So I got my A Levels and entered self employment at 18, opting not to go to Uni in hope that my own business would take off. I now want a better career and in theory have enough UCAS points and even a nice relevant portfolio, but I lack confidence and am worried that my learning skills have somewhat diminished.
At 25 years old should I just apply and dive in? Or would an access course be helpful? I filled out a mock application for the access course and my personal statement makes me seem way over-qualified. Yet I am not confident in my abilities and feel I might need to ease back in to the learning mindset.
The loan for an Access Course gets written off anyway when you graduate uni, so if you can afford to spend an extra year doing it to ease yourself back in to education then you've got nothing to lose.
I think in your position an access course is actually a waste of time. Access courses are designed for people without the right entry qualifications. Studying for degree is a different animal to studying A levels and there is an adjustment period for everyone. Most if not all Universities will offer study skills sessions and tutorials and possibility a society for your subject which offer help. You should have a personal tutor to help with any issues.
First year of university for most course will not count towards your degree classification and is a time to develop those study skills.
There is a reason that Uni's give lower offers to mature students, because they usually have a more focused attitude and mind set etc.
There is also the extra year of study and some of the elements and box ticking parts of the access course will frustrate you.
This is all depending on what you want to study, if it was something like Engineering I would look at universities with a foundation year that if you pass you automatically get entry to the first year, it would be more relevant to what you want to do.
I'd skip the access course if I were you. It's another year of your life and really isn't necessary if all you're concerned about is getting back into the swing of studying: that's what first year of a degree is for anyway.
Regarding your acceptance, I don't think you'll have to worry. So long as you can display an interest (or even some experience) in your chosen field, you'll likely be accepted. In fact, you already mentioned you have enough UCAS points anyway so you'll practically be a shoe-in. When I did my first degree as a mature-ish student (23) I actually decided where I wanted to go and what I wanted to study then just found out the contact details of the admissions tutor for the course. I emailed him direct, explained my situation and was invited to go for an interview. Gave me a chance to explain my motivation etc and I managed to get a place on a pretty heavily subscribed course (Japanese at SOAS) despite having very shoddy school qualifications.
In short: can the access course and go for it.
Thanks for the responses, I have emailed the college about the access course and await their reply. I will contact the Uni today.
The degree I wish to pursue is in Journalism. The entry requirement is 300 points, which I have with three B grade A Levels from 2008. I've owned two blogs since leaving college with a moderate amount of success, including podcasting, Youtubing etc. I also do online Freelance grunt work, where I supply other sites with content. Some of this is garbage, some of it I'm quite proud of.
The point is, I've come to the realisation that if I want to make a fair living I need to get the proper skills and training. It was fun in my teens when I thought I was some internet wiz, but now I'm poor as hell and have no traditional workplace experience.
Personally I think it depends on the content of the course; I think some courses would be easier to go straight back into after a break, whilst there are others which would definitely need a bit of a refresher. I'm doing biomedical science but with a foundation year and it has been super helpful.
Does anybody know if there is an financial help in regard to living expenses? The course I'm after is 3 days a week and listed as "full time."
I know Uni has maintenance loans, but what about college? Working the other 4 days still seems like a stretch when you factor in the time you need to study at home.
I ended up applying to the Uni straight away, or at least part way doing so. All I have left to do now is the reference, which is proving to be a hurdle. All I have are random freelance clients who I haven't had much contact with outside of email.
Most unis will want proof of recent successful study and seven year old A Levels are unlikely to be accepted. Unis are more interested in your academic potential now, rather than several years ago. As you've found, people mature a lot between late teens and mid-20s. You will probably find that unis will require an Access course for most applicants in your situation. Definitely contact unis to ask though.
I would have thought a foundation year might be useful if you arent confident of your ability.