While A-Level students have to wait until results day to find out if they have made their university offers, BTEC students are already ahead of the game because they get their results a little earlier.
For those students with BTEC qualifications who sadly didn’t make their grades, now is therefore a great time to start contacting other universities that you might be interested in to beat the rush of clearing on A-Level results day. Many universities like the University of Bedfordshire have already opened their clearing call lines. By giving yourself enough time to consider your options fully, and selecting an alternative course that is truly right for you, you will be best placed to hit the ground running once you start at your chosen university.
Many universities offer campus tours throughout the summer, recommended to help you get more of a feel for the university than what you might see online or in a prospectus. Attending these is also a useful chance to speak with university staff and students face to face. One thing you might like to ask about is the opportunities for professional and practical experience within the course that you are looking at. For example, some programmes may have a built-in professional experience year and others may have employability modules, which are worth considering for your wider career development.
Another thing to bear in mind when considering courses is the likely graduate career opportunities. You might like to speak with a university careers advisor for example about what sort of careers you might be able to go into with a certain course. Similarly course directors can provide helpful information on what previous students have gone on to do, which can give you useful insight and inspiration for your future career.
When it comes to employability you will already be at a distinct advantage as a BTEC student. The vocational focus of BTEC courses will have given you a good insight into a particular profession or industry. Since admissions tutors are always looking to recruit highly employable students, the professional skills gained on your BTEC will help you to stand out from the crowd. While studying towards your BTEC you will also have enjoyed a highly practical style of learning. You could ask universities whether the courses they offer have similar, practical, coursework-based learning and assessment styles.
Making an application through the UCAS Clearing service with BTEC qualifications instead of A-Levels is not something that you should worry about. The numbers of people applying to university with BTECs has risen considerably in recent years and for admissions officers a BTEC is seen as just as credible a qualification as an A-Level.
If you find yourself in this position, getting to the front of the queue for Clearing vacancies can put you in an ideal position. However it is important not to rush into a decision if you are unsure or have any concerns. With universities like the University of Bedfordshire continuing to take applications right up to registration in September, there is still ample time to ask questions and visit the university where possible, all to make sure that you are happy with your final choice.
This article was contributed to Young Academic by Bob Cozens, Director of Admissions, University of Bedfordshire