T-Levels are fairly new qualifications introduced to students entering Level 3 education as an alternative to BTECs. Students finishing their GCSEs must stay in full time education for a further two years, but they have some flexibility. One of their options is the T-Level, consisting of half academic classroom work and half practical skills in the workplace. In order to apply for a T-Level, you should familiarise yourself with the entry requirements first, as these can change from school to school.
The entry requirements for T-Levels at sixth form college in the UK are the same as most other Level 3 qualifications. You must be able to present a set of GCSE results, including respectable scores in subjects related to your chosen course. A pass in GCSE English and Maths is also required. Some colleges also like students to have the extra practice gained on a year-long transition course designed for T-Level students. The requirements vary between schools, so the essential prerequisites you need mainly depend on the colleges you choose to apply for.
Keep reading to discover what some of the other entry requirements are for T-Levels, what each specific course may require and more about the application process in general.
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What are the T-Level entry requirements?
T-Levels, as with every other Level 3 qualification, require a couple of things from students. One of these is a set of GCSE results including several good results in subjects related to your chosen course.
T-Levels require you to have obtained a pass grade in GCSE English and Maths. If a student hasn’t acquired these, they may have the option to retake during their T-Level course. Generally, this is a requirement for all forms of further education. This is mentioned further in this article on the Think Student website.
Do you need GCSEs to study T-Levels?
The only requirement which is the same wherever you go is the need for a few decent GCSE results. Regardless of which college you apply to, what subject it is or even if you’re taking a different qualification such as A-Levels, you will need the right GCSE grades.
Entry requirements usually include at least five or six subjects where a pass grade or higher was obtained. The fundamental grades will differ slightly from school to school, so make sure you do some research and double check you have the right results.
There may also be extra requirements in terms of GCSE grades depending on the subject you’re looking to study. For example, if you wanted to take a course in healthcare science, one of the ten subjects currently available, you would most likely need decent grades in chemistry and biology.
Make sure you research your course well and read the website or documentation sent by the school you’re applying to. Alternatively, you can view this article on the government’s T-level page with a list of available subjects and what each may require.
What are the other academic entry requirements for T-Levels?
For the most part, the only essential requirement colleges have for students looking to take T-Levels is a set of GCSEs. However, you should research your college and the course information provided to get an idea of any extra work needed.
This document released by Bath College describes the entry requirements for each course, one of which is the Transition to T-Level programme. This is a programme offered by some colleges and schools across the UK for Level 2 students who plan on taking T-Levels. The programme takes a year and allows students to get a taste of the T-Level programme, as well as some experience with a different way of learning.
Not all colleges require students to take the programme. However, for highbrow education providers such as Bath, students need to prove their dedication to the subject they wish to study. This document from the government explains more about what the T-Level Transition programme involves and its benefits, even if your chosen college doesn’t require you to participate.
You’ll notice in this document that some subjects also have an “occupational specialism” listed as an entry requirement. An occupational specialism is very similar to what most students know as work experience. As part of a T-Level, you are required to participate in an occupational specialism, alongside other components of the course. You can read about the other sections making up a T-Level in this governmental article.
However, when a college, such as Bath, asks for an occupational specialism as an entry requirement, this means you should have participated in some on the job training as part of the Transition into T-Level programme.
Should you complete any work outside of the entry requirements?
To be allowed into a T-Level course, you should have taken the required qualifications previously. However, there is nothing stopping you from undertaking extra work, especially during the summer after GCSE exams have finished, to prepare you for your T-Level.
Although this work is not necessary and you will still be allowed onto a T-Level course without it, there is no harm in getting some extra practise. If you end up taking any courses of note, such as online certificates, you could list these on your CV in the future anyway.
Doing work outside of the T-Level programme beforehand is mainly down to you. If you have a genuine passion for your subject then naturally, you may want to research the field further anyway. If you’re reluctant to participate in courses over the summer, then you should consider whether your chosen course is really the best for you.
How old should you be to take T-Levels?
Although most of the requirements for T-Levels involve your educatory background, there are some logistical essentials as well. As T-Levels are designed for those going into Level 3 education, the majority of students start the qualification at age 16. Students younger than this, even if they have already completed GCSEs, will not be able to start T-Levels until reaching this age.
Unfortunately, all but two T-Level courses requires students to have started learning before the age of 18. Other Level 3 qualifications such as A-Levels and BTECs can be taken by students at any age so long as they have the prerequisites. However, as they are fairly new, unknown qualifications, T-Levels are not yet offered in any adult education colleges, as of 2022.
The government plans to change this in the future, meaning that people of any age should be able to participate in T-Levels. However, seeing as there are currently only ten subjects available as T-Levels and the qualifications haven’t even been properly implemented yet, adult T-Levels are not the most important issue.
The one exception to this is the education and healthcare science courses. For these, students can continue learning until the age of 24 as it takes longer to fully complete training in these subject areas. Lots of students end up starting these courses aged 16, take part in other programmes to further their knowledge and understanding and then return to finish the practical side of the T-Level course.
Check out this article on the Think Student website to read about the age restraints of T-Levels in 2022 in further detail.
How do you apply for T-Levels?
When applying for T-Levels, you don’t have to apply for a specific type of qualifications such as A-Levels or T-Levels, but to the college itself. Before applying, you should make sure that all the colleges you’re applying to actually offer T-Levels as a course. You can use the government T-level search engine if you click here, to find a sixth form offering the right course near you.
In terms of the application process itself, most sixth forms will require you to present your GCSEs as part of an application form before a deadline. Click here to read more about the timings on college applications on the Think Student website.
You may also have to fill in some statements about yourself or even send in a covering letter and CV if the school is particularly scholarly. This article from Think Student described exactly how to write the perfect personal statement for sixth form college.
There is no limit to the number of schools and colleges you apply for. Unlike with university where you can only inquire into a maximum of five schools, you can put in as many sixth form applications as you wish. Just remember to track how many applications you’ve made and keep tabs on each. You can click here and view the Think Student website to read more about the limits on applications.
Once you have been accepted by a college, you can then book yourself onto one of their T-Level courses. It’s worth mentioning somewhere in the personal statement or on the form that you have a particular interest in studying T-Levels.
However, there is plenty of flexibility in the first few weeks of sixth form if you aren’t enjoying your subject. There’s always the possibility to swap to a different course within the college.
Can you go to university with T-Levels?
Despite how new the qualifications are, most universities in the UK will accept T-Level students onto their courses. This depends on what you have studied previously and the nature of the subject you wish to take. Getting accepted into university also depends on your grades. Check out this article from Think Student to understand the T-Level grading system.
There are a couple of Russell Group universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, who unfortunately do not allow T-Level students to apply for their courses. This is because they do not believe that the qualification adequately prepares students for the nature of their courses.
Although T-Levels are made up of both practical and academic elements, a student with A-Levels will be more accustomed to the style of teaching seen at universities. For more information about which universities accept T-Levels and why, read this article from the Think Student website.