Ryan Tyrell doubts he would have been accepted by Warwick university if he had not taken the access to further mathematics course.
The 18-year-old, from Coventry, was this year's star student on the online course, gaining an A in both his maths and further maths A-level.
Having also notched up Cs in biology A-level and geography AS-level, he is off to Warwick later this month to read maths.
Ryan was one of 14 sixth-formers from seven Coventry schools who completed the on-line course with support from Dr Richard Lissaman, a tutor at Warwick.
Every Wednesday afternoon, the students attended the university for a tutorial session. Most of the rest of the work was on-line, although Dr Lissaman also regularly visited the Coventry schools to help students with particular problems.
Ryan's school, Woodway Park, is in a tough area of the city. Last year, the school's best maths result was an E grade.
He said: "The course is great. It gives students who are willing to work a brilliant opportunity to study further maths."
Ryan's success appears to be rubbing off: his younger brother Lee, 16, is about to follow him on to the course.