The two main options for college are Access courses and A levels, but there are other options too. Access and A levels are both level 3 work and usually equally viewed upon by universities, however it is always best to contact your prospective university to discuss what is the best option for you. Other college courses are usually best to supplement qualifications rather than to provide the whole qualification to meet the entry requirement but this can always be discussed with your prospective university and your local colleges. Examples of some 'other' courses include: Anatomy and physiology Biology/human biology Counselling Psychology First Aid British Sign Language Complimentary therapies Access to Higher Education course Access is a fully regulated (by the QAA) course to provide entry into university level education. This is a great course for those who have been out of education for a long time and wish to pursue nursing or midwifery at university. Many colleges that offer Access provide it for students that are 19years+ and some say 21years+, although at some colleges you may be able to do it younger. Most colleges put the course on for 1 year full time however some colleges will do it 18 months or 2 years part time or in the evenings - which can work out great for those who have children, those who will be working or both! The workload is usually a mixture of assignments, oral presentations and exams - depending on which college you attend; and a mixture of subjects throughout the course. The most common subjects included are Biology, maths, science, English, ICT, sociology, health, psychology and these are split into modules. The subjects do vary across all colleges. Each module is worth a certain amount of 'credits', so for example biology might be worth 12 credits and english worth 6 credits. There are different levels of credits, 1,2 and 3 with 1 being the lowest level; and these credits can be achieved at either a pass, merit or distinction grade - with distinction being the highest. Only level 3 credits are graded, level 1 and 2 are just a pass or fail. Access courses are usually made up of at least 45 level 3 credits and 15 level 1 or 2 credits from a mixture of modules, though some people do extra credits - this is up to the colleges discretion. Universities will usually state that they require a certain amount of merits and/or distinctions from the access course to be able to get onto their nursing/midwifery programmes. Some unis will also require extra credits. It is always best to check with your chosen university what the entry requirements are for the course you want to apply for. Access courses do cost money. The fees are usually +£1,300 but it really depends on what area the college is in. Most people who undertake access at a college will be eligible for financial help, so it is always best to check with the colleges you will be applying to. Also check if they have any entry requirements to start access - many won't but some do require a minimum of certain GCSEs. Contact prospective universities to find out what they require, and then contact local colleges to find out what they offer. Most universities will accept not just access to midwifery but access to nursing, access to healthcare or a variant of this theme. Check that the course the college is offering is recognised by the QAA, any Access course from a well known college should be. A Levels A levels are usually undertaken by those who have left school within the last couple of years and are offered at colleges and 6th forms around the UK; however adults can take them to but at some cost. You will need to contact your local college or community college to enquire about taking them. They are made up of 1 year AS level which is a qualification in it's own right, or you do a year of A2 level to combine 50% from each year to make a full A level. Each A level taken is one subject, and most students take 3 or 4. The most popular subject for nursing and midwifery is biology/human biology however it is not essential at most universities. You need to contact your prospective universities to ask their entry requirements at A level - it will usually be a set about of UCAS points (300 for example) or certain grades at A level (ABB for example). Universities generally don't mind what topics but for nursing and midwifery one or two universities do require biology and it's best if you can show on your personal statement how these subjects are transferable to midwifery. To do A levels you will usually need a certain amount of GCSEs usually about 5, and sometimes certain GCSE subjects will need to be at a minimum grade - for example 5 GCSEs including English at grade C or higher. They are assessed by exams, with some subjects requiring coursework such as portfolios and some with practical assessments (subjects such as art). The grades from any coursework are combined with the exam grade to reach an overall grade of anything between A*- U. I mentioned above UCAS points. Well each grade at A level or AS level is equivalent to a certain amount of UCAS points. This does not apply for access courses. So if you look at this chart you can work out what grades you need to get to meet the universities UCAS points requirement for the nursing / midwifery degree.