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advice for daughter with 3rd in her degree

(40 Posts)
hotpinkmama Wed 25-May-11 19:51:17

hi everyone, this is my first post so please bear with me for what will most likely turn into a long post (sorry)

my dd21 is in her final term at university completeing a law degree, and recieved her 100% essay marks back yesterday. However she has not done as well as she hoped and will graduate with a 3rd overall and no longer qualifies for a place on the LPC course she wanted to do in September.

dd lives at home and so myself and my husband are able to see how hard she works and occassionally help her if she has problems. she struggles with dyslexia quite badly and has found the whole course an incredible challenge and has fought tooth and nail to stay on the course, which we are of course proud of. she has a very supportive group of friends and they go out once a fortnight so its not that she can blame too much socialising on her poor grade.

she is completely heartbroken and upset that she works so hard and still hasnt done well enough. she managed to get a meeting with the careers advisory service yesterday and they told her that she would be able to go for shop and supermarket jobs, which depressed her even more. i am finding it absolutely heart breaking having to sit and watch her beat herself up about it and even though we are proud of her for sticking with the degree and completing it, i am at a loss at how to best comfort and advise her.

if anyone else has been in a similar situation themselves i would love to hear how it worked out for you or your dc's.

thanks, hotpinkmama

thekidsmom Thu 26-May-11 09:40:27

I'm really sorry it hasnt worked out for your DD. It sounds like a huge acheivement to get to this stage.

I'm assuming she needs a 2(ii)?

Are her maeks absolutely final? Does your uni have an appeals process which is worth looking at - does she have ground with her dyslexia to ask for a review?

And how many marks off was she - is it just one module that let her down or is a few marks in each topics. Are resits allowed?

I would look through all of these issues before accpeting that she needs to find another path.

Good luck

nokissymum Thu 26-May-11 10:10:44

I think it's absolutely ridiculous what the careers advisers told you daughter, "shops and supermarket" jobs with a 3rd class law degree ? Utterly mad.

I don't know enough about the law course path, but I know for certain that if you have a 3rd class you can usually apply for a postgraduate "diploma" in you subject, I don't if there is something similar for law so for instance I did a PGD in management studies, instead of going straight to do an MA or MBA.

PGD usually last 9 months, it's higher than a degree but slightly below a masters because you don't do a dissertation.

After she has done she would then qualify for the next course e.g the LPC, but you need to find out first wether there is a PGD for law.

If there isn't, there a still loads of things she can do with her degree, depending on if she wants to remain in this field, she could do a PGD in something else and switch to a different path entirely.

No reason why she can't apply for jobs, maybe not in law as its quite competitive, it's not just "degrees" that employers look at, it's also the person willingness to learn etc.

I still can't believe they said that to her I could strangle their scrawny necks!

Good luck.

hotpinkmama Thu 26-May-11 22:34:46

thank you both, shes feeling a bit more positive today and has another, longer meeting with careers on tuesday. i really hope they do a better job this time!

she has spoken to her personal tutor and there is no grounds for appeal because she recieved her dyslexia provision of an extra quarter of an hour per hour of her exam. i dont think they assessed her properly if they think thats adequate for her painfully slow pace of writing ( in her asessment it took her thirty five minutes to write a readable piece of A4 - no wonder she goes to pot in exams) but sadly theres nothing we can do now, and i feel like we've let her down somehow.

i moved this over to chat last night ( insert panicked mother face here) if youre interested in what others have had to say. i just hope that she keeps on fighting and is successful and happy in whatever she chooses to do next. you never stop worrying about them do you!

Goblinchild Thu 26-May-11 22:41:23

25% extra time is what you get if you are entitled to extra. No more, whatever the grounds AFAIK. My son has it for his GCSEs.
What was it that motivated her to go for law? Are there any other fields or areas that would give her the same level of interest without the huge paperwork requirement?

sandripples Sat 28-May-11 15:22:27

I agree - could your DD think about what she liked about the idea of doing law then look into another path where her knowledge of law wd be useful eg if she was drawn to helping people she could consider social work, HR, advisory work eg at CAB or with young people?

Its rotten the pressure there is on our young people to get a 2.1. I think its daft that so many post-grad courses seem to require a 2.1 eg some teaching courses where it is just as or even more important that the student can manage the class and be genuinely interested in young people.

Good luck to your DD. My DD has her finals this coming week and is really feeling the stress.

mumeeee Mon 30-May-11 12:38:44

Your DD has done very well to get as far as she has, Congratulations to her. I agree with sandripples about looking into another path.

ShimmeryPixie Mon 30-May-11 13:05:47

As a solicitor, I would also recommend that she looks into another career path (but not 'shops and supermarkets" WTF!?! unless they meant management/trainee management positions). With a third class degrees it is unlikely that she will be able to get very far in law - at the moment there are far more applicants for training contracts than there are spaces, and the wastage of people (who have incurred massive debts to just take the LPC) is enormous. TBH she may be best to look for a different career.

She has done enormously well to get as far as she has. There are, however, many ways to incorporate legal knowledge usefully into other careers: managerial posts may require contract negotiations (which can be excellent fun), local government roles will often involve legal discussion (particularly when they find out you have legal knowledge), or she could get a job within the court system if she would like to remain in the area. If she had a favourite area of law, she could focus on taht (e.g. family law - try to get involved with CAFCASS/social work; environmental law - look at something like the environment agency/big companies that need to sort out their environmental issues/corporate social responsibility roles).

It will be disappointing for her - but hopefully when the immediate upset fades she will find something she loves and will look back and see this as a vital opportunity point in her life.

KittyBigglesworth Tue 14-Jun-11 17:20:08

It's not inconceivable that she could study for another degree at a later point in her life if she saves some money if it is the third classification that is making her feel low. Even one's forties are still young today, particularly when it is likely we may all be working into our eighties to finance our lifestyles and will have many changes of career.

What really interests her?

Later on in life, her A-levels and degree classification will be of no consequence, her experience will be what employers will focus upon. When you look at the CVs for directors on boards, they hardly ever mention what classification they were awarded, unless it's something worth boasting about like a First from Oxford/Cambridge, it's only the degree and university that are only stated, so she shouldn't fret. Many used to study law merely as an exercise in showing that they could endure it and then they pursued different careers! She should see it in the same way, as the first stepping stone. I can think of someone who studied law and then became extremely successful as a publisher, for example.

electra44 Tue 14-Jun-11 20:08:22

What about reaearching courses leading to a qualification as a Legal Executive? This does not actually need a law degree, just A levels, but if she has one then the work will be easier for her. After qualifying, there is then a recognised route through working to qualifying as a solicitor if that is her aspiration.

Northernlurker Tue 14-Jun-11 20:11:46

A friend of mine got a third. Felt like the end of the world at that time but it was fine actually. He walked out of university in to a decent job in his area of interest and then into a series of highly paid and successful roles.

thaigreencurry Tue 14-Jun-11 20:15:36

"Shops and Supermarkets" - shocking I would be inclined to report that adviser.

A law degree is a fantastic qualification to have, tell her to be proud of herself. So what she wasn't the most academic in her class that doesn't mean that she won't go on to have a successful career.

I second the advice already given. Alternatively how about looking for openings in HR with a view to specialising in employment law?

proudfoot Tue 14-Jun-11 22:46:21

Thaigreencurry why would you report the advisor?! The fact is that graduates with 2.is are struggling to get jobs and many are looking at shops and supermarkets, so what do you think a careers advisor should tell a student with a 3rd? I feel bad for the girl but there is no point giving her unrealistic advice. She is a non-starter for a career in law.

thaigreencurry Wed 15-Jun-11 11:38:12

Why would I report the advisor?

I would report her because I think she has responded to the OP's daughter in a lazy fashion. Posters here have considered the students dilemma and suggested alternative career paths. The careers advisor has given a knee jerk response and effectively written her off. Unless the girl has ambitions of retail management I would say that working on the tills in Tesco should just be considered as a stop gap.

Yes law is very competitive and I agree that it is unlikely that she will be able to train as a solicitor but she is an ambitious girl and should continue to aim high. She has passed her degree and having a law degree is something to be proud of. It demonstrates to employers that she has analytical skills and good reasoning abilities. In my previous career in recruitment I found Law and History graduates required a lot less hand holding than a lot of graduates in other disciplines.

mumblechum1 Wed 15-Jun-11 11:40:42

electra the day to day work of a legal exec is exactly the same as that of a solicitor, ie pretty huge amounts of paperwork - not sure it would be a realistic option.

scurryfunge Wed 15-Jun-11 11:45:08

Has she thought about teaching maybe?

EverSoLagom Wed 15-Jun-11 11:53:48

What about getting into something like patenting? A background in law would be a useful selling point there.

proudfoot Fri 17-Jun-11 00:15:42

Patent attorneys generally need a science background. Trademark attorney would possibly be more realistic with a straight law degree, but a 2:1 is normally required.

Re: teaching, I'm pretty sure you need at least a 2:2 to get onto a PGCE.

pippop1 Sat 25-Jun-11 21:03:39

Tell her to look at www.employ-ability.org.uk

They are an organisation that help disabled students into employment. They have a workshop in association with Herbert Smith in Oct (big law firm). EmployAbility are v helpful to disabled students with advice (they helped my son).

Waswondering Sat 25-Jun-11 21:12:24

First off - she's got a law degree - great! They are very useful for a host of things. smile I really hope that her longer careers appt is useful to her.

If she's up for it I'd suggest that you and she sit down together and look at the uni's careers website, particularly the career planning sections and explore the links there (eg to prospects planner or to windmills - I'm sure they'd link to either or both but if not prospects is the UK's largest graduate careers site and has a career planning tool on it which asks you questions and amkes suggestions based on these) and to have a play with that before she goes into the next meeting. This will let her think about some posssibly career paths. Also - is there a dedicated careers adviser for law students and is this who she is seeing? Thinking that if that's the case the adviser may well be very aware of "alternatives to law" and be able to discuss these with her.

As for supermarkets - wonder if like a previous comment they meant grad schemes within the supermarkets (some of which are award winning and among the "best" grad schemes around).

All the best for your dd ... I hope that she is able to make some good decisions and can see that there will be a whole load of options out there.

samels001 Sat 25-Jun-11 21:31:11

You asked about people in a a similar situation and how we have got on! I graduated with my 3rd Class honours in Single Honours Mathematics from a good university in 1986. I worked for international investment banks and accountancy firms until fairly recently (having wanted that career choice since I was 16). My degree result was questioned at interview but I could explain why I got that result and everyone could see that it was a blip.

If I had my time again I would do what I could to not get that result (ie change degree course)

It is a pity that I will not be able to go into teaching (thanks Dave!) grin

You've had some good advice particularly about the law and other options. I think the career advisor probably meant management training for stores but it could be worth clarifying. It used to be that management training in retail stores was very highly regarded.

Perhaps your daughter could take the next year to investigate other alternatives through work experience/internships etc to see what other fields may suit.

cricketballs Wed 17-Aug-11 13:06:15

sorry, but only just read this thread; for those who suggest teaching, just a word of warning - most headteachers will not interview anyone who has less than a 2(ii). They might have achieved the PGCE and are qualified to teach, but that doesn't mean that they will ever get a job.

Supersunnyday Wed 17-Aug-11 13:24:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Supersunnyday Wed 17-Aug-11 13:28:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wompoopigeon Wed 17-Aug-11 13:31:22

A law degree, yes even a third class one, provides a host of general transferable skills. Even the briefest of google searches itemises those, for example on the Prospect and UKCLE websites and many others.

There are many jobs in management and governance, for example, as well as others where the degree subject is not specified. I spent yesterday scanning 80 applications and can tell you that first class degree holders did not automatically rank above third class degree holders; in fact, issues such as typos, waffle, filling out the form incorrectly, not addressing the person criteria as asked, lacking demonstrable interest in my firm, little evidence of get up and go (eg extra curricular activities, placements, internships)- these were as prevalent in first class degree holders from Oxford as from third class degree holders from new universities.

Your DD might not be going to be a solicitor in a magic circle law firm right away, bur don't write her off as a tesco checkout girl for life either.

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