Hi guys,

I'm looking at the royal signals selection & training page and it says the minimum requirements are 140 ucas tariff points (although I could have sworn it was 300 in order to be an ICT & Comms officer). (EDIT - 140, just took a look in the prospectus)

I've just finished doing my resit of AS. I'm going to be moving onto A2 in september. I'm hoping to join without a degree.

What's getting me right now is that I have no idea how many UCAS points I actually have. I've asked my head of year, assistant head of year and all my subject teachers how on earth I can keep track of them or how I could find out how many i've accumulated. Nobody is giving a clear answer.

What sort of grades do you think I should be getting during AS & A2 in order to reach the minimum entry requirements?
The way it was pointed out to me, was that the lowest grades you can get to pass arn't what the army is looking for as so many people have degrees these days IMO do the best you can, and see what you get rather that just scrape through!

Although I wasn't an officer myself I would say go and do your degree first, you've got plenty of time ahead of you. As dundeeulster points out, so many people nowadays are gaining degrees it's becoming ever harder to compete without one in all walks of life, unless you have a trade, or a definite idea of what you want to do.

It will always be there to fall back on in the future. I did it arrse about face myself and went to uni when I left the Army and have just graduated this week, I wish I'd done it sooner when I was young enough to fully enjoy the social side of it (i.e. the drunken young birds!)
The thing is currently I'm not a high flyer. Outside of the formal framework I've done quite alot in terms of ICT related stuff (own work) & I've started training for the physical side. Since GCSE (where I was a really high flyer) there's been a massive drop.

I don't want to go to a rubbish uni, spend 3K each year, perhaps flop once and then come out.

What sort of grades do you think are satisfactory?

Currently nothing is worrying me more than the entry requirements.
A2 Ucas points are 120 for A
100 - B
80 - C
AS are just half so A = 60points

If you got a D and a C at ALevel you will have got the grades. Good luck!
UCAS website will tell you the exact amount of points gained from each qualification you have gained, just look there.
You can get UCAS points for other things aswell as A levels, e.g. Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Many people join up without degrees and you wont be seen as a "pile of worthless crap".

It will take you longer as an undergraduate entry officer to get to the rank Captain but from then on its just the same.
VazSingh said:
Do you think they will straight away consider me as a 'pile of worthless crap' (exadurated) simply because I won't have a degree?
Shouldn't do - 20% of officer cadets are not graduates. You'll all be treated in the same way.
VazSingh said:
Am I correct in saying that the delay in promotion is so that you can gain an inhouse degree?
I don't think so, I believe it is because it means that you don't get extremely young Captains.
check out this page http://www.ucas.com/candq/tariff/index.html#gce

about a third of the way down the pages there are a set of tables the first one contains the ucas value of each grade for as and a level.

these are shown under GCE AS level and GCE A level.

the tables under that pretty much cover ucas points of everything else that counts. also if you have an NVQ at level 3 they count towards it.

hope this helps


That is a very good resource for calculating your UCAS points. With it, i found out that if i get three passes with my BTEC, as well as the points i have from my AS results, i will have 170 points which should be enough for me to join as a officer.

About this taking longer to become a captain thing, you will still be getting there at the same age (say, you dont go to uni, and your freind does, you join 3 years earlier, he joins, you both advance but both will hit captain at the same time, but he will have spent less time in the army) but it means that you dont have any debts from university.
Academic quals are pretty unimportant. The regular commission board will look at your personality, look at whether you can interpet information, present logical conversation, debate issues, display leadership abilities and stuff like that.

I have seen a lot of soldiers in the rank of Signaller who have degrees in IT, even a few with MSc. So don't beat yourself up over the degree. And don't think that choosing to join as a soldier would make you any less valuable. Most R Signals officers get 0% chance to use their technical degrees for at least 5 or 6 years anyway. If you joined as a soldier and you displayed officer characteristics you could apply for commission then anyway. Keep your options open, Vaz. And good luck.
Vaz. Think the system is still the same as when I left a few years ago. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

Basically, there are plenty of non-graduates in the Officers Mess, MOST officers have degrees but there are plenty who don't and the Army's probably better for it. At one point, I was in a rifle company where all the Platoon Comds were non-grads and they were a very good bunch indeed.

A degree makes no difference at officer selection. It could be said that 3 years more life experience at Uni can make you a better candidate and more likely to pass but this is the only difference (before you ask, if you fail selection now, yes you can try again after uni).

Not having a degree will effect your early career, you have a lower starting salary and slower promotion to Captain. If you do have a degree, I think it takes 2.5 years to become a Captain and as a non-grad, it takes 5 years. However, once you get to Captain it evens out again and you catch up. It does not hold you back beyond your first few years.

If you are a non-grad, it can be a bit annoying to see a guy who joins the Army at the same time as you get promoted ahead just because he has a dgree, particulalry if said individual is a knobber, but at the end of the day, if you go to the Army instead of uni, you are typically 3 years younger and have less debt so it's not an issue.

There is a question as to needing a degree when you LEAVE the Army but I wouldn't worry about this too much. So many people have degrees that I doubt they don't really carry as much weight as you would think. My civi employer felt three years in the Army was much better than three years on a buckshee uni course. That said, I did have good A level results so was able to tick the 'graduate calibre' box. If you are going to leave the education system, whatever your last qualification you took is the one that follows you.

Whatever you choose is good, it's a personal preference but don't feel you need to do a degree.

Now I've got that out, I am going to have a chippy non-grad rant. I joined young with no degree. I believe the Army benefits significantly more from non-grad officers: they are _sometimes_ a bit slower to get started in the first few months (age and life experience being a disadvanatage) but spend much longer at a platoon command/troop command level. Not only does that mean experienced platoon commanders, it also means that when they do promote to Captain they bring far more experience to the role. 2.5 years isn't really enough.

Also, the Army's policy of crediting a 3 year degree course in underwater basket weaving from the University of Essex as the equivalent of 2.5 years service is pump. So there.
Vaz, having posted that, I might be wrong in some aspects. I have a vague memory of a Royal Sigs Major with scales on his back giving a recruitment talk at the academy - we were informed that we HAD to have a degree to apply to join the Royal Sigs. I believe the Engineers were the same. However, not having the slightest interest in anything other than Infantry I paid little attention.
You need a degree to join the Signals? Whatever for?

You need a relevant (important, that) degree to join the REME and the RE, that's for sure.

I'm joining without a degree, it didn't effect me getting through the selection process one jot (from what I can make out). The only point, which has already been made but I will reiterate, is that without a degree you are typically younger than others at selection etc., but if you're a good candidate that shouldn't matter.

Best of luck.
Thank you guys. I've taken all of you're advice into account. I've just got to get this one extra year out of the way & thats it. Fitness training is well on the way. I guess I should get my old maths text books out too.

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