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Access to HE three years after doing A-levels? watch

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    Hello, I'm currently 20. I completed two A-levels and a BTEC when I was 18 and got mediocre results (CCM). Back then I wasn't interested in school and didn't consider going to uni. However, I'm now strongly considering returning to education and putting in effort to get into a top uni and study law.

    The Access to HE diplomas look great as I can get an advanced learner loan which is wiped upon completion of a subsequent law degree. It would also give me a chance to get myself used to education again and, with good results, get into a top uni. However, it's to my understanding that people taking these courses usually haven't done A-levels before, but maybe I'm wrong.

    Do you think an Access to HE in law is a good option for me? During the application process would I need to mention my previous A-level/GCSE results and would they affect my application or are they irrelevant? Does anyone have any anecdotes about experiences with Access courses? Thanks in advance!
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    (Original post by Aardwolf)
    Hello, I'm currently 20. I completed two A-levels and a BTEC when I was 18 and got mediocre results (CCM). Back then I wasn't interested in school and didn't consider going to uni. However, I'm now strongly considering returning to education and putting in effort to get into a top uni and study law.

    The Access to HE diplomas look great as I can get an advanced learner loan which is wiped upon completion of a subsequent law degree. It would also give me a chance to get myself used to education again and, with good results, get into a top uni. However, it's to my understanding that people taking these courses usually haven't done A-levels before, but maybe I'm wrong.

    Do you think an Access to HE in law is a good option for me? During the application process would I need to mention my previous A-level/GCSE results or are those irrelevant? Does anyone have any anecdotes about experiences with Access courses? Thanks in advance!
    you would have to mention your previous qualifications in your ucas applications, contact some universities and ask if they'll accept you doing an access course when you already have a levels before you make your decision
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    from what I've read with the open university, if you have a levels etc you can't get an access course funded. I could be wrong though
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    You can get an advanced learner loan if you have A-levels, I have already researched that.

    And yeah, I suppose I will have to email unis. Wondering if anyone else has anecdotes though.
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    Well I'm 21, turning 22 this June, started my access course in engineering last September after spending my previous two years of my life managing pubs, mostly working odd jobs the year before that.

    Left school in 2014 at 18 with BBD in Politics History and Maths, respectively. Had 0 interest at the time in doing a degree, much less a humanities degree from an average university (if I had to grade myself for how much effort I put in, especially at A2, I'd give myself DDU).

    Despite the large blip on my application of a D grade in A level Mathematics (my tutor even told me I should only put the B grade I got at AS level on my application!) I put the truth on my application of all previous grades.

    Didn't bother to contact any universities individually regarding this (not the patron saint of going the extra mile as you may have guessed, I went in with a pretty devil may care attitude of "worst comes to worst I'll just go in through clearing"), just checked their websites that they accepted access with a requirement I feel I can achieve.

    Currently have conditionals from Sussex (comp sci) and KCL (electronic and information engineering), went to the Durham foundation centre assessment and interview a couple of days ago, seemed to go fantastically, waiting to hear from them and a couple other choices.

    Perhaps my personal statement helped out my application, who knows? (I didn't write a PS emphasising my overwhelming passions for what I was applying for, I just mostly wrote the truth about what led me to where I am now and why I'm applying, I sincerely doubt any admissions tutor wants to read some BS about "interest from a very young age" of engineering and computing from a bloke who's spent the majority of his working life pouring pints).

    Went on a bit of a tangent but to answer your main question, as long as you do well in your access course and meet the entry requirements of the universities you apply for, I don't think your previous grades will matter much.
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    (Original post by mongodb)
    Well I'm 21, turning 22 this June, started my access course in engineering last September after spending my previous two years of my life managing pubs, mostly working odd jobs the year before that.

    Left school in 2014 at 18 with BBD in Politics History and Maths, respectively. Had 0 interest at the time in doing a degree, much less a humanities degree from an average university (if I had to grade myself for how much effort I put in, especially at A2, I'd give myself DDU).

    Despite the large blip on my application of a D grade in A level Mathematics (my tutor even told me I should only put the B grade I got at AS level on my application!) I put the truth on my application of all previous grades.

    Didn't bother to contact any universities individually regarding this (not the patron saint of going the extra mile as you may have guessed, I went in with a pretty devil may care attitude of "worst comes to worst I'll just go in through clearing", just checked their websites that they accepted access with a requirement I feel I can achieve.

    Currently have conditionals from Sussex (comp sci) and KCL (electronic and information engineering), went to the Durham foundation centre assessment and interview a couple of days ago, seemed to go fantastically, waiting to hear from them and a couple other choices.

    Perhaps my personal statement helped out my application, who knows? (I didn't write a PS emphasising my overwhelming passions for what I was applying for, I just mostly wrote the truth about what led me to where I am now and why I'm applying, I sincerely doubt any admissions tutor wants to read some BS about "interest from a very young age" of engineering and computing from a bloke who's spent the majority of his working life pouring pints).

    Went on a bit of a tangent but to answer your main question, as long as you do well in your access course and meet the entry requirements of the universities you apply for, I don't think your previous grades will matter much.
    Hey thanks so much for sharing your experience, great to see there is someone doing well in very similar circumstances to me! From all the research I've done it seems like an Access course is a great opportunity to get my education back on track. If I may ask, how difficult are you finding the course and did you find it hard to get into after a break from education?
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    It isn't too hard I would say, much more intense than A-levels in terms of always having an assessment/coursework due within the next 2-3 weeks and Maths exams every month, in contrast to A-levels where it just felt like a two year coasting session. Can't really let your guard down despite inevitable bouts of indifference and fatigue, especially for me as I'm working weekends and am absolutely knackered in the little free time I do have. Finding certain units harder than others, though I think it's mostly down to the teaching in my college, my maths tutor is great and really strives for the ones on the course who want to do well to achieve the highest they can possibly get (about 2/5 of my class are 19 year olds who make my 18 year old self look like a workaholic in comparison, I've never seen such a total lack of work ethic post-GCSEs in my life), my other tutor is a nice guy but I think he's just waiting for retirement, doesn't particularly push us to get high grades and his feedback is rarely more than "looks good enough", as a result in his classes I have no idea if any of the work I'm producing is of distinction level or even merit, one unit we had one two hour lesson on before being given a 15 page assessment booklet to do over the week which I felt was pretty bizarre, somehow he was surprised when I asked him for some help/direction on a couple of questions in the booklet.

    Overall I think it does depend a lot on the tutors you get, heard some horror stories about a couple of the other access courses at my college. The work is most definitely down to you but access is marked so differently from A-levels that if you are someone like me who had never worked with a grading/marking system like this and the system isn't efficiently explained to you, you can end up with a fail on a unit you worked extremely hard on because you missed out a very minor pass criteria but did everything else to distinction level, it's very unforgiving in that regard.

    Overall I'm enjoying the course a lot though. Certainly beats working 55 hour weeks with psychotic alcoholic pub GMs.
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    Hey,
    So I'm midway through an access course in Law already (as is DCDCo if you want to talk to others). I don't think your previous study would impact your chances of doing the course, at least not the DIstance Learning Centre one which is the one I'm doing. As a general overview, I'd definitely recommend it, I've had offers from 4 Russel Group universities this year so as long as I hit the right marks, I'll be going to a top university this September - thanks to the HE Diploma.

    I'd say the Law one is pretty intense at times, though I did start it late which bumps up the deadlines. I've actually been surprised at the sheer amount of work you have to do throughout, it's more intense than the first year of University that's for sure, but I'd suggest it'll also prepare you very very well for University. I've enjoyed it, I've got a good tutor and the material is generally interesting. The system is a bit antiquated by now but it all functions relatively smoothly.

    If you're going to do one - which I do recommend for your situation - I'd suggest starting in plenty of time, not late October like I did!
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    (Original post by PlayWithMarkers)
    Hey,
    So I'm midway through an access course in Law already (as is DCDCo if you want to talk to others). I don't think your previous study would impact your chances of doing the course, at least not the DIstance Learning Centre one which is the one I'm doing. As a general overview, I'd definitely recommend it, I've had offers from 4 Russel Group universities this year so as long as I hit the right marks, I'll be going to a top university this September - thanks to the HE Diploma.

    I'd say the Law one is pretty intense at times, though I did start it late which bumps up the deadlines. I've actually been surprised at the sheer amount of work you have to do throughout, it's more intense than the first year of University that's for sure, but I'd suggest it'll also prepare you very very well for University. I've enjoyed it, I've got a good tutor and the material is generally interesting. The system is a bit antiquated by now but it all functions relatively smoothly.

    If you're going to do one - which I do recommend for your situation - I'd suggest starting in plenty of time, not late October like I did!
    I know that I would be able to do an Access to HE course, it's just that I was concerned about my previous A-level grades negatively affecting my uni application. Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience - distance learning sounds interesting and its a potential option for me. How exactly does distance learning work? Do you just get set assignments and have to upload them within a specified time period? Also, are you able to get a loan for a distance learning course? I'd assume not.
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    (Original post by Aardwolf)
    I know that I would be able to do an Access to HE course, it's just that I was concerned about my previous A-level grades negatively affecting my uni application. Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience - distance learning sounds interesting and its a potential option for me. How exactly does distance learning work? Do you just get set assignments and have to upload them within a specified time period? Also, are you able to get a loan for a distance learning course? I'd assume not.
    I have no idea about loans, just paid for it myself, but you can pay monthly which certainly helps. As for how it works...
    Basically. Yeah. With the DLC everything is split into SAQs and TAQs. When you first do a topic (I just did Criminal Law for example) you do an SAQ on it where basically you read through a document, then fill in another document with some answers to the given questions. It's student marked/answered, just there to give you a knowledge base.
    Then you get your TAQ which is typically 2 essay questions of 1000-1500 words each. You're given a form to fill in with your answers and you hand it in within the deadline, when you're then marked Pass/Merit/Distinction and these are the marks that count. Your first 4-5 TAQs are marked P/M/D but don't count towards your mark, gives you time to get used to the system and learn where your faults are before the work starts proper.
    It's all a little old fashioned, not super modernised, but it's easy to understand and I'm both enjoying it and doing well on it, would recommend.
 
 
 
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