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Building on success – Access to HE Diplomas and higher level study success

January is the the time for all things new. New diets, new self care routines and for some, new courses. There are many adults starting an Access to HE January course in the next few weeks, so we invited # from QAA (Quality Assurance Agency) to tell us all about the course and the benefits it brings...

Each year, approximately 40,000 individuals enroll in an Access to HE Diploma programme. These students, hailing from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life, share a common aspiration—to return to education and fulfill their dream of pursuing a graduate career. Notably, a significant portion of Access to HE students register for courses designed to facilitate progression into higher-level studies in subjects allied to medicine, with 60.6% choosing programs supporting advancement in this field in the 2021-22 academic year.

Access to HE students entering higher education tend to be older, are more likely to come from an ethnic minority group, and reside in areas identified as disadvantaged by POLAR4, compared to students entering with other qualifications.

An impressive 92% of Access to HE students pursue undergraduate degree programs, surpassing the 87% of students with different qualifications. Key attributes of Access to HE students, such as motivation and resilience, become evident in their retention rates during higher-level studies. Mature students with an Access to HE Diploma are more likely to stay on course compared to their counterparts with other qualifications. Furthermore, Access to HE students not only demonstrate higher retention rates but also achieve comparable degree outcomes to students entering with different qualifications.

In the summer of 2022, 25% of all graduating Access to HE students attained the highest possible outcome—a first-class degree— compared to 26% of students with alternative qualifications.

Given that the majority of Access to HE students aspire to graduate careers, it is noteworthy that the 2019-20 Graduate Outcomes survey reveals that 70% of HE graduates with an Access to HE Diploma reported being employed, including internships and temporary positions, compared to 60% of graduates with other qualifications.

Access to HE students are also more likely to secure high-skilled roles (68%) compared to those with traditional qualifications (54%). Among those in high-skilled roles, 56% agreed or strongly agreed that they utilised the skills acquired during their higher-level studies in their current activities. Many of these high-skilled roles align with nursing professions, accounting for 36% of all graduates entering with an Access to HE Diploma.

The success stories borne out in these statistics show that the Access to HE Diploma’s meticulous design well prepares students to excel in higher education. So, if you’re considering getting back into education, the Diploma could be the right route for you to achieve your own dreams.

We would like to thank Ann-Marie for taking the time to share this intriguing data on Access to HE with us.

For more information about our Access to HE Diplomas, get in touch or click here.

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