Post A-Level opportunities close to home

The exams are over - but now what?
The exams are over - but now what?

IF the A-Level results you received this morning measure up to what you needed to match a conditional university offer at the college you want, that’s great.

But if they don’t or if for any other reason you aren’t fixed up with a post-A Level course starting this autumn, local colleges are keen to help you.

Studying locally is a huge cost-saver if you carry on living at home and you can stay with your existing friends as well as making new ones at college.

The three closest further education colleges at Boston, Peterborough and Stamford have all developed to provide higher education opportunities for people educated to A-Level standard.

They also offer retakes if you decide to go down that route and re-apply with better grades next year.

All three have places available starting this year for degree-level courses which have been developed through links with older established universities.

In most cases the generally more vocational and practical courses only require attendance at college one, two or three days a week, leaving you free to earn while you study.

Tuition fees do apply but apart from saving on £3,000-plus living accommodation costs, students studying locally can expect to be charged considerably less than the £9,000 tuition fees most UK universities ask.

Local colleges also have their own buses running from South Holland towns at a reasonable fare for local students.

Peterborough and Stamford both launched new university campuses offering a range of foundation and degree courses around 2009.

And at Boston College, which offers two part-time degree courses alongside Level 4 and 5 BTEC HND and HNC, there’s a great record of enabling students to get into universities through its Access to Higher Education Diploma.

Applications are also invited for Boston’s Access to Health and Social Care course.

New College Stamford developed its degree courses originally to serve its own A-Level and further education students who didn’t choose to go away to university, but now more than a third of its 18-plus applicants come from other local colleges and schools, many through clearing.

Spokesman John Baldwin said: “Increasingly our degree courses are being seen as a valid alternative to studying away from home.

“Last week three local students joined our Music Foundation course after the Birmingham University course they’d been conditionally accepted for was closed down.

“We have places available in all subjects, and our classes are small.”

University Centre Peterborough is a new £10 million state-of-the-art facility opened in 2009 on the same site as Peterborough Regional College, a joint venture with Anglia Ruskin University.

It offers the widest variety of further and higher education courses in the area, and urges local students who haven’t got the grades they were hoping for to get in touch.

Ring the UCP hotline 0845 1965750 for advice and guidance or go along to clearing days at the college from today.

Academic director of University Centre Peterborough, Liz Knight, said: “Whatever your results, we are here to help! It can seem quite daunting when the results aren’t what you expected, but this is what our results days are all about. Just get in touch because we have people on hand throughout the four days to offer help.”

As well as today from 8am to 8pm, UCP will be open tomorrow from 8am to 8pm, Saturday from 8am to 4pm and Sunday from 8am to 2pm.

UCP will still be interviewing and offering places after the official clearing weekend finishes.

UCP offers a broad range of courses and there are still spaces available so if you have not yet applied to university for this September so it’s not too late. Not only are the fees great value at £6,500 but there are also attractive bursary packages which means that fees can be low as £4,000.