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Which is better, A-levels or Access to HE?

Hi,

I've taken a year out of education after completing my GCSEs for personal reasons, but recently I have decided I want to go back and I want to go down the route of a career in computer science/ software engineering. As I'm now 18 I'm unsure whether to study A-levels online as oppose to going into a college or whether I should wait a few months until I'm 19 and complete an Access to HE course.

I'd just like to ask which would be more desirable to universities or if it doesn't matter, and if I were to sit A-levels which would be the best to study?

Thanks!!
(edited 2 months ago)
You'll probably get much better support on the Access to HE course (even compared to taking A levels at school), because you'll also be taught study and career skills. There's more financial support for Access students which might be a factor

Most universities will accept Access to HE (and BTEC qualifications) - yes, even for some medicine courses! It can sometimes be tricky working out the equivalent scores/grades needed.

(I'm in NI and the system is a little different here - I think it's more accepted by GB unis.)

In NI, the Access qualifications have a limited timeframe for use to apply to university, but I've not heard of anyone being refused on these grounds. (This might also not be the case in GB.)

You're best bet is to contact the colleges and get more info from them, and also check with any unis/courses you're considering.
Original post by s0phie888
Hi,

I've taken a year out of education after completing my GCSEs for personal reasons, but recently I have decided I want to go back and I want to go down the route of a career in computer science/ software engineering. As I'm now 18 I'm unsure whether to study A-levels online as oppose to going into a college or whether I should wait a few months until I'm 19 and complete an Access to HE course.

I'd just like to ask which would be more desirable to universities or if it doesn't matter, and if I were to sit A-levels which would be the best to study?

Thanks!!

@ s0phie888 Hello!
*
I’ve taught on an Access to HE program for over 10 years so I can help.

Access is essentially three A levels squashed into one year and is designed for mature adult students over 19, some providers will enrol learners who are 18 (they still get the funding) but a lot do not because there is a high drop out rate of 18-year-olds.

If you haven’t done a Level 3 course before at your age it will be free, if you went away and came back a few years down the line you can apply for the advanced learner loan which is written off when you graduate (this is the main appeal to learners who are about 24 +)

You are best applying for an Access to HE Computing course, it may have a slightly different title which does not matter, the key thing is the three modules that you do.* I would speak to the course co-ordinator to check that they match up with what you want to do to be extra safe I would speak to the University admissions tutor to see if they match up.

Programs are generally better if they take place in an F.E college as there is an in person support network to help you with UCAS and general student support enquiries, but there are some good online ones.* Make sure a course is validated by an awarding body to check it is accredited, the one in the North West is Open Awards.

Universities love Access students due to the extra life experience, in my area (Nursing and Midwifery) universities hoover up (metaphorically) my Access students

Marc
Arden University Student Ambassador

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