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How do you find out Uni entry requirements?

(37 Posts)
mloo Wed 25-Jun-14 22:36:58

Sorry, am foreign. I don't know how to do this.
Ds probably wants to study computer science at university (probably England). I found a league table of computing degrees and from that I could find individual Uni departments and some of them had clear specifics about what they wanted from applicants (e.g. at least B in maths A-level + 2 other A-levels).

Is that the right procedure, to go to each and every individual website? So I'll need to make a big list for myself (there's no centralised website comparing entry requirements?) Some Uni dept websites weren't clear and I imagine I'd have to phone up. Also, there are ICT type diplomas offered at FE colleges (only option at our nearest FE College) which some Unis list as acceptable for applicants instead of 3xA-levels. I want to know if, for getting onto a Uni computing course, the ICT diploma is frowned on or just as widely accepted as 3xA-levels. How would I figure that out?

Thx in advance.

overthemill Wed 25-Jun-14 22:40:24

UCAS website gives info then links to specific courses. It's a bit if a pain but not difficult

Needmoresleep Wed 25-Jun-14 22:49:07

Be warned. Some of the top computing courses are very competitive and they may be rejecting a lot of candidates whose grades are better than their standard offer. Once you have identified courses you are interested in you might look at applicant numbers against places available and perhaps speak to the admissions office.

mloo Wed 25-Jun-14 22:49:11

(I am barely understanding what ucas is)

Do I have to register and get my own login to make any sense of ucas services? Should I register just for research purposes now and should DS get his own login in future when he does apply somewhere?

And once I get my own login on UCAS and thoroughly explore their website I will find everything I want there?

mloo Wed 25-Jun-14 22:50:57

Xpost, why would I speak to an admissions office? What would they tell me that I need to know that isn't published elsewhere?

(hahaha at idea of DS doing a "top" course. I will be delighted if he gets onto any course)

Greenandcabbagelooking Wed 25-Jun-14 22:51:04

Unless there's a mitigating reason, I think your son should be doing this work.

I found entry requirements by looking at course websites/prospectuses and e-mailing admissions tutors.

senua Wed 25-Jun-14 23:00:02

UCAS website (open access, no log in or registration) here.
Course finder here.

why would I speak to an admissions office?
Because there is a lot of mis-information out there and "my mum's cousin's neighbour said ...". For standard queries information will be on a website but for any tricky questions go straight to source.

MillyMollyMama Wed 25-Jun-14 23:02:48

Actually I would look at the individual university web sites. However I would narrow down the range of universities you are looking at. There are several ways to do this. Look at the league tables of universities offering computer science. Just google this and the tables will appear from various sources. Some universities will appear on all the computer science lists, so I would seriously consider these. Then ask DS where he would like to study. Many young people from abroad like London. If not a university in London, then another big city or would he be happy anywhere? Check out how many students actually get jobs from the course. This figure should be pretty high. By and large, the ones asking for the highest grades are probably the most selective, and probably the best. I would also look for a university with a strong reputation for science and maths.

mloo Wed 25-Jun-14 23:03:02

I found info on ucas about tariff points but nothing else about entry requirements for specific courses. Is there another link on ucas that compares entry requirements at different places for a specific subject or do I need to register to look in special ucas places (or is the normal procedure to look at each & every individual website after all)?


PeopleCallMeChunk Wed 25-Jun-14 23:18:41

You can also try the UniStats website, you can search by course or geographical location, although you probably still need to go to the course website for full information it should give you an idea of where to start.

senua Wed 25-Jun-14 23:22:02

I know that there is a website somewhere that people recommend. Hopefully they will be along in a bit.
Meantime, will this do the trick?

mloo Wed 25-Jun-14 23:30:21

thank you Senua for the search link on UCAS, at least it's easy to have a quick overview of the relevant courses from there.

I know the research job is huge & DS will end up doing most of it (assuming his interest persists). We just both needed an idea where to get started.

Which link was useful, too, ta.
This has clarified why I'm confused.

All the programmers I know IRL studied physics or engineering. Most Units offering computing degrees don't expect A-level computing which seemed odd but not many colleges seem to offer A-level computing (nearest is 60 miles away!).

So now I see why math + other signs of relevant skills is what they usually ask for. I can't even find the ICT-diploma thingie now, but probably not relevant if it doesn't have UCAS tariff points, anyway.

thx for the help. Just trying to plan ahead.

Needmoresleep Thu 26-Jun-14 02:26:36

The reason you might speak to an admissions office AFTER you have narrowed down your search and AFTER you have looked at the ratio of applications to places is that some computer science courses are very over subscribed. Unlike some other University systems in Europe, British Universities don't take everyone who achieves the published grades. Instead many successful candidates may have far higher predicted grades.

Conversely some Courses may be under subscribed and Universities may be willing to take candidates who are not expected to achieve the published grades especially if they have a strong personal statement and school reference.

In addition if you are proposing to offer qualifications which are not A levels, or an unusual combination of A levels it might be an idea to check with your preferred University first.

A good place for all things UCAS is The Student Room website.

Monty27 Thu 26-Jun-14 02:46:33

How old is ds? My dd did it all by herself. I steered her a bit because we live in UK, but you need to come over and have a look as well.

Monty27 Thu 26-Jun-14 02:47:38

Even if you find the right degree, and depending what his qualifications are , there's a piece of work to be done there. There might be a unit somewhere to help you.

Monty27 Thu 26-Jun-14 02:49:20

Just apply to what courses he thinks he can cope with, then the Uni's will or not will find him suitable and offer him a place. Just apply....

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 26-Jun-14 03:12:44

The younger developers mostly have computer science degrees. But most big places with graduate schemes will take all STEM graduates. I'm not surprised A level ICT isn't needed. Good universities favour traditional subjects. So onviously you will be looking at subjects like maths and physics. Also if you are going to work in the UK afterwards, beware that computer science has the highest unemployment rate. So do look at uni stats very carefully about the courses employment outcome. I don't think it is that there are no jobs, but probably too many university providing poor quality candidates that no one wants? So do choose carefully.

Monty27 Thu 26-Jun-14 03:16:08

Well said One smile

Kazzyv Thu 26-Jun-14 07:03:19

I used the what uni site to search alternative courses - I think - may be .com. Put in the course and expected grades and it gives you a list or a map view I think. You just start with one set of grades and then try another set until you get an achievable set of grades with a list of universities you like.
You said you are not UK where are you living ?

mloo Thu 26-Jun-14 09:41:03

Hi, to answer questions DS is only 13. He just chose GCSEs so it was on my mind to make sure I understood the possible path forward, some other things to consider like possible house move.

I'm in England, do most people get all this info from school when kid in yr11, maybe?

DH had AAA when his offer was something like CCD, so I guess mismatch is common. Phoning an admissions officer: I can't imagine many 16-17yos really do that for themselves, is it mostly parents who ring? I found this American list but I imagine AOs would be quite annoyed if every prospective parent asked ALL that. Is there a list of useful questions in UK context, maybe: "What results did your average successful applicant actually have?" and "Anything else I should know?"

DS is not a high achiever. I'm okay if he ends up with computing degree at not-top uni & not guaranteed results, the whole future is uncertain. I have friend who works as producer in games industry so she had invaluable advice for him.

senua Thu 26-Jun-14 09:58:29

Don't forget that there are Open Days where the whole idea is that you find out as much information as possible. You could try a few in Years 10 or 11, to get a feel. We found that them invaluable when it came to the real decision time: places can look great on paper but just not feel 'right' in actuality.

I totally agree with OneLittle

titchy Thu 26-Jun-14 09:58:46

If you don't mind me asking, if he's not a high achiever why are you wanting him to go to university and leave with £50k of loan repayments? An apprenticeship might be a better way forward. Plus he's only 13 you have at least three years to think about this!

If he ends up with decent GCSE grades think about university then.

(Oh and yes it is normally the 16 or 17 year old that emails or asks Admissions officers, but generally they only need contact them about questions they can't find the answer to, so your query about whether an ICT diploma would be a suitable qualification would be a prime example.)

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 26-Jun-14 10:25:55

I would expect a 16/17 year old to sort out their university application. If he can't do that by that point, what's the hope of him researching and applying for summer placements himself? And then onto graduate schemes? The job market is very competitive and you need everything to differentiate yourself.

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 26-Jun-14 10:29:14

And I don't mean you need to be in a Russell Group university. But there are still a large difference from average to really poor universities. It's expensive and you really shouldn't waste three years without understanding why you are attending.

mloo Thu 26-Jun-14 10:54:26

I'm looking forward to open days smile.

Debt is something DS & I will discuss when the time comes. Judging by high number of applicants each yr, I believe most young Brits think like I would that the debt is still acceptable for the merely-mediocre. That's all a huge huge separate debate, better for another thread!

In my education system we never have apprenticeships so that's another huge unknown for me. Is this best website to look? Anywhere else to find them, local job centre maybe?

There is exactly ONE ICT apprenticeship advertised on that website in my county, so to get one DS would have to move away I suspect. Are they quite competitive? Is this maybe wrong time of year to be looking? Are loans available for accommodation & living expenses to people on apprenticeships just like they are for folk at university? I know many FE colleges offer ICT type diplomas like I said before. So that's Uni-apprenticeship-ICT/NVQs as 3 options. Any other paths DS could think about?

DS fancies joining RAF, too, so that's another option.

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