BTEC: The next steps to University

Student stories

Amanda Jane Wheatley - BA Early Childhood Studies

“I chose to do BTEC after I started my A Levels. I had no idea where I wanted to go with my future, and had started off picking four A levels – Spanish, Geography, Biology and ICT. These didn’t really go well together and I found that I only actually enjoyed two of the subjects I had chosen.


I really liked ICT and was always good at it, and after lots of discussions with my parents, I dropped out of A levels after three days and joined onto an IT college BTEC level 3 course (extended diploma). It was more suited to me and allowed me to work solely on a subject I enjoyed, rather than having to work on many different subjects for the sake of it.  One of the other reasons I didn’t enjoy A levels is because I had no intention of going to university at the time,  and my school was putting a lot of focus on A levels,  as that’s where they expected you to progress to.


After my two years at college I was confused about what I wanted to do next, but knew it would be something digitally based as I enjoyed that on my computing course. I was trying to decide between games art, graphics, illustration, programming, web design, etc. so I chose to come to the university to do art foundation to give me a year to figure it all out. However, after getting into art foundation over the summer I realised I really wanted to do graphic design instead and applied to the university again but this time through clearing to get on to graphic communication, and I got in!

BTEC in my opinion was more suited to me, not because I couldn’t cope with A levels, but because it allowed me to focus solely on the area I wanted to go into. I did look into whether or not it would allow me to get into university and except for Oxford and Cambridge, everywhere else accepts BTECs as a qualification.

I had a good time during BTECs and actually found it less stressful than many of my friends appeared to find A levels. We also had the added bonus of know what our coursework grades were at the end of the year, rather than having to wait until August like my A level friends.

I’d recommend doing a BTEC if you don’t need specific A levels in order to get on to your course as I think it is a more relaxed environment than A levels.”

Transforming lives Inspiring Change