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A-levels and Vocational Qualifications – routes to Higher Education

University GraduatesA-level results are hitting the headlines today, and students across the country are waiting in hope to discover if they have a place to study at university. With all the buzz around colleges and sixth form centres, it might seem as though other routes to higher education have been largely forgotten.

More students are taking vocational qualifications than A-levels this year, many of those eligible for UCAS points and subsequent entry to university. Credit must be given to students who have taken that path, worked just as hard, and whose achievements hold just as much value as those of their counterparts on the A-level track.

UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, use a Tariff to compare the thousands of qualifications that provide access to higher education. The UCAS Tariff is a system of allocating points to these qualifications, which are calculated by looking at the size of a qualification and its grading scale. Full information on the UCAS Tariff is available on their website.

Selected VTCT qualifications carry these points, and UCAS make the decision as to how many points are allocated to each of our eligible qualifications. Tariff tables are published, listing each qualification and the number of points available at each grade.

Not all qualifications carry UCAS points, and it’s important to remember that universities and colleges are independent organisations who decide for themselves what their entry requirements will be. This is normally reviewed every year, so learners should not feel the need to make a decision on which qualification to study based on the tariff points, as institutions may accept qualifications that are not on the tariff.

If after your results you’re not sure what path you’d like to take, there are many options out there for you. It could be that you’d like to take on a vocational qualification at Level 4 or above or opt for an Apprenticeship. If you’re thinking about a career in Hair & Beauty, Hospitality or Sports studies, you can take a look at our Career Pathways to help you see your route to success.

Congratulations to everyone across the country collecting results and celebrating successes in your chosen fields. You have all worked extremely hard and whatever the outcome, you deserve to feel proud of your achievements.