Arriving in the UK aged just 17, Maryam had fled conflict in her native Syria to seek safety. Although her schooling at home had been significantly disrupted by the conflict, she had learnt some English and loved science. She dreamed of a degree that would lead to a career in chemistry and, once in the UK, Maryam worked hard at college to obtain the qualifications she would need to make this dream a reality.
Thankfully, Maryam’s family were granted refugee status which made her eligible for cheaper 'home' fees and student finance and gave her a wider choice of universities and courses to consider. But this didn’t mean that her path to university was smooth. She struggled to understand the complexity of the application and fee assessment systems and worried that her grades would not be good enough. Since she was not a refugee in her own right but as a dependent child, she also faced the challenge of collecting a huge array of documentation to prove her immigration status.
When Maryam first arrived in the UK, she had been matched with an RSN educational mentor to work on her English language and confidence. When the time came to think about university, her volunteer mentor suggested she would benefit from meeting with RSN's higher education support worker. He met with her five times over the course of the year, helping her understand, navigate and successfully complete the university selection and application processes.
Maryam received four offers from different universities, including an unconditional offer from her top choice. She was thrilled to begin her chemistry course there in September 2018. She told us:
"Thank you for your help, I really appreciated it. You really helped me a lot!"
Maryam's story is just one of the stories featured in our 2018-19 impact report. You can read more about our impact by clicking here.