What the entry requirements could be
Each course has different requirements – usually a mix of qualifications, subjects or exam grades they recommend you have or be working towards when you apply.
- Qualifications, subjects and exam grades – usually A levels or other qualifications at a similar level. Sometimes these are converted into UCAS Tariff points too, which we’ll explain below.
- An audition – a performance or interview at the conservatoire to assess your skills and suitability for the course – the conservatoire will let you know the details after you apply.
- Your overall suitability – course descriptions often mention skills, interest or experience it’s good to have, so look out for these details because applications can be quite competitive.
- Further requirements – it’s possible there may be health, financial or DBS checks.
International and EU students
Audition locations are available around the world, but if you can’t attend any, you might be able to send in a video or recording instead.
You’ll also need to demonstrate your English language skills, so check with conservatoires how they want you to do this.
- You might need to take a specific English language test to get a place on a course.
- If you need a student visa – anyone living outside the UK and not an EEA or Swiss national – you might need to take an English language test approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). If so, and if you get a place on a course, your conservatoire will let you know what to do, and will help with your visa application.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the right qualifications – just ask conservatoires whether you can meet the entry requirements in a different way.
You could get accreditation for life and work experience.
- Accreditation of prior learning (APL) is essentially credit awarded for wider learning evidenced from self-directed study, work or training.
- Accreditation prior experiential learning (APEL) is an extension of APL that includes assessed learning gained from life and work experience.
You could take an Access course – as 23,000 others did in 2013.
- They’re widely recognised as ideal preparation for higher education for students who have been outside of formal education for some time, or have few qualifications from school.
- When you search for courses, you may see Access courses listed on the entry requirements, but if not, the university or college might still accept one for a mature student.
Working towards entry requirements
If you’re working towards the required qualifications when you apply, you’ll probably be given conditions to meet. Depending on conservatoire benchmarks and applicant numbers, these can occasionally change from the initial recommendations – so it’s a good plan to apply to courses with higher and lower requirements so you’ll have different options.
International and EU students
The qualifications required are often stated in UK terms, such as A levels. Don’t worry though – you can also use equivalent international qualifications that you’ve completed already or you’re working towards now.
- This is different to how some countries manage applications for higher education. In the UK your school or college can provide predicted grades for qualifications you’re studying now that lead to higher education. That way you can apply earlier in the year to increase your chances of getting a place.
- When you search for courses, don’t worry if the entry requirements don’t specify your qualifications – many course providers accept alternative equivalent qualifications. Check on the course provider’s website or contact them to find out.
- You can get a statement about how your qualifications compare to UK equivalents from UK NARIC (the UK’s National Recognition Information Centre), or contact the UCAS Qualifications Hotline on +044 371 468 0472 (or 0371 468 0472 if you’re calling from inside the UK) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Understanding qualification, subject and grade requirements
Most conservatoires set entry requirements based on one or a combination of these – perhaps a specific qualification, subject or high grade, or a high grade in a certain subject (or subjects) relevant to the course you’re applying for.
- Some conservatoires use UCAS Tariff points in their entry requirements too. This is a points total achieved by converting qualifications such as A levels (and many others) into points, making it simpler for course providers to compare applicants.
- Don’t worry if you can’t meet the exact requirements, or if your qualification isn’t listed on the course description or in the Tariff. If you have something similar you’ll probably still be considered, so feel free to contact conservatoires to check.