Routes into Higher Education

The majority of students will apply in the final year of sitting their A-level examinations. However, it is important to note that this is not the only route into higher education.

What other qualifications can I apply with?

In order to get into university, students need to have a similar level qualification to A-levels. These include qualifications that are aimed for those students who have completed their GCSEs. Most schools will choose to offer A-levels, and most students will start preparing for A-levels at the age of 16. Other schools and colleges offer different qualifications and these can include:

  • International Baccalaureate
  • Welsh Baccalaureate (advanced)
  • National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ)
  • National Diplomas
  • BTEC

Before choosing, it is important to see what each of your chosen courses requires. This will make sure you choose the next step of your education correctly, so that you can enter the course of your choice.

What if I do not want to go straight away?

If you do not want to go straight into university, then this isn’t a problem. Below are the two main routes of getting into university if you want a break between school and higher education:

Gap year

Some students will decide that they want a ‘gap’ in their education. Some choose to take this ‘gap’ year because they want to travel, or simply because they would like a break and take some time to work. Other students take a gap year to strengthen their application – especially if they might not have been successful the first time round.

Taking a gap year can provide you with the opportunity to make a strong application to university. You can go on further work experience, sit more qualifications or many other options.

If you have already applied to university but then decide that you want to take a gap year, then that’s fine too! Rather than withdrawing your application, contact your chosen university and ask about deferring entry. It may be that they will put your application on hold and, subject to meeting entry requirements, you can go to university the following year without having to reapply.

Entering after working

Some people enter university at a later age because they decided to enter work straight after school. Some universities have their own selection procedure for students who do this, and they consider the experience they gained as part of the application process. In some cases the academic entry requirements will be lowered to those who have valid work experience.

Enter your details below to keep up to date with what’s going on and the latest news from the Higher Education Roadshow team: