There are many routes in to Higher Education (HE), whether you have existing qualifications or not. Some people progress from A Levels or Level 3 qualifications such as BTEC National Diplomas, whilst others have enough industry/professional experience to be accepted onto HE study programmes. To get a good idea of your current position, it is worth looking through our 'Qualifications Explained' section, which explains what each level of qualification is and what level you can progress to next.

If you have few or no formal qualifications, Higher Education is still very much an option. One pathway is to apply for a one year 'Access to Higher Education' course here at Swindon College. Courses are one year full time and run from mid-September to June, timed to fit around the school day and other commitments.

Access pathways

Access courses are a reintroduction to study for adults (normally 19+). They are equivalent to three A Levels and are accepted for entry requirements to related degree or foundation degree courses at British universities.

  • Access to Nursing / Health Care Professions
  • Criminology
  • Social Work
  • Humanities

You will also develop your study, IT, numeracy and team work skills, as well as developing other knowledge and abilities relevant to your chosen study route.

What you will learn

  • Manage time effectively
  • Evaluate strengths and weaknesses
  • Set your own goals
  • Structure essays and write reports
  • Carry out research in the college library
  • Make effective notes
  • Revise and operate in exam conditions
  • Work effectively in small groups.

Contact us

For more advice and information, contact our team of advisors who can discuss your options with you. We have lots of help and information available, including careers, student finance, childcare and learning support. Contact us on 01793 498106 for an informal chat or email: . We look forward to hearing from you.


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Kaci Lucker

Level 3 | Accountancy Apprenticeship

I have a really good employer, they make things easier and are really supportive. I have learnt so much not just in my area of study but also life skills
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Samual Large

Level 3 | Automotive

I have gone from not feeling successful in life, to feeling feel like I can take over the world. I’m going to take this moment and shape it into something special. If something is not for you or you don’t have the passion for it, don’t waste your potential or time and make that change.