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31yo - Should I do an Access to HE course while I figure out what I want to study? watch

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    Hi all,

    Bit of background first, after leaving school I went to 6th form and studied A Levels. Due to family issues and what I later realised was depression I didn't devote much time to my studies and ended up with 2 A Levels (C in Computing and D in Business Studies) and 2 AS Levels (D in Media and E in Accounting). Following this I decided that I was done with education and started working for a retail bank.

    Fast forward to today, aged 31, and I have found myself still working for the same company in a managerial position making OK money. A few things that have happened this year have made me reassess where I am in life and along with years of niggling regret from never going to university coupled with feeling like I am wasting my potential in my current career have led me to consider studying.

    However, at the current time I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I'd like to study. I've been doing a bit of research and with my poor A Level grades from back in the day plus the fact I've not been in education for 12+ years makes me think and Access to HE course is the way to go.

    So as the title suggests, in the interests of not wanting to let time slip away from me, would completing an Access to HE course while I'm deciding what I'd like to study be worthwhile? As they seem to be at least loosely tied to a subject. If I completed an Access course for something to do with Science for example and then decided I wanted to study business would I have to complete another access course? Or would it be a better bet to wait until I've 100% figured out what I would like to study?

    Thanks in advance
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    You should check with universities for specific requirements. In most cases a science based access course would not allow you entry onto an undergraduate degree in business. But some universities may allow it. In any case, what pathway you take is entirely dependent on your interests. I completed an access course this year in humanities and one of the girls on my course went on to study business. Another law. Some in psychology etc. A further point: universities may consider your work and life experience when making their decision. I'd advise that you contact a college/advisor and they'd be best equipped to advise you.
    Health and science based courses are generally geared towards but not restricted to: nursing, biology, medicine etc
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    Hey!

    Also 31 here and have taken the plunge on the Access Course. Some top tips!

    - Have a think about what you might like to study and then research the courses via the internet. Most of the Universities are extremely clear on their Access to HE requirements in terms of house many Merits/Distinctions at Level 3 they require.
    - Once you have found the courses you would be interested in, email their admissions department. I was a little sceptical at first thinking it would just be some corporate wall that provided generic answers back to email, wrong! The admissions departments are a great help and will provide clear information as to what will be required of you. Some Universities will only allow specific Access to HE Courses for their undergraduate applications so you will know what you need to achieve.
    - Once you have that decided, have a scout around for where you'd like to complete your Access Course, either in a brick college or online. I am completing mine online and it's great, don't fear it.
    - Also, once you have decided what course you'd like to do, it wouldn't hurt to start building your application as soon as possible. As mentioned above, trying to get some work experience would be great. You will have a wealth of experience from your normal working life however, if there is something subject specific for you to do (for example for Law, going to watch some cases at the Crown Court) then that will put you in good stead.

    My final tip - if you do decide to embark on this journey, start it as soon as possible. I am pressuring myself to complete everything prior to May and I must say, its quite full on. I wish i'd started everything about 2 months prior as completing my work, personal statement and other bits. has been tough.
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    Thanks for the replies, really useful

    So I'll do some more research on what I'm specifically looking to study before pulling the trigger on an access course. To be fair I didn't think of emailing admissions departments for the very reason you were sceptical too, will give them a try also!
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    I'd also have a think about whether you want to study at a university on campus (so physically attending classes) or whether distance learning might suit you. It doesn't suit everyone but is something to think about as you'll be able to continue working whilst you retrain.
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    it is never too late to get into education:

    http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news...ridge-13869333

    good luck !!
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    Sorry for the delayed response!

    Thanks for the replies, I've been mulling it over for a few weeks and decided that what's really stopping me is not really knowing where to start... It all seems like an overwhelming project!

    I think I'd be looking to study a distance access course and then do a full time course on campus, and in something like Engineering, I've always had a passion for how things work and was always decent at maths when I applied myself to it! Also I think it would couple up well with my leadership experience.

    But what is even the first step here? Do I just look at loads of university sites and email admissions departments? Would they be able to advise on what access course is best? I see that the Open University does a Science, Technology and Maths Access Course but is this the kind of thing that would get me laughed out of applying for an Engineering course?!

    Thanks again
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    Don't be so hard on yourself or put off by any of the things that you've discussed above. It sounds like you've made a decision and that's great. If you are after a distance course, then look online for distance learning courses, or consider an online leading course like Open University (OU), as the actual university campus etc won't be as important if you aren't studying there directly. If you have a certain university in mind, then contacting the admissions team or using the website might be a quick way of identifying any Access to HE opportunities.

    I would be very surprised if you got 'laughed at' for applying for an Engineering FdSc or BSc course afterwards if you have an OU or Access equivalent behind you (I would imagine that this shows commitment if anything), although the fact that it would be a vocational area might be a consideration/factor. I would contact a few various universities and ask how they would respond if you applied with that particular course behind you, and how likely it would be that they would then take you on the course. If the response is negative, get a census how Access courses are generally regarded in that area, and then consider if that is the right way to get where you want to be.

    Most important, don't be put off, this sounds like a complete fresh start, and if things don't work out you always have your experience to fall back on in your current area which is sounds like you have been generally really successful in - so really, the only thing that this could do is give you a greater range of opportunities looking forward.

    Good luck and all the best,

    Alex

    3D Computer Generated Imagery

    Bournemouth & Poole College
 
 
 
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