Which universities can accept a solely BATEC Engineering student?

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Snive
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Hello people,

I have been shocked with some entry requirements from universities asking BTEC extended diploma students to hold A levels and would like to ask a couple of questions about it.

Before the questions, I will just give you a bit of my background.
I do not hold any A-levels and I will not, my GCSE Maths grade is 5 and I will hold no other GCSE other than English Language, which I am done with this year, (though I have a BTEC firsts with some units related to maths and science), however, I am aiming the highest grades and expect nothing lower than a DDD. In addition to that, I am studying mathematics by myself. I am going to go to the second year to complete the extended diploma the upcoming September and I heard that students have a short deadline to choose the course and apply for them.

First, I would to know if is there any website where I can find BTEC friendly universities which I could study Electronic Engineering? Also, whether Meng or Beng would be the better choice.

Second, I heard that some universities such as Southampton U. allows students to enter an entry year and then going to undergraduate e.g. Electronic engineering, for this reason, my thoughts are on whether I can get funded for both courses as I am unsure if they are separately enrolled or affected somehow.

Third, I'd like to hear from BTEC students what you are planning to do next. My plan A is getting apprenticeship, but I won't fall for the trick and also apply for a university place (plan B), going even deeper, what would be your plan C?

I asked all those questions that might seemingly be dumb because I am fairly new to the country's system (I've been here just 3 years and learning the language since my arrival.

Thank you all!
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artful_lounger
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The "entry year" course you are referring to (confusingly) is a foundation year. These are pretty common. They are funded by SFE as part of a degree, as it is just a preliminary year of an extended degree programme for those without the right background for the course (e.g. a BEng with foundation year is a 4 year course including the foundation year, and you will be funded by SFE for all of these years). You will then study the material you are "missing" from A-level Maths and/or Physics (and usually some Further Maths topics too) in that foundation year, before progressing into the first year of the main degree programme.

The reason unis usually require an A-level or two alongside the BTEC is because my understanding is usually the BTEC courses do not contain sufficient mathematics content (and in some cases, physics content) to meet the entry requirements. Engineering degrees virtually always require A-level Maths and usually A-level Physics, because the topics in both these courses will be built on from the start and used day in and day out. Especially maths - you'll use the calculus from A-level (and beyond) every single day in an engineering degree. This is perhaps even more true for electronic engineering which is more mathematical than most other engineering disciplines.

If you are not able or willing to do A-level Maths type work every single day in a degree then an engineering degree is probably not the right choice for you. It is not a practical/vocational degree at its core - it's a scientific course applying scientific principles and mathematical methods to solve engineering problems and apply these to engineering design problems. This is true in any engineering degree across the country, not least because they are accredited by the same professional bodies that decided those mathematical and scientific principles are essential parts of an engineering degree.
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Snive
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
The "entry year" course you are referring to (confusingly) is a foundation year. These are pretty common. They are funded by SFE as part of a degree, as it is just a preliminary year of an extended degree programme for those without the right background for the course (e.g. a BEng with foundation year is a 4 year course including the foundation year, and you will be funded by SFE for all of these years). You will then study the material you are "missing" from A-level Maths and/or Physics (and usually some Further Maths topics too) in that foundation year, before progressing into the first year of the main degree programme.

The reason unis usually require an A-level or two alongside the BTEC is because my understanding is usually the BTEC courses do not contain sufficient mathematics content (and in some cases, physics content) to meet the entry requirements. Engineering degrees virtually always require A-level Maths and usually A-level Physics, because the topics in both these courses will be built on from the start and used day in and day out. Especially maths - you'll use the calculus from A-level (and beyond) every single day in an engineering degree. This is perhaps even more true for electronic engineering which is more mathematical than most other engineering disciplines.

If you are not able or willing to do A-level Maths type work every single day in a degree then an engineering degree is probably not the right choice for you. It is not a practical/vocational degree at its core - it's a scientific course applying scientific principles and mathematical methods to solve engineering problems and apply these to engineering design problems. This is true in any engineering degree across the country, not least because they are accredited by the same professional bodies that decided those mathematical and scientific principles are essential parts of an engineering degree.
Thank you for giving me this answer. the thing that I should've added is that I would rather be doing A levels than be doing the BTEC. However, several aspects were against me doing so. First, as I mentioned earlier, I came to the country three years ago and I had no high school qualification. As a result, I started with ESOL (no knowledge of the language at all) and entry level functional skills maths, achieving them two years ago. Then, I could only get into a BTEC course because the six form colleges did not really accept old students like me to do GCSEs( 19y.o). So I went to those FE colleges where they offered BTEC firsts and the possibility of studying GCSE maths and FS Level 2 English and eventually GCSE English(now) and a possible progression to L3(now). The unfortunate came when I heard that I could not possibly do A levels without achieve an above-average grade in GCSEs. Then, another disgraceful news were that the college just provided GCSE maths Foundation as they were saving money as well as that I'd not be able to do A levels Maths or Physics (or both ) as an additional course to the BTEC for the same previous reason. It all saddens me, but I have to play the game with what I have.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Snive)
Thank you for giving me this answer. the thing that I should've added is that I would rather be doing A levels than be doing the BTEC. However, several aspects were against me doing so. First, as I mentioned earlier, I came to the country three years ago and I had no high school qualification. As a result, I started with ESOL (no knowledge of the language at all) and entry level functional skills maths, achieving them two years ago. Then, I could only get into a BTEC course because the six form colleges did not really accept old students like me to do GCSEs( 19y.o). So I went to those FE colleges where they offered BTEC firsts and the possibility of studying GCSE maths and FS Level 2 English and eventually GCSE English(now) and a possible progression to L3(now). The unfortunate came when I heard that I could not possibly do A levels without achieve an above-average grade in GCSEs. Then, another disgraceful news were that the college just provided GCSE maths Foundation as they were saving money as well as that I'd not be able to do A levels Maths or Physics (or both ) as an additional course to the BTEC for the same previous reason. It all saddens me, but I have to play the game with what I have.
Aiming for a foundation year might be the way to go if you are happy to continue with maths and confident in your maths skills. However you may need your UCAS reference to explain that your school only offered the foundation tier for GCSE Maths and so you couldn't have achieved above a 5.

Realistically though without having done the higher tier GCSE paper even going the foundation year route might be difficult. Anecdotally I do know at least several years ago the Southampton foundation year rejected a friend of mine who only got a C in GCSE Maths due to taking the foundation tier (although in his case probably for the best as he wasn't that mathematically inclined).

You may want to look into options of (re)taking the GCSE at the higher tier independently somewhere and self-studying for the exam (many exam centres allow external students to take the exam, but there may need to pay an exam fee). Then depending on how things go, you could hopefully get into a course with a foundation year, or if not you could explore the option of taking A-level Maths in the same way.

Another alternative would be to look into starting studying with the Open University (OU) which offers distance learning courses, and does not require any particular background to start studying with them. You could begin studying with them and then apply to courses at a brick uni potentially (many unis will consider OU credits for entry, and some like Edinburgh has specifically listed the modules you would be expected to study to apply to their courses, so you know which to take). Note however that having prior study with the OU may limit your funding for full time study later, if you have studied for more than one year (or equivalent part-time) with the OU.
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Snive
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Aiming for a foundation year might be the way to go if you are happy to continue with maths and confident in your maths skills. However you may need your UCAS reference to explain that your school only offered the foundation tier for GCSE Maths and so you couldn't have achieved above a 5.

Realistically though without having done the higher tier GCSE paper even going the foundation year route might be difficult. Anecdotally I do know at least several years ago the Southampton foundation year rejected a friend of mine who only got a C in GCSE Maths due to taking the foundation tier (although in his case probably for the best as he wasn't that mathematically inclined).

You may want to look into options of (re)taking the GCSE at the higher tier independently somewhere and self-studying for the exam (many exam centres allow external students to take the exam, but there may need to pay an exam fee). Then depending on how things go, you could hopefully get into a course with a foundation year, or if not you could explore the option of taking A-level Maths in the same way.

Another alternative would be to look into starting studying with the Open University (OU) which offers distance learning courses, and does not require any particular background to start studying with them. You could begin studying with them and then apply to courses at a brick uni potentially (many unis will consider OU credits for entry, and some like Edinburgh has specifically listed the modules you would be expected to study to apply to their courses, so you know which to take). Note however that having prior study with the OU may limit your funding for full time study later, if you have studied for more than one year (or equivalent part-time) with the OU.
Thanks artful_lounger, I guess my only hope is to apply for foundation year as long as I get all D*D*D*. Sometimes it is hard to believe that BTEC is sort of downgraded even though they have topics in calculus (using integration and differentiation to solve engineering problems) and linear algebra, but is rejected.
Now that you mentioned that your friend did not make into the course with a C makes me ponder about the university having an assessment to check our levels before being accepted. This would be handy as I would be able to show my skills as they are, rather than a piece of certificate.
I am currently using the Stroud Mathematics for Engineering book, I hope this gives me some soil to what comes in the course.

Or better, that I get a good apprenticeship opportunity.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Snive)
Thanks artful_lounger, I guess my only hope is to apply for foundation year as long as I get all D*D*D*. Sometimes it is hard to believe that BTEC is sort of downgraded even though they have topics in calculus (using integration and differentiation to solve engineering problems) and linear algebra, but is rejected.
Now that you mentioned that your friend did not make into the course with a C makes me ponder about the university having an assessment to check our levels before being accepted. This would be handy as I would be able to show my skills as they are, rather than a piece of certificate.
I am currently using the Stroud Mathematics for Engineering book, I hope this gives me some soil to what comes in the course.

Or better, that I get a good apprenticeship opportunity.
Stroud was the standard suggested textbook for my first year in an engineering course so if you are comfortable with that I think you should be fine.

It sounds like your BTEC has a lot of mathematics units in it so it may be worth contacting unis to see if they would consider it for direct entry to their engineering programmes; some may be fine if you are taking a lot of mathematics units in the course.
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