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Case Study

Vicky Giusti

Sunderland, UK

BSc (Hons) Criminology with Integrated Foundation Year

Vicky Giusti knew she wanted a career in the criminal justice system, but never believed she could achieve a university degree. After hearing about the course, she joined the BSc (Hons) Criminology with Integrated Foundation Year and was able to build on her skills and confidence before starting the full degree. Receiving the Futures Fund Scholarship has allowed her to volunteer for a charity alongside her studying, where she can put what she’s learning into practice.

Before coming to university, I was working full-time as a teaching assistant, but I felt that I needed more. My children were older, and I knew I now had the time to pursue my desired career in the criminal justice system. I’d always wanted to achieve more academically, but I never thought it was possible – I didn’t think I was clever enough, it would be too expensive, and I’d never been without a job – I had a lot of misconceptions about university. However, a friend of mine who was already studying at the University of Sunderland told me about the Integrated Foundation Year, which would help me build up to gaining access to a full undergraduate course. The process was seamless, and thanks to the Foundation Year, I was able to build my academic confidence and overcome my impostor syndrome.

I’m currently a third-year student on the BSc (Hons) Criminology course. I thoroughly enjoy learning about the reasons behind criminal behaviour, rehabilitation, crime prevention, victim support, policies, and systems. My favourite part of the course is how varied the teaching and learning methods are, which is particularly accommodating to my dyslexia. I was initially concerned about whether I’d be able to keep up, but the exceptional support from my lecturers and tutors has made all the difference.

During my studying, I’ve received bursaries for books, which has been a great help in allowing me to obtain core reading material for my modules every year. I’ve also recently been awarded the Futures Fund Scholarship, which is a scholarship given to certain students who’ve maintained First-Class grades throughout first and second year. This has been instrumental in allowing me to focus on university without worrying about finding more paid work, which might have otherwise affected my studies. Thanks to the scholarship, I’ve been able to volunteer at a charity, which is a profession I hope to pursue after graduating.

I’m contemplating my future career prospects and I have a keen interest in working with offenders, so I’m exploring two possible paths – rehabilitation, or the third sector. However, I’m also keen to further myself academically by pursuing a master’s degree. The modules on my course have equipped me with knowledge and understanding of different criminal justice systems, which will enable me to work effectively with a diverse range of individuals and support their needs. I’m already applying this to my volunteer work for the charity, approaching situations from varied perspectives to ensure the best outcome for those I’m helping.

To anyone considering coming to study at Sunderland, I’d say do it! Don’t put it off – it’s hard work, but it’s worth it. Follow your passion and achieve the career you want. My experience has been exciting, fun, and challenging, and it’s been amazing to be surrounded by people who will be friends for life.”

Published 29 February 2024

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