Ashford College - Access to HE
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Access to HE


Pathways are made up of courses focused on future careers or further education opportunities

The Access to HE Diploma is intended to prepare people without traditional entry qualifications for degree level study at university. It may also be used by people wishing to make a career change or who have been out of formal education for a significant time in order to gain the skills and confidence required for direct progression to employment or further study.

It is regulated by QAA and widely recognised as a progression route by universities across the UK. Credits are accumulated throughout the course towards the Access Diploma and are equivalent entry qualifications to A-Levels.

We currently offer one diploma and a pre-access to HE course. Our Access courses are modular giving you choice in the subjects you study. All students produce a portfolio of work built throughout the course and formal assessments throughout the year, which may include (dependent on subjects chosen): essays, presentations, coursework, experiment reports, and timed in-class exercises.

The Pre-Access course is designed specifically for mature students who are returning to education after a period of time and are planning to progress onto the full-time Access to Higher Education course, or as preparation for any number of further education courses. You will gain the necessary skills to further your studies including: English language, Maths/statistics and ICT.

Please be aware the Access to HE Pathway is currently only for those 19+. 

Student Experiences

Access to HE has taken our students on a wide range of different journeys at University, from studying the subject that they had always wanted to do, to realising what subjects they truly enjoyed. As well as some snippets below of why people loved Access to HE at Ashford College, make sure you read our blog for more details!


With these courses, you can progress onto further studies in areas such as:

  • Psychology
  • Criminology,
  • Sociology,
  • English language and literature,
  • Law,
  • Politics,
  • Science

These are just a few of the areas available, but the list is endless and you can choose the area you go into. 


The below video by Laser Learning Awards (the governing body behind our Access courses) may answer some of your questions about Access to HE, but scroll down to see some of our FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions).


Q: Can I go to university without A Levels?

A: Yes, the Access course allows students over the age of 18 who do not have sufficient academic qualifications for entering university to complete the required studies. You will need GCSE English or Maths for this pathway or an equivalent qualification. (our Pre-Access course can help you to gain these but it is advised you have at least one GCSE in these subjects.)


Q: How long does the Access course take?

A: We start in September and you’ll be finished by the end of June the following year, starting university in September of the same year.


Q: Is the Access course worth the same UCAS points as A Levels?

A: In short: yes. An Access course has 45 credits awarded at Pass, Merit and Distinction, these range between 48 and 144 UCAS tariff points, depending on your grade profile. 


Q: What is the difference between Access and A Levels?

A: There is no difference between the qualifications in terms of allowing you to enter higher education. However, the Access course is structured differently to A Levels and there are no final public exams to sit. You will learn through discussion and debate, rather than just from textbooks. Crucially, Access takes 1 year rather than 2, so it’s pretty intense.


If you have any further questions about our Access to HE courses, please contact the college on 01233 743100 or by email at

Courses at Ashford College

If you know exactly which course and level you need to apply for, or want more information, please select from the options below:

Why people love Access to HE

Connor - now studying Paramedicine

Connor - now studying Paramedicine

"I had a definitive goal of wanting to do paramedicine but with no A Levels I did Access at Ashford. I only applied near the start of the course and I'm so glad I did as a year later I'm now at University studying paramedicine." Read more of Connor's story on our blog. 

Chloe - confidence boosted

Chloe - confidence boosted

I wouldn’t be going to Uni without this Access to HE course. It gave me the confidence to do it. If you had told me a year ago that I’d go to University to do Criminology and Psychology I wouldn't have believed you. The support at Ashford along the way was incredible.

Guy - 2021/22 Access Pathway Champion

Guy - 2021/22 Access Pathway Champion

‘The Access to HE course has allowed me to see that there is a magnitude of options open to me. It also helped me realise what I enjoy, and that I am capable of more than I previously thought I was. I am now going onto a degree in education.’

Contact us

We'd love to hear from you

Elwick Road
TN23 1NN

01233 743100