Kirkcaldy pupil's first class degree at University of St Andrews after being inspired to study there

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A Kirkcaldy school pupil wants to encourage her fellow Fife students to have the confidence to consider university.

Kate Matheson (21), who attended St Andrews High School, said she was so inspired by the stories of students from state schools in the Kingdom who had studied at the University of St Andrews that she decided to go for it and apply to study neuroscience - where she recently graduated with a first class degree.

Kate (21) said: “I honestly don't think I would have gone to university if I wasn't on the First Chances Fife programme; I wasn't overly interested in academic subjects at school, but I was so inspired by the stories of students at St Andrews that had also come from state schools across Fife and the really fun traditions that St Andrews has like the May Dip and the foam fight on Raisin Monday.”

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Kate said that despite her initial nervousness about “fitting in” or being “smart enough”, her experiences have shown that she was right to continue her studies at St Andrews.

Kate Matheson wants to encourages other Fife pupils to believe in themselves (Pic: Submitted)Kate Matheson wants to encourages other Fife pupils to believe in themselves (Pic: Submitted)
Kate Matheson wants to encourages other Fife pupils to believe in themselves (Pic: Submitted)

She said: “For those thinking about coming to St Andrews from state schools in Fife, but perhaps think that it 'isn't for people like them' or that they're not smart enough, I would encourage them to believe in themselves! If you have a passion for a particular subject and are open-minded then you are absolutely meant to be here - there are so many opportunities that I've received here that I wouldn't have anywhere else."

Kate’s experience also included becoming a student ambassador, which has involved working on the widening access summer schools and events run by the University’s Admissions team. “It has been so rewarding watching pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds change their perception about university and St Andrews in particular,” Kate said.

Kate is looking towards her next steps, including taking further steps to encourage the next generation of potential university students.

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She explained: “I am thinking about pursuing a Masters degree in clinical neurology. I'm really interested in working with patients and doctors to improve the lives of those with neurological conditions and would love to incorporate some kind of outreach with school-aged pupils within that."

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