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Access Learners and HE Admissions

Access Learners and HE Admissions

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Access Learners and HE Admissions

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  1. Access Learners and HE Admissions Betsy Bowerman, Mature Students’ Adviser

  2. Access – how is it viewed • ‘In considering applications from mature students we give credit for a range of vocational qualifications and occupational and life experiences, as well as more traditional qualifications, such as A levels or Access courses.’

  3. Access and selecting institutions • UCAS data shows that the rate of acceptance of Access students to pre-1992 institutions is lower than for other mature students • Is this due to perceptions about the qualification or about Access students?

  4. FE project • Joint project with Bath University looking at progression of FE students • Concerns about progression • Perceptions of Access as appropriate progression varied between departments • Science and Maths an issue • Additional requirements

  5. The admissions context • Admissions tutors are less familiar with Access and other non-A level qualifications • Many new quals coming on board so need for better knowledge • Issue of who is a ‘mature’ student and Access • Fewer Access students mean one bad experience is magnified • But many departments extremely positive and welcoming

  6. The admissions process: issues around Access in past • Lack of commonality and consistency in Access courses • Credibility of the qualification – undifferentiated award • Lack of clarity from universities about entry criteria for Access – plus credit inflation • Lack of information from providers about course and applicant

  7. Developments • The new Access to HE Diploma • Common credit framework with standard requirement – 60 credits, 45 at level 3 • Western Access Progression Agreement (WAPA) - in our region • Grading – phase two of pilot this year, grading in place next year • Will open up more progression opportunities

  8. Helping Access students to gain a place • Check suitability/match of HE course • Deadlines • List all units and level • Informative references or offer of follow up reference

  9. Personal statements • Clear passion for subject – evidence of extra reading or particular topic of interest • How relevant work or life experiences have shaped interests • Explanation of previous performance, route taken • Evidence of practical skills • How they can benefit from study in HE

  10. What are admissions tutors looking for? • ‘I like candidates to be honest and explain (briefly) why they have followed a slightly unusual progression to HE. I’m not asking for hard-luck stories, but it does help to get a more rounded picture of the individual.’ • ‘We do like to see some acknowledgment of how they’ve changed and why they are now more suitable for HE.’

  11. What are admissions tutors looking for? • ‘The single thing that impresses me most is a clear passion for the subject.’ • ‘Evidence of extra reading and perhaps a brief discussion of areas they find interesting is always a good sign.’ • The students who stand out clearly demonstrate vocational commitment, so have taken time to visit an audiology department, spoken to an audiologist about what the job involves…’

  12. References • Information about the course • Structure, subjects • Student’s academic abilities and interests – as much ‘hard’ information as possible – level 3 achievement • Student’s commitment, inc. time management, meeting deadlines • Social and communication skills • Recommendation for degree level study

  13. Contact • Betsy.Bowerman@bristol.ac.uk • 0117 954 5937