9 November 2017
I count myself extremely lucky that I was awarded one of the Harper Adams Success Scholarships for 2017 entry to Harper. This scholarship is an incredible opportunity to win a fee free degree. The scholarship is aimed at giving people a chance to get access to higher education if they are from areas or schools that typically don’t see many people progress to higher education.
Although I had considered coming to Harper before I’d heard about the scholarship, the expense of higher education here was quite off-putting for my parents, who would have preferred I stayed at home and did a similar degree through either Queen’s or Ulster University, just so I wouldn’t be leaving uni after 4 years with a substantial amount of debt to pay off. However, I had my sights set on Harper and getting a true university experience away from home and finding out about the scholarship just made me more determined that I wanted to come here!
I first heard about this scholarship (worth almost £30,000!!) when I was over visiting Harper for my interview in December 2016, as there were posters displayed advertising it all over the university. I then decided to research into it over my Christmas holidays and checked my eligibility. When it came back that I would be eligible for the scholarship I decided to fill in the application form. For being a scholarship worth almost £30k, the application process was extremely simple. I just had to fill in a form with my personal details and exam results. I also had to get a teacher reference written and write a 500 word piece on why I felt I deserved the scholarship. Having written my personal statement only a few months prior made this easier as I knew the style of writing needed for the application.
I was convinced that I would never win the scholarship given that 6 were awarded and the number of students that I thought would be applying for the scholarship and to Harper. But at the end of the day, if you’re not in you can’t win! Therefore I took this approach as with the ease of applying it would be silly of me not to at least try to win one of them.
A few months had passed, and to be quite honest, the scholarship had completely gone out of my mind. Then one Saturday afternoon in May, I came home from work to find a rather important looking letter with my name on it waiting for me on the kitchen table. I opened it and could not believe what I was reading, “Dear Emily… I am very pleased to inform you that you have been successful in your application”. Provided that I got the grades in my A Levels to get onto my course, the scholarship was mine! I started screaming in delight, and my mum, who was on the phone at the time, came rushing into the kitchen as she thought there was something wrong with me! I was over the moon and my dad is still laughing to this day at the sight of me running down the yard to him in the tractor waving this piece of paper over my head!
It is such a fantastic opportunity to have and I am so grateful to have been awarded one of these scholarships. The feeling of knowing that I am going to be able to graduate from university with no tuition fee loan to repay is wonderful. It was also a real incentive to work hard and get good grades in my A Levels, and it definitely paid off as in August there were more delighted screams opening my exam results.
And now here I am, 3 months later, writing this post in my room at Harper and having the time of my life! The Harper motto is Utile Dulci, and Harper students tend to translate this to Work Hard, Play Hard. And I feel that this perfectly sums up Harper! There is always so much going on, and there is definitely something for everyone to do, on top of any assignments that need done of course! There is definitely a good work-life balance here, for example, I am part of the rowing club and Harper Ireland society here. We have weekly socials and meetings, and these are a great opportunity to get out of my room for a change of scenery and meeting new people! It is also a great opportunity to make myself a morning person! I will admit that setting an alarm for 5am twice a week for rowing is mildly soul destroying, it is completely worth it when you’re out on the water watching the sunrise whilst you’re getting a good workout done before classes have even started for the day. The scenery in Shrewsbury whilst rowing along the river Severn is also amazing!
If anyone is considering applying for the scholarship I would highly recommend it, as if the incentive to win a scholarship worth almost £30k wasn’t enough to convince you! The application process is simple and at the end of the day, if you aren’t in you can’t win! So for a short period of time out of a day to complete the application process, it would be silly not to!