A young mum at university by Hallie

After falling pregnant at 15, Hallie thought her chance to go to university was lost. But thanks to her determination and support from a donor-funded scholarship, Hallie is now fulfilling her dream of gaining a BA in English Literature.

Hallie’s story

I grew up in Harpurhey, one of the poorest parts of the UK. I had a hard time and ended up falling pregnant at 15. It was this that gave me the drive and determination to succeed in life, no matter what.

My school entered me into The Portico Sadie Massey Awards for Young Readers and Writers, where I was competing against students from grammar and private schools. I had no faith in myself, but to my shock and surprise I came second with my journalistic piece.

My poem about Alan Turing was also commended and published in the Portico Library anthology. This gave me hope and made me realise that I, Hallie Fletcher, could achieve anything if I put my mind to it and worked hard.

Determination to succeed

Hallie and her son, Cullen

After finishing my GCSEs I left school and had my beautiful son Cullen, who is now four years old. I got a part-time job, as I was told that I couldn’t do my English A-level due to failing my maths GCSE.

When I turned 19, I was accepted onto an access course. I had to leave at 6am every morning to get there on time. Having a young child too made it exhausting, but when The University of Manchester offered me a conditional place, I knew I had to succeed.

I worked so hard and put my all into every assignment. I completed the Manchester Access Programme summer school and from my first visit to the University, I knew I had to come here. When I got my grades I realised that all of my hard work had paid off – my dream had come true!

University life

My first year of university has been extremely hard, but I have enjoyed every second of it. I feel the Manchester Access Programme has prepared me for the intense learning that comes with university study. It has also given me an opportunity to show that I deserve to be here. Receiving an Undergraduate Access Scholarship from my donor has been a huge help and I’m so grateful. It means I don’t have to worry so much about money. I cannot put into words how much it means to me.

Growing up in Harpurhey and becoming a mother at 15, I never thought that I would be studying here at The University of Manchester.

The future

After my degree, I want to do a master’s and PhD here at Manchester and then teach. I want to set a good example to my little best friend who looks up to me. I want to do him proud and prove the people who doubted me wrong.

What it means to me

It may be a struggle working part time, being a mother and attending one of the best universities in the world, but I’m doing it for me and my son. I couldn’t have done this without the support of my donor. I want to be living proof that you can succeed, no matter where you are from or what you have been through.

Hallie’s Undergraduate Access Scholarship is generously funded by the Hong Kong Foundation for The University of Manchester.