Jeremy’s stepping stone to studying Natural Sciences at university Friday, 14 April 2023

NEC has been working with our partners to provide a series of free webinars on our YouTube channel for anyone interested in studying a course with us, finding out more about a particular subject or career choice, wanting to know about support for their children’s learning, or looking to prepare for exams or university.

One of these webinars, co-hosted by NEC and Gem Standen, Widening Participation Officer for Mature Students at the University of East Anglia (UEA), was about how to apply to university.

It was whilst having a 1:1 virtual meeting with Gem when he was applying to university via UCAS, that Gem mentioned to NEC student Jeremy the strong links that UEA has with the National Extension College (NEC).

A full-time management accountant for a biotech company, Jeremy enjoys spending time reading and watching science documentaries and was interested in studying towards a science degree.

With his enthusiasm for biology and natural sciences, Jeremy had enrolled on NEC’s A level Biology course citing NEC’s good reputation and their exam centre in Cambridge, close to his West Suffolk base his reason for choosing to study with the National Extension College.

Having previously studied for both a Geology Certificate with Birkbeck College, London University and his Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) examinations through distance learning, flexible independent study was something with which Jeremy was familiar.

As a mature student, with a demanding full-time job, by choosing NEC Jeremy could study towards his A level in Biology in the evenings and at weekends. Although his schedule was tight his ambition to be able to study science at university drove him on.

As a distance learner, Jeremy says that it is important to be a ‘self-starter’ and advises anyone considering studying by distance learning to:

“Go in with your eyes open. Choose your course based on what you are passionate about. Choose your course provider based on their reputation, results and your gut instinct – if it feels right it probably is! Always check that they can provide an exam centre nearby to where you live.”

He says: “Getting feedback from my tutor was always good and the tutor, the Exams Team and other NEC support teams were excellent. My course materials were generally excellent and good value for money.”

“I have just been accepted on the BSc Natural Sciences degree at UEA and am looking forward to starting my study there as a mature student this September.”



If, like Jeremy, you work full-time, or if you have caring responsibilities or other commitments, NEC’s online courses offer quality course materials designed to fit in with your lifestyle and draw on our 60 years of life-changing learning. With no set schedule you can take control of your learning to ensure the best possible chance of success. Explore our courses.

We will be co-hosting another webinar with UEA on how to apply to university in August. Follow us on our social media for all the latest on this and our other monthly webinar events.

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