We have launched a new website and applicants will need to reset their password before accessing their account.  Reset your password.

Skip to content

13TH MAR 2024

Why study Access to Higher Education at GC?

Why study Access to HE at GC?
Why study Access to HE at GC?

Returning to education is a fantastic way of improving your prospects if you’re looking to upskill or start a career in something new. Access to Higher Education courses help you transition back into the classroom whilst gaining the study skills and knowledge you need to move onto higher education.

Once completed, you’ll be able to move onto a higher education course at GC, or at university. We currently offer three pathways for Access to Higher Education (HE):  

  • Health and Human Sciences: for nurses, midwives, paramedics, occupational therapy, radiographers, physiotherapists and allied healthcare. 
  • Science: for medicine; veterinary science; dentistry; engineering; computer science and all science-based degrees. 
  • Humanities and Social Science: for law degrees; English degrees; social work; psychology; sociology; criminology and any humanities degrees. 


Did you know...? 70% of our students move into nursing and allied healthcare degrees. 
The courses are structured with busy families in mind and allow for study around other commitments. Most students attend college for two days a week, with classes beginning at 9:30am and finishing at 3pm to work around school hours. For students who have younger children, there is also an onsite nursery at our Cheltenham campus. 

With the move onto higher education a priority, our students are given full support with UCAS applications and careers advice from our knowledgeable teams and local university partners. The University of Gloucestershire Allied Healthcare Admissions team visit to give advice on personal statements and interviews, whilst University of Bristol offers the Access to Bristol scheme, where students receive help from reduced university offers and are guaranteed interviews.  

Access to HE at Gloucestershire College is taught by friendly and experienced subject specialist tutors, who have helped hundreds of student progress over the years. Our most recent feedback from June 2022 was overwhelmingly positive:  

  • 100% of students agreed that they enjoyed the course; that the teaching on the course was good and that tutor feedback helped them improve their grades. 

What’s more, pass rates for Access to HE at GC are consistently above the national average. Most recent figures show the overall national success rate in 2020-21 was 63.6% (QAA National Statistics), whereas the success rate for GC Access students was 89% in the same year.  


Want to know more? Hear from one of our current students:  

“I had been thinking about coming back to education for a while. I came to an open day, where the teachers seemed friendly and positive, so I decided to apply for Access to HE. The syllabus is similar to A-levels, but examination of the course is closer to how you would be examined at university: this makes it great preparation for university study.  As the course is only over one year it also means you start university sooner. 

I have ASD and the Learning Support team have been fantastic. The science lecturers are supportive and knowledgeable, and also understand that some students have been out of education for 10+ years. Class sizes are often small, meaning you get a lot of individual attention.  

I’ve received offers from Oxford and Bristol to read Experimental Psychology and Neuroscience, which I’m incredibly happy with. Although I’m not studying psychology at GC, the psychology lecturer helped support my UCAS application when he heard what my plans were! 

I’m currently working to achieve the grades required to attend Oxford. After that, I hope to pursue postgraduate study and work in research. 

If you’re thinking of applying for Access to HE, go for it; it can be hard work, but you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve!” 

Jemma, Access to HE – Science Pathway 


Access to Bristol Scheme

This scheme is open to students within an hour of Bristol university (they prefer a BA or BS postcode).  However, they will accept any students studying the Access to HE course at GC; we have been part of the scheme for many years due to their widening participation agenda and links with the lady who introduced the scheme.

Students apply when the University of Bristol Mature Recruitment Advisor is invited to Cheltenham campus during the first week of September (during induction) and the scheme is explained to students who are interested.  The scheme includes entry to Medicine, Dentistry and Vet Science.

They attend a course at Bristol (a half day once a week for six weeks) where they do a variety of activities and interview techniques with admissions tutors in the various faculties.  On completion, the students are guaranteed an interview and contextualised (lower) offer for their chosen course.  They get to speak to the course tutors and current students in their subject area.

They have to possess the academic ability to study at Bristol and they must meet any GCSE entry requirements.

In some circumstances (low income family), they might be entitled to a non-repayable bursary of £3,855 maintenance grant each year.