Most people know the traditional route to university; education until you are 18 and then straight to university. However there are other options available to you and if you don’t currently have the qualifications you need or you have taken some time out after school, you can still go to university now if you want to. We’ve covered some of the routes into Higher Education below.
You have multiple options available to you after you finish school at 16. You may choose to study for your A-Levels or Level 3 qualifications at Sixth Form or College, or you may choose to get an Apprenticeship. You can also spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training but you must be in some form of education until you are 18. Typically, you will require three Level 3 qualifications to apply to university as well as a Grade 4 or 5 in English and Maths and sometimes in a science course, depending on what you choose to study, so many people study these courses at College or Sixth Form. You can also retake GCSE’s in these settings if you have not achieved the pass grade in Maths and English that you usually need for future courses and employment.
Foundation degrees are a great option if you are unsure about whether you want to study for a full degree in a subject or if you don’t have the right qualifications to apply for the full degree. They usually take two years to complete and sometimes can be topped up to a full Bachelor’s degree. Foundations Degrees are a great option if you want to study while you work or want to gain access to a degree course you may have been unable to previously!
The first degree you study for at university is at Undergraduate level and called a Bachelor’s degree. It typically takes 3 years depending on what you study and is required before you can progress to other degrees if you choose to. Many people choose to study for a Bachelor’s degrees as it can increase the number of jobs accessible to them, as well as being a great way to gain knowledge and skill sin an area you are passionate about working in! Even if you ultimately chose to work in a different area to the topic your degree is in, the transferable skills you gain will be beneficial in any role. Some people may choose to study for a degree in order to access a specific career such as to be a Doctor, Nurse or Architect. Not all degrees lead to a specific career or job but the skills and experience you acquire at university can be invaluable to future careers.
Supported Entry schemes are run by universities so can differ from institution to institution but typically involve participation in activities that lead to a reduced offer from the university. This might mean that if you previously felt you may not achieve the necessary grades to meet entry requirements, you now might be able to. Our partner institutions run various schemes that we have explained below, and as a care leaver you are likely to be eligible. You can check the very latest information for the schemes on their websites and find out more about applying, more information will be available later in the year! You may also find that some universities don’t run a Supported Entry scheme, such as University of Sunderland and Teesside University, but if you have ticked the box to say you are a Care Leaver on your UCAS Application, your application can be considered in context and they offer a wide range of additional support before you apply to ensure you apply for a course that meets your needs.
Supported Progression is a programme for Year 12 students in the North East. Some students who are thinking of studying at Durham may benefit from extra support and can work towards a guaranteed, conditional offer as part of the assessed summer school. The programme may look slightly different for 2021 as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic but typically students take part in events and activities throughout Year 12 developing academic skills and finding out more about Durham before taking part in a summer school, staying at the university and getting an experience of student life.
PARTNERS programme has been running since 2000 and is a programme for students based anywhere in the UK to help them make a successful application to study at Newcastle University. Students take part in a programme of events throughout the year finding out more about studying at Newcastle and their chosen subject before taking part in a summer school where they experience student life and have the opportunity to achieve a lower offer to study at Newcastle.
NU Entry is a structured programme for Year 12 students to develop academic skills to help their undergraduate studies and their application to Northumbria. By participating in the NU Entry Scheme, students will have the opportunity to develop skills necessary to study an undergraduate degree successfully and have the opportunity to earn 16 NU Entry points, which are the equivalent to UCAS tariff points when applying to Northumbria University, allowing you to lower the number of UCAS points you need to study an undergraduate programme at Northumbria.
Higher Education in Further Education
It is possible to study at Higher Education level in a Further Education setting. This means you may be able to study for a bachelor’s degree at some colleges rather than in university. This may be beneficial if you want to study in a more vocational setting, gaining more work experience while you study or if you have other commitments such as a job or caring that mean you could only study for a degree part time. You can also study a degree part-time at a university, so it is worth considering which of these options best suits your needs.