Important Phases and UK College Entry Requirements

Important Phases

In the UK children progress from year to year based on age rather than academic level. In the UK the education system is split into phases and the end of each phase has important tests that are reported to the government to ensure that the schools are reaching certain targets and expectations. Each individual child’s progress is monitored throughout their school years to ensure they are making adequate progress. It is this rather than the level that is most closely monitored and this data will follow the child. There should be complete fluency when changing schools as the testing is set by the government.

NB: There is now a legal requirement for all children/young people to stay in some form of higher education until the age of 18. For the less academic there are vocational courses that can be followed in school or at a local college as well as apprenticeships.

A table comparing ages, grades and testing can be viewed here.

UK College and University Entry Requirements

Entrance to a British university is usually based on Advanced Level (A Level) General Certificate of Education results. International qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate, French Baccalaureate or those of an equivalent standard, including APs, are also accepted.

APs (American Advanced Placement) have been accepted as university entrance qualifications for some years now and until recently universities expected APs of grades 3-5, depending on the university, in the subject(s) to be studied together with an SAT score of at least 500 plus. In the past few years, however, the SAT score has not necessarily been required. At the moment the SAT score requirement seems to vary from university to university and so applicants are advised to check with individual universities about this requirement. It should be noted that an American High School Certificate alone is not sufficient for entrance to university in the UK.

An Australian High School Certificate (HSC) qualification may also be acceptable if of a high enough level to gain entry to an Australian university.

In the UK, about 37% of 18 year-olds apply for university, and gaining entrance is a highly competitive business. Actual requirements for any particular course are decided by the university or college concerned and so direct communication with the university of choice is advised. Many universities have open days, which are extremely useful and highly recommended.

Whilst in America there are Christian colleges, this is less common than in the UK unless they are specific Bible colleges. However, each university will normally have a Christian Union (C.U.). The CU, as well as Fusion and UCCF, are Christian based organizations that seek to support Christians who attend university. 

For more information on further education in the UK see UCAS. Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition is an easy to read and practical book for students transferring to further education.