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Applying to University as a Mature Student with a Certificate of Higher Education

Hello,

I am doing an Undergraduate Certificate of Higher Education through Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education at the moment on a part-time basis. The reason I started it in the first place was so I would be able to use it to apply to Oxford full-time as recommended to me by Harris Manchester college (mature student only college). Their suggestion was that I do a course worth 120 CATS points in order to meet their entry requirements and CertHE matched that amount, so I settled on that in the end.

I am due to complete this qualification next summer, most likely not receiving my final transcript until November/December 2025. Once it's done I would really like to be able to use it to apply to universities on a full-time basis to study law, but I'm not sure if all universities will accept it? The problem is that I can't seem to be able to figure out what exactly universities expect to see entry requirements wise from mature students, and most of the information I have been able to find so far is quite vague. All that I really know for sure is that they will expect to see evidence of recent study from the past 3 years but everything else is a complete mystery to me!

My A-level grades are quite average as well (BBC) and I will be applying to places like London School of Economics and King's College whose average entry requirements are AAA, so I also hope that my A-level grades from quite a few years ago don't undermine my application as a mature student today.

Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated!!!

Thank you very much
Original post by eva.atkins
Hello,

I am doing an Undergraduate Certificate of Higher Education through Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education at the moment on a part-time basis. The reason I started it in the first place was so I would be able to use it to apply to Oxford full-time as recommended to me by Harris Manchester college (mature student only college). Their suggestion was that I do a course worth 120 CATS points in order to meet their entry requirements and CertHE matched that amount, so I settled on that in the end.

I am due to complete this qualification next summer, most likely not receiving my final transcript until November/December 2025. Once it's done I would really like to be able to use it to apply to universities on a full-time basis to study law, but I'm not sure if all universities will accept it? The problem is that I can't seem to be able to figure out what exactly universities expect to see entry requirements wise from mature students, and most of the information I have been able to find so far is quite vague. All that I really know for sure is that they will expect to see evidence of recent study from the past 3 years but everything else is a complete mystery to me!

My A-level grades are quite average as well (BBC) and I will be applying to places like London School of Economics and King's College whose average entry requirements are AAA, so I also hope that my A-level grades from quite a few years ago don't undermine my application as a mature student today.

Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated!!!

Thank you very much


There's sort of two elements to this, the CertHE and the mature student bit. Essentially it's on a case by case basis usually for whether they accept the CertHE as I understand and in my experience (and that is typical for most mature student applicants in general as they often have varied qualifications). I'd suggest just contacting the uni and asking if your qualification(s) would meet their requirements.

You can in principle apply next year in the UCAS cycle with pending results if your course will provide them (or a personal tutor can write some kind of letter giving some indication of these). So you don't need to have a year out (unless you want to do so to save money).

That's what I did when I did a CertHE at SOAS - applied during the second (final) year of my part time CertHE after checking with the uni I applied to (I only applied to one - UCL) if they would accept it. I did apply for deferred entry as I wanted a year to save up some money after finishing the CertHE before starting the new course though.

For UCL they said for mature students with non-standard qualifications basically the department makes a case for the applicant if they want to accept them, and this goes to central admissions who considers it. Then central admissions makes the final decision. In my case I had average IB grades from school (a long time ago), although those met the contextual offer requirements (which they may have considered me under although I don't think I was eligible).

Obviously though every uni is probably going to have a different process. Basically your best bet is to just email their admissions and be upfront about it and say "this is what I'm doing now, would this be considered for entry". They may not give too much info (I suspect LSE will give you a boilerplate response) but often they can give some insight.

Also have a look around on their admissions pages - often there is a section about mature applicants but this can be kind of hard to find and take a bit of hunting around to find it, but it can include useful info :smile:
Reply 2
Original post by artful_lounger
There's sort of two elements to this, the CertHE and the mature student bit. Essentially it's on a case by case basis usually for whether they accept the CertHE as I understand and in my experience (and that is typical for most mature student applicants in general as they often have varied qualifications). I'd suggest just contacting the uni and asking if your qualification(s) would meet their requirements.
You can in principle apply next year in the UCAS cycle with pending results if your course will provide them (or a personal tutor can write some kind of letter giving some indication of these). So you don't need to have a year out (unless you want to do so to save money).
That's what I did when I did a CertHE at SOAS - applied during the second (final) year of my part time CertHE after checking with the uni I applied to (I only applied to one - UCL) if they would accept it. I did apply for deferred entry as I wanted a year to save up some money after finishing the CertHE before starting the new course though.
For UCL they said for mature students with non-standard qualifications basically the department makes a case for the applicant if they want to accept them, and this goes to central admissions who considers it. Then central admissions makes the final decision. In my case I had average IB grades from school (a long time ago), although those met the contextual offer requirements (which they may have considered me under although I don't think I was eligible).
Obviously though every uni is probably going to have a different process. Basically your best bet is to just email their admissions and be upfront about it and say "this is what I'm doing now, would this be considered for entry". They may not give too much info (I suspect LSE will give you a boilerplate response) but often they can give some insight.
Also have a look around on their admissions pages - often there is a section about mature applicants but this can be kind of hard to find and take a bit of hunting around to find it, but it can include useful info :smile:

Thank you very much, this is super helpful! Oxford's Harris Manchester College definitely accept CertHE as an entry requirement qualification so I'm covered on that front (I have been in consistent contact with their admissions team as I might have mentioned in my original post). They have also got back to me regarding the actual transcript of the certificate and whether they would be able to accept a provisional one for when I apply and they confirmed that that would be perfectly fine which is wonderful news! Oxford remains my firm choice but I will be emailing other places like LSE and maybe even UCL to check with them too but that would be done nearer the time of my application. I will be taking the LNAT (Law National Aptitude Test) around that time as well which is part of the application process to do a law degree at either Oxford or LSE but things are looking good at the moment! Thanks for your help again 🙂
Original post by eva.atkins
Thank you very much, this is super helpful! Oxford's Harris Manchester College definitely accept CertHE as an entry requirement qualification so I'm covered on that front (I have been in consistent contact with their admissions team as I might have mentioned in my original post). They have also got back to me regarding the actual transcript of the certificate and whether they would be able to accept a provisional one for when I apply and they confirmed that that would be perfectly fine which is wonderful news! Oxford remains my firm choice but I will be emailing other places like LSE and maybe even UCL to check with them too but that would be done nearer the time of my application. I will be taking the LNAT (Law National Aptitude Test) around that time as well which is part of the application process to do a law degree at either Oxford or LSE but things are looking good at the moment! Thanks for your help again 🙂

Glad to hear you got a positive response from Oxford, best of luck and I hope you are successful! :biggrin:
(edited 2 months ago)

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