Access to HE course FAQs

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What is Access to Higher Education?

The Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma is a qualification which prepares students for university-level study. It’s designed for people who would like to study in Higher Education but who left school without the usual qualifications, such as A Levels, or for those who have been out of education for a while.

Many Access to HE students go on to succeed at university and beyond, with a large number pursuing new careers and seeing changes in their lives that they had never thought possible.

What does an Access to HE Diploma course involve?

To achieve an Access to HE Diploma, you need to complete a programme that includes certain units of study in relevant subject areas. You’ll be taught study skills; learning how to approach study and the different techniques that you’ll need to be a successful student.

The whole package of units will have been designed to ensure that you’re thoroughly equipped for studying at university. For each unit successfully completed, you’ll earn credits that gradually build towards the 60 credits that are required for the Access to HE Diploma.

Many people are nervous when they start an Access to HE course, particularly if they haven’t been in a classroom for some time. Tutors are aware of this and take it into account in their teaching: you won’t be “thrown in at the deep end” or tested on things which you may have studied years ago. Though you can expect the course to be challenging, the whole purpose of an Access to HE course is to help you to be successful.

Is the Access to HE Diploma recognised by universities?

Access to HE courses have been around since the 1970s and have been designed and developed with the support of universities. Access to HE is therefore widely recognised by UK universities.

Each year, around 20,000 Access to HE students apply to universities across the UK. What’s more, the framework for the approval of Access to HE courses is managed by the universities’ own quality assurance organisation: the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

Am I too old?

No! Almost everyone considering an Access to HE course worries that they may have left it too late. Your life experience will be valuable on the course and you’ll find that other Access to HE students and students studying at university level are of a wide age range. People coming back into education are often extremely motivated, leading to a positive and productive learning environment.

Can I get financial help to study?

If you are aged 19 or over, you’ll have to either take out a 19+ Advanced Learning Loan to cover the cost of the tuition fees or pay the course fees yourself. Please contact us to discuss your situation: email or call 01509 215831

What level is an Access to HE qualification equivalent to?

The Access to HE qualification is equivalent in standard to other Level 3 qualifications, such as A Levels, and has been recognised as a full Level 3 qualification in the Labour Force Survey.

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