The Access to Higher Education Diploma is nationally recognised as a university entrance qualification and alternative to GCE A levels. The programme is designed for adult learners who come from a broad age range and varied backgrounds.

  • As with all Level 3 courses at The College the usual entry criteria is 5 GCSEs at Grade 4 (C) but entry to the Access course can be based on evidence of life experiences, aptitude and commitment.
  • All entrants must have GCSE English and Mathematics at grade C on entry.
  • In just nine months (September – June) you could be qualified to enter university and progress to that exciting new career!
  • Students will need to be aged over 19 on 31/08/23 to apply for this route.

Explore and Progress

It’s never too late to learn something new! If you want to find a way into higher education, boost your career, or just learn a new hobby for fun.

Aiming to go to university?

In just nine months (September – June) you could be qualified to enter university and progress to that exciting new career with an Access to Higher Education course.

Top Quality Support

For an adult learner we recognise that returning to education can be a bit daunting but we have a fantastic team of staff to help ease you back into college life.

Distance learning in sets


“Hello everyone, it’s Alex. I studied on the access course 3 years ago. I was the bald man that talks too much. I wanted to let you how that I have completed my nursing degree and was fortunate to get a first. An unexpected outcome given I was 14 UCAS points under the requirement for the course. I have a job lined up in critical care at St Mary’s. I wanted to thank you for all the help you gave me. I would not be in this position without you.”

Alex, Access to HE 2019

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When I left school in 1995 I really didn’t know what I wanted to do! I also thought I wasn’t clever enough for further study and I believed that my parents would not have been able to afford this. So, I contacted the college for advice.
This was such a big step for me, as I realised I could access further education funding enabling me to complete my access course as well as re do my biology GCSE. The support from everyone on the course alongside the library team really helped me to stay focused and dedicated to my end goal.
The courses offered by the college fitted my need, I was able to attend my lectures at the college and be home to cook dinner at a sensible hour. Something I perhaps wouldn’t have been able to do had I commuted to the mainland
I was so proud when I graduated, of myself and my peers. The Isle of Wight college enabled me personally to achieve so much, and I will always have fond memories of my time there, from the friendships made with fellow students, the bumpy times we all went through, and the learning and skills learnt along the way.
I think for me the greatest thing I will take away is that anything is possible! I went back to learning in perhaps what my family would say was a midlife crisis! And look at me now, I’m doing a job that I didn’t realise I wanted to do until my eyes were opened to it, and it’s a job I love! I’m making a difference and all because I chose to take that leap and register for the access to higher education course.

Kirsty Bamford, Access to HE 2019

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