College interview for A-levels, too far away?(20 Posts)
My son (15) is doing his GCSEs and wants to do A levels in a college next year. For that, hew has to do an interview. Perhaps even several interviews - one for each topic. (not sure yet)
It's a right pain for us because we will be moving house after the GCSEs, and the college he wants to (needs to, as there is no other there) attend is over 6 hours train travelling from where we live now.
Which means that to go to an interview he has to travel the day before, spend the night over there (fortunately he has an aunt there), then attend the interview and travel six hours back. If the interview is late in the day or if he has more interviews he might even have to spend more nights there.
All those days he will be missing school. Plus, it will cost a lot of money in train tickets.
I've been told that the interviews are 'very informal' and shouldn't take more than 20 minutes. I don't really know the purpose of the interview - is it really so important that he attends that he would have to miss all these school days for the interview? Any idea what would happen if he doesn't attend? Would he not be admitted then?
He needs to ask the college. Maybe suggest a telephone interview so as to not look obstructive. Would he have to take the train, not fly etc or could it be in a Monday so he could travel there on the Sunday.
But if you were ask relocating and he was looking for a job would you object to him needing to go to interviews?
Well, if he were looking for a job he wouldn't be 15 nor would he have to miss out on school days in his exam year.
Flying is not faster from where we live.
I have already spoken to the college. We are actually going to the area in half term, which is not half term over there. So I asked if he could do the interviews in that week - but it has to be on certain set dates.
I asked about phone interviews, or letter writing, but they didn't even want to consider it.
What are his grades like?
We are in an almost identical position: we are moving straight after the last GCSE exam - 5.5 hrs away (by car - much longer by train).
When he filled in his application for 6th form I added a covering letter and said we'd be happy to bring him down for an interview. (As it will be a chance for him to see the college and the town for the first time.)
They phoned up the next day and basically said they'd offer him a place (he has excellent grades), but that as we'd agreed to bring him down they would like to meet him. We were trying to negotiate an interview at the start or end of the week, so that with a bit of juggling/evening travelling, etc. he would be able to do it just missing one day off school. But then we realised they had a different half term to us. So the whole family are going then instead and we will spend a few days there sorting out a few practicalities.
Hope it works out well for you.
Oh crossed posts. That's a shame: they don't seem to be trying to be very helpful or co-operative.
They have not seen his application form yet; they have a back log. They should deal with it this week.
Obviously he has not got his grades yet, but he is expected to get an A or A* in every subject. he already has an A* GCSE in our native language even.
Two of the subjects he wants to do are maths and further maths, and atm he is top of his year in mathematics. It would be cool if that helped.
And no, they are not very helpful at all.
Well if they aren't being helpful its probably worth considering that at 16 all the admissions roles are our the window and add long as they aren't discriminatory they can do what they want. So as they're being unhelpful he will have to jump through their hoops to get a place. It us possible that they will take late applicants post gcse results day, if you know someone who had applied recently you could find out if that's the case normally
Maybe you've been talking to a 'world-weary' admin person? When they've actually seen his application form, they may sing a different tune?
Your ds sounds very similar to my ds (attainment, subject choice and so on).
We'd missed the application deadline (by about 6 weeks), so he did a very thorough form and personal statement; I added a covering letter and we also enclosed his most recent summary report and photocopy of the GCSE module results from last year. I sent the application by recorded delivery, so I knew it would land on the desk of the appropriate person.
We mailed it on Monday and they were on the phone on Tuesday morning.
Hope you have a similarly positive experience soon, once they've had a chance to see the sort of candidate he is.
Oh, no, Roisin... the admin person I spoke to yesterday was great! She was sensible and she understood my questions. She actually went to ask about possible alternative interview dates, but to no avail.
An added problem is that the college is quite a lot behind with handling their applications so I don't even know if the form has arrived. Just saw that they are now closed because of the weather so it'll be even longer!
There are some sixth-forms in the area, but they don't offer all the subjects my son wants to do. Plus, they have a uniform policy and a traditional hierarchical school system, which my son considers to be patronizing and degrading. I did try to change his mind, but his opinion on this is pretty strong...
Anyway, I'll keep your method in the back of my mind. If it all goes wrong we'll send another form, and I'll have my son write a great letter, and include a copy of his latest school report with all the flattering remarks of his teachers. All recorded delivery.
Maybe try to get through to head of a level? They might have more ability to bend requirements if they really wasn't your soon.
I take it he's looked around all the 6th forms in the area before he chose this one?
With those sorts of grades and subject choices I'd be very surprised if he didn't get a place interview or no interview. All the 6th forms round here are chasing
and bribing with free buses the brighter kids and competing for them.
Have you asked the college what would happen if he simply turned up in August with his GCSE results and asked for a place then?
IME at most places the maths/further maths classes are quite small and if someone with the appropriate ability turns up, they're keen to fit them in.
Well, I suppose I am not yet as integrated in British society as I thought I was. I didn't occur to me to flash his grades in their faces.
We have looked at 6th forms online, but my son very much preferred the separate College, because it would be less school-like, with more independence and no uniform.
Just now I have persuaded him to look at the shiny new prospectus of a sixth form of a local school. They have new subjects, including two that really got him quite interested.
They were a lot more forthcoming too, even without knowing his grades.
I did actually ask about simply turning up in August - the person on the phone did NOT say he wouldn't be admitted...
Seems a tad risky though.
Yes, it is all rather high risk.
We've still got to sort out a school place for ds2 in the new location. I keep telling myself not to stress, and there's loads of time, and it will all work out ... But I still worry.
Colleges interview because they offer more than just A Levels and because a lot of students have totally unreasonable expectations.
Such as a student wanting to be a GP but not knowing that you have to be a Dr first and not having a science GCSE.
Or the all A* student applying for a BTEC First because it looked interesting.
Try to find out who is head of one of the subjects he wants to take and e-mail them, explaining the situation, they can often get the ball moving.
In the end things change on results day and students are moved about.
He is quite right about the difference between a school 6th form and a 6th form college. The students are treated much more like adults with fewer petty restrictions and obviously no uniform. I think if your child is well motivated and can study independently they would thrive in a Sixth form college.
Beware of choosing a school based on glossy brochures. As I said above they are often competing to attract students in general and A* ones in particular. Much better to look round and speak to the subject teachers.
Often schools have a much narrower range of subjects and may not be able to accommodate all combinations.
Also remember he will probably finish school soon after Easter apart from exams. Maybe that would be the time to look round?
Just had a letter back form the college - just a standard letter; I don't take they took notice of the letter my son wrote with his application. It's all a bit discouraging.
I have now also contacted another school, one that has 11 to 18 provision, and they were much friendlier and very accommodating. BUT it is a school with school rules and my son is definitely more the type for a 16+ college.
Anyway, we'll go visit both schools when we are there and then he will decide.
Of course, secretscwirrels.. if he could do the interview in May, it shouldn't be a problem - we could all go and combine it with house viewings.
Or perhaps, now that I got all wound up about this, no one will buy our house, so we can't move and my son will just go to the local college around the corner.
Hope things work out smoothly for you in the end.
It does seem to work out now. The head of A-levels has called, spoken to my son and now he can expect a letter and he won't be interviewed until August, after the GCSE results are in. B y that time we have either moved or given up on selling out house so it all worked out in the end.
Anyone wanna buy a lovely, light and airy three bed house close to amenities in Cornwall?
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