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UCAS applications

(469 Posts)
mumblechum1 Fri 12-Oct-12 09:24:31

When are people's DCs planning on finalising their personal statements, with a view to getting the UCAS applns sent off?

DS's school have done the grade predictions but as far as I know haven't done the reference bit yet.

DS has done the first draft of his PS, has feedback from his tutor and is aiming to polish it up this weekend.

<<prays everyone isn't going to post that their DCs applicacations were submitted to UCAS last month and have already got their offers>> wink

CowboyTakeMeAway Sun 06-Jan-13 13:08:44

Greyvix, thanks for your post. I think if my DS does happen to exceed expectation in his actual A2s, then he is likely to say "I CBA to look at any more Unis" hmm, but let's hope I'm wrong!

Coincidentally, you were saying about your DS waiting on a couple of offers; my DS has two or three friends desperately waiting to hear from Bath, Warwick and similar (Warwick seems to be the popular choice, especially as these friends are applying for Maths-type degrees). Also, DS has another very good friend who got a Cambridge Medicine offer yesterday - we are mega-pleased for him as he is a lovely lad - but I digress.

Mumblechum, interestingly, my DS absolutely loved Portsmouth, and that will almost certainly be his first choice. But, hopefully your DS will get Manchester, so good luck with that smile.

mumblechum1 Sun 06-Jan-13 13:13:13

Cowboy, he hasn't even looked at Portsmouth or LJMU!

He seems to have randomly picked 3 out of his 5 Unis, only looked at two. hmm

creamteas Sun 06-Jan-13 13:38:54

mumble most unis have days for applicants so he should be invited to anywhere that makes him an offer so there is still time....

But a fair few of my students arrive never having been before and one of my DC didn't bother to visit his choices either so you are not alone......

CowboyTakeMeAway Sun 06-Jan-13 13:49:33

Haha Mumblechum, I know what you mean, my DS hasn't looked at his aspirational choice (which I'm loath to name in case they are reading this!).

As Creamteas say, they won't be the only ones.

noddyholder Sun 06-Jan-13 13:50:49

My son has chosen only one! Visiting next week for a tour. He is also making noises about not going aaaaaaaaaaah!

mindgone Sun 06-Jan-13 23:41:01

My DS also has an offer from Manchester, and really loves the look of it too! The results of these Jan exams will give us a better idea of where they're at I guess. A stressful time for us all!
Cowboy, can I just ask, btw, about the friend of your DS who got an offer for medicine from Cambridge? This is my DS2's ultimate dream! What do you think it is about him that made them choose him, where so many don't get chosen, if you see what I mean? Thanks in advance for any help, it's so elusive, it's good to hear of someone who achieved an offer! Very best of luck to him!

Yellowtip Mon 07-Jan-13 09:15:44

mindgone I think the received wisdom amongst those who get in to Cambridge or Oxford to read Medicine is that once someone is at the interview stage with a decent BMAT under his or her belt, a huge amount rests on luck smile. I think being relatively relaxed probably helps as well. And seeing through the interview questions to the end and not giving up.

alreadytaken Mon 07-Jan-13 10:41:20

I have a teen with a medicine offer from Cambridge, mindgone, and I'd second the idea that there is a considerable element of luck. They need really good AS module scores and to practise the BMAT but most (all?) students end up with guesses for some of the BMAT questions. You can try to cut down on the luck by practise and also by choosing a college carefully but you can't cut it out. It may also help if they actually talk through their thinking in the interview. Intelligent people don't usually do that but the interviewer wants to see how they think. One young man was asked who the most important people in a hospital were - he thought patients was an obvious answer and wasn't impressed that they tried to guide him that way. He got an offer though.

I've heard of one young person who sat the BMAT a year before they applied to get some idea of how they would do. If they are planning a gap year that might be a good strategy as familiarity with the nature of the test probably helps. I'm not so sure about doing it just after GSCE, it's supposed to be that level but probably requires more maturity of thought.

mindgone Mon 07-Jan-13 14:55:07

Thanks very much alreadytaken and yellowtip. He's only in year 11 now, so Yellowtip, you're way ahead of me! I was thinking more in terms of what he could do now for his overall profile IYSWIM. Eg I think he could do with starting some voluntary work in a local care home, as much to see whether he actually likes working with vulnerable people as anything else! He is a bright boy who does well at school and is well thought of at school too. Time will tell whether he gets the string of A*s he needs though! Alreadytaken, may I ask what grades your son has so far, what he needs, and his predictions? Thanks so much :-)

CowboyTakeMeAway Mon 07-Jan-13 16:52:24

Hi Mindgone, sorry to not reply sooner... work gets in the way of MNing sometimes!

Although I personally have no idea what is required to get in to Oxbridge, but regarding the boy we know with the Medicine offer from Cambridge; I would describe him as quietly confident (not arrogant at all), possessing of humility and empathy, popular and well-liked/respected amongst his peers. He is also really clever, works very hard at school and achieved high AS grades percentage-wise (he's doing four A2s - Maths and the three sciences). He also did well in the BMAT, getting something like 5.9 and 6.2, I think. He did loads of extra stuff, eg, DofE, voluntary work, work experience at local hospital, etc. According to my DS, this boy "seems to know everything" but I would say that is due to him reading loads and being well up on current affairs, etc. Also, he's quite sporty, which doesn't hurt either I guess. He also finds time to socialise/party!

Regarding the interview bit, I remember him saying he messed up a question, but then corrected himself without panicking. Also, he noted that some interviewees had not really bothered with their appearance.

So I guess this would roughly concur with the sound advice from previous posters. Anyway, good luck to your DS1 and to your DS2 on his Cambridge aspirations smile.

alreadytaken Mon 07-Jan-13 16:57:22

the standard offer is A*AA at A2 but there are variations e.g A*AAA is not uncommon. My child is predicted what they need. If your son doesn't achieve at least 90% in all AS modules he needs to think hard about whether he'd be wasting a choice. If his GSCEs are all A*s but AS not so great Oxford is a better prospect.

Voluntary work and work experience are essential and starting now shows long term commitment. He may find he doesn't enjoy it. For very intelligent young people there are careers that generate more money with less antisocial hours. He is unlikely to be asked to work Christmas Day and New Year's Eve/ New Year's Day elsewhere, for junior doctors that is common. He needs to consider that and also whether he wants constant study and 6 years of debt. He might like to read Atul Gawande's book Complications and think about how he would live with with his inevitable mistakes.

If he would qualify he might want to look at the Cambridge shadowing scheme later in the year

Yellowtip Mon 07-Jan-13 18:31:25

My own DS sounds rather similar to the boy Cowboy describes. Confident but very definitely not arrogant. He's at Oxford though, not Cambridge. He only did a week at a care home but we both think he winged it there. He attended an access course at the nearest regional hospital and spent some time with our GP doing out of hours work. He found getting work experience pretty difficult. He read masses of medical books though - a great raft of them sat by his bed. That's well worth doing for Oxford or Cambridge, less so for other places though and can cause a conflict in the PS. He got 12 A* at GCSE, a good BMAT and 6 A* at A2. His was the last of the AAA offers! Good luck to your DS. Get back as and when he needs interview help smile

alreadytaken Mon 07-Jan-13 20:32:42

Cambridge have their own additional form that you are required to compete. You have to give AS module marks and you get the opportunity to say other things. Therefore my child did a personal statement aimed at medical schools generally (so why they wanted to study medicine, talking about work experience quite a lot, mentioning some teaching they had done, showing they had some life apart from medicine and ways of dealing with stress) then used the supplementary form to talk more about the academic side including more on books. I think a book or two may have been in the PS but there were more in the supplementary form. They were not asked about anything on the supplementary form, they were asked about voluntary work. One question asked how they found one of their work placements.

The Student room website has an excellent wiki guide to finding work experience. If it's a problem try groups that don't normally get asked - like pathology, radiology, community nurses or perhaps paramedics. Nursing homes and hospices provide good experience but even volunteering to be a trolley dolly can be useful. Check early on what the local hospital offers, if they run anything like an access course it will fill up very rapidly. Getting experience with a gp can be very difficult, however they will sometimes let you help in reception. The best time to ask for is the summer holiday (no medical students around) but ask well in advance and be prepared for lots not to reply.

Yellowtip Mon 07-Jan-13 21:40:10

Oxford doesn't have that extra facility alreadytaken, hence the potential conflict. DS found even the 'don't normally get asked group' pretty hard to extract offers of experience from. The main message here is: don't worry too much; the schools know that it's tough.

mindgone Tue 08-Jan-13 14:27:05

Thank you all so much! thanks This is what I love about Mumsnet! Practical, helpful and relevant advice that I wouldn't find anywhere else! My DS really needs to get cracking now with his search for work experience for the summer, I think. GP experience will be no problem as we have good contacts! I think the hospitals will be more tricky though, but the sooner he starts, the better.
Just need to cope with DS1's exam stress for next week now! wine

MABS Thu 10-Jan-13 21:10:56

Happy new year everyone smile well dd had 5 offers and without doubt Manchester is fave, will see if she gets grades though, t'is a stretch. Northumbria is her insurance I think now.

peteneras Sat 12-Jan-13 05:36:38

”He got 12 A* at GCSE, a good BMAT and 6 A* at A2.”

Well, I’ve heard of grade inflation, price inflation and all kinds of inflation but this is something new: the number of GCSE A* inflation - from 10/11 to now 12! Can you please make up your mind and let us have the correct number for a change? Well frankly, I’m more interested in hard evidence than plucking numbers from thin air.

Jee. . . it seems the UK’s top state school at my backyard, Queen Elizabeth?s School, Barnet (8) that don’t do 6 A2’s, is now been put in the shade by another mega-super state school but has somehow escaped the FT’s school league radar from the top of the tree. shock

So, 6 A* at A2 (assuming it is true) - does it include all the core Maths and Science subjects or are we talking Critical Thinking and the equally challenging General Paper and no Maths?

Or are they accumulated over 3 or 4 years?

Very strange, even the nation’s premier private boarding school has problems time-tabling 4 or 5 core A2 subjects (never mind 6) for their individual pupils over two years of study but now we have a day (state) school doing it like a walk in the park.

Tell us the name of the school as I’m sure MNers and the nation would like to know about this super fantastic school that’s somehow hidden away in your little village undiscovered.

And what kind of medic is one who deliberately dodges the UKCAT exam that is a pre requisite of the bulk of the UK’s medical schools? I would have thought someone with 20 A* would have breezed through such exam blindfolded in 20 minutes!

NewFerry Sat 12-Jan-13 09:02:34

Mabs, congrats to your DD on the offers.

NewFerry Sat 12-Jan-13 09:04:13

Good luck to everyone's DC with Jan exam modules starting this week.

Personally, I am hoping DS hears nothing from the 2 unis he's waiting on now till the exams are over (just in case it's bad news)

MordionAgenos Sat 12-Jan-13 09:26:04

I see its time to start quoting the lyrics to west end girls. Again.

Yellowtip Sat 12-Jan-13 09:35:54

peterenas my DS achieved 12 A* at GCSE and a good BMAT score and 6A* which does include GS but doesn't include CT nor any type of Maths. All the A levels were taken in the conventional two year period, all in one sitting. He scored either 100% or nearly 100% in every exam. I'm very proud of him for all sorts of reasons,only one of which is his academic track record. Not all candidates at any one school sit the same number of ASs or A2s. The fact that he's clever, steady, calm and (critically) not in the least bit arrogant I'm sure helped secure his place at Oxford. His three sisters scored 10, 11 and 11 respectively, not him.

I'm confused about what it is to you however. You're very rude. These numbers have never altered either, so that's a bit confused too.

As for 'dodging' the UKCAT: if you don't wish to apply to a UKCAT uni, why bother sitting the tes?. He (and the friends of his who also chose this route) had better things to do with their summer. Each happened to achieve their Oxbridge offer, so in the event it didn't matter two hoots smile

Yellowtip Sat 12-Jan-13 09:37:54


And yes, it's tedious.

MABS Sun 13-Jan-13 10:39:49

agree Newferry, you dont want bad news at the mo, but sure its just that they looked at his applications yet, apparently some dont look til after ucas deadline. good luck, dd not liking her Jan exams so far..

gelo Mon 14-Jan-13 10:47:00

peterenas, what was that about? Surely you've seen the papers each summer where there are always plenty of dc with strings of A* at GCSE and A level from all sorts of school. DS personally knows two people with 8A* at A level (one from private and one from independent school and OK, one of them is actually 7.5A* since it includes extended project, but still wow! it's a fantastic achievement). Of course it's not the norm for either school, but lots of schools actually do, you know, support their able students. (Oh and for the record, ds tells me both these people are really nice - so it's not a case of study to the exclusion of all else, though I daresay they work hard too)

gelo Mon 14-Jan-13 10:48:00

one from private and one from state school, sorry.

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