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DS1 will be applying for uni this year and I have no idea how to help. All tips very gratefully recieved.

(51 Posts)
melodyangel Tue 30-Aug-11 16:13:12

DS1 wants to study Chemistry. I haven't been to Uni so have no clue what the application process involves. I know he has to write a personal statement and he's booked in for a bunch of uni open days but thats about it. I really want to be able to be supportive but not really sure what to do. I have asked him to show me his personal statement but I don't know what it should include, tone, that sort of thing. Feeling rather rubbish.

Madlizzy Tue 30-Aug-11 16:15:14

School or college should be able to help him with this. Go with him to the open days so you can get a feel of the universities, and you'll also be able to picture them in your head when he goes. I didn't go to uni either, and we've managed to get it all sorted for my DS1 who is starting next month. Tell him to register on the UCAS website too, as there's a lot of advice and info on there.

BlackandGold Tue 30-Aug-11 16:22:42

Does he know where he wants to go?

You can look at courses on the UCAS website and see what A level grades they need. I would have thought he'd have had some Open Day visits already to be honest.

School might be able to look at his personal statement and give him some pointers.

The following links might be useful for you:

HarlotOTara Tue 30-Aug-11 16:23:28

Agree, they will get lots of info about all this at school and when my dd was doing this there were a couple of meetings for parents about finances and stuff. The whole system has changed since I was at university so my experiences were of no help anyway. My dd knew what she wanted to study and where so was quite on the ball about what to do. I just tagged along for a few open days which was fun.

Re. personal statement, I don't remember having to do one so I had no idea either. I checked it for grammatical errrors etc. and suggested that my dd joined the professional organisation of the subject she was planning to study (to show motivation). She got in but not sure it was down to my input grin.

melodyangel Tue 30-Aug-11 16:23:59

Thanks. He won't let me go to the open days. But that's fine I would have been the same when I was his age.

I'll have another look at UCAS and see if they have a parents page.

AMumInScotland Tue 30-Aug-11 16:27:52

Have a look through the UCAS website - they have a section for parents, so you can see what they talk you through on there.

Make sure you know what his deadlines are for things - DS had to put his application in by a certain date, earlier than the website said, so that his school could go through it and help if he needed it.

His personal statement - it's meant to give the university an idea of what he's like as a person and why he wants to study that subject. DSs school went through them with the students, so they can help, but you might be better placed to think of things he can put down - things he's done, thing's he's interested in.

DH and I went to uni open days with DS, but you don't have to - there was a mix of people some with parents, some with mates, some just doing it solo. It just depends how much he would like you to be involved in that side of things.

melodyangel Tue 30-Aug-11 16:32:59

He was unable to go to the early summer open days so has booked lots for September /early October. He's visiting Hull, Shefield, Sussex, Nottingham, London Queen Mary and Southampton.

He's joined the Faraday members club at the Royal Insitute but hasn't gone to any lectures yet. I'm not very science(y) or really that acadamic so have no idea what else would be good for him to join/ do. He's interested in medicine so I have suggested he looks for jobs or volunteers at the local hospital.

Thank you for all the tips. I'm just feeling rather supid today and realising how much my lack of education impacts on the DC's.

MrsPlesWearsAFez Tue 30-Aug-11 16:36:42

TSR (that someone linked to upthread) is brilliant.

There is a lot of information on there about general applications, each different Uni and course, and they offer an anonymous (private) personal statement feedback service for free (a current uni student ^in the subject applied for gives feedback as to how it could be improved - very good service)

Madlizzy Tue 30-Aug-11 16:48:54

You're not stupid at all. I was in exactly the same position as you last year.

TeamDamon Tue 30-Aug-11 16:54:13

As a teacher, I am always surprised (and worried) by those students whose offers require the same grades.

For example, Student A tells me that the offer she has firmly accepted is from University Y and is for A,A,B. The offer she is holding as insurance (in case she doesn't get the grades required to get into University X) is for A,A,B. hmm Your DS's school should keep an eye on things like this but some slip through the net, so when he is further down the line, ask him about offers he's accepting and insurance offers...

gingeroots Tue 30-Aug-11 18:46:06

Just be warned that some schools offer lots of help and some offer bugger all .
I found this particularly true at DS's school , in addition the sixth form leaders/senior staff had Arts backgrounds and seemed unable to help at all with students applying for science courses.
And the subject teachers weren't involved at all .

kritur Tue 30-Aug-11 19:46:17

If you need anything specifically for chemistry then send me a message. I'm an A-level chemistry teacher and currently on sabbatical for a year working in a Russell Gp university chemistry dept so should be able to help!

cat64 Tue 30-Aug-11 20:01:19

Message withdrawn

mumeeee Tue 30-Aug-11 21:06:42

His school or college should help him. Both DD1 and DD2 did their application with school and college. In fact when DD2 didn't get into Uni the first time her coleus helped her when she applied the next year and she had left college by then.

sandripples Wed 31-Aug-11 17:57:59

Hi Kritur - just noticed your kind offer on here.

My DS is applying to study Chemical Engineering to start 2012. He's identified where he wants to apply to, and he's got excellent AS results (above 90% in all four subjects) - so far so good.

I'm just wondering how you know if a person will be well suited to chemical engineering?? DS loves all his sciences and is also strong on maths - that all seems to help as the maths and physics seem very helpful for Chem Eng. Do you have any comments on the sort of personality who enjoys ChemEng please, or other general advice? DH and I are not even scientists so this is a whole new world for us! (We both did languages and so did our DD who's just graduated.) I did contact the Institute and although they were helpful and sent us a long list of employers I did not succeed in finding work expereince excpet for 2 weeks in a plant where they did run various processes related to photogrpahy and printing but everything was so auotmated there was not much DS could actually do!

DS keen on Cambridge as he likes the course there ie NatSCi for a year then specialisation. I think that would suit him if he got in. (A big If - of course)

harbingerofdoom Wed 31-Aug-11 20:15:12

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) do a package for 6th formers which then gives an extra 3 months if they continue their studies.
DD is very strong on maths,etc. and did EESE project in her lower 6th.
Looked at Chem Eng but then went to Chemistry.
Not sure on Nat Sci at Cambs if he is sure of his direction.

melodyangel Wed 31-Aug-11 20:21:48

Thank you everyone. He's off visiting this weekend. I would love to go with him but he's put his foot down. I have had a good read through the ucas parents section and had a chat to him about it all. He's going to have a think about what he needs to ask at the tours and in the lectures.

sandripples - well done to your DS. His results are fantastic. Good luck to him in his choosen career and with the Cambridge application.

mouldyironingboard Wed 31-Aug-11 21:07:48

It may be stating the obvious, but he needs to choose a course that he actually wants to study in a place that he would be really happy to live in. I'm amazed at the number of students that don't do this and end up either changing their degree or dropping out. With tuition fees being so high it would be a shame for your DS to end up unhappy because his research into the different universities wasn't good enough. I found it was a good idea to get a paper copy of each university prospectus that my DD was going to visit.

javo Thu 01-Sep-11 16:06:10

I agree with mouldy - your DS needs to think about the uni environs, surrounding area, local town etc and the accomodation on offer and decide if he could live there - I thought the open days I went on with my DD last year were more useful for this than to hear about the course in a lecture hall tbh.

Your DS should choose a realistic lower offer uni (maybe one grade down from his predictions)as at least one of his choices on the Ucas form. DD's friends chose all AAA and A* type places and so when they missed their grades (but still did well) were left with no offer and had a terrible time through clearing and have accepted what I feel are not good choices for them.

I think its great your DS has gone to visits on his own - very mature. I had to tag around after DD - but did have some good chats with other parents in the cafes s - reassuring to hear parents with Dc at top public schools bemoaning the lack of UCAs preparation the schools had provided -made me feel a bit better about DD's crappy college.

Last year at open days the unis were very keen to tell parents the job stats 6 months after graduation(think many are online) - some unis have a better record than others and some were surprising. Also is your son doing maths A2 ?- some unis want this for chemistry, while others are still prepared to accept you if you take extra maths classes at uni. Some unis said they took non-maths students but at the openday admitted they would take Maths A2 people first for offers (although the prospectus did not state this).

If your son is thinking of medicine for ucas this year then he has to apply to UCAS in October (same time as Oxbridge) and should have really booked his UKCAT or Bmat test by now. There are lots of archive medicine threads on MN and The Student room website. He could take a gap year to jive up his medical cv or go for graduate entry after chem degree.

Good luck

melodyangel Thu 01-Sep-11 17:22:24

He wants to do the chemistry Mchem. We have talked about the types of uni's and the fact that most places will feel quieter then where we are now.

He's not studying maths at A2. When he applied to the college he didn't think he would do very well ..he did though. He is very outwardly confident but does tend to think he's not very good at stuff. If he can get an interview he should do well but I'm worried that he won't get offered interviews. He will have to work really hard this coming year and produce a really good extended project.

He did want to do Dentistry but has really fallen in love with chemistry and is now thinking of something in pharmaceuticals / hospital chemistry I have no idea what it's all called.

He's thinking of taking a gap year especially if he can find some work paid or not in the right area.

eatyourveg Thu 01-Sep-11 17:35:13

cat64 the radio programme you mentioned is here though I'm not sure if the listen again feature has expired.

It was Imogen Stubbs talking about how to write the personal statement. She wrote a fictitious one then gave a copy each to the head of 6th form at The Oratory and also a Senior Judge to amend in a way that they thought would result in a favorable offer being made. Then she gave all three versions to an admissions tutor at Southampton and asked him which one he thought was best. It was really useful stuff

goingmadinthecountry Wed 07-Sep-11 11:21:59

Melodyangel, has your ds changed his mind about you going after his first visits? My dd went off to Reading last term with a friend and gave me a big guilt trip about everyone else having parents there (not true, obviously, as I found out in Sheffield yesterday).

lazymumofteenagesons Wed 07-Sep-11 11:58:33

melodyangel - if pharmaceuticals etc is the direction he wants to go in, tell him to look at pharmacology degrees, there ae also degrees in medicinal chemistry. Alot of these are 4 years with a year in industry and look like they really lead to a specific career. Some are also 4 years leading to a masters. If that is the industry he wants to end up in, these may suit him better than pure chemistry. DS wants to do pharmacology and does have A2 maths but you don't need it, they ask for chemistry and one other science. BTW when DS did chemistry A2 last year he said it was very 'mathsy' and those not doing maths found it harder - I can only imagine that at university this gets even harder!

melodyangel Wed 07-Sep-11 12:48:16

goingmadinthecountry - No he seems quite happy to go on his own well apart from one which he's going to with his GF. He was at Sheffield yesterday! He wasn't sure about it but it seemed to grow on him the longer he was there. He really liked Southampton. What did you and your DD think of Sheffield?

Lazymumofteenagesons - He has fallen in love with chemistry over the last year so currently it's chemistry all the way. He wants to do the MChem with a six month - year placement. Where is your DS applying to, if you don't mind me asking?

lazymumofteenagesons Wed 07-Sep-11 19:59:26

@melodyangel - he is not certain but it is looking like : UCL, Kings, Bristol and Bath. He already has his A levels. He wants to be in London as first choice even though we live in london - although he will not remain at home. Its odd really but alot of his friends have stayed in london.

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