Sometimes, we realise what we want to do a little bit too late. Sometimes, life gets in the way. But not to worry. There’s always a way to get where you want to go, even if that place is university without A-Levels! And we’re here to tell you how to apply to university without A-Levels.

1. Access to HE courses

An Access to Higher Education is one of the ways to get into university without studying or passing your A-Levels. This is ideal for anyone returning to education, or anyone looking to start their academic career. These courses are a direct route into a specific subject area at university. It’s very specific, unlike studying for three, broader A-Levels.

Access courses are designed for mature students – anyone over 19 – as an easy way to re-enter education whilst also preparing them for the intensity of a university course. Lots of Access courses can be done through distance learning, making them ideal for anyone with other responsibilities like full-time work or caring responsibilities.

Not every university will accept Access to HE courses, so check that your desired institution does beforehand by looking at the ‘entry requirements’ tab on your chosen course. The course is the equivalent to three A-Levels in terms of UCAS points, so any university which takes UCAS points will take an Access course, too.

2. Foundation Years

If you’ve studied the wrong subjects, not achieved your grades, or perhaps have a few years experience in a field rather than formal qualifications, it is possible that a university may accept you onto a course. However, they may ask you to study a foundation year.

This makes a course a year longer and bridges the gaps you may have in your knowledge that A-Levels would have covered. That way, when you enter your ‘first year’ (which would be your second year) you’re up to speed with the rest of your class.

3. Other qualifications 

How to apply to university without A-Levels

Just like the Access to HE courses, there are a range of qualifications you can do in order to gain UCAS points. All of these accumulate and will help you gain entry onto a university course. Again, you will need to check that your chosen course accepts UCAS points rather than A-Level grades.

Such qualifications include Diploma, AAT, BTEC, Certificate of HE, EPQ, HNC, HND, NVQ, International Baccalaureate and Scottish Highers. You can usually study these at local colleges or online via distance learning. You can also accumulate UCAS points through extra-curricular things like an ASDAN course.

4. Contact your university of choice 

Ultimately, each university is different. If you’re not sure what you can do to boost your application and achieve a place on your chosen course, email or phone the institution’s admissions department and have a chat. It might help you leave an impression, and they’ll be able to give you more catered advice.

It may also be worth contacting the head of your potential course and speaking to them about it. They’ll be able to say whether they think your experience or previous qualifications are enough to help you understand the contents of the degree, and they may also be able to fight your corner with admissions if they choose to.

Last Updated on September 2, 2022