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Study for the Access to Higher Education Diploma

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a Level 3 qualification designed to give people the knowledge and skills needed to study in higher education. 

  • What can I study? 
  • OCN London has developed Access to Higher Education Diplomas in over forty subjects, including Nursing, Science, Art and Design and Humanities. READ MORE

  • Where can I study? 
  • Search the Course Directory to find the colleges, adult and community education centres and private training providers delivering the OCN London Access to HE Diploma. READ MORE

    Are you looking to start an Access course this academic year? Some of our colleges are offering November and January starts. For more information click here.

  • Frequently asked questions READ MORE
  • Learner stories
  • Case studies of learners who have studied on the Access to Higher Education Diploma. READ MORE

Applying to Higher Education as an adult

Guidance produced in partnership with Linking London.

Introduction to Higher Education

Making HE Choices

Applying to HE

  • HE Application Process READ MORE
  • Getting started with your Application READ MORE
  • Writing an Effective Personal Statement READ MORE
  • What to include in a personal statement READ MORE
  • Common Mistakes made when completing a Personal Statement READ MORE

Open days

Open days are a great opportunity to find out more about the Access to HE Diploma and the courses and facilities available at providers. You can find out when open days are taking place by checking the provider's website or giving them a call. Some of our centres have let us know when their upcoming open days are taking place and these are listed below with links to their websites where you can find out more.

Carshalton College:

18th January 2018 - 4.30pm - 7pm
6th March 2018 - 4.30pm - 7pm
21st June 2018 - 11am - 2pm
For further information please click here.

City and Islington College:

4th December 2017 - Information and Access Assessments 4pm - 6.30pm
For further information please click here.

CU Coventry:

25 November 2017 - 10am-3pm
For further information please click here.

Highbury College:

24th February 2018 - 10am – 1pm
For further information please click here.

Kingston College (Kingston Hall Road site):

30th January 2018 - 4.30pm – 7pm
8th March 2018 - 4.30pm – 7pm
22nd June 2018 - 11am – 2pm
For further information please click here.

Tower Hamlets College:

Student Recruitment Evening - Wednesday 17 January 2018
Open Day - Saturday 3 February 2018
Adult Student Recruitment Evening - Wednesday 21 February 2018
Student Recruitment Evening - Wednesday 18 April 2018
Student Recruitment Evening - Wednesday 13 June 2018

Funding your studies

We strongly recommend that you seek advice and information on funding your studies before embarking on a course. It is important to discuss your situation with the college well in advance. Having the right information will help you to make a realistic assessment of the financial commitment required to complete your studies. The Money Advice Service is a free and impartial money advice website set up by the government, which is recommended for advice about budgeting and funding your studies.

Advanced Learning Loans 

From 1 August 2016, everyone aged 19 and over who is studying for a qualification at Level 3 (‘A’ level standard) to Level 6 now has the opportunity to fund their course fees upfront in approved colleges and training providers in England through an Advanced Learner Loan.  You can apply for a loan to meet the costs of your qualification, which will be paid directly to your college on your behalf. If you don’t take out a loan, you will be expected to pay for the course costs yourself.

You can apply now for an Advanced Learner Loan to start a course from September 2017.

Important Information

If you complete an Access to HE Diploma and then complete a Student Finance England funded higher education course (for example, Bachelor's degree, Foundation degree or Higher National), then you will not have to repay the Advanced Learner Loan for your Access to HE Diploma course. For further information see this information sheet from the Student Loans Company.


Partnership agreement with London South Bank University - OCN London has signed a partnership agreement with London South Bank University (LSBU) to collaboratively offer enhanced progression opportunities for our Access learners to degree programmes. As part of the agreement LSBU provides a range of admission and progression benefits for OCN London Access learners which will include guaranteed conditional offers at lower admissions requirements than their standard offer across courses in six Schools.