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Changing Uni course info required

(18 Posts)
fatherfurlong Mon 15-Jun-15 11:54:18

Son has applied to do a chemistry degree at uni as at the time he was getting his best marks in this subject and had genuine interest in it. 1 year later he is getting better marks in his other subjects, history and politics and is doubting whether chemistry is for him after all and would prefer to study history/politics but at the same uni. Anyone know how easy it is to swop over? As he hasn't started yet when would be the right time to approach the uni? And having spoken so passionately in his personal statement on his desire to pursue one subject will it reflect adversely on him to swop courses? Any advice/personal experiences sought.

eatyourveg Mon 15-Jun-15 15:25:05

No idea what the uni would think of this situation but at this late stage I think he would probably have to withdraw and start again in the next cycle and submit a non chemistry orientated personal statement. I think if your ds gets his grades he would have to ask his CF to be released so that he could go into clearing but doing that and applying for a history/politics course with a personal statement which is heavily chemistry orientated, seems a bit risky. My advice would be a gap year and reapply in the autumn for 2016 entry.

ivorynewbuilds Mon 15-Jun-15 18:30:28

There's quite possibly no need to drop out - if your son (not you!) rings the uni then they may be quite happy for him to switch from chemistry to a new subject, if they offer it and they have space.

He's got nothing to lose by phoning, so long as he's sure this is the right decision.

Mumteedum Mon 15-Jun-15 18:37:21

I'd say it entirely depends on the Uni. Where I work, can't imagine it'd be difficult at all. Students swap all the time and we are asked flexible as possible whilst hopefully guiding them on the right decision for them.

A lot of unis are like ours in having modular degree structures and I would think will try and accommodate.

VegasIsBest Mon 15-Jun-15 18:43:17

All Universities will be making decisions about admissions from early August onwards. So best to approach them now, if he is serious about this.
Good luck.

Lunastarfish Mon 15-Jun-15 18:47:43

No harm in asking. I changed courses 3 weeks into my degree. Compared to the whole UCAS malarkey swapping courses was so simple (mind you this is 15 years ago now)

Millymollymama Wed 17-Jun-15 14:32:25

Most top class universities will have turned down lots of fantastic applicants for History and Politics though. I would have thought that most good universities would not need to put this course into clearing as it is generally so oversubscribed. They would also want to see a personal statement saying something completely different and what about proving he really wants to do these research essay subjects, when previously he wanted a science?

I would withdraw and start all over again for 2016 entry. If he is going to a university that does not fill its courses, then they might be flexible. If he wants a top class university, he will surely need to rethink his personal statement. He can buy a bit of time to look at other courses at other universities.

eatyourveg Thu 18-Jun-15 09:53:17

Most top class universities will have turned down lots of fantastic applicants for History and Politics though. I would have thought that most good universities would not need to put this course into clearing

No idea how these rank for the subject but Birmingham Cardiff Exeter (Cornwall campus) Goldsmiths Hull Kent Lancaster Leicester Loughborough Queen Marys Reading SOAS Warwick and York are all good unis and all have had clearing vacancies for History and Politics for the last two years save Warwick which was just last year. Didn't look any further back and whilst its not a guarantee they'll appear this year you could take the risk that at least one will though|I still think having a chemistry PS would work against you in clearing.

spinoa Thu 18-Jun-15 11:15:48

If they have free places and you have the required grades they wouldn't care less about your PS.

It is very common for people to swap subjects completely during the adjustment period.

I think Millymollymama is a little naive about the effects of the changes in university funding: no number caps and the majority of a university's income coming from fees mean most universities are expanding their numbers. With the forthcoming HE cuts from the government, universities will be extra keen to take as many good students as possible. Outside the very top universities, the rest will be in clearing to pick up extra students for courses in which extra students can be accommodated.

Millymollymama Thu 18-Jun-15 11:58:47

Eatyourveg. Only a handful of those universities are, allegedly, in the top 20 for History and the vast majority are not Russell Group, (not always a definition of excellence I agree)! As I said most top class universities do not have History/Politics in clearing. However, if the OP's DC already has a place at one of the universities likely to be in clearing, then maybe there is a chance because obviously they have not had so many good candidates applying and might be willing to look at a Chemistry applicant. I guess that is because people don't consider these courses/universities to be as good as the top ranking ones. Surprised about Warwick though. I am also surprised anyone reads Chemistry without Maths A level. I clearly know nothing!

spinoa Thu 18-Jun-15 12:52:05

According to the CUG tables (which are usually the most reliable)

York and Warwick are top ten for history (and politics too) and several others are top twenty. Since outside the top five the other rankings within the top twenty switch around between years I'm not sure how one could do better. Of course Oxbridge etc won't have spaces in clearing but getting into a top ten university in clearing is as good as one could ever hope for.

eatyourveg Thu 18-Jun-15 13:15:53

Milly, I did clarify it by saying I had no idea how the unis I mentioned fared for the subject but I did think Exeter, Loughborough, QM and York were up there punching with the best of them. Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield all had History spaces last year too just not on the specific course OP mentioned - I do think mn has an unhealthy obsession with Durham UCL and Bristol if that is what you define as top class - but looking through the lists they all appear every year somewhere within the lists of subjects. smile

Millymollymama Thu 18-Jun-15 14:24:25

Exeter Falmouth not so hot, although this course at Exeter is sought after. I did say a handful were in the top 20 and that I was surprised about Warwick. I will add York to my surprises too. I think the others are perfectly fine, just not top picks. Nothing against them and people can make their own judgement about where suits them best but obviously some universities are harder to get into than others, and I didn't mean just Oxbridge.

spinoa Thu 18-Jun-15 20:30:06

York has been highly valued for history at research level for a long time (more so than universities so favoured by MN such as Bristol, Durham etc).

In the REF 2014 York was 2nd for history and 8th for politics (cf Durham 18 and 21, and Bristol 36 and 35).

Of course the REF has flaws and undergraduates need to take into account many other factors as well as research, but history and politics at York have a very good reputation. The low REF placings of Bristol would ring some alarm bells in my head.

MaggieJoyBlunt Thu 18-Jun-15 20:33:27

What combination of A levels is he doing?

Musicaltheatremum Thu 18-Jun-15 21:24:37

I see no harm in asking. I think universities are more flexible and realise that people change their minds. My son changed course after his first year, from neuroscience to applied computing having done no computing since he was 14. And is now doing really well. He may well have to apply again but if he doesn't ask he won't get anywhere.

Scholes34 Thu 18-Jun-15 22:09:57

Depends on the uni. Some will be flexible. Some would rather he reapply and be considered for a place along with others applying for the same subject.

fatherfurlong Sun 21-Jun-15 23:17:20

Many thanks to all that replied. Its been a stressful time and we are just hoping he gets the grades to do whatever he decides.

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