Are Online A-Levels Accepted by Universities?

In A-Level by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

As the world of the internet becomes more and more prominent in our daily lives, many students in the UK are now opting to do their A-Levels online. With it comes many advantages and disadvantages, but one question many students may have is whether their desired university will accept this form of examination? 

The short answer is yes! Online A-Levels are accepted by universities not only in the UK, but globally too! Currently there are no apparent universities that do not accept this form of application. You also have no obligation to state that you took your A-Levels online to universities during the application progress, although you are allowed to mention it if you wish. There are many advantages and disadvantages (learning from home and lack of social interaction respectively) which will be gone over in thorough detail down below. 

Although the previous paragraph provided a brief overview to this article’s contents, it is still recommended you read through the whole article to gain a broader, in-depth knowledge on this topic. Let’s begin! 

What are Online A-Levels?

Online A-Levels are just that- A-Levels online. This form of examination offers virtually all courses available and is a great option for a multitude of different reasons (More detail down below). You apply for your desired course through an organisation such as Open Study College, and are then tutored throughout the academic year just as you would in a physical school, but from the comfort of your own home! However, it must be kept in mind that by the time the exam comes around, it must be taken in an approved examination hall. 

Can You Complete Online A-Levels at Any Age?

One question many people may have is whether online a-levels are restricted to a certain age group? The answer to this question is no. There are no limits or restrictions to what age you can retake your A-Levels; age is irrelevant.  

If you would feel out of place due to your age at a physical school, online A-Levels are a great option to help you feel more comfortable while learning. This will boost your focus and mental drive to succeed. 

Are Online A-Levels Accepted by Universities in the UK?

Now onto the main question of this article, are online A-Levels accepted by universities? The answer is… yes! Universities general attitude towards online A-Levels in the UK is the exact same as physical A-Levels. If you obtained the grades they require, there should be no further problems with the fact you completed your learning online 

Universities are more interested in your results. They may even be impressed by your application if you mention you took your A-Levels online. This is because it shows you have a strong sense of motivation, drive, and are particularly good at managing your time well. These are all desirable qualities in a student! Please note, however, that this is not a guarantee, and is just a possibility.  

In short, neither doing your A-Levels in a school or online give you any sort of advantage.  

Are Online A-Levels Accepted by Universities Abroad?

If you are looking to be an international student at university, a completely valid question is whether your application would qualify if you completed your application online. The short answer is yes, they are! A-Level results are widely accepted across the globe, and that means that online A-levels are too. 

Currently, there are no obvious universities that don’t accept online ALevels internationally. Perhaps a bit of research into your preferred universities entry requirements will be beneficial, just to ensure all goes well when it comes to your application time. 

Some universities do not accept A-Levels, and instead only accept results from their own national exams. For example, a well-renowned university in America named Harvard Universityoften regarded as the most prestigious university in the USA, if not the world requires you to take the SAT or ACT exams, the American mandatory national exam. These exams are completed by all high-school students across the pond, as well as your A-Levels or even instead.  

Be sure to check that your university does accept A-Levels, otherwise these universities may be out of the question by the time application season rolls around. 

Do You Need to Tell Universities You Took Your A-Levels Online?

When writing your university application, there is currently no need to state you took you’re A-Levels online. Of course, if you would like to mention that you took your A-Levels online then you are welcome to, as you could you this fact to prove some qualities you may have which are desirable, such as good time management. This also applies for international universities. 

Going to college vs Online A-Levels

The only main difference that will occur if you take your A-Levels online instead of in a physical school is who you will get your references fromYou will have to obtain your references from your online tutor/tutors. This may be easier or harder depending on the way you look at it (easier as you are likely to have been taught by fewer teachers than in a physical school, so you know exactly who is best to go to for your reference; harder in that these tutors do not know you as well).  

This means you will have to show consistent hard work to prove you are an accomplished and dedicated student. This may seem difficult, but by simpler putting your best efforts into everything you do you should succeed in proving yourself to your tutor/s. 

Do Oxford and Cambridge University Accept Online A-Levels?

Oxford University and Cambridge University, two highly prestigious universities in southern England only accept the most highly intelligent individuals. With some of the lowest acceptance rates in the UK, does completing your A-Levels online put you at a disadvantageous position? Fortunately, no! Neither of these universities publicly hold any prejudice against this method of tutoring and examination. They care solely about the results you gained 

The real question is whether completing your A-Levels online will be adverse for your results. Looking at the disadvantages list below will provide you with a brief overview of whether taking you’re A-Levels online will be a suitable choice for you.  

Is Every A-Level Subject Accepted If Completed Online?

Yes! It makes no difference what subject you took, only the grades you achieved for it. As long as the subject you took meets the requirements of the course you are applying for, then you should be good to go! 

Do You Have an Advantage in Any A-Level Subject by Completing It Online?

In short, no. Completing a subject online does not give you any sort of upper hand when it comes to university admissions.  

It will only become an advantage if this style of learning suited you well and this results in you then going on to achieve better grades than in a physical school. It could also be a disadvantage for the same reasonit all depends on the way you prefer to learn. 

Are Any Organisations Not Accepted by Universities?

question one might have is whether there are any online organisations that universities do not accept alumni from, or that have a particularly bad reputation with universities? 

Well, the short answer is no. No universities look down upon any organisation, however, sometimes organisations have a bad reputation with the public. As these organisations are online, this can put students in a vulnerable position, making them more likely to be victims of fraud and end up being scammed. This is obviously best avoided and is the reason why enough research must be conducted beforehand to ensure this unfortunate event does not occur! Platforms such as Trustpilot are useful in deciphering which companies are genuine and which are not 

Not all companies are fraudsters, however- some are just indisputably substandard. Again, websites such as Trustpilot offer hundreds of personal reviews of the organisation and what they have to offer, to ensure that what you are paying for is the right thing for you. 

Do You Have a Disadvantage in Admissions?

No! If you have the right qualifications and grades, admissions officers will not look down on you for taking your A-Levels online! 

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Taking Your A-Levels Online?

As with everything, taking your A-Levels online comes with many advantages and disadvantages. Here is a list of all the pros and cons that come with this form of examination: 


  • The tutoring leading up to your A-Levels can all be completed at home! This is a great option for those who feel uncomfortable enrolling at a local school or a specialised college.  
  • This option is generally cheaper than a specialised college. Specialised colleges, such as Ashbourne College, to tend to charge large sums of money due to their specialisation, and this is not always something that everyone feels like they want to pay. Online A-Levels generally cost between £20-£100, depending on the company you choose, whereas independent colleges such as the aforementioned can cost up to £6000, which is a very large sum of money. 
  • Since the learning is done online, a lot of the time this work can be self-paced, which is fantastic for those who do not work well under the pressure of deadlines. Attending a physical school comes with the dreaded homework, which some students can find overwhelming to complete. 
  • As of 2021, COVID-19 is still a major factor in our lives and has yet again cancelled in-person exams and lots of tutoring sessions. Online A-Levels can be a great option for those shielding, or who would prefer to distance as they complete the lead-up to their A-Levels. It is a safer option during these virus-stricken times. 
  • Online learning suits a variety of different learning styles, whether you can be easily distracted by large groups and the general noise of a classroom and prefer to work alone, a visual learner who thrives from the inclusion of videos in lessons (which are included in much bigger proportions in online learning) or prefer to learn through audio (such as podcasts), online A-Levels can be very advantageous if you relate with any of these points. 
  • As learning is completed at home, no commuting/travelling is involved! This saves a lot of money for those who had to use transport such as the bus, train, or their own private car to get to school. It is also a benefit for the environment, as this reduces a person’s carbon footprint and therefore reducing emissions. 


  • Online A-Levels do cost money, making it a more expensive option than simply attending a local school, where education is provided free of charge by the government. 
  • Learning at home can cause social isolation, as you are not made to converse with peers as you would in a physical school 
  • Doing your A-Levels online, as with any e-learning, requires a lot of self-motivation and time-management skills. Without these necessary tools handy, you may struggle without the encouragement of teachers and fellow students, and the standard deadlines that come with going to school, such as the end of a lesson period, or a homework due date. 
  • Online A-Levels may restrict your ability to complete practicals, as online learning generally tends to focus more on the theory side of learning. In subjects such as Chemistry, this can severely hinder your ability to perform well. 
  • When learning online, cheating prevention is a complicated topicMany people cannot help but surrender to the temptation of quickly looking up the answer on the internet, which can then make these gaps in your knowledge unapparent to your tutor. When completing assignments in a physical school, cheating is virtually impossible, and is increasingly difficult and risky. Teachers often do not realise while in online school, either, meaning that this issue can go unnoticed, and the gaps in your knowledge cannot be filled. 
  • Feedback is limited online. Many students will just receive a short, typed message, which is only just substantial. Some students may feel more assured by a teacher speaking to them in person and take in the feedback they are given to a greater extent than they do online, which overall is a major factor in their learning as it helps them to engage in correcting their mistakes in the future.
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