What qualifications do mature students need to get into uni?

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bobrob23
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#1
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#1
Hi all,

Just after a bit of advice/guidance. I'm a 29 year old man who left school at the age of 15 with a couple of GCSE qualifications, but none at a particularly impressive grade. Basically I've spent my post-school life floating from job to job, never earning more than minimum wage. Having become a father in recent years, the importance of my earnings has suddenly become apparent. And in order to earn a higher wage, I need to better myself through education. However, I'm having trouble working out exactly what I need to do to get into university.

I've looked into doing AHE courses, but none are on offer anywhere near where I live in rural Wales, and it seems that no universities I am interested in going to will accept these anyway. This also seems to be the case with NVQ's or anything related to BTEC, which seem to be the only qualifications offered at my local community college.
I'm obviously not against moving away to do a university degree, but to move away to do an AHE course at a community college somewhere else in the UK, only to discover it's not widely accepted by universities would be a bit counterproductive.

I have also been told to look for foundation degree courses. However, with the universities I've currently looked at, these seem to be only offered to international students who already hold high academic qualifications, but need help to adjust to studying in the UK. What I was expecting was an additional year at the beginning of a degree to assist people such as myself with a route into higher education. Do these exist?

I was always under the (clearly wrong) impression that mature students were given a bit of extra flexibility to reflect their life experience and, well, maturity. But again, I cannot find anything that supports this. There seems to be no information on University websites relating to mature students whatsoever.

Obviously, as I'm sure you can tell, I am only just beginning to look into this and have little to no knowledge of the qualification system in the UK, so any advice from you guys would be greatly appreciated.

Before I leave, I better say that I'm hoping to study Mechanical Engineering. I'm also biased toward London as I have a lot of family and friends there, obviously making finding somewhere to live and a part time job a whole lot easier.

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the essay.
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claireestelle
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#2
Report 6 years ago
#2
(Original post by bobrob23)
Hi all,

Just after a bit of advice/guidance. I'm a 29 year old man who left school at the age of 15 with a couple of GCSE qualifications, but none at a particularly impressive grade. Basically I've spent my post-school life floating from job to job, never earning more than minimum wage. Having become a father in recent years, the importance of my earnings has suddenly become apparent. And in order to earn a higher wage, I need to better myself through education. However, I'm having trouble working out exactly what I need to do to get into university.

I've looked into doing AHE courses, but none are on offer anywhere near where I live in rural Wales, and it seems that no universities I am interested in going to will accept these anyway. This also seems to be the case with NVQ's or anything related to BTEC, which seem to be the only qualifications offered at my local community college.
I'm obviously not against moving away to do a university degree, but to move away to do an AHE course at a community college somewhere else in the UK, only to discover it's not widely accepted by universities would be a bit counterproductive.

I have also been told to look for foundation degree courses. However, with the universities I've currently looked at, these seem to be only offered to international students who already hold high academic qualifications, but need help to adjust to studying in the UK. What I was expecting was an additional year at the beginning of a degree to assist people such as myself with a route into higher education. Do these exist?

I was always under the (clearly wrong) impression that mature students were given a bit of extra flexibility to reflect their life experience and, well, maturity. But again, I cannot find anything that supports this. There seems to be no information on University websites relating to mature students whatsoever.

Obviously, as I'm sure you can tell, I am only just beginning to look into this and have little to no knowledge of the qualification system in the UK, so any advice from you guys would be greatly appreciated.

Before I leave, I better say that I'm hoping to study Mechanical Engineering. I'm also biased toward London as I have a lot of family and friends there, obviously making finding somewhere to live and a part time job a whole lot easier.

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the essay.
As far as i know only one or two universities offer foundation entry for engineering its one of the courses that it doesn't appear to offer foundation entry as much as others.
Do you have gcses in maths, english and science? i think that would be a starting point. There's a possibility that you could do an access course by distance learning and may be look into whether you can do this with a btec too (and also a levels but a levels require coursework which makes it a bit harder to distance learn) but i dont think there's a way into engineering without having doing some kind of level 3 course i m afraid.
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IamLiquid
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#3
Report 6 years ago
#3
(Original post by bobrob23)
Hi all,

Just after a bit of advice/guidance. I'm a 29 year old man who left school at the age of 15 with a couple of GCSE qualifications, but none at a particularly impressive grade. Basically I've spent my post-school life floating from job to job, never earning more than minimum wage. Having become a father in recent years, the importance of my earnings has suddenly become apparent. And in order to earn a higher wage, I need to better myself through education. However, I'm having trouble working out exactly what I need to do to get into university.

I've looked into doing AHE courses, but none are on offer anywhere near where I live in rural Wales, and it seems that no universities I am interested in going to will accept these anyway. This also seems to be the case with NVQ's or anything related to BTEC, which seem to be the only qualifications offered at my local community college.
I'm obviously not against moving away to do a university degree, but to move away to do an AHE course at a community college somewhere else in the UK, only to discover it's not widely accepted by universities would be a bit counterproductive.

I have also been told to look for foundation degree courses. However, with the universities I've currently looked at, these seem to be only offered to international students who already hold high academic qualifications, but need help to adjust to studying in the UK. What I was expecting was an additional year at the beginning of a degree to assist people such as myself with a route into higher education. Do these exist?

I was always under the (clearly wrong) impression that mature students were given a bit of extra flexibility to reflect their life experience and, well, maturity. But again, I cannot find anything that supports this. There seems to be no information on University websites relating to mature students whatsoever.

Obviously, as I'm sure you can tell, I am only just beginning to look into this and have little to no knowledge of the qualification system in the UK, so any advice from you guys would be greatly appreciated.

Before I leave, I better say that I'm hoping to study Mechanical Engineering. I'm also biased toward London as I have a lot of family and friends there, obviously making finding somewhere to live and a part time job a whole lot easier.

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the essay.
The overwhelming majority of universities accept BTECs, including London universities that have Mechanical Engineering courses, however, the entry requirements are very high and they would require D*D*D* as an overall grade for BTEC Engineering level 3 Extended diploma.

http://www.brunel.ac.uk/courses/unde...gineering-beng

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-stu...echanical-beng

http://www.kingston.ac.uk/undergradu...uirements.html

http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/courses/course...y_requirements

The foundation entry requirements are lower at Brunel and Kingston, but you are still required to have formal qualifications, unless you have relevant work experience i.e. you have worked as an engineer and can prove it.

http://www.brunel.ac.uk/courses/unde...oundation-year

http://www.kingston.ac.uk/undergradu...tml#block14323

You’ll either have to complete a HE course or a BTEC (BTEC Extended Diplomas are 2 years long) and find a Uni that accepts the HE course.

London South Bank and Brunel accept HE diploma.

LSBU: “Access to Engineering course 60 credits, including 45 at level 3 (a minimum of 21 with Merit grade) and 15 at level 2; plus Five GCSEs including Maths and English.”

Brunel: “Access to Higher Education Diploma Complete and pass Access to Engineering course with 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. All Maths and Physics units must be Distinctions at level 3.”

UCL don’t accept HE, but do accept BTEC. Kinston doesn’t say on their site, so you are going to have to email them.

UCL: “Access to HE Diploma: Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.”
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bobrob23
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#4
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#4
(Original post by claireestelle)
As far as i know only one or two universities offer foundation entry for engineering its one of the courses that it doesn't appear to offer foundation entry as much as others.
Do you have gcses in maths, english and science? i think that would be a starting point. There's a possibility that you could do an access course by distance learning and may be look into whether you can do this with a btec too (and also a levels but a levels require coursework which makes it a bit harder to distance learn) but i dont think there's a way into engineering without having doing some kind of level 3 course i m afraid.
Hi, thanks for your reply. Yes I have those GCSE's. Maths B, English E and Science C. As I said, not particularly impressive, but they are what they are. Also, I'm not at all opposed to doing a course before university, but I cannot work out what course I would need to do to achieve the correct entry requirements. I realise this sounds ridiculous, but the information I am reading all seems contradictory. What exactly do you mean by "Level 3 Course"? Do you mean A-Levels or their equivalent? That may be my only realistic route, but I was hoping for something which would only take a year.

Also AHE courses claim to be "Access to Higher Education". Yet many universities apparently do not accept them for some reason, and the same is true for BTEC's and NVQ's, which my local college seems to exclusively deal in. So any of these three qualifications will apparently not help me. This is what is confusing me.

Apologies for sounding like a confused pensioner. What's worse is I actually feel like one, haha.
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claireestelle
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#5
Report 6 years ago
#5
(Original post by bobrob23)
Hi, thanks for your reply. Yes I have those GCSE's. Maths B, English E and Science C. As I said, not particularly impressive, but they are what they are. Also, I'm not at all opposed to doing a course before university, but I cannot work out what course I would need to do to achieve the correct entry requirements. I realise this sounds ridiculous, but the information I am reading all seems contradictory. What exactly do you mean by "Level 3 Course"? Do you mean A-Levels or their equivalent? That may be my only realistic route, but I was hoping for something which would only take a year.

Also AHE courses claim to be "Access to Higher Education". Yet many universities apparently do not accept them for some reason, and the same is true for BTEC's and NVQ's, which my local college seems to exclusively deal in. So any of these three qualifications will apparently not help me. This is what is confusing me.

Apologies for sounding like a confused pensioner. What's worse is I actually feel like one, haha.
You would need to look at retaking your English to get a C to get into university but the other 2 are okay. Yes by level 3 i mean a levels and their equivalents. Which specific universities are you looking at attending?

There are some unis with foundation years that would accept you if you took 2 a levels, you can do fast track a levels at some colleges to do them in a year but you might have to get your English at a c first for some colleges to accept you on a levels but then this would be irrelevant if you went ahead and self taught a level subjects rather than using a college, depends on what you feel you can take on. But to get straight onto an engineering degree i think your best bet is probably doing 3 a levels and i think a level maths appears to be one of them. ( i dont do engineering myself but if you go over to the engineering section, think its in maths and science subjects someone could be more help than me)

I think the thing with access courses is that generally they don't offer ones appropriate to engineering but they can be useful for many other university subjects.
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bobrob23
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#6
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#6
(Original post by IamLiquid)
The overwhelming majority of universities accept BTECs, including London universities that have Mechanical Engineering courses, however, the entry requirements are very high and they would require D*D*D* as an overall grade for BTEC Engineering level 3 Extended diploma.

http://www.brunel.ac.uk/courses/unde...gineering-beng

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-stu...echanical-beng

http://www.kingston.ac.uk/undergradu...uirements.html

http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/courses/course...y_requirements

The foundation entry requirements are lower at Brunel and Kingston, but you are still required to have formal qualifications, unless you have relevant work experience i.e. you have worked as an engineer and can prove it.

http://www.brunel.ac.uk/courses/unde...oundation-year

http://www.kingston.ac.uk/undergradu...tml#block14323

You’ll either have to complete a HE course or a BTEC (BTEC Extended Diplomas are 2 years long) and find a Uni that accepts the HE course.

London South Bank and Brunel accept HE diploma.

LSBU: “Access to Engineering course 60 credits, including 45 at level 3 (a minimum of 21 with Merit grade) and 15 at level 2; plus Five GCSEs including Maths and English.”

Brunel: “Access to Higher Education Diploma Complete and pass Access to Engineering course with 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. All Maths and Physics units must be Distinctions at level 3.”

UCL don’t accept HE, but do accept BTEC. Kinston doesn’t say on their site, so you are going to have to email them.

UCL: “Access to HE Diploma: Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.”
Hi, thanks for your reply. Obviously I've confused myself somewhere with the BTEC's. Can I just clarify this with you though. What you are saying is that for someone in my position, I would have to study a BTEC Extended Diploma (2 years), achieve top marks, then move on to a foundation course, which would be another year, before I could move on to the undergraduate course?
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IamLiquid
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#7
Report 6 years ago
#7
(Original post by bobrob23)
Hi, thanks for your reply. Obviously I've confused myself somewhere with the BTEC's. Can I just clarify this with you though. What you are saying is that for someone in my position, I would have to study a BTEC Extended Diploma (2 years), achieve top marks, then move on to a foundation course, which would be another year, before I could move on to the undergraduate course?
If you achieve top marks for BTEC (D*D*D*) that would get you into the undergraduate (non-foundation) course for Mechanical Engineering at UCL/Brunel (And most unis in the country for anything engineering related)

If you got say DMM then you would either have to do a foundation at a higher ranking uni (UCL/Brunel) or do an undergraduate degree at a lower ranking uni (Kingston/London South Bank)

Brunel and London South Bank also accept HE diploma, which I believe is a one year course.
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IamLiquid
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#8
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#8
https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergradu...ff-tables/1176

^ This is the UCAS tariff for BTEC

So Kingston and London South Bank mention the UCAS points needed and not the BTEC grade, so for Kingston you need 280 UCAS points which is DMM and London South Bank you need 240 UCAS points which is MMM for the undergraduate degree.
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bobrob23
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#9
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#9
(Original post by claireestelle)
You would need to look at retaking your English to get a C to get into university but the other 2 are okay. Yes by level 3 i mean a levels and their equivalents. Which specific universities are you looking at attending?

There are some unis with foundation years that would accept you if you took 2 a levels, you can do fast track a levels at some colleges to do them in a year but you might have to get your English at a c first for some colleges to accept you on a levels but then this would be irrelevant if you went ahead and self taught a level subjects rather than using a college, depends on what you feel you can take on. But to get straight onto an engineering degree i think your best bet is probably doing 3 a levels and i think a level maths appears to be one of them. ( i dont do engineering myself but if you go over to the engineering section, think its in maths and science subjects someone could be more help than me)

I think the thing with access courses is that generally they don't offer ones appropriate to engineering but they can be useful for many other university subjects.
Thank you so much, your help is really appreciated here. I have no specific universities yet, but London is the area I'm looking at as it's the most convenient for me.
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bobrob23
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#10
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#10
(Original post by IamLiquid)
https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergradu...ff-tables/1176

^ This is the UCAS tariff for BTEC

So Kingston and London South Bank mention the UCAS points needed and not the BTEC grade, so for Kingston you need 280 UCAS points which is DMM and London South Bank you need 240 UCAS points which is MMM for the undergraduate degree.
Brilliant, this is beginning to make sense to me now. Thanks for your patience and time, this is a subject I've never looked into before, so all the different levels of qualifications and UCAS points are like a different language to me. So thanks for the advice it's been a big help.
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