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How do universities view the Welsh Baccalaureate?

Thinking about taking the Welsh Baccalaureate as one of your choices? Will it count in your favour, or potentially harm your chances when it comes to university? Find out more…

The Welsh Baccalaureate, also known as the Welsh Bac or WBQ, is designed to combine the traditional qualifications you are working towards (A-Levels or NVQs), with experiences and projects that help you develop your personal skills, and equip you for your next steps – for work, university and for life.

In order to achieve the Welsh Bac you need to have completed an A-level or equivalent as well as an extended project, work experience and community service. You’ll be working towards it over a two year period, whilst completing two or sometimes three other A-levels or NVQs.

What’s the Welsh Bac worth?

The Welsh Baccalaureate Core, which is the programme of activities you’ll need to complete alongside your A-levels to get the qualification, is officially worth 120 UCAS points, equivalent to an A grade at A-level. However not all universities necessarily include the Welsh Bac in their entry requirements.

It won’t count as a subject-specific entry requirement, either. For example, if you need to get two As in physics and maths and a B in another subject to study engineering at Southampton University, you can’t offer your Welsh Bac as one of the As. But you could offer it as the B, or as a qualification in addition to three A-levels.

Welsh Bac – the upside

You’ll learn key skills

The Welsh Bac gives you a good opportunity to develop skills typically looked upon favourably by universities as good preparation for degee-level study, including:

  • Critical thinking
  • Research and analytical skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Initiative and problem-solving
  • Entrepreneurial skills
  • Citizenship
  • Heightened awareness of world cultures

It’ll also potentially give you lots of great stuff to include in your personal statement.

Lots of universities accept the Welsh Bac

Most universities will happily accept the Welsh Bac as a general entry requirement.

If you are offering the WBQ Advanced Diploma with two A-levels, any offer you are made will include the WBQ Advanced Diploma with a pass in the Core and two specified A-level grades. If you are studying the WBQ Core in combination with three A-levels, any offer you are made for entry will be flexible, allowing you to satisfy the offer EITHER by achieving a WBQ Advanced Diploma with a pass in the Core and 2 specified A-level grades OR grade requirements for the 3 A-levels. University Of Cardiff

The University welcomes and recognises the value of the Welsh Baccalaureate and the Core. The Advanced Diploma with a pass in the Core and two A-levels is accepted for many programmes. University Of Glasgow

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma (Core) will be accepted as equivalent to an A grade at A-level and can count towards our general entry requirements. Applicants would normally be expected to offer at least two A-levels or equivalent in addition to this qualification. University Of Exeter

Welsh Bac – the downside

It could be a distraction

If you’re taking the Welsh Bac as an extra subject, perhaps on top of three A-level subjects, you could be putting yourself under unnecessary extra pressure.

Think about how you’ll manage the extra workload – far better for you to get three qualifications with good grades than four with just ok ones.

Not all universities include it as an entry requirement

While in theory the Welsh Bac is effectively worth one A grade at A-level, in practice not all universities may view it in quite the same way.

Applicants taking the Advanced Diploma in the Welsh Baccalaureate are expected to have studied three subjects at A-level as part of their qualification. Offers are conditional on achievement in the A-levels within the qualification rather than the overall Baccalaureate award. University Of Cambridge

Where typical offers are based on three A-levels only, offers will be made on this basis and the Welsh Baccalaureate core will not be required, and it can not be substituted for one of the A-levels. University Of Warwick

Some universities may list a preference in their entry requirements for three A-level qualifications (especially where a course has specific subject requirements, such as needing maths A-level to get on to most civil engineering courses), while a few others won’t allow you to substitute an A-level for the Welsh Bac.

 

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