The traditional route into higher education (HE) is typically via obtaining A-levels or other similar recognised qualifications at
college or sixth form. However as the number of mature students in the UK increases each year access courses or ‘foundation years’ are becoming more and more popular.
In fact these courses are now being offered to people who don’t meet the UCAS requirements of the degree they have applied for, giving them a second chance!
I know here at staffs there are a wide range of access courses that grant entry to an even wider range of degrees. Also, most of these courses are recognised throughout the country where they act almost like a key into HE.
The traditional qualifications that grant access into HE are commonly broad and don’t always allow the time for an interest to be established in a specific area, aka they can seem too fast pace and too stressful enjoy. Access courses however offer a much more focused and thorough view on a certain area, they can also allow a student to become accustomed to the notion of ‘university learning’.
I asked a student to explain why they chose to take the access route into a biology related degree, here’s what they said;
“Access routes are the perfect STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) entry points for mature learners. The concepts learned during A-levels and BTEC diplomas are distilled down to the fundamentals, meaning you get the core subject in a much less diluted manner. This means the process of obtaining the required knowledge for your chosen degree is streamlined, purpose built, and a far more efficient experience overall.”
So don’t think that because you don’t have the traditional qualifications required for entry onto a degree, that you can’t go into HE. This isn’t the case! In fact i would probably say that building experience by working within an area that interests you, and then entering HE via this route is a much more well rounded approach to obtaining and thriving within degree.