Entry to university is incredibly competitive, especially to the top institutions, and it sometimes seems that anyone who doesn't get straight A*s may as well forget about it. Fortunately, however, there are alternatives. Most universities base their offers of places on the number of UCAS points a student has. While good grades in A Levels provide the most obvious way of racking up points, there are many other activities or qualifications that will add to your UCAS score. Here are a few.
Take AS Levels
Most students take three A Levels, but a few manage four. However, this can be a heavy workload, so you might consider taking an AS Level instead. An AS Level is equivalent to just the first year of an A Level course, so it's less of a commitment, especially if you take it in the first year of your A Levels. This means it counts for half the number of UCAS points as an A Level, but this might be just what you need to increase your score. Bear in mind, though, that this only applies if it's in a subject you're not studying for A Level.
Get a Non-Academic Qualification
It isn't only traditional academic qualifications that count towards your UCAS score. Following your interests to the point of qualification can also mean extra points:
Volunteer for Something
Being a volunteer can be an invaluable plus on your CV, especially if you're volunteering in an area related to the career you're targeting. It can also help in a general sense with your university application, as it shows your commitment. Volunteering can also help with your UCAS score, however, if you complete either a NOCN Diploma or an Award in International Volunteering at the same time. Neither is cheap, but they can earn you UCAS points.
Get an Apprenticeship
Apprenticeships attract a lot of competition these days. There are many reasons for this, but one is that an apprenticeship is worth about the same as two A Levels in UCAS points. This is a great opportunity to get your points in a practical context rather than an academic one. In addition, you're learning skills that will be valuable in your career and getting paid in the meantime.
Become a Private Tutor
OK, tutoring won't actually get you UCAS points. However, it will certainly make you attractive to universities if you've already demonstrated your ability to tutor younger students in your subject before you even apply. Register with TutorExtra to find out more about how to set yourself up as a private tutor and make the most of it.