Part time jobs whilst in 6th Form

(95 Posts)
Horsemad Sun 25-Aug-13 20:14:05

DH doesn't want DS1 to have a weekend/holiday job whilst in 6th form as he wants him to be able to concentrate on his studies more.

I disagree and think apart from the money, it equips the student with time management skills, social skills etc.

DS is quite happy to take DH's money and not work!

School didn't help; at the 6th form open evening they advised against them having jobs.

Ragwort Sun 25-Aug-13 20:16:39

I agree with you, I used to work in graduate recruitment and it was quite obvious to spot those young people who had never worked.

What about baby-sitting though? You can still study whilst earning a bit of money; also remember that part time jobs are much harder to get these days. Or what about a voluntary job that will involve commitment and getting on with other people?

Horsemad Sun 25-Aug-13 20:26:48

Babysitting is a good idea. He's a lazy devil and is quite happy to be subsidised by Papa. angry

He was in air cadets until DH told him he would have to stop going whilst he was revising for GCSEs - now he won't go back. He doesn't have any other hobbies, so thinks it's acceptable to play computer games 16 hrs a day! ( I turn the router off so he isn't on it that long, but would be if alloeed )

Doodledumdums Sun 25-Aug-13 20:28:26

I really think it is a good idea to work during 6th form, it is so easy to spot graduates who have never worked, and I really don't think it helps them at all.

Horsemad Sun 25-Aug-13 20:36:06

It doesn't but not sure how I can convince DH...

BeckAndCall Sun 25-Aug-13 20:40:32

Depends on the school he goes to, the extra curricular activities he does, the duties he will have at school etc.

My DS's school didn't 'allow' boys to have part time jobs but my DDs school does. dS would have managed with a job but no way could DD - too many other things going on!

Mumzy Sun 25-Aug-13 20:40:53

I think working one eveni g and a Saturday all day is enough and will look good on cv. The problem is if he's offered more shifts so you need to think how to handle that one before it happens

mummy1973 Sun 25-Aug-13 20:46:18

Your DS will need to want a job regardless of your and DH's views. I actually agree with you BTW but I think it's pointless unless your DS will find and keep a job. Can you convince DS of the benefits?

Horsemad Sun 25-Aug-13 20:47:15

He doesn't do any extra curricular activities, it's so frustrating.

Horsemad Sun 25-Aug-13 20:49:20

That's the problem mummy1973, he is given money by DH & MIL, so the incentive isn't there. angry

noblegiraffe Sun 25-Aug-13 20:51:26

Most of my sixth formers have a job, usually shop work. Shops like Build a Bear and the Disney shop like hiring teenagers, a few of the lads work in B&Q or Homebase. Mostly they balance it well with their studies but a couple have had to be told to cut down on their shifts. One of them earned enough money to buy a car!

TheAlphaandtheOmega Sun 25-Aug-13 21:29:36

DS had a supermarket job all through 6th Form. He worked Sundays and Friday evening so it didn't interfere with his studies and got loads of extra hours in the hols. He ended up earning loads and now he's at Uni a job came up in the same supermarket chain which he got, so now he has plenty of work for the hols.

It boosted his confidence no end and I sure will be a very positive thing for when he leaves uni.

TheAlphaandtheOmega Sun 25-Aug-13 21:34:33

I shouldn't worry either about turning down extra shifts as plenty of people want them as supermarket contracts are for quite low hours and people want to make more money than their basic hours.

DalmationDots Sun 25-Aug-13 21:49:43

DD went to a very academic 'full-on' girls school (lots of things on offer and pressure to be keeping up with academics plus an array of extracurricular) but she managed to work Saturdays throughout sixth form and in the holidays she would do the equivalent of 3 days a week. She coped fine, but she is quite disciplined and would keep on top of everything quite well. IMO she learnt how to balance things much better than if she had just done school things and the money she earned is now invaluable as she uses it to pay towards uni living costs. She made some great friends at her work too so she saw it as a bit of a break and social time as she enjoyed going.

mumslife Sun 25-Aug-13 22:01:01

My daughter is going to grammar school for sixth form and we were advised even doing four a levels any more than a few hours would impact on studies as quite full on. So perhaps a sat but def no more

Horsemad Sun 25-Aug-13 22:04:28

I really need to persuade DS a job is A. Good. Thing.

Most of his peers have some kind of employment & I wouldn't mind so much if I thought he'd study more if he doesn't have to work... but I know that won't be the case. angry

BackforGood Sun 25-Aug-13 22:06:49

I agree that working adds an extra dimension to a young person's CV (and also their respect for money), but I'm not sure it's dh you need to convince - it's your ds who needs to 'want' to work.

monikar Sun 25-Aug-13 22:09:52

The argument for not having a part-time job in the sixth form is that it will interfere with their studies, but realistically will they be working all the time they are not at school/college? Most teenagers will spend some of their time on fb etc. and computer games so one way to look at it is that there will be less time for these activities.

mummy1973 Sun 25-Aug-13 22:12:19

Maybe it's more of a what he enjoys and wants from life kinda chat? Maybe he needs some help thinking about other opportunities and things outside of computer time?

BellaVita Sun 25-Aug-13 22:12:55

I think we share the same DS Horsemad grin

However both DH and I agree he should be getting a job - he currently gets £50 a month from us. All clothes, toiletries etc are bought by us. He just pays for his top up and never goes out, just sits at his computer playing games.

He starts college on the 9th Sept and DH has already given him the big talk about how his Internet is going to be restricted and will only be on for college work.

He finished school for study leave on the 10th May so will have had nearly 4 months complete computer time.

It will do them NO HARM!

exoticfruits Sun 25-Aug-13 22:18:40

He could do with a job and interests for his CV. Having said that part time jobs are difficult to get, depending on where you live.

Beveridge Sun 25-Aug-13 22:20:29

FWIW, I'm a secondary teacher but in Scotland so the intensive year for our lot is S5, as that's the year that you do Highers and it's a fair slog. However, S6 (should you choose to stay on) is traditionally more enjoyable (unless you totally stuffed up S5).

Given my experience as a pupil and teacher, I have decided that my DCs will be advised not to have a job if they decide to stay on till S5 and I would be prepared to give them an allowance (nothing crazy) but it would be entirely effort-based i.e. if they are not putting in the study hours, the subsidy goes.

The expectation would be they look for a part-time job as soon as they have sat their last S5 exam. Not sure how the pace of A levels compares but 5 Highers is pretty much all-consuming from August to May. I had a part-time job in S5 and my marks definitely suffered, I needed to spend a lot of time studying to get the grades I needed but I was not allowed to give up my summer job (my mother would not let me. I have no idea why. I remember desperately trying to study for mock exams in my teabreaks. It wasn't great ).

higgle Sun 25-Aug-13 22:27:28

DS1 worked every weekend at Tesco - both days, while he was in the 6th form, he got into Oxford and had £7k saved up by the time he left home. It was very good for his confidence and a good entry into the "real world" DS2 has worked at a local chinese restaurant and takeaway and also made good money. DS2 has been really befriended by the Chinese staff, who are mainly post grad students and has a whole new social life as a result ( and invitations to go to China), he is off to a Russell Group uni next month. I think it is really important to encourage young jpeople to work and study too.

titchy Sun 25-Aug-13 22:32:46

I somehow doubt all those 6th form colleges tell their prospective med or vet med applicants not to get any work experience!!

Seriously if he's bright and ambitious he will need something none study related on his UCAS form, especially as he has no extra curricular (seriously your dh thought it was a good idea to give up cadets- what planet is he on?????). Tons of AAA students each year with no uni offers because they had no depth to them.

Do him a favour and make him get a job or do voluntary work or something.

mumslife Sun 25-Aug-13 22:35:16

To be fair i think my daughter will study at weekends evenings. Think it depends kn hiw easy they find a levels my daughter will hav to work hard and honestly dont think she would ever manage to work both days of the weekend no way she will be working her socks off as it is and has quite a long journey to the grammar school she has just got into. I do agree with the idea of giving an allowance though that is dependent on how hard they are studying

Horsemad Sun 25-Aug-13 22:39:56

Bella - it's uncanny how similar our boys are!
If mine doesn't get a job I will personally unplug the router more! grin

He will NOT be having anything like the amount of pc time he's imagining.

Horsemad Sun 25-Aug-13 22:41:46

titchy - my husband is crazy...

Mumzy Mon 26-Aug-13 06:55:50

I train undergraduates who are do clinical placement in my department and you can clearly see the ones who have never worked. The ones that have on the whole can turn up on time, dress and act appropriately,are more proactive don't need telling every 5 minutes and are much more ready to take on more responsibilities. When vacancies arise in our department it's these students we call

exoticfruits Mon 26-Aug-13 08:10:15

I think he will manage better at university( if that is the aim) if he has had a job, had interests and learnt to time manage for himself. Those that run into difficulties are those who have been on a narrow treadmill with parents organising time management- they can't handle the freedom.

IamFluffy Mon 26-Aug-13 09:00:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsBartlet Mon 26-Aug-13 09:03:08

Can he get some casual work where he is not committed to regular hours? Dd (starting 6th form next week) is on a team that does children's parties and is called in on an as and when basis. She probably only does 2 parties a month maximum and she is able to say she can't work if she has too much homework on. It still gives her the experience of working and how to behave in a work environment but without the regular commitment.

andadietcoke Mon 26-Aug-13 09:07:33

How about considering a Christmas temp job as a compromise with your DH? Your DS will be off school so will have more time to work and save, whilst still getting the experience. I worked for Our Price as a Christmas temp during 6i and 6ii at a high pressure private school and it worked really well, then when I started uni I worked at the Our Price there at weekends and Wednesday afternoons. I loved it and am still friends with people I worked with when I was 16.

racingheart Mon 26-Aug-13 09:08:09

If he has time to play computer games 16 hours a day he most definitely has time to do jobs. The screen time won't build any skills at all. But the same amount of time used to earn, develop interpersonal skills and time management will be invaluable. I agree with you - a lot. The people who impress are those who can manage their academic work load as well as extra-curricular stuff.

Babysitting is good, lawnmowing for elderly neighbours, pet-sitting while others are on holiday. Even delivering those free sheet newspapers keeps you fit and pays a (tiny) amount. He could also apply to catering companies who need serving staffs for one-off big events. That way he's not tied to a restaurant shift every week. Or he could get a job in a restaurant one or two nights a week. Can he get a job related to one of the subjects that interests him? I used to work as a theatre usherette when I loved drama, and saw all the local shows for free, including the RSC. A friend's son is applying to study nautical engineering and worked the summer in a boatyard. What does he want to do at uni?

At his age I had a hobby that took up about 10-12 hours a week, baby sat every evening for two hours until a working mum got home and also had two other occasional jobs that took up about 24 hours a month. Still got good grades and into first choice of uni. But it meant getting up at 6 am to do homework and revision.

Horsemad Mon 26-Aug-13 10:42:32

racingheart - he wants to do Computer Sciences! His ideal job would be working in PC World smile

I'm going to get him to do a C.V. and then get him to drop it in to places.
We live in a very rural area, so opportunities are few but that said, most of his peers have some kind of job.

I've just sagely mentioned to both DH & him that many straight A students get knocked back from uni 'cause they're not rounded enough. Water. Off. A. Duck's. Back.
Aarrggghh. sad

Busybeingbusy Mon 26-Aug-13 12:20:51

Slightly off topic but relevant to your PC World comment...

Just dropped off phone to be repaired in new PC/ phone repair shop that has just opened up. The young proprietor is about 22 or 23. He told me he has a BSc in Games Software Development. He said his interest started off during a school work experience week, then he gained experience in a Saturday job while still at school and then all through Uni and now he has opened his own place. Maybe a CV to your local mobile repair shop...

racingheart Mon 26-Aug-13 13:39:32

Then he could get a saturday job at PC world or a similar place. Or join one of those geek clusters. (Yes, they really exist. DH took DS1 to one the other day when his new computer was broken and they all sat round mending it for him, for free, for fun.)

I think you need to get the balance right. A friend of DS worked every hour under the sun in the run up to his GCSEs and got much worse grades than he was expected. His family were in financial difficulties and he had never had any money before.
DS1 did five subjects at AS level and I would not have wanted him to do more than a few hours work. Having said that I think that some part time work is good for them in so many ways.
We are also very rural so have to be prepared to ferry to and from work if necessary.
Financially it's not necessary for DS1 to work but I think it would be good for him. He is not bothered about money, it's not that I give him too much. he wouldn't care as long as he was fed. He finds the whole thing very stressful and is painfully shy. He managed to land a job without trying at a local takeaway. It was 4 hours a week and he hated it. It didn't last long as they shut down.
Just by chance again he has got another job. It's his dream, he's a square peg in a square hole. He teaches Kumon maths 4 hours a week and he absolutely loves it. Supports his choice of degree subject (maths) as well.

Horsemad Mon 26-Aug-13 18:19:59

Totally agree Secret about overdoing it and you are right, it is important to get the balance right.
I wouldn't mind ferrying him around, it goes with the territory when you live in the sticks, doesn"t it?
He doesn't need much money as he doesn't do anything! It's more about his social skills and gaining experience/confidence.
I'm going to keep plugging away at this one as I feel DH is doing him no favours.

Horsemad Mon 26-Aug-13 18:25:03

racingheart - I've never heard of geek clusters! They sound good though. Will ask DS if he knows of any.

Maryz Mon 26-Aug-13 18:28:55

We are having this discussion ATM. Should dd keep her waitressing job or not? It's a great job - a couple of shifts a week and would be great to keep for when she leaves school. If she gives it up it will be hard to get another one.

I think she should keep it. She/we need the money, and IMO she would spend the saved time on her phone. Dh thinks she should stop.

But most of her friends aren't working, many of them are being discouraged from sport etc. I think that they need to learn to manage their time, and if they can't manage a part time job and some extracurricular activities while studying, how on earth will they manage university life?

Horsemad Mon 26-Aug-13 18:42:54

Agree Maryz.

motherstongue Mon 26-Aug-13 19:06:51

Watching this with interest. My DS has just turned 15 and wanted a summer job so he could build his own PC (we refused to part with the cash for any more technology) but he couldn't get anything. I encouraged him to do some volunteering with the schools summer active kids programme for 5-10 year olds and he really loved it. I was so impressed with him because like others on this thread he would happily be on his games console all day and all night if he could but he got organised every day he was scheduled to help and turned up on time and all in all made a very good impression to the group leaders. They have therefore agreed to put him through his coaching certificate if he volunteers again over Easter and next summer so that he can get paid work once he is 16 as a coach. He's now really excited about this as it means he can work on a casual basis during most of the holidays and will be able to continue with it at Uni if he wants to. We had the discussion with him too that on his Uni application it looks good that he has volunteered since he was 14 and not just the last year before starting Uni like so many others have.

Fairdene Mon 26-Aug-13 19:36:46

My DC have all worked part time since Y9, though admittedly it's seasonal work, so April - Oct, and it's always been a plus for university applications. In fact his part time job was the subject of a number of DS1's med school interview convos rather than his more directly related GP and hospital placements and the tutors were all very positive. He got several more offers than he needed and is now in the top ten students at his first choice uni, which is also the highest rated uni in the UK. Apart from being valuable in itself it also brings independence in terms of money, which has to be good. I recommend part time work very strongly. All my DC have managed a social life and A* or A*s at A level and their first choice uni, so it's clearly possible not to compromise on other fronts.

Fairdene Mon 26-Aug-13 19:41:01

Cross post. Agree Maryz. My DC only do a low level waiting/ kitchen job but it's served them well on all fronts: managing time, earning independent money when I've been squeezed myself, interacting with customers, working in a close knit team, working under pressure, uni apps etc. Can't recommend it too highly.

TallulahBetty Mon 26-Aug-13 19:41:41

When i was at 6th form (not that long ago!) it was normal to have a weekend job. Any friends that didn't were viewed as lazy wink

Fairdene Mon 26-Aug-13 19:43:59

Also agree with motherstongue that length of service counts. My Dc have been employed by the same employer from Y9 to Y13 (and beyond in fact). That in itself speaks volume for uni apps.

Fairdene Mon 26-Aug-13 19:45:23

Quite. Most of the DCs' friends have had weekend jobs. It's more unusual not to have one.

lade Mon 26-Aug-13 19:53:12

I teach in FE, and the research (although, I have not actually read it myself) suggests that having a part time job is beneficial to students. However, it becomes detrimental when it goes over 15 hours a week for AS year and 12 hours for A2. Students who work but do less than that tend to do better than students who have no job.

Not sure what the research was where they got that from, but I have seen it quoted and referenced at work.

Any friends that didn't were viewed as lazy
Absolutely not that easy here to get part time jobs. DS1 (17) is one of only two out of all his male friends ever to have found a part time job. The other was the one I mentioned in previous post who actually worked at least 30 hours a week so not part time enough for most.

Maryz Mon 26-Aug-13 19:59:23

I've seen similar quoted about sport, lade. Results improve for children who play up to 15 hours sport, but then disimprove when the sport takes more than 20 hours.

I presume 15 hours of a job and 15 hours of a sport and umpteen hours of Facebook and gaming might be a bit much.

The workload at AS is much, much higher than GCSE. In the 3 months before exams DS was easily doing 8 hours a day at weekends and 4 on weekdays. He had no room for anything let alone a job.
His new job is 2 hours twice a week so hopefully will fit in ok.
Oh and Horsemad he can drive now. major step forward when you live in the sticks. (One of my early MN nicknames was inthesticks, perhaps I'll resurrect it smile)

orderinformation Mon 26-Aug-13 20:14:34

I was allowed to work Saturdays and one evening per week. I was so cross at my parents because that rules me out of the new tesco near us that demanded a Saturday and two evenings per week but in retrospect it was absolutely right.

It allowed me to save enough to go on holiday that summer with friends and the summer post a levels and also to have about £600 to take to uni with me (in late 90s) which I blew in the first half term

Also made getting a summer job post a level a lot easier as I had experience.

pyrrah Mon 26-Aug-13 20:23:48

There's a big difference between 'work experience' in terms of helping out at a vets or shadowing some consultants and having a weekend/evening job in the local supermarket.

When I was at GS, I was allowed jobs in the summer holidays from GCSE onwards, but not during other holidays (was a boarder so weekends/evenings weren't an option). However I did do work experience during other holidays - archaeological digs or museums (was applying for Arch and Anth).

Ireallymustbemad Mon 26-Aug-13 20:25:44

Also having spent years interviewing for the graduate training scheme of a big 4 accountant, I would agree that we preferred candidates with part time work experience over those with no work history.

motherstongue Mon 26-Aug-13 20:37:31

Pyrrha, my DS is a boarder too which does add to the problem of getting part time work as obviously you can't work during term time. Ireally have you found it has put boarders at a disadvantage due to lack of opportunity when you have been recruiting?

SacreBlue Mon 26-Aug-13 20:42:48

My DS has worked p/t jobs since primary and though we live in the city it was actually being a country girl and digging spuds for 50p a crate that made me keen for him to be earning & learning about work & money.

He is a gamer (I am assuming pc hours = gaming for your DS) and was offered a job online as an admin for a gaming server. He couldn't take it up this year as he's under 16 but there are obviously opportunities out there for tech minded kids that can marry never leaving their pc with earning a bit of money (proper money btw £7 per hr so a lot more than minimum wage for their age)

Other jobs my DS had/has are extras work for tv, voice overs for radio, minding neighbours cats, labouring (my favourite as he is learning valuable DIY skills) and (his least favourite) babysitting for friends and relations.

Working during uni will be the norm for many kids and I don't think it's unreasonable to start them off with sporadic or p/t stuff at school.

Horsemad Mon 26-Aug-13 21:24:23

I agree with you all! smile

Am going to mention all your valid points to both DS & DH. Of course, if DH & MIL keep chucking money at him he'll never have any incentive, will he? angry

Fairdene Mon 26-Aug-13 21:59:05

Mine work/ worked on average 8 hours one day each weekend and one to two eight hour days during the Easter holidays, May and October half terms and the summer (actually more in the summer). More than that and I would have probably blanched.

Secretscwirrels I don't think there's a magic number of hours to successfully pass exams, each student is different. But only having four hours to spare for other stuff (pleasure or work) does sound as though the ship is being run pretty tight.

ontheallotment Mon 26-Aug-13 22:34:23

If a dc decides to go straight into employment rather than university then having some previous employment record becomes massively advantageous. Dd had a competency based interview for her apprenticeship and without having experience of previous employment & volunteering jobs to draw on the questions would have been very difficult to answer. I guess if a dc goes to university then internships etc whilst there replace the benefits of sixth form work to an extent, though I still think sixth form employement helps them develop life skills and is a good idea.

Sparklegeek Tue 27-Aug-13 13:19:54

I have been on & on at DS1 (just about to start Year 11) about thinking about some sort of paid or voluntary work for uni applications & also for all the other reasons stated on this thread. His difficulty is that his one extra curricular activity, which he loves, is football, & that involves training until midday on Saturdays & matches at any time up to 2pm on Sundays - so weekend jobs are out!

I have come up with the idea of him trying to get some work doing 11 plus tuition. We live in a grammar area so lots of 11 plus candidates. I thought if he only charged half the going proper tutor rate & advertised himself as having come in top place in the borough when he sat his eleven plus, he may be able to pick up an hour or two after school?

Do you think this is worth pursuing or would you be put off by the fact that he's not a proper tutor or CRB-checked etc?

titchy Tue 27-Aug-13 13:54:59

I wouldn't sparkle - I'd have thought most parents have too much riding on the 11+ to let an inexperienced adult tutor their kids, let alone a child. What would happen if one of his tutees failed?

Can he babysit? Or do voluntary work helping at cubs or an after school football club for primary kids?

bigbluebus Tue 27-Aug-13 14:10:11

DS's 6th form recommended that students work a maximum of 10hrs pw in part time jobs. Chances of getting DS off his computer and out to look for a job are slim sad.
He, too, has spent a large part of his 10 week holiday sitting in a dark room in front of a screen, Fortunately, someone he knows offered him some gardening work so he has at least earned some money and ventured out into the sunlight a couple of days a week.
I do worry about how they will fit in all their study, especially if DS decided to due DofE Gold Award, which they do in 6th form at his school - although that will involve voluntary work, but doesn't help him to learn about money! He also doesn't go out, so overheads are low - but we pay for his PAYG phone and his gym membership as well as clothes and toiletries. Would be nice if he could continue to earn some cash though.

Sparklegeek Tue 27-Aug-13 14:11:14

He already does the cubs volunteering titchy But I am guessing just that combined with weekend football isn't going to wow uni admissions people!

Plenty of children fail the 11 plus & there isn't any comeback on the tutor - they don't guarantee a pass. I do get what you are saying about inexperience though, that was my concern. I was hoping he may appeal to parents who perhaps can't afford the £20-£25 an hour for a qualified teacher. But maybe those parents would just do the tutoring themselves?

titchy Tue 27-Aug-13 15:40:20

Tbh that sounds fine for university purposes sparkle! As long as his academics are sound, doing some voluntary work and being involved in a sports team shows he is a rounded individual, a team player and has good time management skills. That's all they really need, even for super-competitive courses.

Ireallymustbemad Tue 27-Aug-13 15:44:25

motherstongue - not really as long as they have had jobs in holidays. The most important thing was that they don't just sit around but do something valuable with their time. So clubs etc are all better than nothing.

I remember a Cambridge uni student I interviewed who declared that he couldn't possibly work in the uni holidays as "you do need a rest after 8 weeks at Cambridge you know". He didn't go through to the second round...

Sparklegeek re the tutoring.
DS1 did some unpaid revision help last year for one or two friends. Feedback from their parents was very good, in fact one offered to pay him to teach her DD. He has had several other friends ask him to help with A level maths. However he has now got proper work, (CRB'd ) at the local Kumon centre.
I think if you call it "coaching" or homework help it might work. Some people are very prickly about youngsters calling themselves tutors.

Sparklegeek Tue 27-Aug-13 17:11:23

That's a really good point secret, will get him to not put 'tutoring' on any flyers he produces if he decides to do it. Coaching is a good alternative or even just 'help with technique'.

Thanks for that reassurance titchy, I was beginning to think they need to be some super-human activities coming out of their ears all-rounder to even get any offers! I read so much about Grade 8 Violin, D of E Gold Awards, voluntary school-building in Africa etc....not too sure whether the D of E do an award in X Box or if you can get Grade 8 PCing grin

Horsemad Tue 27-Aug-13 17:19:33

Lol @ Grade 8 PCing!! grin

Maryz Tue 27-Aug-13 19:41:23

We are in Ireland, where unfortunately nothing counts towards university admission apart from exam grades. There is no such thing as a reference, or a personal statement; having a job/volunteering/having outside interests/doing the Gaisce (DoE equivalent)/playing sport etc counts for nothing.

They get points on grades full stop.

With the result that a lot of the kids entering university for the more popular degrees like medicine have no life outside studying 24/7 and according to dd have no personalities either

Fairdene Tue 27-Aug-13 19:42:08

Sparklegeek for the most competitive courses at the most competitive unis it's an absolute given that the bulk of the 4000 characters allowed for the personal statement is given over to academics, not extra curriculars. Even those with the most extraordinary list of extra curricular achievements have to squeeze them into three or four lines. Don't worry about it too much. The most competitive unis have also taken time out to insist publicly they couldn't give a fig about extra curriculars. I'm not referring to just Oxford and Cambridge either, others insist they share the same view. Playing for England or GB still probably counts but the point at which it makes a difference is remarkably high. Better to let teenagers be teenagers and not straitjacket them into playing the flute or chess if that isn't their thing.

Fairdene Tue 27-Aug-13 19:43:57

Cross post. I find that odd Maryz. The highest achievers tend to do masses of other stuff to. Very sad if they're chained to their desks by whatever imperative.

Maryz Tue 27-Aug-13 19:49:02

Here the highest achievers do pretty much nothing else.

To do medicine here, you need A1's (over 95%) in six subjects. English, Irish, Maths, a foreign language are compulsory, as are a couple of science subjects for mediicine.

You sit the exams over two weeks in June, in August the results come out. Those with the highest grades get university places. You can't count resits, you get no credit for anything you do outside those exams.

dd wants to nurse. Her voluntary work and the fact that she is a caring person would make her an ideal candidate for nursing. But the university won't know what she is like until after she starts, they don't care. They only care about her results. It's mad really - how is an A grade is history any indication of how good a nurse she will be? Whereas voluntary work with children with SN every summer should surely count for something.

Maryz Tue 27-Aug-13 19:52:11

Sorry, for medicine they have just introduced a sort of character test type thing. But only for medicine, not for other degrees. And everyone gets coached for it so it is pretty meaningless.

Fairdene Tue 27-Aug-13 19:58:33

It sounds a terrible system Maryz. No interviews?

Maryz Tue 27-Aug-13 20:03:00

No interviews. Just points based on grades. Very straightforward, and fair I suppose in that you can't get a place by knowing someone, or paying money, or pulling strings of any kind.

But God it's tough. Especially on kids like dd who tend to panic in exams.

I don't think it's that different here Maryz for the most academic courses at top unis. It's the grades and a wide interest in the subject that matters. Flute playing irrelevant.

Fairdene Wed 28-Aug-13 19:05:59

Flute playing etc actually highly relevant for medicine secretscwirrels, if you talking about the top unis. But only really for medicine, which is a different beast. The like to know you have a mechanism for stress release - music, sport, whatever.

Fairdene Wed 28-Aug-13 19:07:28

you're/ they - sticky keys.

5Foot5 Thu 29-Aug-13 23:22:00

DD's school recommend no more than 8 hours a week.

DD has just started a job that will be around 4 hours a week and I think it is A Good Thing. Apart from earning a bit of her own money I think it is important to have had some work experience and it might stand her in good stead if she needs to earn any extra money as a student.

BackforGood Fri 30-Aug-13 00:38:32

Fairdene - that's not encouraging for this household. ds's 'extra curricular' part is his strength. He's never going to get A*s, but he's great with people, and with planning things and getting things done, and was kind of hoping his achievements with Scouts, drama, etc. would help him along...sad

TheAlphaandtheOmega Fri 30-Aug-13 06:55:12

BackforGood I think it depends what level your son is and who he is competing with. A friends daughter who was at about level B/C for Universities did loads of extra curriculars like Scouts, D of E etc and it was seen as a very positive thing on her interview. She was also great with people and getting things done.

OttilieKnackered Fri 30-Aug-13 07:18:11

When I was doing A levels ten years ago I worked about 20 hours a week over the weekend and one evening a week, more in the holidays. I managed to get 5 AS levels and 4 A levels, one B grade and the rest As. I also had a very active social life.

It was invaluable in terms of learning responsibility and time management. Each A level only takes four or five hours a week contact time. That leaves an awful lot of hours for private study as well as work and anything else.

Fairdene you are right, medicine is different. Grades are not the be all and end all. I have a couple of good friends who are doctors and both seem to be permanently stressed. A bit of flute playing would be very good for them I think grin.
DS wants to do Maths and has been told that extra curricular counts for next to nothing. It's all down to his results and broad interest in maths. He lives and breathes maths and not much else. Even his part time job is maths related. It's not necessarily a good thing but it's the way he is, always has been tunnel visioned.

BackforGood Fri 30-Aug-13 11:13:38

Thanks Alpha
I also happen to think it's part of making you a fully rounded person - nothing to do with CVs, applications or careers.

Fairdene Fri 30-Aug-13 14:48:04

BackforGood lots of very high achievers applying to the top universities do lots of extra curricular things and are very well rounded indeed. The point was simply that, with the exception of medicine, those things aren't a factor in the selection process, or only on the margins.

It sounds a daft idea to pursue an activity purely for the purposes of a CV. If you don't enjoy it, don't do it.

BackforGood Fri 30-Aug-13 15:16:17

I agree with that last sentence Fairdene.

Horsemad Tue 08-Oct-13 22:32:01

I am vindicated! Kind of hmm

Had Parent's Evening with Form Tutors tonight (PE with subject teachers is next month).
He said DS is not really 'engaged', hasn't put himself forward for any committees etc and is not performing to his potential in one subject. He also said he's going to be struggling to put anything else down when it comes to completing uni applications, 'cause he doesn't do anything.
So, apart from him getting his act together re his work, he is going to be completing his DofE, and I'm going to get him back into ATC & sod DH and his bloody concentrating solely on academic results. angry

RiversideMum Wed 09-Oct-13 07:01:53

DD works 13 hours on 2 shifts over the weekend. It has been brilliant in terms of her learning how to do time and money management. The only thing we have limited her on is the number of parties she goes to. Although she is also getting quite sensible at that too.

cory Wed 09-Oct-13 08:59:29

I don't think there's a one size fits all solution to this question. There are different ways of learning social skills and time management: for some that will be a paid job, for others it may be volunteering or a special interest. It depends on what you want to do in life.

A relevant job approached in the right spirit can be a useful tool for teaching general skills. But if you want to go to medical school, volunteering in an old people's home is going to be far more relevant than stacking shelves at Liddl. If you are going to apply to stage school, they want to see that you are both taking part in productions and going to the theatre. If you apply to do English lit., they want to know that you can find the time to read books outside of your A-level curriculum. An experience isn't necessarily more valuable because you get paid for it. Or because your parents have to pay for it either.

The money management thing I am not so sure of. I found when I got to university that my friends who had always had Saturday jobs whilst living at home were hopeless at coping with a frugal student lifestyle: they had literally never experienced a situation when they didn't have spending money in their pocket to buy a coffee if they felt like it. Worries about finances took a lot of their energy away from their studies. I was fine because I didn't expect to be spending all the time.

Horsemad Wed 09-Oct-13 09:13:37

Hmm, this morning I broached the subject of volunteering/ATC/DofE with DS.

He flatly refuses to go back to ATC; he needs to do some sporting activity to complete his DofE - hates sport, so won't be proactive on that.
He thinks his prevous ATC service will count for something, although Form Tutor says it's unlikely.

He won't entertain the National Citizenship Scheme.

Says he absolutely does want to go to uni, so isn't being browbeaten down that route.

TheWave Wed 09-Oct-13 10:13:01

I agree with cory. He doesn't need to boost his uni application with work necessarily, or DoE etc if he doesn't want to/that's not his thing. Lots do DoE because they already do the skills and physical stuff anyway and that's their bag. It's not your son's thing. But what is?

He will need to show something extra around his A level subjects though that he can talk about/write about. Which ones is he doing exactly?

Horsemad Wed 09-Oct-13 10:49:50

He's doing Maths/ Further Maths/ Chem/Physics. Wants to do Computer Science at university. Spends every waking hour (if allowed) gaming. Has no other interests. At all.

I'd like to add, it was his choice to do DofE and his to join ATC; we don't push him to join stuff at all, it's entirely lead by him. DH insisted he gave up ATC temporarily to revise for GCSE and then he chose not to return.

TheWave Wed 09-Oct-13 11:26:14

DS is a bit the same here in that if he gives something up he rarely returns to it as the routine has been broken.

I was thinking that if he was into, say, geog or english literature, languages, then we would have more ideas about how he could "sell himself" and bolster his interest; for example talking about TV programmes in the area of interest, books read, etc and am trying to find parallel ideas for sciences.

Maybe something at local unis in the field? Finding out specialists in fields he is interested in and writing to them/visiting? Going to early open days at Uni with you/without you.

Emailing scientists in, say, the States and striking up correspondence?

Following the Dana Centre events, Wellcome Trust stuff, on line if need be (don't know where you are), or you going with him.

Are either of you into the sciences?

Horsemad Wed 09-Oct-13 11:52:13

DH is a Mathematician & my interests are English Lit!
Obviously he needs these subjects for uni but he said he chose them because there are no essays!

It's his blind faith that he'll just merrily sail into uni that frustrates me. angry
Perhaps if he isn't accepted, that'll make him sit up and notice.

TheArticFunky Wed 09-Oct-13 12:18:33

I think it's not as common to work these days.

From the age of 13 I did paper rounds, at 14 I started babysitting and at 15 I worked a couple of evenings in Woolies. All my friends worked at school it was just what you did.

These days it seems more unusual. None of my nieces work at all.

Is it really discouraged by schools? I don't think my old school expressed a view on it.

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