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Access to HE Humanities course? Watch

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    I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but let's give it a shot.

    I dropped out of sixth form two years ago before I could finish my AS levels because of problems with my mental health. Since then, I've tried returning to college and distance learning to finish them, but with no success. I'm now 19 and looking at taking the Access to HE Humanities course, with the intention of studying either History or Politics at university. I have a few questions about what this would involve.

    • How heavy is the workload?
    • Is there any financial assistance available for students of my age?
    • I would probably take the English, History and Sociology modules. What sort of topics are covered?
    • How does applying to university work if the course is only one year long?

    Thank you!
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    I'm afraid I can't help with the first three questions as I didn't do an Access course.

    You apply to university in the same way as everyone else (through UCAS) but because Access courses are only last a year, you need to be very organised and ideally know where you're going to apply before you start the course.

    Applications open on 1st September and the deadline is January 15th, although I would advise you apply before this (preferably no later than December) if you can. Your college may set its own internal deadline so you should absolutely start planning now. Start thinking about different degrees, do you want to study one subject or combine two subjects? Have a look at the modules offered at different universities (usually found on the subject department website). Start thinking about what type of university you want to be at (big, small, urban, campus etc). Start work on your personal statement now. Have a read of the Personal Statement library and watch this video to get an idea of how to plan and write a PS.
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    (Original post by fournotetune)
    I'm now 19 and looking at taking the Access to HE Humanities course, with the intention of studying either History or Politics at university. I have a few questions about what this would involve.
    Thank you!
    How heavy is the workload?
    Ranges from comfortable to highly stressful. Depends on how many other commitments you've got, how organised you are, what kind of grades you want/need, how difficult you find Level 3 assignments, how motivated you are etc. Just coming up to the end of my course now. Doing last of 20 assignments (which we've had 32 weeks for in total) - 15 graded, 5 ungraded. Ideally, you'd be able to study full-time and get cracking on your assignments as soon as they're set - you want to make it as easy as possible really.

    Is there any financial assistance available for students of my age?
    Advanced 24+ loan to cover course fees obviously won't apply to you, and I'm not sure if there is any equivalent for students below that age bracket. I'm fairly certain there's no financial support for other/living costs (unless you have dependents).

    I would probably take the English, History and Sociology modules. What sort of topics are covered?
    Good choices. I've done Lit Studies and Sociology (third subject is Psychology). No idea if what you'd do would be the same, but these are the modules I've done (Lit first, Soc second):
    Unit 1: Short Stories, Health.
    Unit 2: Poetry, Perspectives (Interpretivist/Structuralist)
    Unit 3: Dramatic Texts (Romeo & Juliet), Poverty and Social Equality
    Unit 4: Novel (Wuthering Heights), Education
    Unit 5: Independent assignment (novel of my choice), Crime and Deviance

    How does applying to university work if the course is only one year long?
    The previous poster's advice was very good.
    It will make your life easier if you know in advance what you want to do and where, but it isn't essential. You may wish to see how you fare in your first round of assignments - you may be looking at aiming higher (or lower) with your uni choices than you initially had in mind. You might also find that the subject you enjoy most and/or do best in is different to what you'd expected and that influences your uni choices. Just be aware that the less groundwork you've done with uni prep before you start your Access course, the more work you have to do (on top of assignments) once it's underway.
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    for lit on my course i did Macbeth, Sula, Talking Heads, poetry (mini anthology). for history it was the Feb revolution, the reformation (continuity and change), civil war (causes/interpretation), conflict (marxism/huntington). sociology i have no idea, cos i realised almost from the off what a turd of a subject it really is and dropped it

    the work loads pretty ok.

    as for applying to uni - your PS counts for a fair bit, but your tutors reference prob counts for me, esp as by the time it goes off they'll have an idea of your predicted grade. my advice would be to go for distinctions straight away, push your tutors for advice on what you need to do to acheive them, and turn up! unis want people who aren't gonna slack off, so if your reference says stuff like excellent attendance, committed, works hard, they're gonna pay attention.
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    (Original post by fournotetune)
    • How heavy is the workload?


    • Is there any financial assistance available for students of my age?
    • I would probably take the English, History and Sociology modules. What sort of topics are covered?
    • How does applying to university work if the course is only one year long?

    Thank you!
    1) The nature of Access courses requires you to be very proactive with your time if you want to get all your assignments completed by the deadline and not get capped at a pass. I, along with others on my course, have definitely struggled with time management and had to have some extensions. As your assignments tend to start and end at a similar time in each subject you end up taking, waiting until a unit has been fully taught to you to start your work often means you're left with, like, three 2500-3000 word essays to complete over the span of a week at most. I definitely wish I'd done the work as it was being taught to me for each unit.

    2) The course should be free at most colleges for someone of your age if you're unemployed and/or do not currently have a level 3 qualification. People with household incomes <£25000 (based on your parents' income if you're under 25) could apply for financial help for transport and textbooks at my college.

    3) My sociology modules: Social Stratification and Inequality, Sociological Theory, Sociology of the Family in Modern Britain, History of Social Policies, Changing Beliefs in British Society. These units were assessed through essays, booklets (basically a collection of smaller essays with pictures), an exam (notes allowed), a presentation and a research report.

    4) You apply in the exact same way as A-Level students. I seemed to be the only person on my course who had already attended a few summer open days to get an idea of where I wanted to be before I started my Access course last September. Although my college had an internal deadline at some point in late November, I didn't actually end up starting my personal statement until two days before the UCAS deadline and finished editing it an hour before the 6pm deadline! However, I ran into the problem of not receiving my final offer until late March for the only uni I hadn't seen in person (at the other side of the UK) and thus had to reject the offer on that basis alone. I definitely recommend applying as early as possible so that you have the opportunity to visit each uni and its department in person at offer holders' days.


    Have you applied to college yet? A lot of Access courses can fill up quite early in the year. Also, book yourself a place at a few June-September university open days so that you have a very good idea of where you want to be and what you want to study.
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    (Original post by kathykathykathy)
    1) The nature of Access courses requires you to be very proactive with your time if you want to get all your assignments completed by the deadline and not get capped at a pass. I, along with others on my course, have definitely struggled with time management and had to have some extensions. As your assignments tend to start and end at a similar time in each subject you end up taking, waiting until a unit has been fully taught to you to start your work often
    means you're left with, like, three 2500-3000 word essays to complete over the span of a week at most. I definitely wish I'd done the work as it was being taught to me for each unit.
    I've found that my knowledge of each unit's topic is at its greatest once the assignment is complete, which is infuriating as it's too late by then! I don't seem to fully understand the topic until I've begun writing about it in my own words, i.e. begun the assignment. One way around this (which I'm preaching, but I didn't practice it myself :embarrassed:) is to type up your notes after a lecture and rephrase them to force yourself to gain this understanding (earlier). A lot of our assignments were also two-parters, which meant that I could get started on at least the first half of the assignment once that part had been taught, rather than leave it all until the latter stages of the unit, as described above. Hopefully, OP, your tutors will be similarly obliging in structuring the work this way!


    (Original post by andiewithanie)
    as for applying to uni - your PS counts for a fair bit, but your tutors reference prob counts for me, esp as by the time it goes off they'll have an idea of your predicted grade. my advice would be to go for distinctions straight away, push your tutors for advice on what you need to do to acheive them, and turn up! unis want people who aren't gonna slack off, so if your reference says stuff like excellent attendance, committed, works hard, they're gonna pay attention.
    I've picked up things here and there that suggest that some unis are sceptical of Personal Statements (PS), in so far as they consider that tutors are likely to have had so much influence in the wording that they're not truly representative of the student, to the point that they don't really pay much attention to them. Nevertheless, you have to submit a PS with your UCAS application, and furthermore you can't really be sure how much weight the unis you're applying to attach to it, so you may as well make it as good as you can.

    The tutor reference(s) could well be crucial if you're applying for competitive courses. The likelihood is your college will set an internal deadline for completing your UCAS app that's significantly before the UCAS Jan 15 deadline, so that they've got enough time to double-check all applicants' apps and get all the tutor references sorted. Consequently, your tutor/s are probably going to be writing a reference for you around about November. You'll probably be starting your Access course in September, so that means they'll have only had a few weeks of teaching you before they write your reference. What all this is getting at is that the smart strategy is to hit the ground running with the Access course; don't ease into it slowly, go in there from the outset firing on all cylinders. (I'm wondering how many cliched metaphors I can pack into this paragraph .) You're then ensuring that you make the most competitive UCAS application you can.


    (Original post by kathykathykathy)
    4) You apply in the exact same way as A-Level students. I seemed to be the only person on my course who had already attended a few summer open days to get an idea of where I wanted to be before I started my Access course last September. Although my college had an internal deadline at some point in late November, I didn't actually end up starting my personal statement until two days before the UCAS deadline and finished editing it an hour before the 6pm deadline!
    Our tutor pushed us into getting cracking on our PSs well before January. Much as I've *****ed about study skills this year, a big part of it involved forcing us into doing what we should have been doing anyway - such as producing a carefully composed PS!

    (Original post by kathykathykathy)
    However, I ran into the problem of not receiving my final offer until late March for the only uni I hadn't seen in person (at the other side of the UK) and thus had to reject the offer on that basis alone. I definitely recommend applying as early as possible so that you have the opportunity to visit each uni and its department in person at offer holders' days.
    Sorry you've had that problem. I fear I may be in the same situation now. I submitted my UCAS in early Jan (prior to the 15th) and only got my last response right before the unis' applicable reply deadline - May 7th. I have to make my final choices by June 4th, but there's no sign of an Applicant Day coming up before then at that uni. Did you contact your late-replying uni about the possibility of a pre-response-deadline visit, or was it simply not practicable for you to go there anyway by that point? Admittedly it's my fault for not going to the uni for a general open day earlier this year or late last year, but even so, most unis host Offer Holders' Days to allow a much more specific insight into the Department you've applied to study in. In the case of the uni making an offer so late it prohibits the candidate visiting the uni and making an informed decision prior to the UCAS response deadline, it's hard to not infer that this means they're not really serious about selling themselves to the candidate. But then they might argue that the fact I didn't go to an Open Day means I'm not serious about their uni in the first place!
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    (Original post by jimmy_looks_2ice)
    Sorry you've had that problem. I fear I may be in the same situation now. I submitted my UCAS in early Jan (prior to the 15th) and only got my last response right before the unis' applicable reply deadline - May 7th. I have to make my final choices by June 4th, but there's no sign of an Applicant Day coming up before then at that uni. Did you contact your late-replying uni about the possibility of a pre-response-deadline visit, or was it simply not practicable for you to go there anyway by that point? Admittedly it's my fault for not going to the uni for a general open day earlier this year or late last year, but even so, most unis host Offer Holders' Days to allow a much more specific insight into the Department you've applied to study in. In the case of the uni making an offer so late it prohibits the candidate visiting the uni and making an informed decision prior to the UCAS response deadline, it's hard to not infer that this means they're not really serious about selling themselves to the candidate. But then they might argue that the fact I didn't go to an Open Day means I'm not serious about their uni in the first place!
    This is precisely how I felt about the university (Exeter) that I got the late March post-offer holders' days reply from. I personally didn't feel it was worth making the expensive (!) trip down there just to have a look around the town and campus without being able to attend a lecture and get a proper feel for everything like you do during an offer holders' day.

    IIrc the university I ended up firming (Nottingham) sent me the letter about attending an offer holders' day far too late for me to book a place on one through their website. However, I emailed them about this issue and immediately received an apology and was told that I could attend the day regardless.

    How do you feel about the other universities you have offers from?

    P.S. I can definitely relate to the first part of your reply re: not fully understanding a unit until the teacher has finished teaching it to you.

    P.P.S. What did your study skills sessions involve? My college doesn't really offer any study skills and very little PS help!
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    • How heavy is the workload?
    I think this depends on the course and where it's taught. I think there is a lot of leeway for teachers to arrange the course and its assessments in ways they see fit. For example, they can choose to break down assignments in a module (Usually worth 3 credits) and award 1 credit for a presentation and the other 2 credits for a shorter essay. Overall, though it does vary from institution to institution, for a full-time student, it's pretty relaxed. I'm only in for 2 or 3 days a week!
    Off the top of my head, my course amounts to about roughly nine 2000 word essays, four exam-conditions essays, one long-form 4000-5000 word project and a couple of presentations + short essays. Over a year, that's not particularly demanding IF you're a full-time student. Still, despite being one, I've managed my time poorly, so I've had to pull more all-nighters that I'd care to admit. YMMV.
    • Is there any financial assistance available for students of my age?
    Yes, I think you can get a fee waiver at your age. Not wholly sure, but I remember seeing this somewhere. Contact your target institution.
    • I would probably take the English, History and Sociology modules. What sort of topics are covered?
    This depends on where you do your course and also who teaches it.
    • How does applying to university work if the course is only one year long?
    You're in a great position because you are asking about this now, which is the best time for it. Things will get very frantic and you'll be pressured to submit your application before the UCAS deadline. Trying to think about university when you're just getting your head around all this stuff you're being taught can get a little overwhelming.

    Since you probably won't have any predicted grades for the course when you submit your first application, the universities will look at your reference, personal statement and past performance. Unfortunately, even though most high ranking unis claim that an Access Course is a 'fresh start' and that they 'don't care if you haven't done well in the past', or something to that effect; the simple fact is they do, though a cleverly written personal statement that addresses this can help.

    Few tips:

    Decide which universities you're really interested in early, like now, but also be very strategic. I didn't and it caused me great stress. Get the Uni A vs Uni B for X Subject stuff out of the way early. PS: some unis are far more welcoming to mature Access students than others so bear that in mind too. Emailing admissions tutors and checking out published admissions statistics gives you an idea.

    Submit your application early. This isn't paramount but generally helpful if not solely for the purpose of minimising stress. This is of course premised on you starting the preparations early, which is like, now. Since you're going for academic subjects, I assume you want to go to an academically-inclined university - might be wrong but if not; get your reading under way and start keeping notes on what you've read as well, and if you read two books on a similar theme, make comparisons. If you find inconsistencies or disagreements, shoehorning that as a (very) mini-discussion into a personal statement is impressive.

    For uni, so long as you choose your college carefully and let the teachers know early on that you're serious about doing well, and show it (you'll be surprised at how uncommon this is), you'll get a ton of extra-help with everything.. especially your uni reference!
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    (Original post by fournotetune)
    I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but let's give it a shot.

    I dropped out of sixth form two years ago before I could finish my AS levels because of problems with my mental health. Since then, I've tried returning to college and distance learning to finish them, but with no success. I'm now 19 and looking at taking the Access to HE Humanities course, with the intention of studying either History or Politics at university. I have a few questions about what this would involve.
    • How heavy is the workload?
    • Is there any financial assistance available for students of my age?
    • I would probably take the English, History and Sociology modules. What sort of topics are covered?
    • How does applying to university work if the course is only one year long?
    Thank you!
    The access programme work load revolves around research. Learning how to do this in an effective manner is a key part of the course. Yes 2000 or even 3000 word essays sound daunting but in time you will wish there was a higher word limit. Researching is the time consuming part. Tips like printing off lecture slides and annotating them while in class provides a good base for further research. Enjoy each module and make the content your own. Take care.
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    (Original post by kathykathykathy)
    This is precisely how I felt about the university (Exeter) that I got the late March post-offer holders' days reply from. I personally didn't feel it was worth making the expensive (!) trip down there just to have a look around the town and campus without being able to attend a lecture and get a proper feel for everything like you do during an offer holders' day.

    IIrc the university I ended up firming (Nottingham) sent me the letter about attending an offer holders' day far too late for me to book a place on one through their website. However, I emailed them about this issue and immediately received an apology and was told that I could attend the day regardless.

    How do you feel about the other universities you have offers from?

    P.S. I can definitely relate to the first part of your reply re: not fully understanding a unit until the teacher has finished teaching it to you.

    P.P.S. What did your study skills sessions involve? My college doesn't really offer any study skills and very little PS help!
    Interesting. It's Exeter that made the last-minute offer to me too! Perhaps they don't like mature students very much . Their website states that their offer holders' days are in the spring, so that adds to the feeling that I'm just an afterthought to them. I discussed uni choices recently with my (Access) tutor and she was quite enthusiastic about Exeter, largely because they're a high-ranked uni. She believes that the important factor is the academic calibre of the department, and their levels of organisation and efficiency are minor considerations. I'm not sure I fully agree with that. My feeling is that I'd rather go to a uni that is sufficiently respectful of their applicants that they take the trouble to make a good impression upon them.

    In addition to Exeter, I've got offers from UEA and Kent. I doubt I'll choose UEA - seemed great on paper, but I just didn't get a good feeling when I went to an Applicant Day there. Kent was the reverse. Considered not even going to an Applicant Day, but after making the effort, I really liked the place. I'm fairly certain I'll firm them, but a couple of factors still rolling around in my head are (a) living costs (SE location likely to be more expensive than SW) and (b) I already have friends in the SW area since I lived down in that neck of the woods a few years ago. However, I'm not sure either factor is strong enough to outweigh the positive vibe I got from Kent (as long as the living costs are manageable). For all I know, I might love Exeter way more than Kent, but I just don't think I'm going to have the opportunity to find out. I've booked an Exeter campus tour for next Friday (basically the last opportunity to see the place before my decision date), but tbh, much as you did, I'm asking myself if it's really worth it travelling all the way down there just to get a very limited impression of what I'd be committing to.

    Re. understanding topics, it's been an issue for me in terms of Sociology and Psychology, but not so much for my third subject, Literary Studies. I largely enjoy the topics in Psych and Soc, but I don't find writing the essays for them particularly rewarding, and wouldn't want to pursue either subject at a higher level.

    Lucky you with regards to not having study skills (SS)! Once I'm on my summer break, I reckon I'll post some ultra long-winded rant about SS on TSR, detailing all my numerous complaints . In fairness, there were elements of the actual SS sessions that were useful. We did some English language exercises, ran our own seminars, had group discussions, and in general had the opportunity to discuss matters relating to the Access course as a whole, uni issues, or subject-specific issues, all at a time where there wasn't the immediate pressure to plough through course material as there was with the academic subjects' lessons. Oh, and yes, our tutor allocated time to each of us to go through our personal statements individually. The negativity is largely because I hated the SS assignments with a passion!
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    (Original post by jimmy_looks_2ice)
    Interesting. It's Exeter that made the last-minute offer to me too! Perhaps they don't like mature students very much . Their website states that their offer holders' days are in the spring, so that adds to the feeling that I'm just an afterthought to them. I discussed uni choices recently with my (Access) tutor and she was quite enthusiastic about Exeter, largely because they're a high-ranked uni. She believes that the important factor is the academic calibre of the department, and their levels of organisation and efficiency are minor considerations. I'm not sure I fully agree with that. My feeling is that I'd rather go to a uni that is sufficiently respectful of their applicants that they take the trouble to make a good impression upon them.

    In addition to Exeter, I've got offers from UEA and Kent. I doubt I'll choose UEA - seemed great on paper, but I just didn't get a good feeling when I went to an Applicant Day there. Kent was the reverse. Considered not even going to an Applicant Day, but after making the effort, I really liked the place. I'm fairly certain I'll firm them, but a couple of factors still rolling around in my head are (a) living costs (SE location likely to be more expensive than SW) and (b) I already have friends in the SW area since I lived down in that neck of the woods a few years ago. However, I'm not sure either factor is strong enough to outweigh the positive vibe I got from Kent (as long as the living costs are manageable). For all I know, I might love Exeter way more than Kent, but I just don't think I'm going to have the opportunity to find out. I've booked an Exeter campus tour for next Friday (basically the last opportunity to see the place before my decision date), but tbh, much as you did, I'm asking myself if it's really worth it travelling all the way down there just to get a very limited impression of what I'd be committing to.

    Re. understanding topics, it's been an issue for me in terms of Sociology and Psychology, but not so much for my third subject, Literary Studies. I largely enjoy the topics in Psych and Soc, but I don't find writing the essays for them particularly rewarding, and wouldn't want to pursue either subject at a higher level.

    Lucky you with regards to not having study skills (SS)! Once I'm on my summer break, I reckon I'll post some ultra long-winded rant about SS on TSR, detailing all my numerous complaints . In fairness, there were elements of the actual SS sessions that were useful. We did some English language exercises, ran our own seminars, had group discussions, and in general had the opportunity to discuss matters relating to the Access course as a whole, uni issues, or subject-specific issues, all at a time where there wasn't the immediate pressure to plough through course material as there was with the academic subjects' lessons. Oh, and yes, our tutor allocated time to each of us to go through our personal statements individually. The negativity is largely because I hated the SS assignments with a passion!
    Congratulations on the offers

    Study skills seem to be a contentious issue my access course. Love them or hate them they are useful for filling in the gaps for university study.

    Psychology and sociology are really quite fascinating subjects and provide good access course content there are many different views in each to be able to learn to form arguments for future university study. I enjoy looking into studies the most.
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    (Original post by Seiza)
    Congratulations on the offers
    Thanks.

    (Original post by Seiza)
    Study skills seem to be a contentious issue my access course. Love them or hate them they are useful for filling in the gaps for university study.
    I basically agree with you. It's just that I'm particularly snarky about study skills at the moment as I spent hours this week producing all the elements required for one (just one!) SS assignment (to get a grand total of 3 ungraded credits), none of which I found remotely fulfilling or useful to do, and the time could've been far better used doing other things.

    (Original post by Seiza)
    Psychology and sociology are really quite fascinating subjects and provide good access course content there are many different views in each to be able to learn to form arguments for future university study. I enjoy looking into studies the most.
    Oh, absolutely. I genuinely found them interesting to study, but I began to discover through doing the Psych essays that the subject is too "science-y" for me, and a lot of the time on the essays was spent ruthlessly editing them down to the required word limits, rather than making interesting arguments about the topics. Sociology was not quite so restrictive, but even so it was still pretty limiting. Not an awful lot of scope to say anything interesting about methods of measuring poverty or how crime stats are collected.
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    (Original post by jimmy_looks_2ice)
    Thanks.


    I basically agree with you. It's just that I'm particularly snarky about study skills at the moment as I spent hours this week producing all the elements required for one (just one!) SS assignment (to get a grand total of 3 ungraded credits), none of which I found remotely fulfilling or useful to do, and the time could've been far better used doing other things.


    Oh, absolutely. I genuinely found them interesting to study, but I began to discover through doing the Psych essays that the subject is too "science-y" for me, and a lot of the time on the essays was spent ruthlessly editing them down to the required word limits, rather than making interesting arguments about the topics. Sociology was not quite so restrictive, but even so it was still pretty limiting. Not an awful lot of scope to say anything interesting about methods of measuring poverty or how crime stats are collected.
    Yes I hear you regarding the study skills. It be nice to have some screening process for those who NEED paticular study skills modules and those that don't. For example on my course there is many who really struggle with basic IT such as word processing skills. This would free up tutors attention to help those that need this sort of special attention considering the hours that are required just to mark the non graded study skills which if done incorrectly can cause failure of the entire course. Tasks such as completing an essay on how to prepare for an exam morning don't help the course as much as in the time taken away from attention on students in the marking process.

    Yes agree about psychology especially when moving into the biological explanations aswell. It is also nice to see some cross overs between the two subjects which is interesting.

    Essay word limits - what an issue. I suppose the restriction does teach how to learn to be more concise in language and evaluation. Though I agree spending few hours trying to lose few words here few words there does it still make sense? Is not the best thing for anybody.

    Each new assignment in the access programme does highlight something new though perhaps a weakness you was not aware of before. Which is great as it is better to learn these things in the semi finals before venturing into the finals that is university.
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    Thank you all so much for your responses!

    I've spent some time looking into universities but obviously I need to do some more research and go to some open days. So far I like York, Sussex, Kent, East Anglia, Birmingham, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leeds, Bath, Warwick, Royal Holloway, Manchester, KCL, Bristol and Edinburgh (although I need to check whether they accept Access for entry). Will doing well on the course mean that I could achieve a place at one of these universities? Taking into account the fact that my GCSEs (2 As, 6 Bs, 2 Cs, 1 BTEC Distinction) are okay, but nothing particularly special.
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    (Original post by fournotetune)
    Thank you all so much for your responses!

    I've spent some time looking into universities but obviously I need to do some more research and go to some open days. So far I like York, Sussex, Kent, East Anglia, Birmingham, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leeds, Bath, Warwick, Royal Holloway, Manchester, KCL, Bristol and Edinburgh (although I need to check whether they accept Access for entry). Will doing well on the course mean that I could achieve a place at one of these universities? Taking into account the fact that my GCSEs (2 As, 6 Bs, 2 Cs, 1 BTEC Distinction) are okay, but nothing particularly special.
    Good evening the access to HE course is a very good option. The course is widely recognised by universities and they encourage mature students. When searching for your potential courses via the UCAS check he requirements page and on the side of the screen will be 'other qualifications' option here is usually where he univeristy will display the access course result requirements. This will be in the form of pass the access course with X number of distinctions and X number of merits. The course works like this: 60 credits are up for grabs 15 are ungraded and 45 are graded. Each piece of work weather it is an essay or an exam will be worth either 3, 6 or rarely 9 credits. Humanities for instance might be split into 3 subjects each worth 15 credits in total each. So gaining 15 credits in one subject at grade disinction is kind of like grade A overall. Other possibilities might be merit B or pass C. So a course that requires 30 credits at distinctions is kinda of like asking for two A grades.
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    (Original post by fournotetune)
    Thank you all so much for your responses!

    I've spent some time looking into universities but obviously I need to do some more research and go to some open days. So far I like York, Sussex, Kent, East Anglia, Birmingham, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leeds, Bath, Warwick, Royal Holloway, Manchester, KCL, Bristol and Edinburgh (although I need to check whether they accept Access for entry). Will doing well on the course mean that I could achieve a place at one of these universities? Taking into account the fact that my GCSEs (2 As, 6 Bs, 2 Cs, 1 BTEC Distinction) are okay, but nothing particularly special.
    Access is generally well regarded by many universities. From my course, I know of people with offers from KCL, UCL, Sheffield, Royal Holloway, York and Bristol for competitive subjects like English, Philosophy, History etc. Many came into the course without GCSEs, let alone your respectable haul, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    Personal Experience: I went to Warwick for an open day and it sounded like they were quite keen on Access students. Unfortunately, my application there for PPE was not successful. I did secure offers from Royal Holloway and Exeter for the same course though. I also applied to Durham for PPE but that was also unsuccessful.
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    (Original post by dennismubaiwa)
    Access is generally well regarded by many universities. From my course, I know of people with offers from KCL, UCL, Sheffield, Royal Holloway, York and Bristol for competitive subjects like English, Philosophy, History etc. Many came into the course without GCSEs, let alone your respectable haul, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    Personal Experience: I went to Warwick for an open day and it sounded like they were quite keen on Access students. Unfortunately, my application there for PPE was not successful. I did secure offers from Royal Holloway and Exeter for the same course though. I also applied to Durham for PPE but that was also unsuccessful.
    Excellent work! These ups and downs are all part of access life im afraid. I love stories like these that show it is possible to achieve your ambitions. Sometimes the first step is the toughest but once on the path not even the horizon can stop you.
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    (Original post by fournotetune)
    Thank you all so much for your responses!

    I've spent some time looking into universities but obviously I need to do some more research and go to some open days. So far I like York, Sussex, Kent, East Anglia, Birmingham, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leeds, Bath, Warwick, Royal Holloway, Manchester, KCL, Bristol and Edinburgh (although I need to check whether they accept Access for entry). Will doing well on the course mean that I could achieve a place at one of these universities? Taking into account the fact that my GCSEs (2 As, 6 Bs, 2 Cs, 1 BTEC Distinction) are okay, but nothing particularly special.
    I applied for a fairly competitive course (AAA-AAB at A-Level) and received offers from Manchester, Nottingham, Exeter, Sheffield and Lancaster. I feel like the fact that I waited until late in the afternoon on the day of the UCAS deadline to apply and still got my Lancaster and Manchester offers back within a couple of weeks illustrates how these unis are clearly enthusiastic about Access students. A few other people on my course also got offers from Manchester for slightly less competitive (ABB-BBB) courses within the first month or so of applying. I really, really don't see why you wouldn't be able to go to one of the unis you listed if you have a good personal statement, a decent reference and distinctions on the Access course.

    Some of the others you've listed (York, RHUL, Sussex, Bristol, Bath) were all unis I also strongly considered and contacted earlier on in the course. Edinburgh likely would have been my top choice if I weren't a high school dropout lacking GCSE double science.

    Unless you specifically don't meet the GCSE requirements for your chosen course, e.g. they want GCSE Maths in a B and you only have a C, I see no problem whatsoever with your grades. It's definitely not that unusual for Access students to get offers from top unis when they only possess the basic English and Maths GCSEs.
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    (Original post by kathykathykathy)
    I applied for a fairly competitive course (AAA-AAB at A-Level) and received offers from Manchester, Nottingham, Exeter, Sheffield and Lancaster. I feel like the fact that I waited until late in the afternoon on the day of the UCAS deadline to apply and still got my Lancaster and Manchester offers back within a couple of weeks illustrates how these unis are clearly enthusiastic about Access students. A few other people on my course also got offers from Manchester for slightly less competitive (ABB-BBB) courses within the first month or so of applying. I really, really don't see why you wouldn't be able to go to one of the unis you listed if you have a good personal statement, a decent reference and distinctions on the Access course.

    Some of the others you've listed (York, RHUL, Sussex, Bristol, Bath) were all unis I also strongly considered and contacted earlier on in the course. Edinburgh likely would have been my top choice if I weren't a high school dropout lacking GCSE double science.

    Unless you specifically don't meet the GCSE requirements for your chosen course, e.g. they want GCSE Maths in a B and you only have a C, I see no problem whatsoever with your grades. It's definitely not that unusual for Access students to get offers from top unis when they only possess the basic English and Maths GCSEs.
    It agree. It is so important not to feel like just because as a mature student or just becuase studying on the access programme that a top flight education is beyond reach. Access really does give access to opportunities that might feel beyond comprehension. Hard work does pay off.
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    (Original post by jimmy_looks_2ice)
    Interesting. It's Exeter that made the last-minute offer to me too! Perhaps they don't like mature students very much . Their website states that their offer holders' days are in the spring, so that adds to the feeling that I'm just an afterthought to them. I discussed uni choices recently with my (Access) tutor and she was quite enthusiastic about Exeter, largely because they're a high-ranked uni. She believes that the important factor is the academic calibre of the department, and their levels of organisation and efficiency are minor considerations. I'm not sure I fully agree with that. My feeling is that I'd rather go to a uni that is sufficiently respectful of their applicants that they take the trouble to make a good impression upon them.

    In addition to Exeter, I've got offers from UEA and Kent. I doubt I'll choose UEA - seemed great on paper, but I just didn't get a good feeling when I went to an Applicant Day there. Kent was the reverse. Considered not even going to an Applicant Day, but after making the effort, I really liked the place. I'm fairly certain I'll firm them, but a couple of factors still rolling around in my head are (a) living costs (SE location likely to be more expensive than SW) and (b) I already have friends in the SW area since I lived down in that neck of the woods a few years ago. However, I'm not sure either factor is strong enough to outweigh the positive vibe I got from Kent (as long as the living costs are manageable). For all I know, I might love Exeter way more than Kent, but I just don't think I'm going to have the opportunity to find out. I've booked an Exeter campus tour for next Friday (basically the last opportunity to see the place before my decision date), but tbh, much as you did, I'm asking myself if it's really worth it travelling all the way down there just to get a very limited impression of what I'd be committing to.

    Re. understanding topics, it's been an issue for me in terms of Sociology and Psychology, but not so much for my third subject, Literary Studies. I largely enjoy the topics in Psych and Soc, but I don't find writing the essays for them particularly rewarding, and wouldn't want to pursue either subject at a higher level.
    I definitely got the feeling that Exeter handed out offers to the people they unquestionably wanted early on and left everyone else hanging until March when they figured out how many people had decided to firm/insure/reject them. I regularly checked the applicants' thread on here between January-March and it seemed like some A-Level students had been waiting since October to hear back for courses that other people had received offers for within a matter of weeks.

    I actually recall another mature TSR member stating that he applied to Exeter quite early during his Access course, heard back reasonably quickly and later got an offer for a £1k scholarship if he achieved a certain amount of distinctions above his offer.

    I completely agree with you wrt wanting the uni you attend to be more than just highly ranked for its academics. The impression I formed at my Manchester offer holders' day quite negatively influenced my thoughts towards the course there (it was only a couple of hours long altogether, the room in which applicants had the opportunity to talk to staff and have a snack was extremely cramped, and students and parents had hardly any time to talk to the lecturers) vs. the positive experience I had attending the visit day at Nottingham (it lasted all day, students and parents were split into three groups to go through each activity one by one, and multiple lecturers approached me throughout the day and talked at length about the course and uni). Like you said, I don't think a fear of higher living costs and a lack of friends in the area should deter you from choosing what sounds like a much better fit for you personally.

    Let me know what you think of Exeter if you do end up going to the campus tour you've booked! I know that it does look and sound like such a picturesque, amazing uni.

    (Original post by jimmy_looks_2ice)
    Lucky you with regards to not having study skills (SS)! Once I'm on my summer break, I reckon I'll post some ultra long-winded rant about SS on TSR, detailing all my numerous complaints . In fairness, there were elements of the actual SS sessions that were useful. We did some English language exercises, ran our own seminars, had group discussions, and in general had the opportunity to discuss matters relating to the Access course as a whole, uni issues, or subject-specific issues, all at a time where there wasn't the immediate pressure to plough through course material as there was with the academic subjects' lessons. Oh, and yes, our tutor allocated time to each of us to go through our personal statements individually. The negativity is largely because I hated the SS assignments with a passion!
    What?! My cheapskate college did none of the stuff you've listed!

    We only had a few group tutorials to discuss applying to uni, how to access the library and e-facilities at college and applying for student finance. Most people opted out of attending the post-Christmas individual tutorials where you essentially only discussed things like attendance and punctuality. My college has totally left us to our own devices to complete the five ungraded core skills units in our own time.
 
 
 
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