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    How do you go about getting into university? Student loans, finance, accommodation etc? Do you know if A-levels have an expiry date, in which they become invalid after a certain amount of time when applying for a university course. Say for example, if you got you’re A-levels four years ago but want to go to university now. How are people studying A-levels now going about going to university? Any advice and info would be much appreciated.

    Once you have applied to a university thus UCAS normally (I think you can download the form from their website which is www.ucas.com), your local education authority (LEA) while send you a student loan form which you fill in and send back. They will then assess your circumstances and send you a form telling you how much you will receive. If you want to accept the loan, you fill in the form and send it back. The following year they will send you the forms to fill in again.

    There are other loans available which you can normally find out if you go to the student finance office at the uni you attend (when you are attending it). I am not too sure on the details of this.

    Accommodation forms are normally sent by your first choice and insurance choice universities before you receive your results. You fill these in and they will allocate you with accommodation when your results have been recieved, as long as you get in. There is the possibility of getting a student house and these are normally run through the university or with the university, however I am not sure of the details once more.

    What other questions do you have? Do you have any more specific ones? I am afraid that I cannot say for definate whether a-level grades "run out", however I doubt that they do.Hope I have been able to answer some of your queries.

    Thanks HelenBrownsell,

    I have two A-levels from 4 years ago History (C) and Sociology (C) and two AS-levels Biology (D) and Geography (B). I left college four years ago and got a job (I work for a Bank). I am starting to wish that I went to university after leaving college instead though because my job is dull. I would like to do a university course to improve my career prospects (not exactly sure what though). But I have absolutely no idea of how to go about it. And I don't know whether or not the A-levels I got four years ago would still be valid or enough to get onto a course.


    You're a-levels should definately still be ok. However, if for some reason they see them as "invalid" then you could try applying as a mature student as I don't think they expect as much out of your grades then and they take you on depending on your character a bit more.

    The first thing I would do is go to the ucas website (www.ucas.co.uk) and choose a uni you would like to go to as you haven't decided what type of course to do. Then you can look at the courses they offer and whether any take your fancy. My advice would be to order prospectuses from the uni websites that youare interested in. You then have to choose six different courses (but I think they can be at the same uni) and then send these off to ucas on a form which you can order from the ucas website (Have a look at this link http://www.ucas.co.uk/packs/index.html). On this form I think you state what grades you have and give a personal statement. You also need to get someone to write a reference for you.

    Once you have sent this form off, you just sit back and wait to see what offers you get from the unis you have applied to. As you have taken all your exams and know your grades they will either offer you a place (unconditional offer) or they wont basically. Often when people haven't taken their exam or are waiting for the results, they will be given a conditional offer which states that they must get certain grades before they are accepted.

    Once you have all the offers from the unis, you will be sent another form from ucas and on this you pick the two unis that you would most like to go to. However, seen as you probably will have unconditional offers, I think that you can just put down the one that you want to go to rather than having an insurance places as well. Once you send this form off, you will get all the rest of the stuff from the uni you have chosen about accommodation etc.

    It seems complicated but once you have that first form, you can't really go wrong. They send you a lot of stuff on how to apply and fill in the forms.

    You could try to contact ucas as they may have more info on whether you should apply as a student or as a mature student.
    Applicant enquiries:
    tel: +44 (0)870 1122211
    email: [email protected] for an automated response

    General enquiries:
    tel: +44 (0) 1242 222444

    Lastly, I think that you will have to go to the unis next year (sep 2004) as I think that the forms and stuff have already been handed in. You could check this with ucas as well.

    Good luck! I'm sorry that there is so much info to take in and that when you contact ucas they may ask you to fill in different forms or do it differently but this is the only way I know as its the way I did it.

    Helen Brownsell

    Thanks alot for your help I will look into it!
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