Admission to the course is by interview and assessment; no formal qualifications are required. Once you have applied, you will be invited to an information, interview and assessment session when we will assess your English and Maths skills. This is to ensure that you are working at around Level Two (GCSE Level) in English and Level One in Maths at the start of your course or higher. If we find that you still have some progress to make in English or Maths, then we will discuss our Introduction to Access Level 2 programmes with you at interview.
Access is a Level Three (A Level standard) programme specifically designed for adult learners (over 19) who would like to prepare to study a University course. Access courses give learners the skills as well as the qualification they need to take their study further. The courses are designed to build confidence and personal development and to enable learners to work independently and successfully when they reach University. The Access Diploma is a national qualification recognised by Universities across the country. Access students are valued by Universities for their determination and independent study skills. We have an extremely good track record of successful progression to University.
Who is the course suitable for?
Access is ideal for adults (people over 19) who may not have studied for some time and now wish to return to education. It is very well regarded by University Admissions Tutors and is the usual route for adult learners to take to University. You will need the motivation and commitment to complete the assignment programme and a real enthusiasm for learning. It is important to be aware that University courses in Social Work and some related areas will require a record of relevant working or voluntary experience in addition to the Access programme. We will discuss this requirement with you at interview.
You will study the following Level 3 modules: English for Academic Purposes; Ethics; Research Skills in a subject of your choice; Social Policy; three of the following specialisms: Law, History, Literature, Psychology, Sociology. Your Progression sessions will focus on professional role, if thats what you intend, and support you through the University application process. There will be a course to prepare you for the University entrance tests in Mathematics if you need it. Unless you have GCSEs in Mathematics and English Grade A*-C you will also be able to take a GCSE Maths or English course.
Development of Maths and English
The course includes English for Academic Purposes and preparation for University Mathematics tests for those students who need it. Most Universities require GCSE A-C in English or Maths. If you do not already hold a GCSE qualification in English and Mathematics, Grades A-C, you will also be able to join a GCSE course in either or both of these subjects. Every module you study will require the development and demonstration of skills in English and Mathematics as you prepare for the demands of University study.
Employability Skills Development
During your Progression classes, you will discuss and reflect on the values and skills required by professionals in the area you intend to study and link these to your own experience of practice if you have it. You will develop the empathetic communication skills that professionals need as well as skills in presenting argument in discussion and debate. Your research project will equip you to find and review the latest research in your area of interest. We have visits from University staff and visits to Universities too. Former students visit us often to share their experience of University study and practice. Our teachers are well-qualified in their fields and experienced in working with adult students. We supervise and support all aspects of the University application process.
How will the course be taught?
You will complete the Access course in one academic year as a one-year or intensive student, starting in September or December (induction) and finishing the following June or July; alternatively, you can take the programme over two years. The one-year timetable is arranged over three days each week Monday, Tuesday, Thursday. The Intensive course also includes Wednesday afternoon and Friday. The two-year course runs on Fridays. Classes are held between 9.30 am and 4.45 pm. Learning methods include lectures, classroom based learning, research using the internet, group work, discussion and individual written work. Lessons are planned to take the learning needs of each individual into account. Access is a demanding course. You will need to be able to put aside 12-15 hours a week for independent study (8-10 for the two-year course) in addition to the timetabled days in order to complete the assignment programme.
How will I know how well I am doing?
Like University courses, Access courses are credit-based. They are assessed through graded assignments and projects. You will undertake 25 assignments and a research dissertation during the course. Subject tutors will give you detailed feedback on each assignment. You will have an academic tutor assigned to you who will meet with you regularly to track your progress and set targets to support you in meeting the best profile of grades possible. If necessary, we can refer you to the support of a Learning Mentor or Additional Learning Support tutor to meet any individual needs you may have.
Are there any additional costs?
There are very few additional course costs for learners beyond the fee. You will need basic stationery, and a good USB stick and a scientific calculator are useful. We have an excellent library and good IT facilities at college, so if you dont have access to the internet at home, you can complete your work in college. Remember, though, that this is a demanding course and you will need to factor in the costs such as travel, child care and, in some cases, loss of earnings or other income if you undertake a significant course of study. It may be that you qualify for financial support to help towards travel and other incidental costs, or help with the costs of child care. We will discuss this at interview.
What course can I do next?
Successful completion of an Access course means you can apply to study at Universities across the country through the UCAS scheme. The College has guaranteed interview arrangements with the University of Bedfordshire. Your University offer will be based on the number of Credits you achieve at Merit or Distinction. Degree subjects taken by our Access students recently include: Psychology, Social Work; Law, Youth and Community; Educational Psychology; Psychology and Counselling; Criminology; English; Linguistics; Japanese Studies; Korean Studies; History; Geography; Law; History; International Relations; Anthropology; International Development; Performing Arts.
Where can I get further support / advice?
Contact the college on 01582 477 776 or go to our website: www.centralbeds.ac.uk
How do I join the course?
Apply through our website: www.centralbeds.ac.uk. You will be invited to an information, assessment, interview and advice session.
If you are 19-23 on 1 September and do not already have a full Level 3 qualification such as A Levels or BTEC Level 3, the course may be free. If you are 24 or over on 1 September, or 19-23 but hold a Level 3 qualification already, the fee is £3,022 which will be covered by a government loan which will not have to be repaid as long as you complete your degree course. Please note that these fees apply to students who can demonstrate their status as UK or EU citizens or have indefinite leave to remain and 3 years residence in the UK or EU. Other candidates may be international students. Access to the loan may vary if you already have a degree. We will be able to advise you about your status on application. There is detailed information on fees, bursaries and loans on the designated page of our website.