DS fixated on going to Imperial College..

(38 Posts)
BaconAndAvocado Mon 13-May-13 20:04:51

He's currently in Year 10 doing his GCSEs and wants to go on to do a Chemical Engineering course at Imperial College.

I know very little about it, apart from it being one of the top universities for Chem Eng courses (I think!)

DS is now talking about re-taking a Chemistry module, for which he got an A, because "Imperial College only want A* s at GCSEs"

Is this true?

DS has Asperger's Syndrome and Imperial has become a bit of a recent obsession. Whilst I'm incredibly proud that he already has a path drawn out for himself, I realise that the likelihood of him gaining a place there is small.

Should he put pressure on himself and re-do the module to try and get an A* or would it not make any difference if he already has an A.

Thanks in advance smile

Pleaseandthankyou Mon 13-May-13 20:36:45

I know several students who have received offers from Imperial who do not have straight A*s though they do have a high proportion. The offers at A level are very high. The fact that it is chemistry may be relevant. You can always call them and ask . You should bear in mind that the grade requirements may have changed by the time he applies. Is his school able to offer any advice.

BaconAndAvocado Mon 13-May-13 21:39:09

Thanks pleaseandthankyou (!)

I think I might call them and ask, though they'll probably think I'm a bit premature!

Chottie Mon 13-May-13 21:43:04

I think it is great that your DS has a goal and a purpose to his studying. I wish him the best of luck. There is nothing wrong in aiming for the stars.

alreadytaken Mon 13-May-13 22:13:58

Introduce him to the student room where he can look at what has happened to a few current applicants www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Imperial_Applicants_2013_entry_stalking_page

exoticfruits Mon 13-May-13 22:35:48

No harm in being premature. They are a top university, so the competition for places will be intense.

boomting Tue 14-May-13 08:53:15

There's no such thing as premature - some unis start working with kids in year 5.

As a general rule of thumb, unis are far more interested in A Level grades than GCSE grades, so long as you meet any minimums stated on their website.

There are some uni open days coming up (mostly around June and October ish), so it might be an idea to take him to Imperial and a couple of others so that you can compare and contrast. Www.opendays.com collates them all

BaconAndAvocado Tue 14-May-13 09:28:22

Thank you all for such positive feedback flowers

DS has only recently begun to thrive (academically) at school and we are so very very proud of his recent achievements and attitudes, especially as his Asperger's has held him back in the past.

I like the idea of taking him to an Open Day too, I didn't realise he could do that prior to being in the UCAS system. He would love to do that. He popped in to Imperial whilst on a day out in London last weekend just to have a nose and was very impressed with it!

Thanks again smile

alreadytaken Tue 14-May-13 09:47:26

quite a few parents take children along to open days in year 11 and younger siblings often go along. There is no harm in visiting the university for the general talks but there are a few courses where places on subject talks are very limited. Sometimes you can just turn up on the day and find a vacant seat even in subject courses.

Good luck to your son!

My niece was able to get a place at Imperial where she's currently studying Maths (and loving it). AFAIR it was only her A levels that counted (and yes they had to be gob-smackingly good). But worth asking them to see if any weight is given to GCSEs.

Happy to ask my neice for info if there's anything specific you're interested in.

BaconAndAvocado Tue 14-May-13 10:29:24

Thanks melanie DS's specific concern was whether an A grade GCSE in Chemistry would be a problem as opposed to an A*.

Very specific I know,guess that's his Asperger's speaking!!

alreadytaken Tue 14-May-13 11:31:05

the student room is probably the best place to ask, baconandavocado, as there will be people who are in the process of applying and may be people currently on the course. Information on mumsnet can sometimes be out-of-date. If you look at the stalking page you'll see applicants don't have all A*s at GSCE. Generally A levels matter much more than GSCE but I don't know this course and for all courses admission tutors look at GSCE and AS grades to see if the projected A level grades are realistic. They know that more projections are overestimates than underestimates. He'll be in a better position to assess his chances when he has his AS grades.

Imperial offer good bursaries but it is London so very expensive.

sandripples Tue 14-May-13 20:36:28

My DS is in 1st year of Chem Eng at Imperial. He had to get 2 A*s and 2 As at A-level and one A* had to be in Maths.
I don't know how important the A in CHemsitry is - tbe I think Maths is more important. DS says the course is Applied Maths really.

He wishes he'd done Further Maths as well as Maths, at A-level. (he did 3 sciences + maths)

Excellent university - extremely demanding course - and yes expensive!
Good luck.

PS I liked Newcastle, Bath and Manchester for the same course - all very good. Newcastle struck me as very friendly. Bath would be great for sporty types. Manchester is very good and was DS's insurance. I'm not sure how pastoral care is at Imperial.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 14-May-13 20:41:13

I went to Imperial back in the days when they made BBC offers!

As a Science teacher now, I'd get him to look carefully at UMS rather than grades. If he has a high A UMS, then good results in his other modules and in his CA will pull him over the boundary, without him having to dilute his revision efforts by retaking a module.

It's not grades for modules, it's UMS that counts!

BaconAndAvocado Tue 14-May-13 21:32:08

thefallenmadonna, what is UMS?

TheFallenMadonna Tue 14-May-13 21:38:21

It's sort of the points for the exam. A raw score (the actual mark) is converted into UMS. The UMS for each component of the course are added together, and need to exceed a certain boundary for an overall grade.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 14-May-13 21:40:13

His chemistry teacher will be able to explain it to him. And you! Easier to see when you have the actual numbers in front of you.

They'll be on his results slip, if you have it.

BaconAndAvocado Tue 14-May-13 22:07:12

Oh, I think I know what you mean. The fact that he only needs to get a certain grade in one module to get an overall good grade? If that makes sense?

sandripples Wed 15-May-13 19:35:52

I've had two DCs go through High School to uni and never did get the hang of UMS points! (I'm not suggesting they don't matter - clearly they do. I just found it all a bit baffling.)

BeckAndCall Fri 17-May-13 10:20:11

But it's not quite true for Imperial that UMS at GCSE are what count ( which is the stage the OPs DS is at).

My recollection from DS's year ( so may be out by 4 years) is that they ask for UMS scores for AS level, but not GCSE, (same as cambridge) and that their offers can also be expressed as UMS scores for each module - even requiring 100 UMS for each module. My recollection is that this is what one of DS's friends was offered. But that was for maths, not chem eng.

I don't think UMS at GCSE are declared.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 17-May-13 17:46:43

No, they're not. My point was that you can get an A* without getting an A* in every module, as long as tour UMS total is over the A* boundary. So there might be no need to retake the module.

BaconAndAvocado Sun 19-May-13 19:53:40

Thanks fallen I think I get it now.

DS is revising hard for his Biology exam in his room as I write this. He really has pulled out all the stops recently smile

musu Mon 20-May-13 22:30:43

I would check how many overseas students they take. I can't remember the course but I know someone whose dc was unhappy on their course because they found it hard to integrate with the majority (who were Chinese).

BaconAndAvocado Tue 21-May-13 18:27:44

DS isn't big on "integrating" due to his Asperger's.

musu Tue 21-May-13 22:20:44

But I assume he'll want to make friends on his course? That was the problem. Chinese students just didn't mix and spoke amongst themselves in class, unless they had to address the class. Wish I could remember the detail but I think the student ended up moving courses because of it.

BaconAndAvocado Wed 22-May-13 14:09:17

Yes, that's true. We're quite a long way off!

sandripples Tue 28-May-13 16:11:50

Imperial told us they reserved about 40% of places for full fee paying overseas students. DS says that's about correct - however he's mixing with a good range of fellow students and he wasn't used to a multi cultural environment. The Chinese do tend to stick together i think, but there are plenty of other people and cultures, and they all have to mix for their various types of team-work.

savoirfaire Fri 31-May-13 23:11:13

Please do speak to the admissions or Outreach team rather than just going with what people on StudentRoom say. There are loads of misconceptions around. Going to open day is a great idea - perhaps go to one or two others so he can get an idea that there are other wonderful places to go as well and that he won't have 'failed' (IYKWIM) if he doesn't get an offer from Imperial.

BaconAndAvocado Sun 02-Jun-13 20:51:05

Would it be a good idea to go to an Open Day whilst he's in Year 10 or 11?

WouldBeHarrietVane Sun 02-Jun-13 20:55:16

Just quickly posting to say you must be very proud of him - sounds like he is doing brilliantly smile

BaconAndAvocado Mon 03-Jun-13 20:48:42

Thanks harriet for a sweet post!

We are incredibly proud of him, particularly as his difficulties have held him back in the past at school.

savoirfaire Mon 03-Jun-13 20:51:13

You may need to register for the Open Day. I think Y11 would be ok, but again the university could advise. Sometimes they have taster days for younger students.

tiredaftertwo Tue 04-Jun-13 15:28:36

I think Imperial had a science fair (for the public) a few weeks back, and I think they do other public engagement-type events. Perhaps he'd like to go to some of that sort of thing (sorry if you do all that already)?

I'd be proud too - good luck to him!

BaconAndAvocado Tue 04-Jun-13 16:39:12

He went to a Science Fair recently, which is where he got the idea for Imperial!

boomting Tue 04-Jun-13 22:50:39

Open days are fine at any age - universities are invariably keen to get people interested young - some start outreach work in Y5.

FWIW I'll be working university open days this summer and I (and my colleagues) are more than happy to see people planning ahead.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Sat 15-Jun-13 19:43:05

Bacon when you accompany him to the Open Day, you should get plenty of chance to find out what their pastoral support is like. I think it varies a great deal from Uni to Uni. It isn't a factor for my DS1 this September but DS2 is going next September and he has Asperger's. It's a factor for us because while he's a very clever person, some days he can't find his own arse with both hands. I dread him festering, unwashed, in a room alone. So it will be a major consideration when we go to open days.

Well done your son for going for it, though! It's great when they 'come good' after being told they were naughty and lazy in primary school grin grin

BaconAndAvocado Mon 17-Jun-13 13:36:06

he can't find his own arse with both hands grin that rings a lot of bells here!

2rebecca Mon 17-Jun-13 14:37:38

I wonder what they do for Scottish students, my son is considering Imperial for mech eng (but will probably stick to Scottish unis). There are no UMSs up here, you just have your standard grade and higher results and for imperial would get a provisional offer based on advanced highers. I presume they just look at your highers and predicted grades.
My son is being put off unis with alot of overseas students because he wants to have a social life and lots of clubs as well as study.
Imperial does sound a bit hot housy, good if you want to do pHds etc, may suit someone with aspergers.

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