Getting to university is an achievement in its own right as it takes years to obtain the correct qualifications to apply to university.
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Most UK universities will show their entry requirements as 3 A-levels, or equivalent qualifications that are at the same level. Therefore, most UK students who continue their studies immediately after their GCSEs will study one of the following combinations at school or college:
- BTEC (Level 3 diploma)
- A-levels and a BTEC (Certificate or Award)
- A-levels and EPQ
- A-levels and Welsh Baccalaureate
- International Baccalaureate
- Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers
Mature students can study for an Access to HE Diploma. Depending on your university subject interest, you may also receive credit or exemptions if you have relevant work experience.
Universities also accept a range of qualifications that are equivalent to A-levels and studied in countries from across the world.
Online prospectuses and course directories often only list the most common qualifications used to apply to a degree programme and may not list all of the possible combinations of qualifications (such as A-levels and a BTEC). Always check to see if your qualification is considered an equivalent qualification and contact the university for more information if you have any questions.
Depending on your subject choice and your university choice, you may also need to meet:
- GCSE requirements: achieve a minimum grade for some subjects (for example Grade B or Grade 6 in mathematics)
- Pre-admissions test score: some subjects at some universities may require you to sit an additional test before you submit your UCAS form. If you’re applying for medicine or dentistry you may need to take the UCAT (UK Clinical Aptitude Test) or the BMAT (Biomedical Admissions Test). Some law degrees (although not the courses at Goldsmiths) require the LNAT (Law National Aptitude Test).
- Work experience requirement: for many subjects, work experience is optional. However, for some subjects, like social work, you must have relevant work experience.
Only a very small number of courses have an age limit on who can study. The oldest person to graduate university was 95!
Questions to ask yourself
- How long will it be before you can go to university?
- Are there any subjects that you must have studied to enable you to apply for that subject at university?
- Do you need to be getting relevant work experience?
- What are the GCSE (or equivalent) entry requirements of your chosen university?
- What career could your degree subject lead to?