5 Reasons to Choose an Access Course Over a Foundation Year

Students on computer

If you’re looking to reskill or go back into education as an adult learner, you might be confused as to which path to take.

You may have heard about access courses and foundation years, but which option is the right one for you?

The achievements of Access to HE Diploma students upon completing their degrees areshown to be similar to those of students entering with different qualifications. 

Research shows that 25% of Access to HE Diploma students attain a first-class degree, which is comparable to the 26% of students with alternative Level 3 qualifications. This means that there’s almost no difference between an Access to HE and traditional learning routes to higher education.

Here are 5 reasons why you should choose an Access to Higher Education course over a foundation year:

  • Lower costs
  • Strong peer support systems
  • Boosting skills and confidence
  • Tailored programmes with flexible HE choices
  • Extra support and guidance

Read on to find out more. 

What is an Access course?

An Access to HE course is a programme designed for adult learners who want to study at university level, but currently don’t have the necessary qualifications for their desired course or may not have met the predicted grades for their desired uni course previously.

While some adult students may not have A-levels at all, others may have them, but not the right ones for the course they wish to study at university.

Here’s where an access course is useful.

Upon completion, access courses will provide learners with a qualification that is equivalent to 3 A-levels.

Reason 1: Lower cost

Some Foundation Degrees cost the same as a full year’s university tuition, with most ranging from £7,000 to £9,000. 

However, one of the benefits of Access to HE courses is that they generally cost between £3,000 to £4,000, meaning you only pay half the cost of a Foundation Degree!

If you’re aged 19+, there are some helpful options to help you fund your course or even eliminate some of the costs. 

Reason 2: Strong peer support system

Our Access to HE courses are designed to support adult students back to study, to support their progression to university, and to help them secure the career of their dreams. 

You’ll be studying alongside mature students from a range of backgrounds, each with their own unique story and journey. 

Having made the decision to return to education, you’ll all be starting off with the same goal and be perfectly placed to help each other along the way. 

Reason 3: Boost skills and confidence

You will benefit from a supportive learning environment which can be a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, group work, practical workshops, presentations, debates, and private study.

This closely resembles the learning experienced by students at higher education level, so you’ll be fully prepared for your degree by the time you finish your access course. 

In contrast to foundation degrees, Access to HE courses help learners build their confidence in a ‘college-like’ environment, before taking the big leap to university. This is perfect for those adult learners returning to education after a while out.

Reason 4: Tailored programmes with flexible choices

Foundation degrees are usually tailored to a specific university course, which can be useful, but can also limit your options for progression.

Although access courses can be tailored to specific programmes to ensure the best learning outcomes, they are measured based on UCAS points, meaning you can leave your options open and benefit from flexibility when it comes to choosing your Uni course. This is perfect if you don’t know the exact route you want to take, or if you discover a new area of interest during your studies. 

For example, by enrolling onto UCEN Manchester’s Access to HE Business course, you could then go on to study a whole host of related degree courses such as accounting, marketing or economics. 

Reason 5: Extra support and advice

As well as the extra financial support available to mature students, our Student Support Service will provide expert guidance whenever you need it. 

All of the advisors on our Careers and Welfare team are highly-qualified professionals who can help you on the path to your dream career. 

View our wide range of Access to HE courses and apply today.