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    Hey guys I need some advice. I'm 23 and was thinking of trying to go to Uni, problem is I don't have any UCAS Points. I have a Diploma Level 2 and an NVQ Level 2 but as far as I can tell I need a level 3 in both of those for them to be worth anything.

    I've heard some Uni's let you in even if you don't have UCAS points but my grades are pretty bad too, and to retake my GSCE's would cost more money than I have. I realised I'd have to start with a foundation year but I can't even get onto that. Someone suggested an access course but I'm not really sure what that is.

    Is there anyway I can make UCAS points relatively fast or is there some kind of course I could take that's on the cheaper side? Would Uni's maybe be more lenient with me because I'm an older student?

    Thanks
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    Access to Higher Education is an option. It's free at our local college but you need to have a C in Maths and English GCSE's. You can get in to good uni's with it as long as you get a good proportion of Distinctions It's not an easy option though, there's a lot of work involved. The course lasts a year.
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    You will need maths and English GCSEs which you should be able to take at a local college for free. Many of them run evening courses. You may be too late to enrol for this year, but it may be worth giving your local college a call to see. If it can't be done, you can study at home and find a school or college that will let you sit the exams as an external candidate.

    After this, your quickest route to university will be an Access course. There is usually a fee for this, but you can get a loan which gets wiped if you subsequently graduate from university. If you don't graduate, repayments kick in once your earnings go over £21,000 pa.

    Do you know what you want to study at uni?
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    (Original post by Schadenfreude65)
    You will need maths and English GCSEs which you should be able to take at a local college for free. Many of them run evening courses. You may be too late to enrol for this year, but it may be worth giving your local college a call to see. If it can't be done, you can study at home and find a school or college that will let you sit the exams as an external candidate.

    After this, your quickest route to university will be an Access course. There is usually a fee for this, but you can get a loan which gets wiped if you subsequently graduate from university. If you don't graduate, repayments kick in once your earnings go over £21,000 pa.

    Do you know what you want to study at uni?
    I had a look at my local school and colleges and they didn't seem to offer it for free, I'll have a look again though.

    I was thinking of doing creative writing/journalism. I've found a few that don't even need many UCAS points, but I didn't know my qualifications wouldn't be worth anything at all.

    What is an access course exactly? Something I do before foundation year or something I do during? How do I find these?
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    (Original post by DarkSunGwyndolin)
    I had a look at my local school and colleges and they didn't seem to offer it for free, I'll have a look again though.

    I was thinking of doing creative writing/journalism. I've found a few that don't even need many UCAS points, but I didn't know my qualifications wouldn't be worth anything at all.

    What is an access course exactly? Something I do before foundation year or something I do during? How do I find these?
    An Access to Higher Education course is a one year (or two year part time) level 3 course designed to prepare mature students for university study. They carry UCAS points and are accepted by most universities for most courses. If you take a look at entry requirements for a particular degree on the universities' websites, you will see what their grade requirements are for Access.

    You can take different pathways on Access, such as humanities, health sciences, etc. Assessment methods vary between different colleges, but you will write essays, maybe do some exams, carry out independent research, etc.

    For creative writing or journalism, you shouldn't need to do a foundation year in addition to Access. Take a look at local colleges. Almost all further education colleges offer Access courses.
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    (Original post by Schadenfreude65)
    An Access to Higher Education course is a one year (or two year part time) level 3 course designed to prepare mature students for university study. They carry UCAS points and are accepted by most universities for most courses. If you take a look at entry requirements for a particular degree on the universities' websites, you will see what their grade requirements are for Access.

    You can take different pathways on Access, such as humanities, health sciences, etc. Assessment methods vary between different colleges, but you will write essays, maybe do some exams, carry out independent research, etc.

    For creative writing or journalism, you shouldn't need to do a foundation year in addition to Access. Take a look at local colleges. Almost all further education colleges offer Access courses.
    Okay thanks a lot. I'm going to get a bus tomorrow to my local college and ask about access courses. So, saying they accept me, this course is government paid for unless I don't complete my Uni degree? And if I complete it I won't have to do a foundation year?

    I've read online some people say you have to pay after 23, is this true? If i've missed this year I'll be 24 next time I apply, do you think there's a chance I could still be considered even though it's almost October? (I did complete my Level 2 diploma at this college)
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    This is what I was told when applying at my local college this year for my access course, hopefully it is correct.

    If you're 19-23 and do not currently hold a Level 3 Qualification, the course will be free of charge.
    If you're 24+ you will be able to apply for the Advanced Learner Loan to pay for the course.
    If you're 19+ and already hold a Level 3 Qualification, you will be able to apply for the Advanced Learner Loan to pay for the course.
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    I think it's not so much trying to find a University willing to accept you on your current qualifications, but whether or not you are adequately prepared for a degree-level course. After all, you wouldn't want to end up being accepted for a course and then really struggling with it because your previous study was inadequate. An Access course would be a good preparation.
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    And just to add to what tiou95 said, if you go on to graduate from uni, the Advanced Learning Loan debt is wiped out. So if you stay the course, your Access course will effectively be free (although you don't get any help with living costs during the Access course, just the tuition fees).

    As has been said above, most unis will still insist on GCSE English and Maths at Grade C or above, as a basic guarantee of literacy and numeracy. Some colleges will let you study these alongside the Access course. It would be hard graft to do all three in one year, but might be worth looking into.
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    I've just stared Uni at the ripe age of 30. Like you I was confused if I was even going to be accepted with my iffy GCSE qualifications from 13 years ago. The best thing to do is to speak with the admissions at the university you are interested in and they will be able to provide some guidance. They certainly calmed me down. You can apply for some courses with a foundation year which you can apply for a student loan for. Student loans are available for up to four years of study so if you need to resit a year or change your degree after your first year or possibly in your case you need to do a foundation year. Options are always available but best point of contact is the university itself. Hope this helps.


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