Who has got into uni with an Access to HE?

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mrarmstrong21
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I would love to hear what access course you did, how you found it, what grades you managed to get and what universities gave you an offer.

I want to go to uni as a mature student and will need to take an Access course because I didn’t do A levels, but it seems a lot of good universities look down on Access courses...
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Docxx
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I did an Access to Science course this year, ended up with 45 Distinctions. I'm 38 and last went to school in 1998 so quite a gap in education. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and it is probably the best thing I ever did.

I applied to Southampton, Bristol, Reading, Swansea and Plymouth. I got 5 offers and I've chosen Southampton. Start Zoology in September.

As you might notice 2 of the offers I got were from Russell Group universities so I don't think I agree with Access course being looked down upon. In fact, after speaking to Admission Tutors on open days I would say the majority of Universities love access students.

I would agree however that some of the top-ranking Unis like Oxbridge, imperial London etc look down on Access courses, unfairly I think. I understand they expect a lot more for obvious reasons but I feel Access students should at least have the opportunity to apply and impress. Currently, they don't even accept applications (for pure sciences at least). I have written emails to both Oxford and Cambridge complaining, I feel like there is discrimination.

I would say, anyone who wants to get into University, Access is the perfect route and go for it.
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nc127
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I did an Access to HE course in Humanities, so it was split between three different subjects. I found it incredibly enjoyable. It had been five years since I last went to college, but I had barely attended and didn't really gain any A-levels. On Access I was on a fairly tight schedule, as the assignments were back to back and I often had two or three assignments due on the same day or week.

It was essentially a fast track crash course, but it does prepare you for university work more than the standard A-Level, especially with the importance of referencing your work and researching by yourself. Universities don't look down on that. Stay organised and on track, and use the college library. The students who didn't take it seriously from the start and missed deadlines struggled the most, or just dropped out.

I was aiming for certain universities so I didn't apply for five. Ended the course with 39 Distinctions, 3 Merits, and 3 Passes out of the 45 credits required (15 of those were Distinctions given before we got predicted grades) and had conditional offers from Manchester, Sheffield, and Oxford Brookes. I was, however, rejected by Edinburgh for not already having a Modern Language qualification. It had nothing to do with being an Access course student, so I would also highly suggest double-checking with universities for other requirements specifically for your degree if you are unsure. Don't waste a choice as I did!

Before covid, most Russell Group universities originally asked for 30 credits at Distinction, and 15 credits at Merit, or just for 45 overall Distinctions (Oxbridge, maybe Leeds, etc.). My tutors had past students who went off to Oxbridge, so that is possible, just much harder to achieve.
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Wilbo Bagi
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I did an access course this year and I received offers from Edinburgh, KCL, UCL and Cambridge. I have spoken to many of the freshers at my Cambridge college and the majority of them did access courses - we all received the same offer of 45D.
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mrarmstrong21
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(Original post by Wilbo Bagi)
I did an access course this year and I received offers from Edinburgh, KCL, UCL and Cambridge. I have spoken to many of the freshers at my Cambridge college and the majority of them did access courses - we all received the same offer of 45D.
Wow! That’s amazing.

Can I ask what access course you did and what you’re studying at Cambridge?

I’m aiming to get all distinctions, do you have any tips for ensuring I get top marks?

Thanks for the response!
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mrarmstrong21
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(Original post by nc127)
I did an Access to HE course in Humanities, so it was split between three different subjects. I found it incredibly enjoyable. It had been five years since I last went to college, but I had barely attended and didn't really gain any A-levels. On Access I was on a fairly tight schedule, as the assignments were back to back and I often had two or three assignments due on the same day or week.

It was essentially a fast track crash course, but it does prepare you for university work more than the standard A-Level, especially with the importance of referencing your work and researching by yourself. Universities don't look down on that. Stay organised and on track, and use the college library. The students who didn't take it seriously from the start and missed deadlines struggled the most, or just dropped out.

I was aiming for certain universities so I didn't apply for five. Ended the course with 39 Distinctions, 3 Merits, and 3 Passes out of the 45 credits required (15 of those were Distinctions given before we got predicted grades) and had conditional offers from Manchester, Sheffield, and Oxford Brookes. I was, however, rejected by Edinburgh for not already having a Modern Language qualification. It had nothing to do with being an Access course student, so I would also highly suggest double-checking with universities for other requirements specifically for your degree if you are unsure. Don't waste a choice as I did!

Before covid, most Russell Group universities originally asked for 30 credits at Distinction, and 15 credits at Merit, or just for 45 overall Distinctions (Oxbridge, maybe Leeds, etc.). My tutors had past students who went off to Oxbridge, so that is possible, just much harder to achieve.
Thank you so much for the detailed response! So helpful.

What did you choose to study at university?
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mrarmstrong21
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(Original post by Docxx)
I did an Access to Science course this year, ended up with 45 Distinctions. I'm 38 and last went to school in 1998 so quite a gap in education. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and it is probably the best thing I ever did.

I applied to Southampton, Bristol, Reading, Swansea and Plymouth. I got 5 offers and I've chosen Southampton. Start Zoology in September.

As you might notice 2 of the offers I got were from Russell Group universities so I don't think I agree with Access course being looked down upon. In fact, after speaking to Admission Tutors on open days I would say the majority of Universities love access students.

I would agree however that some of the top-ranking Unis like Oxbridge, imperial London etc look down on Access courses, unfairly I think. I understand they expect a lot more for obvious reasons but I feel Access students should at least have the opportunity to apply and impress. Currently, they don't even accept applications (for pure sciences at least). I have written emails to both Oxford and Cambridge complaining, I feel like there is discrimination.

I would say, anyone who wants to get into University, Access is the perfect route and go for it.
45 distinctions! That’s amazing!

I’m really hoping to get all distinctions... do you have any tips for ensuring I get top marks?

What are you planning to do after you finish university?

Thanks so much for your response.
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nc127
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(Original post by mrarmstrong21)
Thank you so much for the detailed response! So helpful.

What did you choose to study at university?
No problem! I'm happy to answer any other questions you might have about access.
I applied for Linguistics and Japanese (which is why Edinburgh wanted the extra language qualification).
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DCDCo
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Just to reiterate what has been mentioned above. An Access Course can be a great way to get into Uni. There are some courses it's likely unsuitable for (there's a lot of Science/Maths degrees that it doesn't provide the necessary rigour for), but, I'm sure there were even Uni's you could take Medicine with an Access course.

I was able to get into LSE Law, which has a 9% offer rate. This is lower than Oxford/Cambridge Law. The point being - You really can target the University of your dreams if you apply yourself and get the grades!
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Wilbo Bagi
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(Original post by mrarmstrong21)
Wow! That’s amazing.

Can I ask what access course you did and what you’re studying at Cambridge?

I’m aiming to get all distinctions, do you have any tips for ensuring I get top marks?

Thanks for the response!
I did an access to humanities course and I am going to be studying history.

I think the best piece of advice I can give anyone doing an access course is this: submit work that is far beyond what your teachers could hope for from an access course student. When people arrive at university they usually have to up their game quite substantially to satisfy the higher level of academic work that is expected of them. Make that leap now, because you are going to have to make it anyway, submit work that would get you good marks as an undergraduate. This is particularly important if you apply to Oxbridge because they will review the written work that you submit, meaning that you will only be able to choose from the first 3-4 essays that you have submitted.

I have plenty more tips, so feel free to drop me a PM.

Good luck!
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Wilbo Bagi
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(Original post by DCDCo)
I was able to get into LSE Law, which has a 9% offer rate. This is lower than Oxford/Cambridge Law. The point being - You really can target the University of your dreams if you apply yourself and get the grades!
Wholeheartedly agree, and congrats!
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Docxx
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(Original post by mrarmstrong21)
45 distinctions! That’s amazing!

I’m really hoping to get all distinctions... do you have any tips for ensuring I get top marks?

What are you planning to do after you finish university?

Thanks so much for your response.
Thank you, honestly when I started I didn't expect to get even 30 Distinctions but found I really enjoyed the assignments.

My advice is to go beyond what the criteria asks. In the assignments you will get exactly what the criteria are for each part. For example in one of my Chemistry assignments one of the Criteria was:

1, use a model of atomic structure to explain different types of bonding

Which isn't actually too difficult to achieve but then to get Merit/distinction you have to explain in more detail and show you have very good understanding. I'm pretty good with Photoshop and graphics so a lot of my diagrams were really good which helped to not only show I had good understanding but also kept my word count down. You learn really quickly what sort of level you need to achieve distinctions, it also helps if your Tutors show you previous distinction work which all of ours did.

The teachers also love it when you use references and research from sources like published studies and journals. Most essays would require at least 8+ references, some of my essays I ended up with 20+ references. I read a lot of studies and journals and used them well in my essays. My last couple of essays were at an undergraduate standard, I spent a lot of time reading and researching.

I plan on going into research when I graduate. I want to gain my Masters in Entomology and then hopefully go on to do a PhD eventually.
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TinkerBellstrath
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I did an access course and now going to uni to study Law. I’m 33 🥳
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Jenks98
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I completed my Access to Health Science HE Diploma this year with 45 distinctions. I only applied for Cardiff Met as this is where I want to go and I have an unconditional offer. The access course was demanding in terms of how many assignments you had to do at once. Workload was very much 'all or nothing'. The first three months of the course was at pace but manageable. It's after Christmas break when things started to ramp up which is why it is so important to keep on top of work. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed my course and made new friends who are big pals now!!

Like yourself, I never done A-Levels. One of the big differences from school is the pace. You sometimes spend one lesson on something and then move on. If you miss this lesson, it's up to you to catch up which isn't always easy to do. As access is a level 3 course, they will jump straight into work at that level. It's really worth reading up on some level 2 work just to jog your memory and get back into it. All the best, good luck and enjoy it
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bimbibap
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(Original post by DCDCo)
Just to reiterate what has been mentioned above. An Access Course can be a great way to get into Uni. There are some courses it's likely unsuitable for (there's a lot of Science/Maths degrees that it doesn't provide the necessary rigour for), but, I'm sure there were even Uni's you could take Medicine with an Access course.

I was able to get into LSE Law, which has a 9% offer rate. This is lower than Oxford/Cambridge Law. The point being - You really can target the University of your dreams if you apply yourself and get the grades!
Wow 🤩 LSE law, seriously impressive congrats 🥳
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Tabbs.x
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(Original post by mrarmstrong21)
I would love to hear what access course you did, how you found it, what grades you managed to get and what universities gave you an offer.

I want to go to uni as a mature student and will need to take an Access course because I didn’t do A levels, but it seems a lot of good universities look down on Access courses...
Just finished an access to health science course which included chemistry, biology, physics and maths(some statistics). I got all 45D and received offers from StGeorge's(firm), Greenwich(insurance) and Hertfordshire (I only applied to those 3) to study Paramedicine/Paramedic sciences. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and was definitely one of the best decisions of my life. I found the maths quite easy seeing as I had done Maths at AS level. I'm 20 and I didn't really have a gap in my education. I was initially going to go to Essex uni to study politics but realised 2 weeks before the start date, I that it just wasn't my calling. The a level subjects I studied couldn't get me onto the paramedicine course through clearing, hence the access course.

I was told the same thing as well about how unis look down on access courses and I was worried because StGeorges apparently had a reputation for turning down access students but thats really not the case. If you; have an excellent personal statement, ace the interview, and ace the course, there is absolutely no reason why a uni wouldn't accept you.
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dindondindonna
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Did any of you do the access to HE by distance learning?
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Jenks98
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(Original post by dindondindonna)
Did any of you do the access to HE by distance learning?
No sorry. Mine was at a local college.
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DCDCo
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(Original post by dindondindonna)
Did any of you do the access to HE by distance learning?
Yes - Let me know if you have any questions.
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mrarmstrong21
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(Original post by Jenks98)
I completed my Access to Health Science HE Diploma this year with 45 distinctions. I only applied for Cardiff Met as this is where I want to go and I have an unconditional offer. The access course was demanding in terms of how many assignments you had to do at once. Workload was very much 'all or nothing'. The first three months of the course was at pace but manageable. It's after Christmas break when things started to ramp up which is why it is so important to keep on top of work. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed my course and made new friends who are big pals now!!

Like yourself, I never done A-Levels. One of the big differences from school is the pace. You sometimes spend one lesson on something and then move on. If you miss this lesson, it's up to you to catch up which isn't always easy to do. As access is a level 3 course, they will jump straight into work at that level. It's really worth reading up on some level 2 work just to jog your memory and get back into it. All the best, good luck and enjoy it
Thank you for your reply and congratulations on getting into the uni of your choice!


Do you have any tips on getting distinctions? I really don’t want to slack at all, I’m aiming for 45D.
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