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Universities and entry requirements

A good place to start when comparing university courses is to look at the entry requirements; they can help you differentiate between the courses and the choose right one for you.

Entry requirements are also an indicator on what courses you should and could apply for – there isn’t much point in applying for courses that require grades higher than what you are expecting. When it comes down to applying, its best to have one course that is slightly better than you are expected, one lower and one or two that are spot on what your predicted results are; to give you a range of possibilities when results day comes around.

Entry requirements, in the basic form, are the final grades, points or scores that you receive for your exams/courses in which you use to attend university. Achieving the grades that you were predicted, will turn into a university offers; Conditional/Confirmed Offer into a firm place, meaning you have been accepted!

They are usually listed as Grade scores (BBC), UCAS tariff points (220) or UCAS tariff points with a specific grade, such as, 220 points with a B in Chemistry. The subject which the university wants you to have a certain grade is usually connected to the course in some way, and by achieving this, it shows the institution that you’ll be more able to handle the university course.

The UCAS Tariff point system is a way of institutions comparing applicants, even when they may have an array of qualifications. Your grades at A-Level, National Diplomas and BTECs, can be translated into tariff points, where universities can then give every potential student the same consideration.

Entry requirements include more than just what you might study at a college or sixth form, some institutions want more, like, GCSE, Interview, Admission tests, work experience and even when you took your exams. Specific courses will have rules to guarantee that every student has had the same time and information. With some medicine university courses, they require students to have sat the same exams at the same time to give students a head start; so if you need to take a resit, talk to your chosen universities about this option. Some universities want C’s or above in their applicants and may even list the subjects that they are looking for. The UCAS application isn’t the only step that some potential students have to go through, a number of universities invite applicants for interviews, assessment days and even ask them to conduct admission tests. You can read about the entry requirements needed in a prospectus, University Compare or on UCAS.

Admissions at institutions use entry requirements to try and reduce the number of potential students, as each place will receive more applicants than the spaces that they actually have available. Specific courses ask for certain grades to ensure students will feel comfortable and capable when they start the course; its to help students from feeling overwhelmed when they are studying.

In some cases, entry requirements are more of an example than rules set in stone – wait until results day to see if you have been offered a place at your university. Some universities accept equivalents, or slightly lower grades. If you do receive lower than expected, there is the option of UCAS Clearing to find you a course and a university.

All UK universities are able to change their entry requirements, but, only up until they have made you an offer. So if you applied to a course where it stated you needed ABB, the university can offer you a conditional offer of AAB, they are allowed to do this. You don’t have to accept the changed offer if you feel it is unrealistic, but for peace of mind , universities cannot change their entry requirements after they have made you an offer.

Entry requirements do make the whole process easier for everyone; students and universities. They give you a chance to see what courses you can and can’t apply for, as well as admissions staff being able to reduce the amount of potential students and applications. Remember that everything isn’t set in stone, as results day can change everything and you’ll still have a chance to find a course and a university through Clearing if you didn’t receive the grades you were predicted. The best thing you can do is to revise, work hard and get the grades that you’re expecting to attend the course that you want.