1. Which route to university are you taking?

Which route to university are you taking?

Published on 23 May 2022

It’s a well-known fact that Cambridge International A Levels are the best choice if your child wants to get into top universities worldwide. However they do take 18 to 24 months to complete after Cambridge IGCSE or O Level.

But what if there was a faster route? What if you could complete a Cambridge qualification in no more than 12 months and still gain access to prestigious universities?

You can. It’s called Cambridge International AS Levels. 

Many people will know AS Levels as a half-way post to achieving A Levels. Some people know that AS Levels can also be taken as a standalone route without going on to A Levels. But only very few know that AS Levels alone can get you into many of the best universities in the world.


Why Cambridge International AS Levels?

Cambridge International AS Levels contain half the content of an A Level, so it’s possible to complete the qualification in one year or less, followed by a university degree course of typically three to four years.

Many universities welcome applications from students with Cambridge International AS Levels, including in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

There is a choice of 55 AS Level subjects, with no restrictions on subject combination. That gives lots of flexibility, especially if your child is not yet sure of the undergraduate course they would like to follow.

Of course there is still the option to continue and gain the full Cambridge International A Level qualification.


How to decide on which Cambridge International route to follow: A Level or AS Level?

The full Cambridge A Levels are probably best for your child if they want to apply to leading universities worldwide (such as Cambridge, Oxford, and the Ivy League) and to more competitive courses (such as medicine).

They will need to be ready to invest about 18 to 24 months of study after their Year 10 qualification. That will give them more time to expand their knowledge, understanding, and study skills in order to be truly ready to excel at university.

The AS Level route is probably best for those that want to go to university as soon as possible. Students will save about 6 to 12 months of study time and finish their degrees earlier than their peers but they will need to check that the universities that they are interested in accept AS Levels.

So the question is: do you want to aim higher or finish faster?


Which universities can you get into with Cambridge International qualifications?

Students who take the full A Level route have access to the largest possible choice of university courses and locations around the world. All UK universities and over 600 US universities accept Cambridge International A Level qualifications, including Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Yale.

In the United States, tens of thousands of students follow the Cambridge Pathway at their local high schools. More than 90% of them go straight to college or university with AS Levels. That means, many US universities welcome students with AS Levels, but others don’t.

In New Zealand and South Africa, all universities accept Cambridge International AS Level, provided certain requirements are met. For example, students will need a minimum of 120 UCAS points for New Zealand universities.

In Canada, most universities accept either Cambridge International AS or A Level.

In Australia, students can gain direct entry into Monash College Diploma with their AS Level qualifications.

In addition, some universities in the US and Canada offer Cambridge International AS Level students up to a semester’s worth of credit, potentially reducing the time to their degrees even further.

Every university and course is different, so students must check the admissions policy before applying.


Visit the Cambridge International website for more information on universities which accept AS & A Levels for entry to degree courses. 

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