Can You Go to University With T-Levels?

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Due to the confusion found by many students in the UK moving into further education, the government has made the decision to reform the options post-GCSE. This decision has come with a new qualification: T-Levels. However, the next question for thousands of 16-year-olds across the country is whether universities will accept the new T-Levels or not. It’s always important to know what your options are after finishing school before taking the jump into further education.

In the UK, it is definitely possible to be accepted into university with T-Levels. However, there are some universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, that will not accept T-Levels. See here for Oxford’s take on T-Levels. As universities are independent from the government, it is for them to set their entry requirements, this is why there may be discrepancies in the acceptance of T-Levels at universities across the country. To see the list of universities accepting T-Levels as of 2022 click here.

By continuing to read this article you can learn the following:

  • T-Level grades required for a successful university application
  • Which universities accept T-Level students
  • Other opportunities created by taking T-Level qualifications.

This article aims to answer many of the questions you may have on T-Levels and help you with your decision going into further education.

Can You Go to University With T-Levels?

T-Levels came onto the educatory scene in 2020, making 2022 the first examination year. This means that, technically speaking, no student was accepted onto a university course when applying with T-Levels before 2022. However, students applying for 2022 entry into higher education were able to apply with their predicted T-Level grades, and some were successful in receiving offers.

Many universities are dubious of T-Levels due to their deference from the academic side of learning. Due to its nature, a T-Level thoroughly prepares you for the workplace, giving students the skills and experience needed for lots of careers in the industry. But this structure means that the courses direct learners towards the workplace straight away, rather than to higher education.

This article in the news describes some of the difficulties faced by T-Level students in 2022 as they battled to apply for spots at university.

Which Universities Accept T-Levels?

As of 2022, 123 universities across the UK accept students with T-Levels, a list of which is provided in this article from the government. Whilst there are many names missing from this list, particularly in the realms of Russell Group universities, it is likely that in the years to come, more schools will come to accept T-Level students.

It is difficult to gauge whether people who’ve taken T-Levels will have the right skill, motivation and mindset to complete university with the best grades possible. For this reason, lots of universities are dubious of accepting those with T-Levels.

As they become more familiar with the concept and students with T-Levels who are accepted prove themselves to be worthy of their places at university, more schools should allow T-Level pupils in.

Does Oxbridge Accept T-Levels?

Unfortunately, two of the schools who do not accept T-Levels are Oxford and Cambridge. In a statement from Oxford, “T-Levels are not considered appropriate preparation and are therefore not accepted.” You can click here to view the full article. The University of Cambridge states a similar hostility towards T-Levels, which can be seen in this article.

The reason Oxbridge are so opposed to these qualifications is believed to be because they are structured in a way that moves away from academics. On completion of the course, you’re awarded a single grade for the subject, combining the grades earned in each element. This article explains the concept in further detail.

Therefore, Oxford and Cambridge steer away from T-Level students because they have to apply with a single grade. They have a similar mindset for students with BTEC diplomas as well. The difference is that BTECs have the opportunity to become a mixture of qualifications with A-Levels. 

However, one way in which Cambridge may accept T-Level students is in applications to foundation years. The university states in this article that they will “consider admissions to foundation year courses” which gives students a pathway onto full degrees using foundation years.

What T-Level Grades Do You Need to Be Accepted to University?

When applying to university, there is no black and white threshold grade which needs to be achieved to be accepted. The minimum grades required vary from school to school and can also be dependent on both the subject and what level the degree is being taken at (e.g., bachelor’s).

The T-Level grading system varies from the A-Level one. The T-Level course is designed to give students one overall grade between a Distinction* and a Pass, by combining the grades earnt from different elements of the course.

Where a university might ask for AAB at A-Level, this would be equivalent to a merit, whereas ABB would need a T-Level pass. This resembles the BTEC grading system, click here to see our article on T-Levels vs BTECs.

Generally speaking, the better the university, the higher the required grades, although this isn’t always the case so make sure you research your chosen university thoroughly, including whether it accepts T-Levels or not.

How Many UCAS Points Does a T-Level Earn?

In order to apply for university, you must earn UCAS points. Each university has a threshold number of points which you must hold in order to have your application considered, and without the right amount, they are unlikely to accept you.

There are lots of ways to earn UCAS points outside of academics, as listed in this article. However, the majority of a student’s points come from their grades, and the higher your grades, the more points you earn.

Although the T-Level grading system varies from the A-Level one, the UCAS point system lines up so that equivalent grades receive the same number of points. An A and Distinction * are equal to 144 points, a B and a Distinction are equal to 120 points and so on.

However, this can become more complex when a student earns different grades for each of their subjects e.g., ABB. This is where the single grade system can either work in favour, or against a student, depending on the grade they get. For more information on how UCAS points are earnt and what each grade is worth, click here for the UCAS article on T-Levels.

What Do T-Levels Best Set You Up For?

The point of a T-Level is that it is a fusion of the academic education found in BTECs and the practical side of a subject seen in apprenticeships. This is where the real-world experience can be found. This article from the government explains the structure in further detail.

This means that technically speaking, T-Levels give you the best of both worlds, as T-Levels allow you to prepare for both the workplace and higher academic education. This is why T-Levels are a good option for students who know what they want to do but want to keep their options post-18 wide open.

However, as we’ve seen from Oxbridge, some universities can be put off by the fact that the qualification has both theoretical and practical elements. If you’re intent on studying at Oxford or Cambridge, then A-Levels may be the best option for you.

This article from the government describes how to choose between studying A-Levels and T-Levels in more detail, and which types of students each are suited to.

Just remember that it is crucially important to explore all of your options before making a final decision on what you want to do post-16. As well as this, it’s always a good idea to check the requirements for entry put out by any universities you’re particularly interested in.

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