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Access to HE = No UCAS points; trouble applying for grad jobs

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    Hi all,

    Many of us on here have or are completing a Access to HE diploma and most people probably already know that our qualification does not carry any UCAS points. I completed my Access course back in 2010 and found it to be excellent, suitably equipping me for Uni and allowing me to study BSc Economics at a top University.

    Fast forward two years and I'm now entering my final year at University and I'm having to consider whether to pursue a masters degree or enter the world of work. I have looked at many graduate jobs, nearly all of which require a 2:1 minimum as well as 320 UCAS points and A/B at GCSE English and Mathematics.

    My problem is this and I imagine similar to many others on here: my GCSE's are poor and do not reflect my academic ability (I got B and C). Furthermore, our qualification doesn't carry any UCAS points so we will effectively get filtered out at the first stage of recruitment. This seems really unfair as our qualification is equivalent to 3 A-levels and in my case I have the highest mark out of anyone in my year at University (I'm on a high 1st) so surely this proves that my GCSE and UCAS points are up to scratch?!

    Would do we do? I've been considering just putting down on the application forms that I have the required UCAS points/GCSE's and then, if selected, explaining the situation to the employer. It should be clear anyone studying a BSc degree successfully has mathematical skills over that of A-level and a very high level of English too. I think our qualification really needs UCAS points assigning to it for this very reason; it seems unjust that it doesn't carry any despite now being a graded (Distinction, Merit, Pass) qualification. Please advise on what I should do, part of me feels that putting I have the required UCAS points on the application form would be deceptive, but at the same time part of me thinks recruiters would understand (as our qualification is equivalent even if this is not strictly true) as otherwise we face the problem of getting filtered out by a computer and not even looked at by a human despite how brilliant our degree results may be!

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts
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    I have also just realised this when microsoft got back to me about a year in industry placement. I didnt apply, i just sent in a query about the stated requirement in the application form. The response pretty much said we're not interested in whatever qualification you have, you need 320 UCAS points.

    The only good thing that came out of this for me is I'm now aware of this problem and have another 2 years to plan ahead.
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    Its a real problem! I really think this needs to be sorted out for us asap for us, otherwise what good is a degree to us when people are looking for XXX UCAS points too (even though we have the equivalent)?! This was always at the back of my mind, but I always said I'd concentrate on my degree and worry about the lack of UCAS points when the time came, as there was talk Access to HE would be awarded UCAS points now that it is graded, but that has not materialised and is causing us problems :confused:

    (Original post by A-K-J)
    I have also just realised this when microsoft got back to me about a year in industry placement. I didnt apply, i just sent in a query about the stated requirement in the application form. The response pretty much said we're not interested in whatever qualification you have, you need 320 UCAS points.

    The only good thing that came out of this for me is I'm now aware of this problem and have another 2 years to plan ahead.
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    "we're not interested in whatever qualification you have, you need 320 UCAS points"

    How very small-minded of them! Think of all the fantastic older graduates they are loosing out on.

    This might be worth discretely raising with the individual Company's HR Dept as an equal opportunities issue. The degree qualification can be justified as an employment requirement, but not the UCAS requirement *as well*, especially since it inherently discriminates against anyone without a 'traditional' route to University. Several years ago, a good friend was told that a 'part-time degree' (a First!) wasnt 'worth' as much as a full-time one when applying to a BBC Training Scheme. She told the HR Dept and was immediately offered an interview.

    We'll be back to the bad old days soon - when they only used to take graduates "from good addresses", ie Home Counties and private-school educated. Fgs etc.
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    A good point. I emailed Ernst and Young the other day expressing my concerns. This was their response:

    There are minimum academic entry criteria of grades A or B in GCSE Maths and English Language, 300/320 UCAS points and a 2.1 degree for entry onto most of the firm's graduate training programmes. However, we would still encourage you to apply for a position. When completing the application form there will be a question that states:

    'We do accept applications from people who do not meet our minimum requirements. However you must demonstrate through your application what makes you an exceptional candidate. Tell us below why we should consider your application'

    You should address this question when completing your application form, stating any mitigating circumstances or reasons why you feel your application should be considered, despite not meeting the required academics. The coordinator for the position will then be able to take this information into account when considering whether to progress your application to the next stage of the process.
    The part I've highlighted in bold seems like their get out clause. Why should we have to demonstrate that we are good enough for their company just because the access course doesn't have UCAS points- we have the equivalent required UCAS points. I've already demonstrated I'm good enough by achieving a high 1st class degree and the highest mark on my course! Most companies don't even have a section like this; I doubt this section is even given any consideration in most instances and probably only looked at if not enough people with these qualifications apply. It caters for people who have got poor grades such as a 2:2 in their degree, not people who have the required equivalent number of UCAS points needed like us This kind of discrimination is what is making me want to put down I have the required number of UCAS points as otherwise my application is just going to be ignored. They really need to sort out UCAS points for our Access to HE qualification asap.

    (Original post by returnmigrant)
    "we're not interested in whatever qualification you have, you need 320 UCAS points"

    How very small-minded of them! Think of all the fantastic older graduates they are loosing out on.

    This might be worth discretely raising with the individual Company's HR Dept as an equal opportunities issue. The degree qualification can be justified as an employment requirement, but not the UCAS requirement *as well*, especially since it inherently discriminates against anyone without a 'traditional' route to University. Several years ago, a good friend was told that a 'part-time degree' (a First!) wasnt 'worth' as much as a full-time one when applying to a BBC Training Scheme. She told the HR Dept and was immediately offered an interview.

    We'll be back to the bad old days soon - when they only used to take graduates "from good addresses", ie Home Counties and private-school educated. Fgs etc.
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    I've just found an interesting article regarding UCAS points, apparently they're under scrutiny and a decision is to me made on whether to scrap them this September- I've not yet heard anything about the decision but I hope this is true and they are axed:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...tem-to-be-axed
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    The simple solution is - enter what you believe the equivalent UCAS points are worth based on your access course classification.

    So, if you get a distinction in your access course, you could say this is 'equivalent' to 320 UCAS points etc.

    This stops you getting automatically filtered, and you can explain the rest at the interview if you need to. Most human resource departments employ imbeciles who won't know the difference......
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    (Original post by cowardly dog)
    The simple solution is - enter what you believe the equivalent UCAS points are worth based on your access course classification.
    .

    yo, this should give you a much clearer insight.

    http://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/study...ublication.doc
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    (Original post by MikeyS)
    A good point. I emailed Ernst and Young the other day expressing my concerns. This was their response:



    The part I've highlighted in bold seems like their get out clause. Why should we have to demonstrate that we are good enough for their company just because the access course doesn't have UCAS points- we have the equivalent required UCAS points. I've already demonstrated I'm good enough by achieving a high 1st class degree and the highest mark on my course! Most companies don't even have a section like this; I doubt this section is even given any consideration in most instances and probably only looked at if not enough people with these qualifications apply. It caters for people who have got poor grades such as a 2:2 in their degree, not people who have the required equivalent number of UCAS points needed like us This kind of discrimination is what is making me want to put down I have the required number of UCAS points as otherwise my application is just going to be ignored. They really need to sort out UCAS points for our Access to HE qualification asap.
    At least a response like that gives you some kind of hope, unlike microsoft who just seemed to shoot me down.

    (Original post by selensky t)
    .

    yo, this should give you a much clearer insight.

    http://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/study...ublication.doc
    (save as)
    To be honest i dont get why UCAS tarriff tables dont contain Access to HE courses. As for the document you linked i noticed A*AA - AAB have the same Access to HE credit requirements. Bit weird.


    I will just end up applying for these placements and claiming i have the required ucas points, if I'm lucky enough to get to the interview stage i can explain myself there :cool:
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    Yep- that's what I've decided to do! It's slightly sneaky, but I think justified in this case. I think we should be able to put down different GCSE grades too, for instance in my GCSE English I got a C. But on my access course I did GCSE equivalence and actually got a Distinction which one would assume is an A going by the tables posted on the Durham link.

    (Original post by A-K-J)
    I will just end up applying for these placements and claiming i have the required ucas points, if I'm lucky enough to get to the interview stage i can explain myself there :cool:
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    (Original post by MikeyS)
    A good point. I emailed Ernst and Young the other day expressing my concerns. This was their response:



    The part I've highlighted in bold seems like their get out clause. Why should we have to demonstrate that we are good enough for their company just because the access course doesn't have UCAS points- we have the equivalent required UCAS points. I've already demonstrated I'm good enough by achieving a high 1st class degree and the highest mark on my course! Most companies don't even have a section like this; I doubt this section is even given any consideration in most instances and probably only looked at if not enough people with these qualifications apply. It caters for people who have got poor grades such as a 2:2 in their degree, not people who have the required equivalent number of UCAS points needed like us This kind of discrimination is what is making me want to put down I have the required number of UCAS points as otherwise my application is just going to be ignored. They really need to sort out UCAS points for our Access to HE qualification asap.
    Your degree certification and access course grade will serve as a sufficient alternative to their published requirements. By 'demonstrate [you] are good enough' showing your qualifications will be fine. They won't get you to sit 3 A Levels or whatever to demonstrate your suitability so don't worry.
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    (Original post by MikeyS)
    I've just found an interesting article regarding UCAS points, apparently they're under scrutiny and a decision is to me made on whether to scrap them this September- I've not yet heard anything about the decision but I hope this is true and they are axed:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...tem-to-be-axed
    Is that for September 2013? So I'm assuming they'll be taking it out and putting into practice for the 2014 in-take?

    Interesting article; I just can't find where it says the dates when they're putting them in-place. I'm assuming it won't be for a while to be honest; they'd have to give it at least a good two years or so; UCAS Applications for this year and next year will definitely still use the tar-riffing system for some Universities.

    Interesting read. :holmes:
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    This is really what I've been worrying about. I think I might go with putting in an "equivalent" in UCAS points when the time comes, as well..
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    (Original post by Himynameskiefer)
    Is that for September 2013? So I'm assuming they'll be taking it out and putting into practice for the 2014 in-take?

    Interesting article; I just can't find where it says the dates when they're putting them in-place. I'm assuming it won't be for a while to be honest; they'd have to give it at least a good two years or so; UCAS Applications for this year and next year will definitely still use the tar-riffing system for some Universities.

    Interesting read. :holmes:
    Even if they remove the ucas tariff i dont think that will help us, i have a feeling that grad jobs will just ask for AAB / ABB grades in stead and will still overlook other forms of qualifications such as Access to HE
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    (Original post by pheonix65)
    Even if they remove the ucas tariff i dont think that will help us, i have a feeling that grad jobs will just ask for AAB / ABB grades in stead and will still overlook other forms of qualifications such as Access to HE
    Yeah, it's too bad. They should still take into account other qualifications; Access To HE should still be on there, same with BTEC's and others. Not everyone is going to go down the traditional route. If I had done A-levels and not my BTEC, I wouldn't have managed to obtain a Trainee Business Executive Apprenticeship; that was the only reason I stud out, as it gained me vocational experience as well as academic qualifications.

    I wonder if you can just write down that you obtained the equivalent through Access To HE?

    EDIT: I don't understand why they ask for previous study qualifications; what if someone done badly due to illness? Family issues? Anything could be going wrong in their lives. If they came out with a 2.1 or a 1st, and obtained working experience, either paid or voluntary (or both); why would they care about A-levels? They're just a gateway to further study. If you've achieved what I've just said, they should still accept you or even consider you for a good Graduate Program.
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    Some good points. I also think companies will be missing out on the exact kind of people they should be recruiting. I don't know about you guys, but I come from a tough back ground and have had to overcome many obstacles and adversities just to get to Uni. I think it is this perseverance, determination and desire to never quit that is the life blood of successful many companies. We are the kind of people with these qualities; many people from the traditional A-level route may also have these qualities, but in my opinion many have walked an easier path and many have been spoon fed along the way where as people like ourselves may have poor GCSE results, but the fact we have the determination and tenacity to turn things around says a lot about our character- companies should take notice.

    (Original post by Himynameskiefer)
    EDIT: I don't understand why they ask for previous study qualifications; what if someone done badly due to illness? Family issues? Anything could be going wrong in their lives. If they came out with a 2.1 or a 1st, and obtained working experience, either paid or voluntary (or both); why would they care about A-levels? They're just a gateway to further study. If you've achieved what I've just said, they should still accept you or even consider you for a good Graduate Program.
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    (Original post by MikeyS)
    Some good points. I also think companies will be missing out on the exact kind of people they should be recruiting. I don't know about you guys, but I come from a tough back ground and have had to overcome many obstacles and adversities just to get to Uni. I think it is this perseverance, determination and desire to never quit that is the life blood of successful many companies. We are the kind of people with these qualities; many people from the traditional A-level route may also have these qualities, but in my opinion many have walked an easier path and many have been spoon fed along the way where as people like ourselves may have poor GCSE results, but the fact we have the determination and tenacity to turn things around says a lot about our character- companies should take notice.
    Exactly. It makes no sense to me at all; we should at least be on the same level as those.
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    I went to a uni open day a few weeks ago and they told me that an access to he course is equivalent to 320 points... At distinction level. Now gotta work extra bloody hard to get distinctions this year. Woop woop.


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
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    (Original post by Himynameskiefer)
    EDIT: I don't understand why they ask for previous study qualifications; what if someone done badly due to illness? Family issues? Anything could be going wrong in their lives. If they came out with a 2.1 or a 1st, and obtained working experience, either paid or voluntary (or both); why would they care about A-levels? They're just a gateway to further study. If you've achieved what I've just said, they should still accept you or even consider you for a good Graduate Program.
    I think it's because they get so many applicants that they have to devise different ways to filter out excellent candidates from even better candidates. Law, Medicine, VetMed and Oxbridge tend do the same with GCSE grades, if you get under a certain amount of A*s your application is most likely going to get declined, despite how great your A-levels/Level 3 study and work experience are.

    It's a strict minority of students which do Access courses (probably <5%?), so ex-Access students probably tend to get overlooked since their course is not worth any UCAS points.
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    (Original post by Chickenhawk)
    I think it's because they get so many applicants that they have to devise different ways to filter out excellent candidates from even better candidates. Law, Medicine, VetMed and Oxbridge tend do the same with GCSE grades, if you get under a certain amount of A*s your application is most likely going to get declined, despite how great your A-levels/Level 3 study and work experience are.

    It's a strict minority of students which do Access courses (probably <5%?), so ex-Access students probably tend to get overlooked since their course is not worth any UCAS points.
    Yeah, just one of those extreme filters I guess. It's just sad to see so many great possible candidates get a possible rejection due to such an insignificant assumption on their application.

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