Paula was a sixth form pupil at Weatherfield Comprehensive when she became friends with Andy. They met at the library, where they went to study after school in the months leading up to their A-level exams. Andy was interested in Paula but thought she had a boyfriend as she was with a lad, Gary, on one visit. He asked Paula about this and she told him she wasn't seeing anyone and, reciprocating his feelings, she exchanged numbers with him. Andy's brother Steve also asked her out, but Paula preferred Andy so turned him down.
Paula and Andy then started spending more time together. Andy tricked Jim and Liz McDonald into agreeing to Paula spending the night at 11 Coronation Street by letting them believe he would be sleeping on the sofa, when actually he and Paula were sleeping together.
When the headmistress Sue Jeffers warned Paula that she was spending too much time with Andy and that her grades were suffering, Paula hired Ken Barlow as a private tutor and avoided Andy until her exams were over, for his sake as well as hers. Andy thought she was studying too much and camped outside her house until she agreed to talk to him, although he soon got bored of this and finished with her. They made up in time for their exams, but Andy had barely studied and walked out of his General Studies exam when he couldn't answer any of the questions. He returned to the exam hall at Ken Barlow's urging, when Ken told him that Paula wouldn't be able to concentrate on the rest of the exam.
During the summer, Paula and Andy went travelling together. When the exam results came through, Paula got two As and a B. She and Andy decided to go for Sheffield University and share a flat, but Paula was offered a place at Manchester and decided to go there instead, seeing it as a good thing as she would make new friends instead of being with Andy all the time. Andy didn't take her decision well at first but soon came round and saw it as a good thing.
In November, Andy told Paula he was finished with University as he couldn't stand to be apart from her. Paula persuaded him to go back, not wanting to be blamed by Jim and Liz for Andy's rash decision. A month later, the couple finished.
Paula was still interested in Andy and was pleased when he told Vera Duckworth off for skiving when she was supposed to be instructing Paula. When Andy realised Paula was after him, he backed off, telling her he wasn't ready for emotional entanglements. One person who did fancy her was Curly Watts, who asked her out for a drink offering to help her get a promotion as an incentive. Paula tried to avoid Curly and made plans to go to Goa with her friends instead of returning to University. Still interested in Andy, Paula accepted Curly's invitation to dinner at 7 Coronation Street, assuming Andy would be there, however Andy made plans to stay at his parents house that night. Fortunately she ran into Andy on her way to No.7 and he invited her to come to No.11 instead. They spent the night together although they didn't rekindle their relationship as both returned to University shortly thereafter.