Applying to uni as a mature student

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kanokness
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I'm turning 22 this year and would like to get back on track with my studies. I have been away from education for about 4 years now and would like to study either Business Management or Accounting and Finance. I didn't do very well for my A-Levels and so my grades can only get me as far a foundation course (just the average unis, I've already given up on aiming for Russel groups). But my concern is that, I've been debating whether or not I should just apply for the foundation course at those average unis, or, should I look for a college to do an Access to Higher Education course to broaden my uni choices? Most unis I'm hoping to apply for accept this qualification anyway. Thanks in advance.
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P4R90
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(Original post by kanokness)
I'm turning 22 this year and would like to get back on track with my studies. I have been away from education for about 4 years now and would like to study either Business Management or Accounting and Finance. I didn't do very well for my A-Levels and so my grades can only get me as far a foundation course (just the average unis, I've already given up on aiming for Russel groups). But my concern is that, I've been debating whether or not I should just apply for the foundation course at those average unis, or, should I look for a college to do an Access to Higher Education course to broaden my uni choices? Most unis I'm hoping to apply for accept this qualification anyway. Thanks in advance.
Hey, I am also a mature student and I have just completed an access course.

Russle group universities generally do not accept students from access courses, from what I have discovered they want A-Levels. If you have the grades to attend university already, I wouldn't advise studying an access course.
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kanokness
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(Original post by P4R90)
Hey, I am also a mature student and I have just completed an access course.

Russle group universities generally do not accept students from access courses, from what I have discovered they want A-Levels. If you have the grades to attend university already, I wouldn't advise studying an access course.
Hi, thanks so much for your reply!

Can I ask what course did you do and which unis you applied for?

I figured I couldn't get into them in the first place tbh. I suppose I can just do a foundation course at unis like LSBU, Kingston, CU London, Middlesex etc. but I was just curious as to whether or not doing an access course would be worth it. If I do fairly well then I guess I'll have more chances of applying to unis like Royal Holloway, Brunel or SOAS.
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siahhh1
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Hey! Im a mature student (23) at the University of Sheffield and just completed a foundation year and am going into my first year of my full degree, You do the foundation with a special mature students department of lifelong learning. Im sure it's different everywhere, but the entry requirements for the foundation year were very flexible and I think it as more about the interview. For example, I have some very mediocre a-levels, but I know people who were accepted with no alevels or had been out of education for 30 years. Sheffield's a great (russel group) uni, and when I was looking it seemed like a few other unis had a similar foundation departments so it might not be out of your reach
Let me know if you have any questions !
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Nobody2u
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(Original post by P4R90)
Hey, I am also a mature student and I have just completed an access course.

Russle group universities generally do not accept students from access courses, from what I have discovered they want A-Levels. If you have the grades to attend university already, I wouldn't advise studying an access course.
Can't say for all the RG unis but Bristol accept Access courses, at least for vet med.
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joanneg76
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I’ve also been accepted at a Russell group uni having just done an access course, so it is possible!
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SLS123
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Hope this helps...

I'm 23 and didn't do great in my a levels either. I completed a HNC in business at my local college which is a level 4 qualification - Maybe this could be an option for you? It was a lot cheaper than a foundation year and as it was local I saved on living costs too.

I applied to university this year and received an offer from a Russell group uni.

From my understanding, unis consider each mature student application on an individual basis, and work experience is also taken into account😊
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JOSH4598
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I personally would recommend just starting university (even if it's not a Russell Group uni). When you graduate, you're still going to have a BA or BSc which makes you eligible for the various grad schemes. Plus your four years of extra experience is probably of more value to employers than merely saying you went to a Russell Group uni. I personally wouldn't spend more money and time on qualifications/courses which are unlikely to make much difference to job prospects.
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Nobody2u
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(Original post by JOSH4598)
I personally would recommend just starting university (even if it's not a Russell Group uni). When you graduate, you're still going to have a BA or BSc which makes you eligible for the various grad schemes. Plus your four years of extra experience is probably of more value to employers than merely saying you went to a Russell Group uni. I personally wouldn't spend more money and time on qualifications/courses which are unlikely to make much difference to job prospects.
I think it all depends on the sector you want to work in afterwards. For certain careers the Uni you got your degree from will help even if it's the candidates individual qualities that prime. Companies know that certain unis have a higher concentration of candidates with the particular qualities that they are looking for, and so target them. Previous work experience is a great advantage, but if you're going to be investing £9K/ year in a degree, why not try and go to a uni that opens a few more doors?? And whatever people have stated previously, the truth is alternative qualifications are looked at by RG schools the moment the candidate fits all the additional criteria.
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JOSH4598
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(Original post by Nobody2u)
I think it all depends on the sector you want to work in afterwards. For certain careers the Uni you got your degree from will help even if it's the candidates individual qualities that prime. Companies know that certain unis have a higher concentration of candidates with the particular qualities that they are looking for, and so target them. Previous work experience is a great advantage, but if you're going to be investing £9K/ year in a degree, why not try and go to a uni that opens a few more doors?? And whatever people have stated previously, the truth is alternative qualifications are looked at by RG schools the moment the candidate fits all the additional criteria.
Absolutely, some sectors are incredibly competitive and having gone to a RG uni will definitely help. But for the vast majority of graduate schemes, they don't automatically bin applications from non-RG students. If you met the requirements of having a degree, and had several years worth of experience (or even just life experience), you'll often be a better option for employers rather than some 21-year old who has never had a job before. I personally wouldn't waste several more years and a load of money of access courses/qualifications unless I had my heart set on the most highly sought after grad scheme. Making yourself a confident, experienced and well-rounded applicant can still be achieved without being a high-flying RG student.
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Thisismyunitsr
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(Original post by kanokness)
I'm turning 22 this year and would like to get back on track with my studies. I have been away from education for about 4 years now and would like to study either Business Management or Accounting and Finance. I didn't do very well for my A-Levels and so my grades can only get me as far a foundation course (just the average unis, I've already given up on aiming for Russel groups). But my concern is that, I've been debating whether or not I should just apply for the foundation course at those average unis, or, should I look for a college to do an Access to Higher Education course to broaden my uni choices? Most unis I'm hoping to apply for accept this qualification anyway. Thanks in advance.
I started a degree as a mature student this year and I just applied to university as normal with my A - Level grades (which I did 5 years ago at the time of applying) and they let me on the course. Personally I would apply to the foundation courses at RG universities and see how you feel about attending a RG university for your degree after the foundation year.

(Original post by JOSH4598)
Absolutely, some sectors are incredibly competitive and having gone to a RG uni will definitely help. But for the vast majority of graduate schemes, they don't automatically bin applications from non-RG students. If you met the requirements of having a degree, and had several years worth of experience (or even just life experience), you'll often be a better option for employers rather than some 21-year old who has never had a job before. I personally wouldn't waste several more years and a load of money of access courses/qualifications unless I had my heart set on the most highly sought after grad scheme. Making yourself a confident, experienced and well-rounded applicant can still be achieved without being a high-flying RG student.
This is partly true, but if you genuinely believe this you are delusional. A lot of graduate schemes (even mediocre ones!) will ask specifically for graduates from ‘reputable universities’ meaning RG. I’ve seen job postings for positions that will ONLY accept RG graduates. It’s unfortunate but does happen.
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Nobody2u
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(Original post by JOSH4598)
Absolutely, some sectors are incredibly competitive and having gone to a RG uni will definitely help. But for the vast majority of graduate schemes, they don't automatically bin applications from non-RG students. If you met the requirements of having a degree, and had several years worth of experience (or even just life experience), you'll often be a better option for employers rather than some 21-year old who has never had a job before. I personally wouldn't waste several more years and a load of money of access courses/qualifications unless I had my heart set on the most highly sought after grad scheme. Making yourself a confident, experienced and well-rounded applicant can still be achieved without being a high-flying RG student.
I agree completely with what you're saying. Kanokness has just got to look at where they want to be at the end of their degree, and have a look at the recruitment process of companies in that sector. Wherever they go they should concentrate on getting the best degree possible rather than thinking that RG schools will automatically open up doors even with poor grades. But my original post was just to bust the myth that HND's and Access courses wouldn't get you into these institutions, because they will. Admissions tutors seem to have a lot of respect for candidates that have the courage to go back to education, often balancing work, study and family commitments. What they seem to like less is younger students using them as a way around poor A level results.
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JOSH4598
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(Original post by Nobody2u)
I agree completely with what you're saying. Kanokness has just got to look at where they want to be at the end of their degree, and have a look at the recruitment process of companies in that sector. Wherever they go they should concentrate on getting the best degree possible rather than thinking that RG schools will automatically open up doors even with poor grades. But my original post was just to bust the myth that HND's and Access courses wouldn't get you into these institutions, because they will. Admissions tutors seem to have a lot of respect for candidates that have the courage to go back to education, often balancing work, study and family commitments. What they seem to like less is younger students using them as a way around poor A level results.
Yes before OP makes a decision, it would make sense shortlisting some grad schemes (or even just sectors) they want to work in. I agree with what you say about poor grades, I know a few people who were bright enough to get into RG universities but just didn't put any effort into their degree. Sure enough their 2:2 in humanities didn't get them very far, despite the reputation of their uni.

Maybe the advice I gave was based on my diminishing enjoyment for education, given I'm coming towards the end of my degree. But I often feel spending time and money on qualifications which in themselves won't boost your job prospects is less sensible - but if it gets you into a highly-ranked uni and in turn a place on your preferred grad scheme then I guess it's the right decision in the long-run.
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Nobody2u
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(Original post by JOSH4598)
Yes before OP makes a decision, it would make sense shortlisting some grad schemes (or even just sectors) they want to work in. I agree with what you say about poor grades, I know a few people who were bright enough to get into RG universities but just didn't put any effort into their degree. Sure enough their 2:2 in humanities didn't get them very far, despite the reputation of their uni.

Maybe the advice I gave was based on my diminishing enjoyment for education, given I'm coming towards the end of my degree. But I often feel spending time and money on qualifications which in themselves won't boost your job prospects is less sensible - but if it gets you into a highly-ranked uni and in turn a place on your preferred grad scheme then I guess it's the right decision in the long-run.
There is no right or wrong reply, but it is increasingly true given the price of a University education, that it is worth doing some cost benefit analysis before embarking on a minimum of 3 more years of study.
It is a shame that you have not enjoyed your university years, but maybe COVID is partially responsible for this state of affairs. I hope you find what comes after more enriching.
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kanokness
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Thank you so much for everyone's replies!

Since my 4 years of work experience have mostly been in the hospitality sector, I was actually planning to study Hotel Management and Events planning. However, after the pandemic hit, my work situation (much like most people) went downhill and I lost all my passion. It was only now that I realised I wanted to get back into education, but after a change of heart in my career path, I no longer wanted to study Hotel management. That's why I wanted to maybe study Business management, but I'm afraid that this subject may be too broad (as in it may be difficult for me to land a job in the future) and so that's why I'm leaning towards Accounting and Finance. I've always been curious about the money spectrum of business and I have had a some experiences with the finance side of things (very few but some!). I'm aware that I would still have to do further exams in order to become a CA so would it be better for my to try to get into better unis such as the RG unis?
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Nobody2u
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(Original post by kanokness)
Thank you so much for everyone's replies!

Since my 4 years of work experience have mostly been in the hospitality sector, I was actually planning to study Hotel Management and Events planning. However, after the pandemic hit, my work situation (much like most people) went downhill and I lost all my passion. It was only now that I realised I wanted to get back into education, but after a change of heart in my career path, I no longer wanted to study Hotel management. That's why I wanted to maybe study Business management, but I'm afraid that this subject may be too broad (as in it may be difficult for me to land a job in the future) and so that's why I'm leaning towards Accounting and Finance. I've always been curious about the money spectrum of business and I have had a some experiences with the finance side of things (very few but some!). I'm aware that I would still have to do further exams in order to become a CA so would it be better for my to try to get into better unis such as the RG unis?
Short answer is yes! Having said that I went to Loughborough years ago admittedly ( because of sporting commitments), and got offers from all of the big 4 in London. Recruiters will look elsewhere if you have valid reasons for not choosing a RG that are not linked to academic ability. Because there is no way round the professional exams that although not difficult in content, have a lot in terms of quantity and are often taken in parallel to a full time job schedule. RG students have generally proved their academic ability already. But as I said I didn't go to one and got first time passes in my professional exams whereas many of my cohort from RG schools failed. So there is no 100% rule to follow, but you would definitely be giving your future recruitment process a boost if you did decide to follow the RG route. And as stated earlier access courses were specifically designed for people like you and can give you a place at prestigious universities. If you're not sure, make a list of those that interest you and phone them. If they come back with encouraging information then follow up with an email asking them to confirm what you understood from your telephone conversation. That way you know, and have proof, that your application has a reasonable chance of getting a positive response and won't be rejected on the basis of academic performance. It will be up to you to perform well at interview etc after the first filter stage.
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John Bull
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(Original post by P4R90)
Hey, I am also a mature student and I have just completed an access course.

Russle group universities generally do not accept students from access courses, from what I have discovered they want A-Levels. If you have the grades to attend university already, I wouldn't advise studying an access course.
This is completely wrong. They do take people from access courses for business subjects.
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Nobody2u
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(Original post by John Bull)
This is completely wrong. They do take people from access courses for business subjects.
Even vet med, In fact I can't think of a subject where they're not admitted.
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John Bull
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(Original post by Nobody2u)
Even vet med, In fact I can't think of a subject where they're not admitted.
For business subjects the following are difficult and not keen on mature students:

Edinburgh, King's, UCL, LSE, Warwick

The overwhelming majority are receptive though
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kanokness
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(Original post by Nobody2u)
Short answer is yes! Having said that I went to Loughborough years ago admittedly ( because of sporting commitments), and got offers from all of the big 4 in London. Recruiters will look elsewhere if you have valid reasons for not choosing a RG that are not linked to academic ability. Because there is no way round the professional exams that although not difficult in content, have a lot in terms of quantity and are often taken in parallel to a full time job schedule. RG students have generally proved their academic ability already. But as I said I didn't go to one and got first time passes in my professional exams whereas many of my cohort from RG schools failed. So there is no 100% rule to follow, but you would definitely be giving your future recruitment process a boost if you did decide to follow the RG route. And as stated earlier access courses were specifically designed for people like you and can give you a place at prestigious universities. If you're not sure, make a list of those that interest you and phone them. If they come back with encouraging information then follow up with an email asking them to confirm what you understood from your telephone conversation. That way you know, and have proof, that your application has a reasonable chance of getting a positive response and won't be rejected on the basis of academic performance. It will be up to you to perform well at interview etc after the first filter stage.
Thank you so much! This is actually really helpful.

I've been doing some research for RG entry requirements and all of them require at least Grade A for GCSE Maths to do their Accounting courses (I achieved a C), so I'm wondering would it be worth it for me to self study GCSE Maths and then retake the exams some time next year as a private candidate? Does anyone had any advice on this?
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