Access to higher education of A-levels

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Lyn1998
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#1
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#1
Hi
I'm asking whether to do my A levels again or to an access to HE course.

Basically, over the last 2 years I've been unable to complete my A levels due to unexpected illness so I've been in out of sixth form and to be honest the issue hasn't been completely resolved even though my symptoms have improved I am now at the age of 19.

I want to study material science and engineering at university. However, my family are concerned that doing the access to higher education course would reduce my choices of universities especially those in the Russell group. Will this affect me? But doing A levels privately would cost 10,000 + pounds since I would need to do practicals as they are a huge requirement for this course. If I were to do access course what would be the best one to do and would it be better if I were to supplement it with A level maths?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated on this matter and how to discuss this matter with my family.
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Nathan776
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#2
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#2
I have completed an access to engineering course at my local college just recently and should be attending Newcastle University to study Mechanical Engineering. I am however completing a foundation year while I am there. I would personally recommend checking out some of the courses through your desired universities website. When it came to me picking my choices I didn't know where I wanted to go. A few of the universities I looked at wanted A level Mathematics with my course (which I didn't have) and some did not accept an Access Course.

I also received offers from Southampton, Leicester and Coventry.
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BigYoSpeck
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Lyn1998)
However, my family are concerned that doing the access to higher education course would reduce my choices of universities especially those in the Russell group. Will this affect me? But doing A levels privately would cost 10,000 + pounds since I would need to do practicals as they are a huge requirement for this course. If I were to do access course what would be the best one to do and would it be better if I were to supplement it with A level maths?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated on this matter and how to discuss this matter with my family.
Check universities that you are interested in and see what their entry requirements are for the degree course(s) you're interested in.

Most will list if an Access is accepted usually stating in a relevant subject and they also declare if an A-level such as maths is needed in conjunction.

I can't comment on the best course to do, something like engineering or sciences will obviously cover the relevant part.

Plenty of Russell Group universities recognise Access as a valid level 3 to enter their courses via. I've just completed a computing Access course and have a place at Leeds confirmed for Computer Science. If I'd taken a maths A-level I would have had even more options higher up the rankings table available as well but on reflection, I'm happier with Leeds and not having had that extra workload than I would have been at a slightly better-ranked university but a much larger workload doing an A-level with it.
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username2371625
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#4
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Hi! I did Access to Higher Education Diploma in Engineering at Leeds City College two years ago, and am currently studying Civil and Structural Engineering at Leeds University, which is Russell Group!

It's been a bit harder for me than for my friends on the course who did A Level, especially the Maths modules, but I passed first year with a first.

The best thing to do is to look at which universities you're interesting in, and seeing if they accept Access. Also, check they accept Access from the College you're planning to study at- I was told that sometimes universities accept some access courses but not others as they're designed by the colleges, not by an external board.
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BigYoSpeck
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Surubi)
Hi! I did Access to Higher Education Diploma in Engineering at Leeds City College two years ago, and am currently studying Civil and Structural Engineering at Leeds University, which is Russell Group!

It's been a bit harder for me than for my friends on the course who did A Level, especially the Maths modules, but I passed first year with a first.

The best thing to do is to look at which universities you're interesting in, and seeing if they accept Access. Also, check they accept Access from the College you're planning to study at- I was told that sometimes universities accept some access courses but not others as they're designed by the colleges, not by an external board.
If it's a QAA recognised Access to HE course then any university that accepts an Access diploma should accept it. QAA license different regional awards bodies, who in turn award through multiple colleges, but provided it's QAA recognised they're all recognised as an equal level 3 qualification.
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username2371625
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#6
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I'm just saying what the admissions tutor told me.
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Schadenfreude65
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#7
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#7
(Original post by BigYoSpeck)
If it's a QAA recognised Access to HE course then any university that accepts an Access diploma should accept it. QAA license different regional awards bodies, who in turn award through multiple colleges, but provided it's QAA recognised they're all recognised as an equal level 3 qualification.
Some access courses offer more maths modules than others, which is the main factor affecting whether universities accept it for subjects like engineering. I had a similar experience to Surubi, struggling a little with the maths in first year. (I studied physics after an Access (Engineering) course).

The admissions tutor at the uni I firmed wanted to see the spec for all my maths modules to make sure it covered enough ground for me to cope with the demands of the course.
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BigYoSpeck
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Schadenfreude65)
Some access courses offer more maths modules than others, which is the main factor affecting whether universities accept it for subjects like engineering. I had a similar experience to Surubi, struggling a little with the maths in first year. (I studied physics after an Access (Engineering) course).

The admissions tutor at the uni I firmed wanted to see the spec for all my maths modules to make sure it covered enough ground for me to cope with the demands of the course.
Yeah, I had a similar experience with my course which was Computing and ICT. I'm doing a Computer Science degree and pretty much the entire top 10 ranked universities require a maths A-level in addition despite a 3rd of my courses modules being mathematics (2 pure, 2 applied).
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Schadenfreude65
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#9
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#9
(Original post by BigYoSpeck)
Yeah, I had a similar experience with my course which was Computing and ICT. I'm doing a Computer Science degree and pretty much the entire top 10 ranked universities require a maths A-level in addition despite a 3rd of my courses modules being mathematics (2 pure, 2 applied).
Access courses are great, but the maths content is so often a problem for science & engineering courses. I wish there was a better route for us, but it's great to see examples of people succeeding despite the obstacles in our way.
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artful_lounger
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#10
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#10
I'm not aware of any RG universities up to and including Oxbridge which don't at least consider access courses. Usually the best course is to contact them and ask if they accept the specific access course you intend to do - they will then be able to let you know if that is suitable preparation for their course(s) or not. Usually the "elite" universities specifically stipulate that it should have formal unseen exams at the end of the course as the primary method of assessment; some have more specific requirements which you can find out by asking them.

It's possible the course will have a suitable amount of maths to begin with - if they indicate they wouldn't be able to consider due to the lower maths content, you can ask if it combined with A-level Maths would be suitable.
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char.georgina
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Lyn1998)
Hi
I'm asking whether to do my A levels again or to an access to HE course.

Basically, over the last 2 years I've been unable to complete my A levels due to unexpected illness so I've been in out of sixth form and to be honest the issue hasn't been completely resolved even though my symptoms have improved I am now at the age of 19.

I want to study material science and engineering at university. However, my family are concerned that doing the access to higher education course would reduce my choices of universities especially those in the Russell group. Will this affect me? But doing A levels privately would cost 10,000 + pounds since I would need to do practicals as they are a huge requirement for this course. If I were to do access course what would be the best one to do and would it be better if I were to supplement it with A level maths?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated on this matter and how to discuss this matter with my family.
Hey I've just made a video talking about my experience studying an access to HE in science and getting into my first choice uni, https://youtu.be/9OTVcz_sgTg hope this might help xx
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chantsrichards89
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#12
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#12
hi not sure if you've started on an Access to HE course yet, but all i can say is research the colleges local to you to see what they offer pathway wise. the college i go does a sciences pathway with higher maths as an option, whereas the other local college close to me does a pathway that is more specific and aimed at students that want to study engineering at unis.

all i can say about the russell unis is to ring the ones that you are interested in and ask them. Don't email them as they get arsey via emails.
good luck!!
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