Meet the 55-year-old Nottingham fresher with an 18-year-old daughter

She nearly missed her UCAS deadline


Come September, thousands of freshers will descend on Nottingham, wide-eyed and eager to take on the world of uni. Most of them will be fresh-faced 18-year-olds straight from the clutches of their local sixth forms. But this year, they’ll be joined by someone old enough to be their mother, with a daughter who’s old enough to go to uni herself.

Hils Davis, 55, will be reading Humanistic Counselling after retraining midway through her career to become a qualified counsellor.

Having not considered university earlier in life, Hils became holistic and beauty therapist after all her children were in school.

She describes how her job as well as being a mother sparked an interest in counselling, being a confidante of clients and children alike: “I’ve always been one of those people that people talk to and come to with problems.”

She added:”I’ve always had people opposite me, doing exactly that.”

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And so, after completing BTEC level 2 and 3 courses in counselling at her local college, a degree was the next natural step.

In spite of her qualifications, Hils assumed she wouldn’t get in, after deciding that “the worst people can say is no,” she went for it. Her unconditional offer came as a big surprise, as in true student fashion she reflects on how she “winged” the application process, writing her personal statement less than 48 hours before the deadline.

Family and friends were not so shocked by the successful application. Hils describes her “very proud” children, the youngest of whom will be applying for uni this year.

The 18-year-old Alice says “I haven’t ruled out Nottingham,” but is yet to decide where she would like to study.

She added that she is inspired by her mum everyday, and that “this really is the right time for her to do this.”

Hils never considered uni the first time around

Hils never considered uni the first time around

Freshers’ week is fast approaching, and Hils is interested in attending some events throughout the week. However, she is “not a big drinker” and was quick to dismiss the “alcohol related stuff.”

Her reasoning is completely justified: “I can remember my last hangover, twenty years ago, and I’m okay, thank you” she says, probably avoiding many days spent in regret that most freshers will experience. Maternal as ever, she has some advice to those who do drink freshers week away: “Drink water! It works!”

As far as accommodation is concerned, Hils is hoping to stay overnight on campus for one or two nights a week in visitor halls, and says her cats will just have to get used to it.

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Despite earning her unconditional offer, Hils has expressed her frustration that the future of many passionate 18-year-olds lies on A-level results day. “Infuriated” by the fact that one bad day could offset the future of an a-level student, she would “rather they had been given a chance than me.”

But, she concludes that “you only have one shot at life, so do something with it.” True to her own mantra, Hils hopes that her degree will allow her to work into her retirement.