FYI – Foundation Year Investigates

What is your name and what are you studying?

My name is Jess Morgan and I am studying BA Criminology.

Why did you choose your course?

Netflix! Crazy to think a streaming service was what solidified my decision in applying for University and choosing to study Criminology. I have always been fascinated with the mind and how it works and if the mind is a contributing factor to criminal behaviour. Like many, I have binge watched crime documentaries on Netflix and kept noticing in interviews that some interviewees had ‘Criminologist’ under their name. I researched criminology and what kind of job roles you could do with a criminology degree, and I was sold. As I am classed as a mature student I never thought I had a chance of getting accepted to a University, I had left school 12 years ago at the time and only had my GCSE’s to work with. On researching different University’s Newman stood out to me because it was close, small and offered a foundation year. The foundation year was my gateway to learning something new, it enabled me to become a University student studying a subject I had great interest in.

What’s been the highlight of your studies so far?

Succeeding. I still have two years to go but my first two years (foundation year, and 1st year) have really boosted my confidence in so many ways. I was getting really good marks on my assignments and I was shocked that me, a mom of a young boy, who works part time in a demanding job, who hasn’t been in education for so long, was succeeding, what an absolute testament to the staff and student body at Newman. I have learnt some incredible things, not only about the subject of criminology but life lessons also. Even though I couldn’t experience my 1st year of my degree completely due to Covid, I still felt I was a part of the University, I still felt valued and everyone, including myself worked really hard to ensure the learning experience was not disrupted too much. The topics we have covered in criminology have been so interesting, the topics covered in foundation year really helped me to move forward onto my degree. Also, a massive highlight is the hash browns, I cannot wait to be back on campus eating the finest hash browns in Bartley Green.

What do you think is unique to the Newman experience?

There are so many students that attend Newman University, you think before you attend that you’re going to be a small fish in a big pond, how would anyone notice me when there are so many other people here, the fear that you will slip by the wayside. That fear quickly disappeared, the feeling that you won’t be seen is eradicated. Newman offer great support from all aspects, from the academic support advisors, the lecturers to the student union. The receptionist offering that first point of contact on your first day with a great smile, great knowledge and a calming approach is amazing. Newman also offer student mentors, and without them I don’t feel like I would have felt so comfortable, so normal. There is a presumption that only really smart people can attend University, well that was definitely mine. Now I’m not saying the mentors aren’t smart! But, they are human, just like me, with the same worries in life as me. Everyone just wants to do their best and get to where they want to be in life, and everyone walks alongside you supporting your journey down that path.

Knowing what you know now, what would you have told yourself at the start of your foundation year?

Anything is possible. I recommended the foundation year to a friend of mine just before I finished my year. She had the exact same worries as me, but I’m not smart enough, I’m a mom, I have a job, I won’t have time, I don’t know how to write essays, I can’t read all them big words, I’m not good enough. I understood her fears and worries because I had the exact same, except mine were no longer feelings of worry, they were feelings of excitement. I told her that she doesn’t need to be smart, it doesn’t matter that she’s a mom, she can still continue in her employment, she is able to learn just like everyone else. I assumed there was a certain way to learn when becoming a University student and that I would have to learn this new way of reading big books and articles with big words I’d never heard of before. Newman simply supports you on your journey to find your way of learning. I never really knew my style of learning, I thought I did, but the staff on the foundation year helped me to find my style. Everybody learns different, why do we think we all have to learn the same way? My advice to myself before starting on the foundation year would have been, you will find you way of learning, your own style, you will receive great support in this and you will thrive, it will all be ok.

Where do you want to go next?

The world is my oyster! It sounds cliché but I truly believe Newman has shown me that anything is possible. I am still on a journey of finding where I want to go next, I thought I had to have it all worked out before a certain time. I still have two years of my degree left and the more I learn the more I will discover about where I want to be. I have time to think about what the future holds post degree, all I know now is I want to complete my degree as best as I can and enjoy it. When I first started at Newman someone spoke to me about a masters, my first reaction was ‘no way!’ but as time has gone on, it is a serious consideration for me. If Newman and the staff on the foundation year can get me to a point where I am able to write an essay with ease, and have taught me so many valuable skills then Newman can definitely support me on a masters and support me to succeed.

For more information about our Foundation Year at Newman University, and the many pathways available please visit