Can I get in?

Many people aren’t sure if they’ll be able to get into uni or whether it’s possible for them to go.

Getting accepted onto a course is not all about qualifications and grades. In this section we look at what else can affect your chances of being accepted onto your chosen course.

If you are thinking of applying to a university from outside the UK, check out our information for international applicants.

The entry requirements on the university or college website can give you an idea of how easy or difficult it might be to get into a particular course.

Entry requirements are a guide and you might be able to get in with different qualifications or grades to what is advertised.

Universities and colleges will often consider different types of qualifications than A-levels and BTECs. If yours aren't listed, contact the university or college to find out what they will accept. They may also take into account your experience and your individual circumstances.

You can find out more about the entry requirements data we display on Discover Uni on our Entry requirements page.

Entry requirements for Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs)

HTQs are new technical qualifications available in England. Entry requirements for Higher Technical Qualifications vary as these are set by the college or uni. The grades or qualifications you’ll need to have will depend on the type of course you’re applying for.

Not having formal qualifications doesn't mean that you won't be able to apply. You may have experience from your work that you can use instead.

There are also short courses that can bridge the gap between what you've studied and what the uni needs you to have. Lots of universities and colleges offer these.

If you have some qualifications but not the ones specified, contact the university or college to see whether they will accept what you have. This is common with students who have been out of education for a long time.

If you’re over 21 and want to get back into education you could do an Access course. The Access to Higher Education website has information on access courses. You can also find information on our 'over 21 and starting uni?' pages.

Widening access and contextual offers:

Universities and colleges have their own policies around widening access. Some will consider the personal circumstances of applicants that can affect academic attainment and may make offers requiring lower grades than the standard entry requirements for that course.

The circumstances considered for contextual offers vary but can include being the first in a family to attend higher education, low parental income, the school or area where the applicant lives, or personal characteristics, such as being a care leaver, a refugee or having a disability.

Not all universities make contextual offers, and some only offer them on specific courses, and the criteria they use will vary.

You can find out more about this by:

  • looking at providers' websites
  • emailing or calling the admissions department
  • speaking to someone at an open day or university fair.

You are still able to go to university or college if you have a criminal conviction.

Nacro is a social justice charity and has information on disclosing criminal records when applying to university.

If you are planning to study full time, you will usually need to apply through UCAS.

The UCAS website has all the information you'll need to understand what you need to do and what the deadlines are.

See the UCAS applying to university pages.

If you want to study part time or by distance learning you will need to apply directly to the university or college that you want to attend. The admissions team there will be able to explain the application process and when you need to apply.

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