HND Social Sciences
“I found my time at college to be the perfect link between leaving school and starting university. The course was interesting, the assessments were rigorous and gave me the skills to work alone, as well as part of a group, which served me well at university. The lecturers were engaging and treated students as adults which created a good atmosphere for learning.”
Dean McGlynn (29), left Kincorth Academy after his sixth year without a clear plan of what he wanted to do in the future. He said, “I enjoyed Modern Studies at school but had really focused on the more traditional sciences. I didn’t feel ready to start a career at that point and wanted to study for a degree. The 2+2 college to university route that Aberdeen College, as it was known at the time, offered seemed like the best option for me as my exam results didn’t allow me to go straight to university.”
On looking through the College prospectus, Dean decided to apply for an HND in Social Sciences. He said, “The subjects covered by the course – history, politics, sociology and psychology – really interested me and I felt I would enjoy it. I knew it would also help me keep my options open for the future as it covers such a broad range of subjects.”
As he expected, Dean enjoyed the course which produced some memorable moments. He said, “I remember taking part in a group song and dance number as part of a mock election exercise which managed to raise a smile from a famously straight-faced lecturer. Our class must have been impressed too as we went on to win the election!” Other moments that stood out for Dean included being in the audience for a special General Election panel event, hosted by the College, which featured local parliamentary candidates as well as guest lecturer visits including one by Dr Gerry Mooney of the Open University.
On successfully completing the course, Dean was able to progress to the third year of an honours degree in Applied Social Sciences at Robert Gordon University (RGU). He said, “I found my time at college to be the perfect link between leaving school and starting university. The course was interesting, the assessments were rigorous and gave me the skills to work alone, as well as part of a group, which served me well at university. The lecturers were engaging and treated students as adults which created a good atmosphere for learning.”
Two years after starting at RGU, Dean graduated with an honours degree. He said, “After leaving university, I had a brief stint in youth work. I then began my career in social housing at a Housing Association in Aberdeen.” Seven years later, Dean still works in social housing, now as a Project Manager for a small housing association in London. He said, “I find working in social housing really fulfilling and hope to continue my career in this area. I also have a couple of really rewarding voluntary roles in the sector, one for a representative body for small housing associations and the other with the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Futures Board which encourages young people to start a career in social housing.”
Reflecting on his time at NESCol and the benefits it gave him, Dean said, “Studying social sciences gave me a solid foundation in a broad range of subjects which had enough variety and flexibility that meant I could choose what to concentrate on when I applied for university and subsequently applying for jobs. More generally, it helped develop my critical thinking and exposed me to new and interesting ideas that challenged my thoughts and assumptions about the world. It also provided me with knowledge of the scientific approach that underpins so much of the work I’ve done since. Transferrable skills, such as the scientific method, is something that I continue to use and develop upon now.”