DS back from Big Bang Fair.....

(17 Posts)
BaconAndAvocado Sun 17-Mar-13 22:28:58

....and he's buzzing!

He's currently in year 10 and wants to study Chemical Engineering. He spoke to a careers advisor today at the fair who recommended Imperial College LOndon.

Having just looked into this online, I gather this is one of the top universities.

I realise that all this is a long way off but as he already displays a real passion for Chemistry/Physics I was wondering if anyone might know what kind of things/societies etc he could get involved with with a view to his personal statement.

Another university applications question is about his Asperger's. He has quite a mild form, but is it something that he has to mention on his application form or something he can choose to mention, or not?

As his loving mother, I obviously don't see him objectively so I can't really judge how evident his Asperger's is to others.

Tia.

boomting Sun 17-Mar-13 23:59:43

Imperial is indeed one of the top universities (arguably the top university) for science and engineering subjects.

The biggest things at his age are
- get the GCSE grades
- choose the right A Level subjects (he needs to check out university websites for this)
- get into a good college

You might like to have a look into any outreach programmes that your local universities have. This is one such example www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/welcome/aboutus/

I'd also keep an eye out for public lectures locally. I have no idea where you are in the country, but the Bristol Festival of Ideas is brilliant.

With regards to his Aspergers, there is a box to tick if he feels he is disabled. What this will trigger is some contact from the university's disability support office, who will be able to work out what extra help, if any, he needs, and how to access funding for it. There is a big pot of money called Disabled Students Allowance, which is used to fund extra study-related costs. He can choose not to mention it, but it all depends on the extent to which he feels it impinges on his life.

MariscallRoad Mon 18-Mar-13 00:15:08

As said well by boomting. Imperial is excellent and also has v good student support for student specific difficulties. DSA would fund a mentor as well.

senua Mon 18-Mar-13 09:37:52

Have a look at the Arkwright Scholarship and the Smalllpeice Trust (and, yes, that is the correct spelling!)

BaconAndAvocado Mon 18-Mar-13 10:40:52

boomting when you say get into a good college do you mean a 6th form college?

He has been to a few Leith (I think!) lectures with his Dad. Will look into the Outreach programmes. We live in Kent.

It's good to know Imperial has a good student support service!

When all's said and done, I have no idea whether he is setting his sights too high....at the moment he is online to get As in his GCSEs but having had a look at Imperial's website it seems A*s are the norm!! Education has clicked only recently for him and at Primary and the early stages of Secondary school he was working at a just below average level. These days he loves studying, loves achieving high grades and reads widely around Science and Physics. I can't quite believe he's the same child! But I am very very proud and excited for him!

mariscall what is the DSA?

crazymum53 Mon 18-Mar-13 13:22:27

If you're considering alternatives to Imperial college have you considered Loughborough university? Has a good reputation for engineering and would definitely be worth considering.

BaconAndAvocado Mon 18-Mar-13 16:28:00

Thanks all.

I need to look into lots of things now.

Will start by trying to find some taster courses??

boomting Mon 18-Mar-13 17:57:23

Bacon by college, yes I did mean sixth form / FE college. One with a good track record on results and university admissions will make his life that much easier.

Imperial is not the only good university for engineering, and when he applies to university he will apply to 5 anyway. Most of the Russell Group universities are a good bet. Outside the Russell Group, Loughborough and Bath are both known to be good for engineering.

Some people find that they suddenly improve at GCSE / A Level, whereas others suddenly find that they struggle. In many ways, it's too early to start predicting which universities he will be looking at. Please do be aware of foundation courses though - several excellent universities (Manchester is one example) have them, and they are aimed at bright students who have underperformed at A Level for whatever reason.

BaconAndAvocado Mon 18-Mar-13 19:09:05

Thanks loads boom.

With my DS's ability to remember reams and reams of information (one of the few perks of his particulary strain of AS!) he seems to do very well in tests that require this skill. However, I do wonder (it was so long ago for me, I can't remember!) if at A level this is going to be enough. Surely he will have to apply and use his knowledge in different ways too??

creamteas Mon 18-Mar-13 21:30:11

Bacon as a parent of DC with ASD and a lecturer, I would strongly suggest that your DS does disclose his disability on the application form.

There is lots of support for students with disabilities at most universities now, and there are lots of things we can do to help before he arrives, including additional transition and orientation events.

With students with Aspergers it is worth thinking quite a lot about the size and geography of university. So small and campus-based universities can work better.

sandripples Mon 18-Mar-13 21:54:36

Boomting, my DS started at Imperial this year and is doing Chem Eng. Others he liked were Bath, Manchester and Newcastle. If your DS maintains this interest, Birmingham do a taster day, and you should also look into the Headstart programme which does short summer schools in STEM subjects.
I'm not a scientists but DS says Chem Eng is best described as applied maths! Interesting that in the offer he had to get A* in maths to get in (plus 3 A's).
I'd encourage your DS to look at a range of science/maths subject areas at this stage - its early days and he may move through a number of ideas before deciding on one to go for. I do think lectures and taster sessions are very motivating and useful.

BaconAndAvocado Mon 18-Mar-13 22:09:02

Thank you all so much thanks

I'm going to,print this thread off as there are so many great pieces of advice and ideas. I would never have got all this great info in RL.

creamteas what you say makes a lot of sense but I'm not sure if my DS would want to put it on application form.

sandripples what exactly is a Taster day? And where are the Headstart summer courses held?

sandripples Tue 19-Mar-13 18:59:53

I think a Taster dya is when they get the students into lecture halls and labs and give them lectures/let them set up experiemtns as they would as ist year undergrads! My DS missed the brum Day as were too late applying, but he went to a few other events.

The Headstart courses are held in several different uni's - DS went to UCL but there were a number of other venues.

sandripples Tue 19-Mar-13 19:02:27

Yes, if you google Headstart engineering courses you'll see lots of info. and about 19 uni's involved for 2013. But I think your DS will need to be a bit older.

boomting Tue 19-Mar-13 20:06:36

If you fall into certain categories (usually based around household income, postcode, your school's GCSE results etc.), then there are various other schemes, generally aimed at sixth formers, which may be of interest.

A couple of residentials spring to mind, and eligibility is based on contextual data
www.suttontrust.com/summer-schools/uk-summer-schools/
www.uniq.ox.ac.uk/

There's a modest fee for this one, though it can be waived. Admission is not based on contextual data to the same extent
www.etoncollege.com/USS.aspx

BaconAndAvocado Wed 20-Mar-13 12:17:24

Thanks again.

Yes, he probably is too young for all of the above but they all sound really interesting.

In all your expert opinions, what could he be doing now to help with any future personal statements/application forms for any Chemical Engineering courses.

sandripples Thu 21-Mar-13 21:15:19

At his current age, and bearing in mind he may well change his mind, I'd suggest you just encourage him to enjoy all his subjects but especially the sciences and maths as much as possible. If school offer any extra activities make sure he goes along. If your nearest uni offers any activities such as a Science week, find out about them.

DS went through a range of possibilities in years 10-12 before settling on his final choice so its good to keep a broad approach IMO.

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