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18-year-old without A levels--what can she do

(9 Posts)
Abra1d Fri 07-Nov-14 17:14:09


I have a young cousin who is in a bit of a pickle. She grew up in Australia but is British and holds a British passport. She is very bright but has no A levels or A-level equivalents because she dropped out of school in Australia.

She was 18 last April, so officially too old to be in the conventional UK school system.

She has finally realised, having come over here to Britain to work, that minimum wage jobs on zero contracts, such as you get working pubs, are not actually going to pay her enough to live on (we have been telling her this for a while). She has been trying to survive like this in a northern city, with none of her family close by, living in a hostel. Her divorced parents live in Australia and it would be hard for her to return to them (but not impossible).

Is there anyway of accessing UK sixth form colleges, for example, if you are her age? How could she go about getting into a British university? I feel that if she could get into higher education she would enjoy the academic challenge (as I say, she is clever), would qualify for a grant, etc, and would have companionship. But I don't know how she could do this without A levels.

Any words of advice would be very welcome. TIA.

Abra1d Fri 07-Nov-14 17:23:50

Have now done more research and understand some universities will let you do a foundation course if you have a non-conventional educational path?

SOrry for seeming so clueless--I do know how to google, honest!

Freemind Fri 07-Nov-14 17:28:38

I am no an expert (just an ordinary teacher), but have you or she contacted any post-16 colleges to ask them for advice? There will be someone in a college who knows the score for someone like your cousin. I don't know if her nationality or length of residence here will make a difference regarding what, if any, fees she would have to pay, but she might find they can suggest something - after all, they all need bums on seats to keep their courses running. You don't need A levels, but universities would want something to go on to indicate that she could study successfully, or that she has some experience to draw on.
Good luck!

TranquilityofSolitude Fri 07-Nov-14 17:29:02

I don't know if it's relevant, but I think you have to be resident in the UK for 3 years to qualify as a 'home student' for university fees. Otherwise you have to pay the overseas rates which are higher and not loaned to you - you have to pay them when you do the course. I am not certain, though.

Abra1d Fri 07-Nov-14 17:35:02

Thank you both very much for that. It is a good idea to go and see a post-18 college. Sadly, I think you're probably right about the three-year residency for fees, tranquility and there's no way her parents could help with this.

eltsihT Fri 07-Nov-14 17:41:31

Have you looked at the universities adult education courses. My husband left school in Iceland with no qualifications he completed an access physics course and maths course at uni while he worked through the day ( the courses were about £200) and then used these to get into a university course

Abra1d Fri 07-Nov-14 18:20:38

Oh, I haven't looked at those, thanks, eltsihT.

eatyourveg Sun 09-Nov-14 19:40:47

She needs to look at doing the Access to HE diploma which is available at lots of colleges. See here

Abra1d Mon 10-Nov-14 09:03:45

Thank you, eatyourver. Appreciate your help.

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