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Too early to choose career at 15!!!

(65 Posts)
Swarskid2184 Wed 06-Dec-17 07:22:37

My DD is in the middle of her mock GCSEs and has to choose her A level subjects this week (awful timing!).

She is good at lots of subjects- predicted 8 or 9 in all subjects. She had always wanted to do a science degree- initially to be a vet, then marine biology or something like that. But is doing exceptionally well at English and history at the moment...

So, her current choices are either;

1. Maths, biology and chemistry; or
2. Maths, History and English lit

So different and still no idea of degree choice...

Any advice?

paap1975 Wed 06-Dec-17 07:25:19

Can't help you out but I agree it's too early to choose. In other parts of Europe you keep all/most subjects to the end and can decide later

PurpleDaisies Wed 06-Dec-17 07:25:27

A level choices aren’t set in stone. She should make her best choice now but if she changes her mind she can swap when results are out.

She isn’t choosing her career right now and it’s best to try and get away from that mindset-too much pressure. There are always opportunities for further study or changing plans.

Does she enjoy English/history more than science?

Camomila Wed 06-Dec-17 07:25:28

Maths, chemistry, English lit and history. Best of both worlds?

Elisheva Wed 06-Dec-17 07:25:40

What does she enjoy doing? Which are her favourite subjects?

TangledInTinsel Wed 06-Dec-17 07:25:51

No 1.

If she's still interested in history and English lit it's much easier to study or read around those subjects by herself. Chemistry and biology need access to a lab.

Crumbs1 Wed 06-Dec-17 07:27:47

Get her some careeers advice - even online aptitude testing. For some careers (eg vets, medicine) she’ll need work experience or voluntary work so should be thinking about which degree.

Could she do maybe Chemistry, biology English to keep her options open?

MaisyPops Wed 06-Dec-17 07:30:08

If she is considering anything science based at university then maths and one of the sciences should be 2 of her options.

Tensecondrule Wed 06-Dec-17 07:31:33

Having had two go through uni, I would say go with the science subjects (assuming she doesn't have a specific career in mind that requires English/history). There are plenty of people who do science degrees and end up in all sorts of careers so she doesn't have to end up working in a lab, it will open lots of doors for her. She can read history books in her spare time for fun (I'm not criticising anyone who does history or English by the way, I have a degree in a humanities subject myself!)

Swarskid2184 Wed 06-Dec-17 07:35:21


The pressure about choosing a career is not coming from me- not really the school, more her own recognition that her options now will limit degree choices.

I did biology, chemistry and maths - so am keen that I don’t over encourage this route as a personal preference! (But I do think it is a better choice for her now, for reasons above..)

Movablefeast Wed 06-Dec-17 07:35:40

I agree. I love the humanities but there so many opportunities that young women can be unaware of that you need STEM subjects for (science, technology, engineering and msth).

annandale Wed 06-Dec-17 07:38:05

Could she transfer to a school that does IB?

Swarskid2184 Wed 06-Dec-17 07:38:19

Crumbs- maths is her only definite option.

One suggestion from an online questionnaire is to do maths, biology and history- but this seems an odd combination

MiraiDevant Wed 06-Dec-17 07:38:44

Easier to move from science to non-science later in life. Not so easy the other way round

Lime19 Wed 06-Dec-17 07:39:37

I would stick to science. I know people that have gotten down the line and wanted to be a vet or doctor but they were not doing the right A levels. You need to do all science for that as it's so competitive.

HeadDreamer Wed 06-Dec-17 07:40:42

Have a look at this, especially given she is bright. It helps you to make informed choices on what subjects to take to fit as many of her potential career as possible.

Lime19 Wed 06-Dec-17 07:41:16

I did biology, maths and chemistry. I also did psychology as I thought it would be easy smile it wasn't! But I really enjoyed that subject. It was certainly less dry than the others.

HeadDreamer Wed 06-Dec-17 07:41:35

My guess is she needs sciences but maybe I’m not right. The link I posted will tell you.

claraschu Wed 06-Dec-17 07:41:45

My son was like this, and was also good at painting and playing his instrument. He ended up with 6 A levels and then went off to the US for university because he didn't have to choose a major for the first 2 years in that system.

Now he is doing something completely different from what he majored in... Sometimes I think it would have been better to force him to do something specific early on and follow a recognised path towards a goal, (he was very good at passing exams, and would have been successful at something academically demanding), but that isn't what he wanted at the time.

LunasSpectreSpecs Wed 06-Dec-17 07:42:31

Depends on the child though - my eldest is 14 and has known exactly what he wants to do as a career since he was about 8. Middle child who is 12 has a vague idea too.

We're in Scotland though where post-16 children typically take 5 subjects and not just 3, so their options are broader for longer.

Swarskid2184 Wed 06-Dec-17 07:43:43

Clara- my DD is similar. She plays 4 instruments at grade 7 and also dances. She had considered music for A level, but it just uses up another option

claraschu Wed 06-Dec-17 07:45:58

Sorry, I meant to add that lots of teenagers don't know what they want to do, and the UK system forces choices very very early on. In the US you can't even choose medicine or law as an undergraduate, and need a bachelor's degree to get into medical school, for instance.

I think there is definitely a good and a bad side to choosing a career path so early.

claraschu Wed 06-Dec-17 07:48:34

OP your daughter sounds amazing! It is wonderful to have so many interests and talents, but can also be a tremendous burden and a pressure, especially when it doesn't fit into the system.
If you are interested in the US as a possible option for her, I can tell you a bit more-

LakieLady Wed 06-Dec-17 07:49:47

If it was me, I'd do the sciences. It's easy to do history and Eng Lit at part-time later if she wants to, but very hard to do chemistry and biology that way.

If she's up for doing 4, then one of the humanities would be a great 4th subject to do. However, vet science is one of the most oversubscribed subjects and consequently she'll need excellent grades to get in (a doctor friend recently told me that all med students these days seem to be wannabe vets who didn't get good enough grades!). And marine biology seems to be having a "moment" - most of the teens I know are citing this as their top uni choice. I blame Blue Planet II.

In terms of career, I think STEM sciences actually offer more scope than people realise. Two friends have kids with STEM degrees; one is doing journalism and has a pretty prestigious placement, the other has gone into the city and is earning shedloads for doing something mathematical I don't even begin to understand.

mswater Wed 06-Dec-17 07:50:32

I did Maths, Physics, French, and Computing and went on to do a Law degree.

I had a similar split choice and opted to go for (mostly) the sciences for reasons posted above. Hasn't held me back (been a long time!), although I do remember sometime in the first year of university a lecturer asked who had done which a levels and I was pretty much the only one who hadn't done English or History.

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