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Need advice about my options on university after college. watch

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    So I'm kind of kicking myself on this subject because of the choices I've made. I'm 18 years old and have just finished 2 years at A-levels however my results were not what I expected. This meant I could not go to university.

    I spent my childhood growing up convinced that I wanted a career in music so I chose my A-level subjects based around the fact that I wanted to study something music based at university however, over my first year of AS-levels I had a sudden change of heart and decided I didn't want to do music anymore. Instead, I set my sights on something science based. I order to do this I have essentially started my A-levels again however this time around I have chosen to take a level 3 BTEC which will allow me to get into some universities. I feel I will come out with a better result in taking this BTEC.
    This is where the dilemma comes in. I am stuck with what to do.
    First of all, I have to finish two years of this BTEC and hopefully get a decent final grade in the BTEC to allow me to do one of these two options.

    1) I don't know whether I should look into taking a foundation year on top of the two years I am already doing and potentially get into a better university and essentially a better degree. But to get into the degree through the foundation year I would need a very high percentage. this way I would not start my degree until I am 21 and not finish until i am 24. For some reason this phases me even know I know it shouldn't. This method also means I have an extra year of student fees, accommodation and living costs on top.

    2) My second option after I complete my BTEC course is to go straight into a degree at a 'lower' university. I am worried that this will not give me a decent outcome at the end of it compared to the foundation year option but, this route will be a year cheaper in regards to loans and start a year earlier.

    I'd like to add that my girlfriend of 2 years has just left for university herself and It's her being there that's driving me to get there myself. As well as the fact that I want to prove to myself that I can do myself proud. She is an amazing source of inspiration and makes me happy even in confusing times like these. She's supportive towards this and I'm very appreciative of that. I love her. It was her that suggested I ask TSR so this is what I am doing.

    I'm very confused on what to do so any advice would be appreciated.

    In terms of science: what sort of science are we talking about, and what sort of level of university difference are we talking?

    Depending on the science, assuming it's accredited by the relevant institute I wouldn't necessarily be too quick to throw that option out of the window. A name isn't everything in science, it's about you and your technical skills.

    Are you wanting to do an undergrad Master's, or just a BSc? If it's the former then i'd probably try and take the opportunity to go somewhere that engages in high quality research, or certainly has expertise in a few areas that might interest you.

    In terms of finance: possibly depends a bit on your background here. If you can fund everything through loans/grants sufficiently then I wouldn't argue that it's much of a problem. If you think you may need to fork out a bit more yourself (because you only qualify for minimum loans) then it may be worth considering. You're already clocking up a lot of debt anyway so i'm not sure you'll really see too much difference in the end. It will take longer to pay off (if you get that far) but it's not the same as considering no debt vs debt. It's about the only chance you'll have to do this so if the opportunities coming out of a foundation year will be better then it's probably worth it.

    Financially, you might have the opportunity to do a placement year, which would save you money/earn some and gain experience. It depends whether the respective universities offers it, but you're not charged full fees for that year usually and you'll be getting paid so you can certainly offset the extra living costs if it were to come out of your pocket. You're not guaranteed a placement if you do get a place on a sandwich course, mind you.
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