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Radiography Uni entry requirements - GCSE's falling short due to updated requirements

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TSR's new app is coming! Sign up here to try it first >> 17-10-2016
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    Why do universities do this?

    I first looked into going back to full time education 3 years ago and every year I've checked the GCSE requirements for diagnostic radiography local to me in the NW have been English Lang/Math and Science at C and above..

    So two years ago I took the plunge, spoke to the Uni's, advised them that I left school without any quali's (I was badly bullied and left a year early to take up an apprenticeship which fell through) and I would only have the three GCSE's from the pre-access course - yeah that's what you need they said - so I packed up work, signed up to the course, blitzed the GCSE's all A's, and find out today on my first day of my access course that they've raised the requirement to 5 GCSE's.

    For a mature student like myself, who has been out of education for more than 5 years there is in most cases I believe, not all but most, a requirement for a pre-access course which includes sitting our GCSE's. This means there is a two year gap between our starting out on the journey to Uni. Therefore University entry requirements should be set out two years in advance to save very nasty surprises like this. Anyone who's looked around will see that there is a distinct lack of GCSE courses apart from the 3 basic courses mentioned about for mature students. There is always distance learning - IGCSE's - but apparently they are discredited by many Unis..

    I think my main question is why as a mature student should GCSE's/CSE's/O-Levels or whatever your particular bag level 2 certification is even count toward Uni entry, unless it is a school leaver or a mature student applying for a course without any level 3 study. Surely those should only be a requirement for entry onto a follow up course, be it Access or A-Level, with those level 3 qualifications superseding those that came before it and forming the core entry requirement.

    I ask what difference will a grade B in R.E & Drama GCSE's make to my ability to be able to successfully study a science related subject at University make?

    If I'd of not been on top of the entry requirements all this time, I guess I would be sat here thinking this was my own stupid fault that I'm now in this situation, but I have and they have changed the goalposts, they have raised the bar this late on.

    Whats more the Universities aren't silly. They know about pre-access courses and the amount of GCSE's on offer to mature students. They know by raising the amount of GCSE requirements to that unobtainable to those outside of school age that they are basically closing the door on those who did poorly in school for whatever reason...

    Really sucks..

    Have you talked to the university directly about the 5 GCSEs issue? If not, you should get onto them as soon as possible to make sure you know exactly what you need. They may be willing to drop the requirement if you state your predicament clearly and politely.

    It's not true that universities discredit IGCSEs - they are highly regarded, and should certainly do just as well as regular GCSEs. Having just taken 3 GCSEs, you know what is required, and although it will be hard work, you can take a couple more alongside your Access course if you don't have other commitments. I don't think you will need to do distance learning - just get the textbooks and teach yourself.

    I think your best bet would be to contact the various universities regarding their policy as they may be willing to relax the requirement under certain circumstances like yours. Nobody can give you a better answer than the institutions themselves.

    Talk to the universities you're thinking of applying to about your individual situation, if possible go along to their open day so you can wow them with your enthusiasm 😉, and follow up with an email to the person you speak to so you can confirm the details and have it in writing in case you need to refer back to it. If you do need to take some extra exams, IGCSEs are well respected by universities and are widely used by independent schools, including Eton and Harrow, so you've no need to worry on that score.
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Updated: September 17, 2016
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