it may seem daunting and a lot of work in one year, the courses are very structured and organised in a way which will help you to succeed the grades you want. The intensive course allows you to achieve your A Levels but also prepares you for your future plans, with strong emphasis on work experience and extra-curricular activities and study which will set you apart from other candidates.

My personal experience of studying A Levels at Oaklands could not have been better, the personalised teaching and learning experience really has helped me to be confident in what I can achieve.

How important has the intensive one-year course been to enabling you to pursue your University ambitions? 

Having not achieved the grades I needed due to the cancellation of exams in 2020, I needed to either re-do one of my previous A levels or start a new one. I chose to do a new one (Sociology) which I knew was going to suit topics that I enjoy and feel passionate about therefore this was the best decision for me.

I found that it is very important for you to enjoy your subjects as this is ultimately what motivates you to do well as the work is not tedious and is enjoyable. Completing the intensive course has enabled me to receive all five of my university choices, and I have chosen the University of Sheffield as my firm choice. The one-year course could not be more perfect in helping my situation with grades and getting accepted to study law at university.

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