BTECs and University Explained

‘Can I do a BTEC and get into university?’is a frequent question asked by students considering their options after GCSEs. The answer is ‘yes’ but read on to find out more about the BTEC qualification and how you can earn UCAS points to enter higher education.

Doing a BTEC will offer students a range of professional qualifications that will equip them with practical knowledge and employability skills – they are vocational qualifications, rather than traditional academic courses.  BTECs are suitable for anyone taking their first steps into the world of work, progressing through their careers, or planning to enter university.

Firstly, if you decide to do a BTEC and are interested in going to university in the future, it would be most appropriate to take a BTEC National Diploma at Level 3, also referred to as a BTEC Extended Diploma. You receive three separate qualifications and for each you can achieve either a Pass, Merit or Distinction. These grades can be converted into UCAS points, so essentially, a BTEC will provide you with the equivalent UCAS points to AS and A levels.
For example, one A level with A grade is equivalent to 48 UCAS points; similarly, a BTEC subject with a Distinction grade is equal to 48 UCAS points. So achieving 3 Distinctions from a BTEC will give you the same amount of UCAS points (144) as achieving 3 As from an A level.

Given the three qualifications, the BTEC Extended Diploma is highly comparable to A-Levels. But for students not studying a whole programme of BTEC subjects - perhaps they are just doing one extra curricula it is also quite simple. A single BTEC - referred to as a BTEC Subsidary Diploma can provide 56 UCAS points, if a D* is achieved. It is important to note that this is the same as an A* at A-Level. So exceptional performance is recognised through vocational skill, as well as just academia.

Having said this, the value of a BTEC does taper at a faster rate than traditional A-Levls, although the upper two levels are the same, the following grades from a BTEC provide far less UCAS points.  

UCAS Tariff Points





















When applying to courses at universities, many institutes will specify how many UCAS points you will require to apply for their specific programme. Therefore, UCAS points are important as universities and courses may make offers based on the total number of points that you earn. If you’re still a bit confused with the system, you can use a UCAS Tarrif Points Calcualtor. like Our own UCAS points calculator which enables you to easily convert your BTEC qualifications to UCAS points. Once you've managed to determine how many points you have or expect to gain, it is tehn really important to consider what kind of grades different courses and institutes require. Our online University Finder actually goes one step further, highlighting institutes suited to you owing to your academic record. So, save yourself a great deal of hassle and check it out!

It is a good idea to browse through and compare a variety of courses at a range of universities to get a better idea of the different entry requirements. However, some universities simply list requirements in terms on A level or BTEC grades so in these cases, you don’t have to convert your BTEC grades to UCAS points as you can directly look at what grades the course is asking for.

So if you are considering taking up a BTEC qualification and you are interested in further studies after secondary school, make sure to convert you BTEC grades into UCAS points and do some research online to find out the best university and course that your BTEC qualification will allow you to apply to.

- By Sonam Nundoochan

Mon 20 Mar 2017