SCOTTISH universities are offering students places on the basis of the new AS qualification alone. While institutions in England and Wales are taking a cautious approach, some universities north of the border are taking AS-levels on board.
One upper sixth-former has been offered a place to study immunology and toxicology at Napier University, in Edinburgh, if he achieves two AS-level grade Cs this summer. He will therefore have no need to go on and complete full A-levels.
Glasgow, Stirling, Strathclyde and Aberdeen universities have all indicated that AS qualifications could be enough to get students in.
Glasgow University said: "Our standard offers are usually based on A-levels but we may consider a student with a minimum of five AS-levels of two As and three Bs. However this will not apply for every faculty and every applicaton will be treated individually." Wendy Reid, admissions assistant at the University of Stirling, said four A-to-C grades at AS-level would be considered.
Brian Heap, author of a new university-entry guide, had predicted that universities with less popular courses would be prepared to take undergraduates on the basis of AS. But he was surprised that some universities were embracing the AS-level qualification even before the first year's results were out.
"The Scottish system is slightly different because universities offer entry to the second year of a four-year course to higher-grade students and first-year course entry for lower grades."
Many UK universities are sticking to traditional three A-level grade offers for 2002. Others are offering a mixture of AS and A-level grades.
Jo Hurst and Julie Henry