Traditionally regarded as one of the most popular routes into university, A Levels form the academic pathway for a wide range of subjects, including some that you may not have studied at school.
A Level courses are studied over two years, with most students studying three A Levels. At City and Islington College, there is an option to do four A Levels.
You can also study two A Levels plus another qualification that is equivalent to an A Level, for example a BTEC. If you know what you want to study at university, check the entry requirements before you choose your A Level subjects.
Deciding which A Level courses to study can be challenging – there is a wide range of subjects to choose from, some of which will be new to you. Our Career Pathways can help you decide your A Level subjects, showcasing your opportunities for future progression to university and employment.
Find out more about our A Level courses here.
T Levels are new technical courses that follow GCSEs and are equivalent to 3 A Levels. These 2-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of the industry and prepares you for work. They offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement, providing the knowledge and experience needed to open the door to skilled employment, further study or a higher apprenticeship.
You will spend 80% of your time in the classroom and 20% on a 45-day placement with an employer to give you the knowledge and skills companies look for.
For more information on T Levels, please click here.
Many students at CANDI study technical courses because they specialise in areas of learning linked with work that they are interested in (this is why sometimes they are also referred to as ‘vocational’ courses). You can build your confidence because you are developing practical skills that could help you secure a job in the future. Answers to assignments may be in written form but it is just as likely they will be in other forms too, such as film clips, project proposals, business plans and structured databases.
Vocational courses are often referred to by the name of the exam board that awards the qualification – for example, BTEC (which stands for Business and Technology Educational Council, which used to issue the award before Edexcel and Pearson, who currently issue them), City & Guilds or UAL (which stands for University of the Arts London).
We are continually developing our vocational courses in response to the needs and skills required by employers. This ensures that you gain maximum benefit from your work while qualifying and that the qualifications stay relevant. Vocational courses are specifically designed to help you get into the workplace, but they also give you UCAS points to be able to study at university.
They are available at a range of levels, depending on your current level of knowledge and experience:
– Entry Level
If you don’t have any qualifications, studying for an Entry Level qualification is the best place to begin your journey.
Once you’ve completed your course, you’ll have practical skills for work and independent living, and a qualification, which can help you progress to the next level.
– Level 1
If you are new to a subject and would like to improve your basic knowledge, a Level 1 course is the best place to begin.
Once you’ve completed your course, you’ll have skills for work and daily life, work experience, personal development and an introduction to your subject, that will help you progress to a Level 2 course.
– Level 2
Many students go straight to a Level 2 course after achieving four GCSEs at grade 3 or higher; for many subjects, you can enter as a beginner at this stage.
Once you’ve completed your course, you’ll have many transferable skills such as problem-solving and study skills, enabling you to progress to a Level 3 course or an apprenticeship.
– Level 3
A Level 3 qualification is usually studied over 2 years and is the usual route to higher education, offering a vocational equivalent to A Levels. For most subjects, you will need five or more GCSEs at grade 4 or higher, including English Language, or a level 2 qualification.
Once you’ve completed your course, you’ll have many transferable skills, such as independent thinking, problem-solving and business knowledge, enabling you to progress to higher education or the workplace.
If you’re aged 19 or older and are looking to study at university, but don’t currently meet the entry requirements for your chosen course, studying an Access to Higher Education Diploma will equip you with the study skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications you need.
Access to Higher Education diplomas have varying entry requirements, depending on the subject area, and are usually taken in one academic year. Most students who study for an Access to HE diploma go on to succeed at university and beyond, with a large number pursuing new careers and seeing changes in their lives that they had never thought possible.
Higher National Certificates (HNC) are the equivalent of one year of a Bachelor’s degree and are vocational, work-related Level 4 courses. They focus on a particular job or profession and are intended to increase your professional and technical skills, helping you to begin, or progress in, your chosen career.
Higher National Diplomas (HND) are the equivalent of two years of a Bachelor’s degree, and are vocational, work-related Level 5 courses. They focus on a particular job or profession and are intended to increase your professional and technical skills, helping you to begin, or progress in, your chosen career.
Foundation degrees are the equivalent of two years of a Bachelor’s degree and are qualifications designed to combine academic study with workplace learning. They focus on a particular job or profession and are intended to increase your professional and technical skills, helping you to begin, or progress in, your chosen career.
The most common foundation degrees are Foundation Degree in Arts (FdA) and Foundation Degree in Science (FdSc). The title of the degree depends on the subject you choose and the qualification’s awarding body.
A foundation degree is a full qualification in its own right; however, you can also use them as entry to a Bachelor’s degree ‘top-up’ programme.
A degree, also known as a Bachelor’s degree, is probably the most well-known higher education qualification. Degrees are made up of different modules that combine to make the overall qualification, awarded as an ordinary or honours degree following the completion of a dissertation or research project.
The most common degrees are Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc). The title of the degree depends on the subject you choose and the qualification’s awarding body.
A ‘top-up’ degree enables you (with one more year’s study) to achieve a Bachelor’s degree, after completing a foundation degree or HND.