Going to Uni with a BTEC, please share your stories.

(36 Posts)
minkah Mon 29-Sep-14 01:00:14

I'd like to have a broader sense of what people study at btec and what they do with it, any and all sharing very much appreciated. Currently I'm only familiar with world of GCSEs and A levels.

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cricketballs Mon 29-Sep-14 06:38:39

I have always had to defend BTEC on MN so I'm more than happy to contribute grin

My own DS is going to his first 'proper' lecture today having started a marketing degree at Coventry. He gained Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in BTEC Extended Diploma in Business. His interest/love in marketing came from the units he completed during his BTEC together with the work experience he undertook in a marketing dept as part of his studies. His final grades has enabled him to access an academic bursary at uni and he feels that he's in a better position given the course requirements as a BTEC student than if he did A levels.

I am also a secondary school teacher with a 6th form tutor group and have taught/tutored numbers of BTEC students who have gone on to university; some undertaking degrees related to their BTEC, others in a different field altogether.

As I often say in MN (and in real life), BTEC should not be thought if as a second rate qualification, they are hard work, relevant and are recognised as such by employers and educational institutions. Whilst there are some universities that don't accept them for entry, these are very much in the minority

UptheChimney Mon 29-Sep-14 07:12:48

How long is a piece of string? It really depends on the BTEC area, and the degree you want to read.

In my broad field, students matriculating with a BTEC needs three Distinctions, and we like an A Level as well. IME, they tend to struggle in essay/writing based assessments, and in higher sorts of analytical thinking, so a pupil directed towards a BTEC isn't necessarily going to be top of their university class in higher level written analysis.

OTOH, in a course with more practical, hands-on elements, they may do very well.

It's not possible to give a blanket answer -- it depends on the BTEC and the university course aspired to.

Kez100 Mon 29-Sep-14 10:58:12

OK. Lots of experience.

Back in the year of the Flintstones I did BTEC Business and Finance and gained the highest grade. I got a training contract for ACA but the girl was equal with on the course went to Exeter University to study an Accounting and Finance degree. Whether they currently accept BTEC's I do not know - I think some Unis now ask for an A level on the side which some colleges offer because there are free study periods where an A level can be timetabled. Both she and I are now partners in our own firms and have been for over 20 years. I loved my BTEC.

My daughter studied a BTEC in a specific Art and Design pathway. All of her Uni entries required interviews and a portfolio. She was given an unconditional offer at her first choice (without having even finished her BTEC). She did, of course, complete it and gained DD*D (the top grade you can get now)

My son is now following a Level 3 BTEC in IT but he doesn't want to go to Uni.

We are obviously a BTEC'y family!

Kez100 Mon 29-Sep-14 11:03:20

My post came out wrong - should have said triple distinction star. Anyway, looking at Upthechimneys post, maybe an A level on the side where written analysis is required might be very useful then.

I didn't struggle at all with written analysis but I did go into BTEC with an A grade O level English. Its a bit early to know for my daughter.

mumeeee Mon 29-Sep-14 11:39:10

DD3 did BTEC level 3 extended Diploma in IT. She got Distinction Merit Merit and is now in her second year of uni doing a computer degree.
DD2 did a BTEC in performing arts a few years ago. She did a level 3 double award ( can't remember the exact title as they have changed them now), She also did English A level, Anyway she got Distinction Distinction in the BTEC and C in English
She went on to do a Drama degree and finished with a 2:1.
Both girls found that a lot of universities accepted BTEC for the subject they wanted to to study. In fact all the universities DD3 looked at accepted it,

VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Sep-14 11:47:40

I did a btec national diploma in business and finance years and years ago. Got a merit.

Went on to do a degree, most others on the btec course went to uni. Loads got accepted onto business degrees, marketing, law, etc. I got a 2:2.

I've since done another degree and got a 2:1 and am now doing a masters.


SugarPlumTree Mon 29-Sep-14 11:57:15

I have had a conversation about this earlier today with a University Lecturer I know . DD deciding whether to do a BTEC in Creative Media Production.

She said they do accept students with the BTEC however they have found that there are a fair few who gain the UCAS points needed but are less successful on the degree course as they lack the critical analysis skills needed .

What they do is really grill the students during interview to assess these skills. This is something we weren't aware of so definite food for thought for DD.

Kez100 Mon 29-Sep-14 12:30:51

Many of the art disciplines at degree level have (relatively) low UCAS points requirements but it's the interview and portfolio discussion process if you get one which brings to offers (or not) - and that process is tough. AFA I am aware the interview process is for all though, not just BTEC.

frogsinapond Mon 29-Sep-14 19:22:32

one of mine is studying a BTEC L3 engineering diploma, (equivalent to 2 rather than 3 A levels) and is on track to get D* D*. BTEC level 4 (HNC) will follow and then hopefully a job as an engineering technician. If not the backup plan is to go to university, but not sure if having the L3 diploma rather than extended diploma and no A level will be a problem there or if the HNC would negate the lack of A level/larger BTEC L3. GCSEs are excellent if that makes a difference.

stairwaytodevon Mon 29-Sep-14 22:32:25

Hi DC just started degree at Salford with BTEC creative media plus A level Film Studies Whilst its too early to say how the course will go doing Radio and Television Production so quite a specialist area. Did not have an interview as Sugar suggested but has had 4 years unpaid work at local theatre plus has represented town at various art type forums etc maybe the personal statement was enough.
There are no exams on this course so DC is really happy as gets stressed out by exams but will happily spend weeks on project type work.
Its not just Salford DC was accepted with BTEC on all 5 Uni choices lowest grade wanted was MMM with no A level requirements.
Another bonus was the results were known earlier than A levels so could organise accomadation etc.
Hope this helps

SugarPlumTree Mon 29-Sep-14 22:45:21

Stairway would you kind if I PM you about the BTEC creative media? Today's conversation slightly put cat amongst the pigeons and it would be great to hear from someone whose child has done it. Fully understand if you woukd rather not.

stairwaytodevon Mon 29-Sep-14 22:59:58

No probs at all Creative Media is not a soft option as some people think its very technical but DC and me will help if we can May be tommorrow before I can respond as off to bed soon.

SugarPlumTree Mon 29-Sep-14 23:02:50

Thamk you very much. I'm off to bed but will PM you tomorrow, much appreciated .

ContactIssue Mon 29-Sep-14 23:15:36

I did a BTEC in health and social care after school as I had no idea what I wanted to do career wise. I got a D*D*D and I'm in my final year if teacher training.

ContactIssue Mon 29-Sep-14 23:15:50


UptheChimney Tue 30-Sep-14 07:28:17

She said they do accept students with the BTEC however they have found that there are a fair few who gain the UCAS points needed but are less successful on the degree course as they lack the critical analysis skills needed

Yes, this is my experience. It's the critical analysis skills in which they tend to be weaker and have less confidence. That's why an A Level alongside is attractive. But sometimes isn't possible or necessary.

However ... and this is a general point I've just made on another thread in here. The thing about a university degree which is different from apprenticeship or on-the-job practical training, is precisely those "critical analysis skills."

In some areas -- broadly served by generalist arts degrees -- while a new graduate may be behind an on the job trained person when first starting out in employment, it's the critical skills, writing skills etc ("higher order" skills if you like) and generally a trained way of thinking, which can be a huge advantage a few years into a career. Which is why people without a university degree can find themselves needing one -- or the kind of thinking it engenders -- later on in their lives.

mumeeee Tue 30-Sep-14 10:01:08

DD3 has a lot of assignments in her course. She has found that having done a BTEC she is better equipped to work on her own than a lot of the others on her course are.

minkah Tue 30-Sep-14 23:51:11

Really loved reading all your responses. Thankyou to all that have contributed, very enlightening!

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SmatteringOfPatois Wed 01-Oct-14 08:23:31

There was an article in the independant newspaper last week saying more people are getting into university with btecs.

BestIsWest Wed 01-Oct-14 08:32:48

Interesting thread, thanks. DS has just started a BTEC in Creative Media and fully plans on going to university.

SugarPlumTree Wed 01-Oct-14 20:19:51

DD is still looking around and we've noticed two colleges seem to have ditched the BTEC in Media and will be doing OCR Cambridge Technical Diplomas or something like that as of next year.This is an interesting and helpful thread.

stairwaytodevon Wed 01-Oct-14 21:20:32

Hi Sugar BTEC Creative Media still on offer 2015/16 at DC college So appears to be local Nothing on website for OCR diploma in either of 2 nearb 6th Form Colleges

minkah Wed 01-Oct-14 22:09:36

Does anyone know anything about the OCR CTD? The BTEC appears to be being superseded by this new course, certainly for creative media.

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SugarPlumTree Thu 02-Oct-14 07:24:15

That's what the two colleges I mentioned above are doing. The one that is more local to us is still doing the BTEC. Last year they were all dong the BTEC.

UCAS has a little bit on them with the points they are worth. One of the colleges say they are a new breed of vocational qualification wher students learn transferable skills.

A friend of mine is in her 59's and say the had Cambridge Technicals in her day. I'm hoping they will be explained at the open days coming up with an explanation as to why they changed over to them.

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