The Department of English and Related Literature takes great care to ensure that applicants with unconventional educational backgrounds are given the chance to compete on equal terms for an undergraduate place at York.
Such candidates will not necessarily have the A-level grades we demand from recent school-leavers, but we would expect them to be of the same calibre and to show clear evidence of their interest in and aptitude for studying literature.
Candidates who have been out of education for a significant length of time, or left school without taking A-levels or equivalent qualifications, are strongly advised to engage in an appropriate pre-university course of study. This will enable them to develop or refresh their essay-writing skills and their ability to discuss literature in critical terms (important at York, where teaching is mostly seminar-based), and it will also ensure that they have an academic referee plus some essays to bring with them if invited for interview.
Suitable preparatory courses would include an A level in English literature, an Open University Discovering the Arts and Humanities course or an Access to Higher Education Diploma with a strong literary emphasis.
Candidates who have taken A-levels, or equivalent examinations, in the last two or three years should contact their former school or college to ask them to provide a UCAS reference. While we take the academic reference very seriously, we also pay particular attention to what candidates tell us on the UCAS form about their intellectual interests and relevant life experience.
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