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    Hi guys,

    I thought I'd make this post to give some more information about the Access course, as there seemed to be very little information here before I started my Access course. The course I'm currently taking is the "Access to Business professions" course at Reading College.

    First things first. The access course is designed to help "Mature" students, aged 19 and up, get into a higher education program e.g. University. The majority of students who enroll on these courses tend to have no A-levels, sometime though it's because the grades they achieved were not satisfactory the first time round. For others it may be because they want to change academic disciplines entirely.

    The course will take one academic year to complete and is generally more focused on assignment work, rather than exams, this is all dependent on which course you are taking though. (I believe the sciences may have more exams). These assignments are not graded in the same way as GCSE's and A levels though.

    Upon completion of the Access course you will have hopefully gained 60 credits from your course. These credits are graded with a Fail, Pass, Merit, or Distinction. There will often be around 15 credits which are ungraded, where you can only achieve a pass or fail.
    At Reading college these Credits are all at level 3, meaning that they are A level equivalent. Some institutions will only offer 45 credits at level 3 and 15 at level 2, do not worry though, as Universities will only ask for 45 graded credits.

    The assignments you do over the year will usually be worth either 3 or 6 credits and you will get one grade for that assignment which will cover the 3 or 6 credits.

    Just to give you some idea as to what kind of grades Universities want from Access students please use this list for reference. (Note that these entry requirements are for the 15/16 academic year and may be specific to business courses):

    Durham University: 45 level 3 credits, 30 of which must be Distinction level and the remaining 15 at Merit.

    University of Exeter: 12 credits at distinction level and 21 Merits. All of which must be at level three.

    University of the West of England: Pass the access course with 15 credits at Merit level.

    University of Portsmouth: Simply pass the course.

    When it comes to actually applying to University, your college will give you support with your application, but since you will have no predictive grade to enter on UCAS, Universities will have to make decisions based upon your Personal statement and your reference, usually provided by your teacher/ course leader. This is why it's so important that your attendance and class participation is as high as it can be. You will need to do everything you can to ensure you're a cut above the rest.

    Another thing to mention is that Most Universities DO accept the Access course. If you cant find entry requirements listed on the UCAS search tool, then you should make an effort to contact the universities admissions departments directly.

    If you have any questions then feel free to fire away!
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    Sorry you've not had any responses about this. Are you sure you’ve posted in the right place? Posting in the specific Study Help forum should help get more responses. Hopefully someone will be able to get back to you
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    Hi, this was really helpful. Thanks a lot!

    I'm hoping to attend college in September to do an access course in health and social care and never understood how the credit thing worked before!

    What I'd like to ask though, is are you aware of any funding available for the course? I'm talking more specifically about living costs. I am currently working full time but know I will have to reduce my hours to attend college and complete my assignments to a high level. My worry now is not being able to cover my cost of living on reduced wages, as I have rent and bills to pay.
    Any advice welcome


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    Oh and by the way I will be 23 when the course starts so am not eligible for 24 + loan


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