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Advice for nephew about to apply for Maths degrees

(16 Posts)
sydenhamhiller Mon 10-Oct-11 14:26:09

Hi, I am Humanities graduate, whose dcs are only 5 and 7, so not in my comfort zone at all ;o) and hoping some wise mumnetters might be able to help.

My nephew is in year 13 and at a big family get-together at the weekend DH and I were asking about his plans next year- uni/ job/ travel. He said that he's doing maths and further maths a levels, got A* at AS level last year to his surprise, so he's now considering doing Maths at uni.

Homelife has been a bit disruptive over past couple years, with a move back from abroad, parents splitting up and mum retraining herself and working f/t to support family: they have had a lot on their plates. Give this background because mum is a little overwhelmed, and asking us what advice we can give DN...so far he has not even been on any open days, and wasn't quite sure when UCAS form deadline was. and we would really like to help and support, just weren't sure what advice we could give.

I guess what advice i'm asking for is: if you like/ have aptitude for maths, are there other degrees apart from pure maths? Civil engineering? Accounting?
Which universities have good reputations for maths?
Is it too late for open days?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

CMOTdibbler Mon 10-Oct-11 14:34:53

Theres lots of options if you are good at maths - physics, engineering for a start. UCAS deadline is in Jan, and I don't think its too late for open days.

Maths or physics would give him a very wide range of career options. I'm not sure of top places for maths, but any of the Russell group would be a good bet

gettingalifenow Mon 10-Oct-11 14:39:16

I'd say don't do a degree in accounting - you can become an accountant after uni and as a subject its not in the same league as maths or physics.

empirestateofmind Mon 10-Oct-11 14:39:16

From the UCAS website:

There are three application deadlines for courses through UCAS - 15 October, 15 January and 24 March for 2012 entry:

15 October - application deadline for the receipt at UCAS of applications for all medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and veterinary science courses (course codes A100, A101, A102, A103, A104, A105, A106, A300, A200, A201, A202, A203, A204, A205, A206, A400, D100, D101 and D102), and for all courses at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

15 January - application deadline for the receipt at UCAS of applications for all courses except those listed above with a 15 October deadline, and art and design courses with a 24 March deadline.

24 March - application deadline for the receipt at UCAS of applications for art and design courses except those listed with a 15 January deadline.

Your nephew's school should be able to show him information on the different Uni courses available. The UCAS website is a good starting point.

opendays.com has a list of when various open days are on, for others see individual uni websites.

BTW you can't get A* at AS level, they are only awarded at A2 level.

malinois Mon 10-Oct-11 14:39:44

If he wants to do maths and has an aptitude to do it, then he should certainly go for it! Other degrees he might be interested in are Physics, Computer Science, Electronic Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.

Best unis for all the above are Imperial, Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Manchester, UMIST, Leeds, Birmingham, Edinburgh - the usual suspects basically.

Accounting will bore him to death, Civ and Chem Eng do not have as advanced a mathematical content as EE and Mech Eng.

Maths, Physics, CompSci and EE graduates are the highest paid graduates on entering the workforce - they pretty much walk into jobs in investment banks, consultancies, hi tech firms etc. or go on to extremely rewarding research careers.

He will have to work very hard - these are not degrees for people who expect uni to be a 3 year party.

Open days are here

gettingalifenow Mon 10-Oct-11 14:41:39

empire - if he's doing maths and further maths he will have enough modules to know if he has an A* possiblity - although until its converted/cashed in, he won't know for sure.

The maths/further maths combination is the one excpetion (I know of) where you can know at lower 6th if you've scored enough for an A*

ellisbell Mon 10-Oct-11 19:46:41

school UCAS form deadlines are usually before the offical deadline to allow for references to be written. He should see what advice his school offer.

You can do maths in combination with quite a lot of other subjects or at some universities as part of a natural science degree. There are many options, including some that might take him abroad again if he wished. Requirements in maths are very high and often involve doing STEPS exams.
If he was interested in accounting it is worth considering going straight into work with an employer who will sponsor professional exams. Employers that do this normally want a commitment to stay with them for a certain number of years or repay the financial support.

What other subjects is he doing? If he has little idea of future careers I'd suggest choosing a large university that may offer a lot of options in the third year.

As far as open days are concerned a 16-25 student railcard may get him to them more cheaply. If he needs to stay overnight youth hostels are cheap places to stay. He needs to get on with it if he's applying this year and in maths gap years are not generally well regarded.

keynesian Mon 10-Oct-11 21:29:44

There are also degrees in business maths and financial maths available at some unis or maths & stats combined. Warwick (and others similarly) do something called MORSE which may be worth looking at.

senua Mon 10-Oct-11 23:48:53

The 2012 entry will be the first year of £9000 tuition fees. That is a lot of money to be spending in a rushed and uncertain manner.
Would he be better off leaving it for a year so he can think properly about which career, which degree subject and which University. He will be free to concentrate on getting the grades at A2. He can also find some work to get some money behind him before he starts accumulating all that student debt.

I'm surprised that his school hasn't been more helpful. Or have they, and he hasn't quite been with the programme - the AS results were nearly two months ago: what has he been doing since then?hmm

sydenhamhiller Tue 11-Oct-11 10:23:22

Thanks everyone, really overwhelmed with such a lot of helpful advice, don't know what we did before mumsnet.

Good point about year off to think about it... I was shocked (in non judgey way she adds hastily) at how 'green' DN and His mum were- and older sibling already at uni, so not like this is all new. Father in law retired with time in hands, have sent yr suggestions to him, and hopefully he'll get butts in gear ;o)

<have sudden glimpse of what a helicopter parent I will be in 10 years... Must avoid >

witchwithallthetrimmings Tue 11-Oct-11 10:38:55

My advice would be for him to head for a uni with a strong science base, he would then have the chance to switch courses if straight maths was not his thing. Most universities allow you to take outside options (especially in the fist year) and so the precise choice of course is not that important.
Can I also make a small point about the tuition fees, Although £27,000 is a lot of money most students will not end up paying it all back. It was worked out that on a fee of £7,500 graduates would only end up paying about 60% of the total amount back (some would pay it all, some would pay a bit, some would pay nothing). The figures for 9,000 pa will be more stark simply because a lot graduates will not earn enough to pay it back. the best way to understand the changes to student finance is to think of it as a switch from the general tax burden to getting HIGHER earning graduates to pay

ellisbell Tue 11-Oct-11 13:19:10

with a maths degree you may well be a higher earning graduate.

Although a gap year would be a good idea for subjects other than maths there is still a belief that the best work in maths in done early (even if that isn't quite true any more). So for this subject I'd say get a move on and apply this year.

mouldyironingboard Tue 11-Oct-11 15:21:35

If your nephew is considering accountancy he can start start his career after his A2 exams without going to university, as the training firms will take school leavers as well as graduates. How much does he want to go to university?

malinois Tue 11-Oct-11 17:24:53

I would agree that if he is actually interested in accountancy then not to bother with a degree. However if he really is interested in Maths, than I would doubt very much that he would be remotely interested in accountancy! There isn't actually any maths in accountancy, other than a bit of arithmetic which obviously can be all done by computer anyway.

webwiz Tue 11-Oct-11 18:16:45

There is a huge amount of information available for potential students. A good starting point is a league table to get a feel of which universities are ranked highly for your subject. This is a good one for Maths:

www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings?s=Mathematics

and

www.maths.lancs.ac.uk/department/undergraduate/2012-league-tables

which show fairly similar rankings.

The individual university websites give course information and the sort of offers that will be made. Certainly all the universities at the top of the list will want an A* in A level Maths.

The student room is also a great source of information:

www.thestudentroom.co.uk/

I think a lot of universities will have finished open days for next years applications but it is still possible to do independent campus visits and there is usually an opportunity to visit the department after you have been made an offer. DD2 felt that these visits helped her to make her final choices as she saw more of the maths department rather than just the university in general.

Changebagsandgladrags Sat 22-Oct-11 22:52:51

What other subjects is he doing?

What parts of the maths does he particularly enjoy?

If he's leaning towards the applied side he could do Physics/Engineering/Theoretical Physics (which is normally part of the maths dept). If he's leaning towards the pure side then maybe Maths or Maths with another subject.

The good thing about a maths degree is that you can generalize, taking pure, applied and statistics right up to the final year or you can specialize quite early on.

Personally I would say do maths, G100 on UCAS this gives you the best options on individual units (although at my uni you could change code right up to the end of the final exams).

You can either get a BA (pure) or a Bsc. If you are really talented you can do MMath at many universities.

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