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Access to Higher Learning, then to University - without GCSEs - what to do?

(6 Posts)
B0033 Thu 07-Dec-17 11:28:21

I was educated overseas and although I came back to the UK and did A-Levels, I did not do any GCSEs. Fifteen years later, I am looking to get back into education and eventually gain a degree at university.

As it stands, I have several options.

1. Obtain my GCSEs in English and Maths independently, ideally before my Access course starts in September 2018. Is this even possible?

2. Online GCSE alongside my Access course (seems like a bit too much, to be honest)

3. Take my Access course, and stay on at the college (they have links to a university and offer a few courses there); although they don't offer the exact course I'm after, they offer something adjacent. Whilst doing my first year of the university course, the tutor tells me I will have time to take GCSEs in maths and english alongside.

3a. In order to get qualifications in the field I want, I would then have to get a Masters degree in a different university, thus extending my time in studies and also debt! My main concern with this plan is becoming overqualified without enough on the job experience.

My goal is a social work degree. I have recently gotten a job as a support worker, so I will have relevent experience before the Access course starts.

What would you do? Take the GCSEs in a compressed course NOW or wait and do them alongside the not-quite-applicable university course with the college?

I live near several universities that offer a social work degree. I haven't spoken to admissions, but every website clearly lays out the requirements for GCSE in maths and english. I can't get this degree without them.

LIZS Thu 07-Dec-17 17:15:53

Get Maths and English gcse first. Not sure 6 months will allow you long enough though. If you have A levels I'm not sure why you also need the Access course. Could you do a Foundation year if they are not the required ones? It does sound like a long term commitment but at least having the gcses will provide a fallback should you change direction or need to take time out of studying.

B0033 Thu 07-Dec-17 17:38:40

I've been out of education for a long time. University won't even consider me without some prior, recent studies to show I'm capable.

Pythonesque Thu 07-Dec-17 17:42:59

Definitely talk to admissions at the universities you are interested in, mature entry and entry off access courses is generally subject to quite different requirements. Hopefully they can help you work out what is necessary, what would be helpful, and which things you don't need to bother with at all; and then you can figure out the right timescale to tick the boxes. Good luck!

Oddish Thu 07-Dec-17 17:46:32

I know for pgce you can do gcse equivalency testing which isn’t as intense as gcse so more doable alongside degree. Can you talk to someone in admissions and ask if this would be acceptable?

B0033 Thu 07-Dec-17 17:57:45

Thanks, I'll ring some people tomorrow!

I've managed to sign up for a Level 2 Functional Skills in English and Maths, which is on offer at my local children's centre. I have confirmed a place with them and will start in January. This is equivalent to A-C GCSE and accepted by my local universities. Even if they don't require it of me as a mature student, I think I'll go for it anyway just to get myself back into the schooling mindset for my Access course.

Thanks for the well wishes. I'm excited but nervous!

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