How to keep DC motivated in sixth year when they already have unconditionals?

(17 Posts)

DS1 lost interest last year as soon as he got an unconditional, but it didn't matter too much as he was accepted to study something unconnected to his school subjects.

DS2 now has a handful of unconditionals (but not from his first choice uni, which sends its offers out in march). He's rapidly losing interest in school, and has mentioned leaving and getting full time hours at his part time job.

This is almost exclusively an issue for Scottish students, and while it's great to know he has a place, sixth year is often a waste of time.

Has anyone else found a solution to keeping their DC motivated in sixth year?

chemenger Sun 08-Dec-13 17:33:30

If his intended degree includes maths then it is important to take AH maths seriously otherwise university maths will be tough. The transition to uni maths is worse for those who have had a year taking it easy in 6th year than it is for those coming straight from 5th yr. Otherwise I would say it's not too important if he cruises a bit, and takes every opportunity to do work experience, voluntary work, sport and extra school responsibility, it's never to early to work on a CV.

OldRoan Sun 08-Dec-13 17:39:30

I would go to the library, get out a book that is linked to their uni course (maybe try and get a reading list from the first choice) - let him have a look at it and see if it makes sense. If it does, great and I agree that he could be building up his CV a bit and getting involved in extra curricular activities. If it doesn't make sense, he'll need to focus at school so that it will make sense when he gets there.

Universities are good at introducing concepts, and teaching certain things, but independent study will be important too; he won't have time to be catching up on stuff that the university assumes he covered at school.

Chememger, it's maths degrees he's applied for, so your advice is good, thanks. Now, how to get him to act on it... And getting the reading list is a great idea, OldRoan

MrsBright Mon 09-Dec-13 08:57:18

Bribe him. Sounds naff but teenagers will do most things for money. If he slackens off and doesnt get good grades, he doesnt get the cash.

Look on Amazon for books that are introductory texts for undergraduates. These will show him how complicated Uni study is - it isnt just more of what he's used to now. This is the level he will need to be working at from week 1 at Uni. This is normally a big wake up call.

MrsBright Mon 09-Dec-13 22:02:48

The other thing to mention to him is that future employers recruiting through Graduate Entry schemes use UCAS points as an initial filter - in other words, it doesnt matter how spectacular his degree results is, if his A levels grades are cr@p then he wont even be in contention.

Mrs Bright is right. I'm hearing that with university grade inflation of degrees, the best graduate employers are going back to A level results (and even GCSEs!) to try to narrow down the applicants to call for interview. Obviously, in Scotland your Higher exams would be the equivalent...

prettybird Tue 10-Dec-13 19:40:08

Is he doing any extra-curricular work at school? I know that's why ds' school started doing DoE Gold - to keep the 6th years involved and motivated, even if it wasn't actually studying towards exams. They also try to get them involved in lots of other activities, which at least will help towards cvs/personal statements.

Is he doing Advanced Highers or just some extra Highers? Is he actually passionate about what the subjects he is studying this year.

I'm presuming from the fact that he already has unconditionals that he got good results in his Highers and isn't re-doing any.

Thanks all. Yes he got excellent higher results, hence the unconditionals. He's not doing anything extra curricular because he's basically had enough of school, but he does work part time (which is why bribery won't work - he's loaded!)

He is doing two AH and one crash higher, and he's turning up for every lesson, but he's just outgrown school now and is bored. I'm going to track down a first year uni maths book, so thanks, whoever suggested that.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Tue 10-Dec-13 20:38:23

I was in school with a lad years ago who got an offer if two Es from Oxford. He only passed one if his three A levels.
Is that a good enough example?

The problem is, middleagedmother, that he's already got what he needs. He has four guaranteed places, because in Scotland it's based on the exams you do in fifth year (and some people leave after fifth year and go straight to uni at 17, or even 16)

If he stayed in bed between one and September, it would make no difference to his uni place.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 10-Dec-13 20:48:35

The leap from a-level maths to degree level is or was quite big. My brother got an A in maths a level (before a stars) and found his degree so hard he dropped out.

badguider Tue 10-Dec-13 20:55:36

I was him.
I did csys at the time in two maths and physics and they basically allowed me to have an easy first semester at uni. Those straight from higher had to work their socks off.
I also did some gap year type stuff which school supported (volunteering trip to Mexico over Easter hols) and yes I worked a lot of hours in my pt job.
In the end I got BBC (after five straight As at higher) so clearly my interest had waned but it wasn't a totally wasted year.
If he's going to uni straight from a Scottish school (so just 18) then he should get some life experience otherwise he'll feel awfully young among English students who've taken a gap year so can be nearly 20.

darksparrow Tue 10-Dec-13 21:02:45

Doing csys or modern equivalent makes 1st year much easier - I studied for my uni exams from my 6th year school notes! Doing so much more in 6th year really took the pressure off for me. This was maths too. ..

JellicleCat Tue 10-Dec-13 23:05:50

Agent I feel for you, this was my DD last year. Good Higher grades, 5 unconditional offers and only passed one of her 3 Advanced Highers.

No idea what I would have done differently, she had a job and an extra-curricular activity but zero motivation for school work. In hindsight the one thing I would have done is speak to her guidance teacher.

Would I have let her leave school? Only if she was doing something worth while and full-time.

By the way, presume his 5th uni is Edinburgh - I remember the angst of waiting for the final offer.

Yes, it's edinburgh - his first choice, and the last to do offers sad

prettybird Wed 11-Dec-13 10:57:23

Difficult sad: I can empathise.

I went to Uni straight from 5th year for exactly that reason (had matured a lot with emigrating to NZ and back again between the ages of 13 and 15 and all the catching up I had to do) - I was sick of school. I was accepted to St Andrews while classmates had a deferred acceptance (ie they were told to do a 6th year) - but the Uni rang the school (after we went to see the Admissions Officer at an Open Day there) to ask how mature we were and whether we would cope.

Even so, I did struggle maturity wise in 1st year - I was an easy target for teasing as I was quite naive and, compared to all the English students, very young (I only turned 18 the following April).

Maybe turn it around and suggest to him that the more work he does now, the more drinking time he'll have in 1st Year wink

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