Sometimes, students just don’t get the A-Level grades that they need or even don’t achieve any A-Levels at all! Unfortunately, it can be quite common for this to happen. However, this doesn’t mean that these students can’t get into university! There are plenty of other routes which can be taken instead. Taking a foundation year could act as a saviour to some students. It allows them to get into university with slightly lower qualifications, as they dedicate an extra year of studying to their university before they start their official university degree.
You can definitely do a foundation year without A-Levels. Many universities that offer foundation years accept applicants who have other qualifications, such as BTECs or qualifications from vocational courses. However, it is true that some universities will require students to have at least one A-Level. However, this is not a requirement for many universities who offer foundation years.
If you want to discover more about the qualifications you need to be accepted into a foundation year and why A-Levels are often not an essential requirement, check out the rest of this article!
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What qualifications do you need to do a foundation year at university?
You may be surprised to hear that there are no set qualifications that you actually need in order to be accepted into a foundation year at university. What qualifications you need to be accepted into university depends on each individual course and university.
Some courses don’t even require you to have any formal, academic qualifications. Having industrial or commercial work experience may suffice in order to be accepted onto the course, as shown in this article by Prospects.
The best thing for you to do if you want to discover the entry requirements for a certain foundation degree is to research the specific course! However, there are a set of general requirements you must have, which can be found on this article from Times Higher Education.
You must be 18 years or older and can speak English. You may also have to write a personal statement and go through an interview process.
Do you need A-Levels to do a foundation year?
As already stated, there are usually no set requirements for qualifications you need to be accepted into a foundation year. Therefore, you do not need A-Levels to apply for many different foundation year courses. However, it is true that some courses may require applicants to have at least one A-Level.
This is not all of them though! After all, foundation year courses accept a wide range of different qualifications. These include BTEC diplomas, international qualifications and even work experience. Check out this article from the University of Cambridge to discover all of the qualifications which are accepted.
You don’t specifically need A-Levels to be accepted onto many university’s foundation years because foundation years are often used by students who didn’t do very well during their A-Levels. As a result, they are used as an alternative route to get into university.
You can discover more about the entry requirements for foundation years and more general information if you check out this article from Go Student.
How many UCAS points do you need to do a foundation year?
As already stated, the entry requirements for a foundation year differs between each individual university and each individual course. Some foundation year courses will accept individuals who don’t have many formal qualifications but do have some relevant work experience.
However, some foundation year courses do require students to have a specific number of UCAS points. The amount of UCAS points you may need differs between each university. However, they are often quite low and can be made up of different types of qualifications, such as BTECs and other vocational qualifications at a Level 3.
For example, Manchester Metropolitan University requires students to have between 72 and 80 UCAS tariff points in order to be accepted into a foundation year. You can discover more information about the entry requirements if you check out this article from the Manchester Metropolitan University website.
In comparison, this article from the Bournemouth University website states that only 48-72 UCAS tariff points are needed to be accepted into a foundation year. However, this must include one A-Level.
Therefore, the best thing to do is research different foundation years from different universities because the entry requirements between different ones can be extremely dissimilar.
Why don’t you need A-Levels to be accepted into a foundation year?
As already discussed in this article, many universities do not require students to have any set formal qualifications to be accepted into a foundation year. The main reason for this is because foundation years were created and designed for those students who might need a bit of extra help before they start university.
Students are also entitled to financial help, as shown in this article from Think Student. If a student isn’t accepted into university because their A-Level grades are too low or they don’t have the correct number of UCAS points, foundation years are fantastic.
This is because they are used to give students extra support and give them extra preparation before they start their degree. A-Levels are therefore not needed because the foundation year can be used instead to prepare the student for university in terms of knowledge, instead of A-Levels.
Foundation years are also widely used by international students, who wouldn’t have been able to do any A-Levels.
What qualifications are needed to be accepted into a foundation year as an international student?
To be accepted into a foundation year as an international student, a more formal set of entry requirements must be met compared to UK students. Of course, this won’t be in the form of A-Levels, so A-Levels are not needed in order for an international student to be accepted.
In general, an international student will need an IELTS score of 4.5 as a minimum. If you are unsure about what this qualification actually is, check out this article from Think Student.
They will also be required to show a certificate from their higher secondary school, transcripts from their secondary school and even a reference letter from one of their teachers! They will also be required to write a personal statement, similar to students from the UK.
You can discover more about studying a foundation year in the UK as an international student if you check out this article from the SI-UK website. Some students may also need to complete a formal English language speaking course if they are unable to yet speak English fluently.
What alternative routes are there to university without A-Levels apart from foundation years?
As you already know, foundation years are useful for students who may not have a good set of A-Levels or any formal academic qualifications to help get them into university. However, some individuals may not want to do an extra year at university.
Instead, they may want to gain a qualification which is apart from the university. There are a number of different ways that you can get into university without any A-Levels this way. One example is the Access to Higher Education Diploma.
Once you have completed this qualification, you would have gained a qualification which is equivalent to three A-Levels! This is often taught in further education colleges and not at a university. You can find out more about this qualification if you check out this article from What Uni.
Another option is the International Baccalaureate diploma programme. You would have to choose six subjects and complete assessments on these. This qualification is demanding but students all around the world can take it!
It is a great way to get into university without doing a foundation year. However, this qualification is only for 16–19-year-olds. You can find out more about the International Baccalaureate diploma programme if you check out this article from UCAS.
You can discover more ways of getting into university without A-Levels if you check out this article from Think Student. You can also find more alternatives to A-Levels if you check out this article from Think Student.
Can you get into university with 1 A-Level without doing a foundation year?
There are two amazing qualifications you may have not heard of before which allow students entry to university with just one A-Level!
They are called HNCs and HNDs. A HNC stands for a ‘higher national certificate’, and it is a level 4 vocational qualification. It takes one year to complete at a university and is equivalent to the first year of a bachelor’s degree!
Therefore, once you have completed a HNC, you can go straight into your second year at university and won’t be a year behind everybody else. In comparison, a HND stands for a ‘higher national diploma’.
This qualification lasts two years, so is then equivalent to the first two years of a university degree and is equivalent to level 5. Consequently, you can then join your university course in the third year.
These are great alternatives to foundation years if you have at least one A-Level and enjoy learning in a practical way. You also won’t be a year behind other students! These qualifications are practical based, so that you gain the skills needed in order to flourish in the workplace.
The subjects you can gain these qualifications in are quite limited but include Accounting, Engineering and Social Services. You can check out the other subjects and discover more information about HNCs and HNDs if you check out this article from What Uni.
Alternatively, you can discover more about them in this article from Think Student.