A different path

At school, Ilyas had never even thought about applying to university. But after being introduced to the Manchester Access Programme (MAP) he was more prepared to consider his options and was supported to apply to Manchester. Now well into his degree, Ilyas is proud to be a MAP ambassador, supporting other students like him to consider university.

On my aspirations

“When I was in high school I always thought university wasn’t really a prospect for me. I went to a school that achieved below national average in GCSE grades. We didn’t go on trips to universities, and no one in my family had gone to university before, so I really didn’t have any information at all. It seemed like a thing that I’d never do.

“At the end of year 11, I got the best GCSEs of all the male students in my school. At that point I thought, maybe I do want to go to university. But I still had no idea how to get there.”


On how MAP changed my mind

“When I was in college one afternoon, someone from the MAP team came in to do a talk – that started me on the journey to university. I was able to go to workshops that helped me understand how to reference, write essays and write a personal statement – I received help on the entire application process.

“I attended a MAP summer school, which was epic! I got to do loads of social activities and meet people from other colleges and schools in the area who were from similar backgrounds and wanted to go to university.”

On being an ambassador

“I’m now in my fourth year being a MAP ambassador and I love it. I understand the backgrounds these students come from. Because students can relate to me, they feel comfortable asking me questions. I’m not a teacher, I’m just a person who went through it.

Because students can relate to me, they feel comfortable asking me questions.

“It’s great to be able to give back – I’ve helped so many students to develop skills and to build their CVs. It makes me feel really old though!”


On how Manchester leads the way

“I think Manchester stands out as a university that really wants to help students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and I think MAP really helps students who may not consider university to be an option for them.”

Ilyas Nagdee
BA Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies