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Joining sixth form at 17

I'm currently in a FE college and I am somewhere I never wanted to be l. Next year I would like to move to a sixth form college. I stress how I will be a year behind and I'd be joining at 17 a year later than others meaning I'd finish a year later also. Is this bad. I really need some reassurance. I'd also be going uni a year later at 19

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Original post by A_2275
I'm currently in a FE college and I am somewhere I never wanted to be l. Next year I would like to move to a sixth form college. I stress how I will be a year behind and I'd be joining at 17 a year later than others meaning I'd finish a year later also. Is this bad. I really need some reassurance. I'd also be going uni a year later at 19


No, it's not bad. Often universities would prefer students who are a bit more mature at 19 anyway.

When I was doing my A Levels for the first time, I had people in my class who were a year older than us. It didn't shake us one bit or changed how we see each other. Unless they ask for your age, they usually won't even be able to tell that you're a year older. To most people, you're just another student at 6th form. We don't make big things out of something so little once we leave school.

If I could do my A Levels at a college again, I would definitely prefer to do it at 6th form as opposed through other means. What I would emphaise is to make sure you pick the right A Level subjects the first time round i.e. they would meet the entry requirements for the degrees that you would need for the career that you want to get into (if a degree is needed at all). It's a complete pain to do them outside of college.
Reply 2
Original post by MindMax2000
No, it's not bad. Often universities would prefer students who are a bit more mature at 19 anyway.

When I was doing my A Levels for the first time, I had people in my class who were a year older than us. It didn't shake us one bit or changed how we see each other. Unless they ask for your age, they usually won't even be able to tell that you're a year older. To most people, you're just another student at 6th form. We don't make big things out of something so little once we leave school.

If I could do my A Levels at a college again, I would definitely prefer to do it at 6th form as opposed through other means. What I would emphaise is to make sure you pick the right A Level subjects the first time round i.e. they would meet the entry requirements for the degrees that you would need for the career that you want to get into (if a degree is needed at all). It's a complete pain to do them outside of college.


Hi there. Thank you very much for the reply. I plan on doing btecs. Do you still think they would get me far just like A levels. Are they a bad thing ?
Original post by A_2275
Hi there. Thank you very much for the reply. I plan on doing btecs. Do you still think they would get me far just like A levels. Are they a bad thing ?


BTECs are not as academic as A Levels, so they are not as widely accepted as A Levels. Having said that, if your chosen degree course at your preferred university has no preference on the 2 and you perform better in BTEC, then by all means take them.

At some universities, they would require you to supplement your BTEC with specific A Levels. If they do, they often are required subjects for the specific course e.g. Biology or Chemistry for specific courses in life sciences, Maths for some courses in engineering/physics, etc.

The first place I would check are the degree course pages of your chosen degrees and universities.
If you want a second opinion, let me know what subjects you intend to do and I would have a brief overview of the requirements.
Reply 4
Original post by MindMax2000
BTECs are not as academic as A Levels, so they are not as widely accepted as A Levels. Having said that, if your chosen degree course at your preferred university has no preference on the 2 and you perform better in BTEC, then by all means take them.

At some universities, they would require you to supplement your BTEC with specific A Levels. If they do, they often are required subjects for the specific course e.g. Biology or Chemistry for specific courses in life sciences, Maths for some courses in engineering/physics, etc.

The first place I would check are the degree course pages of your chosen degrees and universities.
If you want a second opinion, let me know what subjects you intend to do and I would have a brief overview of the requirements.


Thank you again for the reply. Currently I'm thinking of either software engineering,computer science or cyber security. Would I be able to get there with just btecs?
Original post by A_2275
I'm currently in a FE college and I am somewhere I never wanted to be l. Next year I would like to move to a sixth form college. I stress how I will be a year behind and I'd be joining at 17 a year later than others meaning I'd finish a year later also. Is this bad. I really need some reassurance. I'd also be going uni a year later at 19


Your exact scenario is far more common than people think. Many people resit a year due to changing subject choices/resitting exams/personal circumstances.

Also worth noting is that quite a few students start sixth-form/college at 17 anyways if they're born in September. No one will make a fuss about the age difference.
Reply 6
Original post by A_2275
I'm currently in a FE college and I am somewhere I never wanted to be l. Next year I would like to move to a sixth form college. I stress how I will be a year behind and I'd be joining at 17 a year later than others meaning I'd finish a year later also. Is this bad. I really need some reassurance. I'd also be going uni a year later at 19


I promise you, it's not a big deal. I was in a similar situation. I started my sixth form at 17 and in 2 weeks I turn 19. My best friend who is also in my tutor group turns 20 in September (started late as she migrated). For the most part, people find it really interesting that I'm a year ahead and ask for advice lol.

Also remember, when you start uni, you'll also be starting with people who took gap years, mature students etc. No one will notice. You will be fine :smile:
Reply 7
Original post by BarnabyK
Your exact scenario is far more common than people think. Many people resit a year due to changing subject choices/resitting exams/personal circumstances.

Also worth noting is that quite a few students start sixth-form/college at 17 anyways if they're born in September. No one will make a fuss about the age difference.

Thank you very much. This gave me hope.
Reply 8
Original post by sq_dans
I promise you, it's not a big deal. I was in a similar situation. I started my sixth form at 17 and in 2 weeks I turn 19. My best friend who is also in my tutor group turns 20 in September (started late as she migrated). For the most part, people find it really interesting that I'm a year ahead and ask for advice lol.

Also remember, when you start uni, you'll also be starting with people who took gap years, mature students etc. No one will notice. You will be fine :smile:

Thank you very much. This really gave me hope.
Original post by A_2275
Thank you again for the reply. Currently I'm thinking of either software engineering,computer science or cyber security. Would I be able to get there with just btecs?


I would recommend topping the BTECS up with A Level maths, since it's a required subject. However, you can look at the entry requirements for the following:

Software engineering
https://www.salford.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/software-engineering (DDM in IT/Computing preferably)
https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/computer-science/computer-science-software-engineering.aspx#EntryRequirementsTab (you would need to check with the unitversity, but it's likely that they will require A Level Maths)
https://www.port.ac.uk/study/courses/undergraduate/bsc-hons-software-engineering#entry_requirements (DDM, needs to be in a relevant subject)
https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/software-engineering-degree-beng#entry (need A Level Maths)
https://www.westminster.ac.uk/computer-science-and-engineering-courses/2023-24/september/full-time/software-engineering-beng-honours#entry_requirements
https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/2023/computer-science-software-engineering-beng#entryreqs (DDD in applied science, engineering, or computing/IT + A Level maths)
https://www.mmu.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/bsc-software-engineering/ (BTEC needs to be in Computing/IT, but can consider Applied science and engineering on a case by case basis)
https://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/technologies/courses/Pages/Software-Engineering-BSc-(Hons).aspx (DMM)
https://aru.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/software-engineering#entry_requirements
https://www.uclan.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/software-engineering-bsc (DMM)
https://www.qub.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/software-engineering-placement-beng-g604/#entry (D*DD if science or engineering BTEC, DDD if computing)
https://www.ulster.ac.uk/courses/202324/software-engineering-30734#entryconditions (DDD)

Computer Science
https://www.city.ac.uk/prospective-students/courses/undergraduate/computer-science#accordion502079-header2 (D*DD in computing/IT only)
https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/2023/00560/bsc-computer-science/entry-requirements/#alternative-entry-requirements (D*DD with A Level Maths)
https://www.qmul.ac.uk/undergraduate/coursefinder/courses/2023/computer-science/ (BTEC needs to be relevant to computer science)
https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/computer-science-degree-bsc#entry (need A Level maths on top)
https://www.surrey.ac.uk/undergraduate/computer-science#entry (DDD + A Level Maths)
https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/computer-science/computer-science.aspx#EntryRequirementsTab (need other qualificatins on top)
https://www.exeter.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/computerscience/comsci/#entry-requirements (DDD + A Level maths on top)
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/study-at-northumbria/courses/computer-science-bsc-ft-uuscsi1/#entry (DDM)
https://courses.leeds.ac.uk/f919/computer-science-meng-bsc#entry (D*D*D with Distinctions in all Mathematics units. Mathematics units must include Further Mathematics.)
https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/course-listing/computer-science#content-tab--3 (DDD + A* in A Level Maths)
https://www.lboro.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/computer-science-bsc/ (D*D*D + A Level Maths)
https://www.aston.ac.uk/study/courses/computer-science-bsc (DDM)

Cyber Security
https://www.uwl.ac.uk/course/undergraduate/cyber-security?start=646&option=33 (DMM)
https://warwick.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/cybersecurity/
https://www.mmu.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/bsc-cyber-security (DDM in IT or Computing. Applied science and Engineering would be considered on a case by case basis)
https://www.bcu.ac.uk/courses/cyber-security-bsc-hons-2023-24#entry_requirements (DDM in a Technology, Science, Mathematics or Computing related subject)
https://www.dmu.ac.uk/study/courses/undergraduate-courses/cyber-security-bsc-degree/cyber-security-bsc-hons.aspx (DMM)
https://www.gre.ac.uk/undergraduate-courses/engsci/computer-science-cyber-security-bsc-hons#entry-requirements
https://www.brighton.ac.uk/courses/study/computer-science-with-cyber-security-bsc-hons.aspx (DMM, also a joint computer science degree)
https://www.aston.ac.uk/study/courses/cybersecurity-bsc (DDM)
https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/courses/ug-cyber-security/ (DDM)
https://aru.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/cyber-security#entry_requirements (BTEC needs to be in a related subject i.e. IT/Computing)
https://www.ucb.ac.uk/study/courses/undergraduate/cyber-security-bsc-hons-fdsc/#entryRequirements (DMM)
https://www.winchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/bsc-hons-cyber-security/ (DMM)
https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/cyber-security-bsc-hons-i900/#course-entry (DDD)

There are other degrees out there, and I am not bothered to go through all of them to prove that it's possible to go into a degree with BTECs. If you want to check for all of them, you would need to do your own research.

If you insist on getting a degree in cybersecurity, then I recommend getting on that is NCSC accredited: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/ncsc-certified-degrees#section_1
If you want to get a degree in computer science or software engineering, go for the ones that are recognised as bachelor's in engineering (BEng) as opposed to a bachelor's in science. These degrees are recognised by the engineering council (see: https://www.engc.org.uk/professional-registration/why-become-professionally-registered/). Whilst it's not much of a biggy, it can help with getting certain jobs in engineering.

I am having problems finding universities in Scotland, Wales, and Eire. It seems BTEC is only accepted in England and Northern Ireland, should you want to only study within the UK (BTEC is accepted abroad in some countries).

Do note, you don't need a degree (let alone any qualifications) to get into tech. See the following:
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/cyber-intelligence-officer
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/it-security-co-ordinator
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/software-developer
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-categories/computing-technology-and-digital

I would recommend looking at the following for certifications as alternatives:
https://www.bcs.org/qualifications-and-certifications/certifications-for-professionals/ (BCS is the body for jack of all trades in the IT sector)
https://www.itgovernance.co.uk/blog/what-are-the-best-qualifications-for-a-career-in-cyber-security (CompTIA Security+, CEH, CISMP, CCP, CISSP)
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/job-sectors/information-technology/cyber-security-training (CEH, CISSP, CompTIA Security+, Certified Network Defender, CCSP)

Often apprenticeships are a better route into the role.

The only time when you have to look into a degree is if you want to become an academic researcher in IT. Otherwise, it's a nice qualification to have to apply for IT related jobs, but employers tend to care more about your skills and experience than your qualifications.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 10
Original post by MindMax2000
I would recommend topping the BTECS up with A Level maths, since it's a required subject. However, you can look at the entry requirements for the following:

Software engineering
https://www.salford.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/software-engineering (DDM in IT/Computing preferably)
https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/computer-science/computer-science-software-engineering.aspx#EntryRequirementsTab (you would need to check with the unitversity, but it's likely that they will require A Level Maths)
https://www.port.ac.uk/study/courses/undergraduate/bsc-hons-software-engineering#entry_requirements (DDM, needs to be in a relevant subject)
https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/software-engineering-degree-beng#entry (need A Level Maths)
https://www.westminster.ac.uk/computer-science-and-engineering-courses/2023-24/september/full-time/software-engineering-beng-honours#entry_requirements
https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/2023/computer-science-software-engineering-beng#entryreqs (DDD in applied science, engineering, or computing/IT + A Level maths)
https://www.mmu.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/bsc-software-engineering/ (BTEC needs to be in Computing/IT, but can consider Applied science and engineering on a case by case basis)
https://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/technologies/courses/Pages/Software-Engineering-BSc-(Hons).aspx (DMM)
https://aru.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/software-engineering#entry_requirements
https://www.uclan.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/software-engineering-bsc (DMM)
https://www.qub.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/software-engineering-placement-beng-g604/#entry (D*DD if science or engineering BTEC, DDD if computing)
https://www.ulster.ac.uk/courses/202324/software-engineering-30734#entryconditions (DDD)

Computer Science
https://www.city.ac.uk/prospective-students/courses/undergraduate/computer-science#accordion502079-header2 (D*DD in computing/IT only)
https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/2023/00560/bsc-computer-science/entry-requirements/#alternative-entry-requirements (D*DD with A Level Maths)
https://www.qmul.ac.uk/undergraduate/coursefinder/courses/2023/computer-science/ (BTEC needs to be relevant to computer science)
https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/computer-science-degree-bsc#entry (need A Level maths on top)
https://www.surrey.ac.uk/undergraduate/computer-science#entry (DDD + A Level Maths)
https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/computer-science/computer-science.aspx#EntryRequirementsTab (need other qualificatins on top)
https://www.exeter.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/computerscience/comsci/#entry-requirements (DDD + A Level maths on top)
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/study-at-northumbria/courses/computer-science-bsc-ft-uuscsi1/#entry (DDM)
https://courses.leeds.ac.uk/f919/computer-science-meng-bsc#entry (D*D*D with Distinctions in all Mathematics units. Mathematics units must include Further Mathematics.)
https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/course-listing/computer-science#content-tab--3 (DDD + A* in A Level Maths)
https://www.lboro.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/computer-science-bsc/ (D*D*D + A Level Maths)
https://www.aston.ac.uk/study/courses/computer-science-bsc (DDM)

Cyber Security
https://www.uwl.ac.uk/course/undergraduate/cyber-security?start=646&option=33 (DMM)
https://warwick.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/cybersecurity/
https://www.mmu.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/bsc-cyber-security (DDM in IT or Computing. Applied science and Engineering would be considered on a case by case basis)
https://www.bcu.ac.uk/courses/cyber-security-bsc-hons-2023-24#entry_requirements (DDM in a Technology, Science, Mathematics or Computing related subject)
https://www.dmu.ac.uk/study/courses/undergraduate-courses/cyber-security-bsc-degree/cyber-security-bsc-hons.aspx (DMM)
https://www.gre.ac.uk/undergraduate-courses/engsci/computer-science-cyber-security-bsc-hons#entry-requirements
https://www.brighton.ac.uk/courses/study/computer-science-with-cyber-security-bsc-hons.aspx (DMM, also a joint computer science degree)
https://www.aston.ac.uk/study/courses/cybersecurity-bsc (DDM)
https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/courses/ug-cyber-security/ (DDM)
https://aru.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/cyber-security#entry_requirements (BTEC needs to be in a related subject i.e. IT/Computing)
https://www.ucb.ac.uk/study/courses/undergraduate/cyber-security-bsc-hons-fdsc/#entryRequirements (DMM)
https://www.winchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/bsc-hons-cyber-security/ (DMM)
https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/cyber-security-bsc-hons-i900/#course-entry (DDD)

There are other degrees out there, and I am not bothered to go through all of them to prove that it's possible to go into a degree with BTECs. If you want to check for all of them, you would need to do your own research.

If you insist on getting a degree in cybersecurity, then I recommend getting on that is NCSC accredited: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/ncsc-certified-degrees#section_1
If you want to get a degree in computer science or software engineering, go for the ones that are recognised as bachelor's in engineering (BEng) as opposed to a bachelor's in science. These degrees are recognised by the engineering council (see: https://www.engc.org.uk/professional-registration/why-become-professionally-registered/). Whilst it's not much of a biggy, it can help with getting certain jobs in engineering.

I am having problems finding universities in Scotland, Wales, and Eire. It seems BTEC is only accepted in England and Northern Ireland, should you want to only study within the UK (BTEC is accepted abroad in some countries).

Do note, you don't need a degree (let alone any qualifications) to get into tech. See the following:
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/cyber-intelligence-officer
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/it-security-co-ordinator
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/software-developer
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-categories/computing-technology-and-digital

I would recommend looking at the following for certifications as alternatives:
https://www.bcs.org/qualifications-and-certifications/certifications-for-professionals/ (BCS is the body for jack of all trades in the IT sector)
https://www.itgovernance.co.uk/blog/what-are-the-best-qualifications-for-a-career-in-cyber-security (CompTIA Security+, CEH, CISMP, CCP, CISSP)
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/job-sectors/information-technology/cyber-security-training (CEH, CISSP, CompTIA Security+, Certified Network Defender, CCSP)

Often apprenticeships are a better route into the role.

The only time when you have to look into a degree is if you want to become an academic researcher in IT. Otherwise, it's a nice qualification to have to apply for IT related jobs, but employers tend to care more about your skills and experience than your qualifications.

Thank you. I really appreciate your help. I can't do any A levels due to my gcses. Is it possible to get accepted by universities with just betecs? Is there any hope with just btec ?
Original post by A_2275
Thank you. I really appreciate your help. I can't do any A levels due to my gcses. Is it possible to get accepted by universities with just betecs? Is there any hope with just btec ?


Firstly, the list includes degrees that don't require anything more than BTECs (specifically an extended diploma). A number of the courses would require a BTEC in Computing or IT.

Second, if you have issues with your GCSE grades, you would need to check the entry requirements for the specific degree to see if you meet the requirements for Maths and English Language. If you don't meet the enty requirements, I strongly recommend you resit these 2 GCSEs.

Third, you can always do A Level Maths as a private candidate. The exam boards doesn't specifically require you to have certain grades in GCSE in order to do A Level Maths; it's usually the individual colleges themselves that require you to jump through those specific hoops. If you need to do the A Level as a private candidate, it's very likely you have to do it outside of college (ideally do it alongside your BTEC as opposed to spending an extra year).

Fourth, if by some random chance you don't meet the entry requirements for the specific course that you want to do, consider doing a foundation year (you can alternatively do 3 A Levels privately or an Access to HE course) before enrolling onto the course. It's a bit difficult to transfer universities if you don't like the specific university you study at though. See the following as examples:
https://www.westminster.ac.uk/computer-science-and-engineering-courses/2023-24/september/full-time/software-engineering-with-foundation-beng-honours#entry_requirements
https://www.salford.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/software-engineering-foundation-year
https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/2023/software-engineering-foundation-year-beng-meng#entryreqs
https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/courses/software-engineering-with-foundation-year
https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/2023/12952/bsc-computer-science-with-an-integrated-foundation-year/entry-requirements/#alternative-entry-requirements
https://www.bcu.ac.uk/courses/computer-science-foundation-bsc-hons-2023-24#entry_requirements
https://www.westminster.ac.uk/computer-science-and-engineering-courses/2023-24/september/full-time/computer-science-with-foundation-bsc-honours#entry_requirements
https://www.bcu.ac.uk/courses/cyber-security-foundation-bsc-hons-2023-24#entry_requirements
https://www.uwl.ac.uk/course/undergraduate/cyber-security-foundation-year?start=646&option=33
https://www.salford.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/computer-science-cyber-security-foundation-year

I would avoid foundation years (inflexible, expensive) where possible, but if you can't avoid doing it then it's a back up option. Ideally, you get everything right the first time round.
Reply 12
Original post by MindMax2000
Firstly, the list includes degrees that don't require anything more than BTECs (specifically an extended diploma). A number of the courses would require a BTEC in Computing or IT.

Second, if you have issues with your GCSE grades, you would need to check the entry requirements for the specific degree to see if you meet the requirements for Maths and English Language. If you don't meet the enty requirements, I strongly recommend you resit these 2 GCSEs.

Third, you can always do A Level Maths as a private candidate. The exam boards doesn't specifically require you to have certain grades in GCSE in order to do A Level Maths; it's usually the individual colleges themselves that require you to jump through those specific hoops. If you need to do the A Level as a private candidate, it's very likely you have to do it outside of college (ideally do it alongside your BTEC as opposed to spending an extra year).

Fourth, if by some random chance you don't meet the entry requirements for the specific course that you want to do, consider doing a foundation year (you can alternatively do 3 A Levels privately or an Access to HE course) before enrolling onto the course. It's a bit difficult to transfer universities if you don't like the specific university you study at though. See the following as examples:
https://www.westminster.ac.uk/computer-science-and-engineering-courses/2023-24/september/full-time/software-engineering-with-foundation-beng-honours#entry_requirements
https://www.salford.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/software-engineering-foundation-year
https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/2023/software-engineering-foundation-year-beng-meng#entryreqs
https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/courses/software-engineering-with-foundation-year
https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/2023/12952/bsc-computer-science-with-an-integrated-foundation-year/entry-requirements/#alternative-entry-requirements
https://www.bcu.ac.uk/courses/computer-science-foundation-bsc-hons-2023-24#entry_requirements
https://www.westminster.ac.uk/computer-science-and-engineering-courses/2023-24/september/full-time/computer-science-with-foundation-bsc-honours#entry_requirements
https://www.bcu.ac.uk/courses/cyber-security-foundation-bsc-hons-2023-24#entry_requirements
https://www.uwl.ac.uk/course/undergraduate/cyber-security-foundation-year?start=646&option=33
https://www.salford.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/computer-science-cyber-security-foundation-year

I would avoid foundation years (inflexible, expensive) where possible, but if you can't avoid doing it then it's a back up option. Ideally, you get everything right the first time round.


Hi there, thanks again. It's just at the moment currently I'm on a level 2 course doing a gcse english resit alongside it. I plan on starting the btec next year (a year later). If I do decide to do A level maths as a private candidate would I have to pay for it myself? At first I was planning on just doing a btec and getting into a uni that's excepts it, now I'm not sure if I should do A level maths. Bad thing is i picked up a grade 4 at maths gcse
Original post by A_2275
Hi there, thanks again. It's just at the moment currently I'm on a level 2 course doing a gcse english resit alongside it. I plan on starting the btec next year (a year later). If I do decide to do A level maths as a private candidate would I have to pay for it myself? At first I was planning on just doing a btec and getting into a uni that's excepts it, now I'm not sure if I should do A level maths. Bad thing is i picked up a grade 4 at maths gcse

Whilst it's not impossible to get onto an IT degree course with just a BTEC (ideally in computing/IT), I think it's unnecessarily limiting your options (especially if your BTEC is in an irrelevant subject). A Level maths would open far more doors than with a BTEC alone.

You are likely required to pay for the A Level yourself, since a BTEC at Level 3 would qualify as a Level 3 qualification. Under ELQ policy, the government won't provide funding for further study at the same level unless it's a foundation year. Having said that, I am trying to check to see if you can get an Advanced Learner's Loan if the A Level is done through an online college.
The cost of doing the A Level can cost £350 for the exams, which isn't a lot. If you want to do a course on top (this is optional), then it's another £395-800 depending on where you want to do your course.
A Level maths is quite a step up from GCSE. If you're not confident in your maths, it might hurt your chances of getting the grade that you need.
Reply 14
Original post by MindMax2000
Whilst it's not impossible to get onto an IT degree course with just a BTEC (ideally in computing/IT), I think it's unnecessarily limiting your options (especially if your BTEC is in an irrelevant subject). A Level maths would open far more doors than with a BTEC alone.

You are likely required to pay for the A Level yourself, since a BTEC at Level 3 would qualify as a Level 3 qualification. Under ELQ policy, the government won't provide funding for further study at the same level unless it's a foundation year. Having said that, I am trying to check to see if you can get an Advanced Learner's Loan if the A Level is done through an online college.
The cost of doing the A Level can cost £350 for the exams, which isn't a lot. If you want to do a course on top (this is optional), then it's another £395-800 depending on where you want to do your course.
A Level maths is quite a step up from GCSE. If you're not confident in your maths, it might hurt your chances of getting the grade that you need.

Hi thank you again. The btec I'm planning to do is btec IT an extended diploma. And what iv heard is most will just take it without A levels. Because I think it will be a risk in doing A levels maths. Doing just the IT btec 3 A Level equivalent would be efficient enough as to what I have heard. Now what bugs me is how I'm wasting this year and I'd start my btec a year later than others. I'd also go uni a year later this just puts me down. Feel like a failure honestly.
Original post by A_2275
Hi thank you again. The btec I'm planning to do is btec IT an extended diploma. And what iv heard is most will just take it without A levels. Because I think it will be a risk in doing A levels maths. Doing just the IT btec 3 A Level equivalent would be efficient enough as to what I have heard. Now what bugs me is how I'm wasting this year and I'd start my btec a year later than others. I'd also go uni a year later this just puts me down. Feel like a failure honestly.


If you insist that A Level maths is not worth the while, then it's up to you. I'm just saying what I know about things.

When you do your degree is up to you. If you want a long career and want to start as soon as you can, then yeah it's a year wasted. If it couldn't have been avoided, then it is what it is. If you didn't need to waste the year, take it as a lesson.

Starting your degree a year late is no biggy at uni, as you would later find out. There are people who don't start their degree until much later in life. There are some who started a lot younger. What's important is whether you can do well on the course.
Unless you tell people your age, most people don't really take notice.
Reply 16
Original post by MindMax2000
If you insist that A Level maths is not worth the while, then it's up to you. I'm just saying what I know about things.

When you do your degree is up to you. If you want a long career and want to start as soon as you can, then yeah it's a year wasted. If it couldn't have been avoided, then it is what it is. If you didn't need to waste the year, take it as a lesson.

Starting your degree a year late is no biggy at uni, as you would later find out. There are people who don't start their degree until much later in life. There are some who started a lot younger. What's important is whether you can do well on the course.
Unless you tell people your age, most people don't really take notice.


Thanks again. In my position would you think getting an A level is worth doing now or should I just do the byec extended diploma and try get into a uni?
Original post by A_2275
I'm currently in a FE college and I am somewhere I never wanted to be l. Next year I would like to move to a sixth form college. I stress how I will be a year behind and I'd be joining at 17 a year later than others meaning I'd finish a year later also. Is this bad. I really need some reassurance. I'd also be going uni a year later at 19


Hey there,

I am a third year Mathematics and Statistics student at Lancaster University. On my course there is plenty of people who joined at 19 or later so it is unlikely you need to worry too much. I know people who took a gap year to travel or work to earn money, as well as those whose education was delayed for some reason or just decided to go university later on. Also, some of the people I lived with in my first year on campus were in their early 20s. Universities won't mind your age, it is more important to make sure you are enjoying your A Levels or BTECs so that you can do well. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Amy (Lancaster Student Ambassador) :smile:
Original post by A_2275
Thank you again for the reply. Currently I'm thinking of either software engineering,computer science or cyber security. Would I be able to get there with just btecs?

Hiya! Thought I'd add to what Amy has said. Regarding your original question, it's completely normal to be going to university at that age. You shouldn't feel bad about it at all! I know a lot of students who've taken a gap year or two or they've done a year doing one course and decided that it wasn't for them so they switched. Whatever the reason, I would say it's a pretty common situation.

For the question I've replied to, it is possible to get into those degrees with BTECs. There are a lot of universities that allow BTECs and Lancaster is one of them! I'm a final-year Computer Science student here and I've had a great experience so far, would definitely recommend. Our course pages for Software Engineering, Computer Science, and Cyber Security can be found in those links. The entry requirements for BTECs are Distinction, Distinction, Distinction for all three and a grade 6/B in GCSE Maths. The Computing courses here are taught assuming you have no experience in the subject beforehand so they're very beginner-friendly. Our lecturers also like to emphasise the more practical disciplines in Computer Science (for the CS and Software Engineering degrees at least!) so it's not a maths-heavy curriculum, unlike a lot of the CS courses at other universities which may be a pro for some haha.

Any questions about the courses or anything else, feel free to ask! Hope that helps.

- Sophia (Student Ambassador)
Original post by A_2275
Thanks again. In my position would you think getting an A level is worth doing now or should I just do the byec extended diploma and try get into a uni?


If you were to do the A Level, you would be looking at A*-B grades, otherwise the A Level isn't going to help that much.

I personally would say you should go for it. Even if you fail to hit your target, you would at least know you have given it a go instead of wondering what if (it's a terrible feeling to have). If you don't feel like you can handle it, you can still walk away with an AS or drop it during the first few months of college without serious repercussions to your grades. If you don't sign up for it initially, you would have a hard time signing up for it later on in the year or the year after. If you need to retake it after college, you would at least have the experience and done some prior work on it before you take it again.

The only thing I would be a bit wary of is whether doing a full on BTEC + an A Level would be too much (this would be the equivalent of 4 A Levels)

Ultimately, the decision is still yours. How high do you want to score and what are you willing to do to get there?

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