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Is there any point in applying to an AAA uni with an A*AB prediction?

(32 Posts)
stonecircle Tue 14-Oct-14 21:24:54

Having just recovered from the personal statement ordeal of last week, I'm now floundering in my attempts to pin ds down to 5 choices. Not helped by the fact that he keeps completely changing his mind as to where he would and wouldn't like to go. Exeter and Southampton remain firm favourites, but now he has dropped Royal Holloway and UCL into the mix.

I'm worried because I always thought one aspirational choice was enough (ie Exeter) but UCL has the same typical offer - AAA-AAB. I assume as a grammar school boy, they would expect AAA from ds.

DS is predicted A* (Eng Lit) and A (Geography). However, his Biology teacher still hasn't given him a predicted grade. He got B for his AS so am assuming the prediction will also be a B (although DS thinks it could be an A)

SO, if he is predicted A*AB, would it be silly to put 2 choices down where they're likely to be looking for AAA?

And what his insurance will be, goodness only knows!

titchy Tue 14-Oct-14 21:50:58

No perfectly reasonable to go for AAA institutions with A*AB predictions, as long as the course applied for isn't the B of course, which it presumably isn't as he'd need a second science for a Biology degree at UCL and its ilk.

stonecircle Tue 14-Oct-14 22:03:19

He wants to do Geography. Sorry, should have said, but my head's reeling after a 3 hour session looking at uni websites with him!

ProbablyMe Tue 14-Oct-14 22:07:18

Yes completely reasonable. The required grades listed by institutions does not reflect the grade range on students on the course. I was reading the Times University Guide (DS1 is off next year) and there was article discussing this issue - that institutions should publish the actual range of grades that they have accepted as some students are surprised by the differences when they meet their course mates!!

BlueStringPudding Tue 14-Oct-14 22:31:51

DD had an offer from Exeter for Geography of AAA, and they emailed her to say they would accept equivalent grades. Bristol was her first choice (AAA) so she asked them if they would too, but they said they wouldn't.

On results day she got AAB, and Bristol accepted her anyway, and after a remark her results ended up as A*AB..

So yes worth going for a couple at AAA I would say. DD had Cardiff at AAB as her reserve, but also liked the look of Exeter (Falmouth Campus) course, which I think was AAB as well.

stonecircle Tue 14-Oct-14 23:03:18

Probably - I know lots of students end up at unis with lower grades than those given in the 'typical offer'. But isn't that because their predictions matched the typical offer at the time of applying and then they were allowed in having failed to meet the offer? I wasn't sure if unis would make the initial offer to students who weren't predicted grades matching their 'typical offer'.

BlueString - can I ask what your dd was predicted?

Honestly he's reduced me to a gibbering wreck! All the unis which were dead certs a few weeks ago are now out the window and all those he refused to look at a few weeks ago (ie when the open days were on angry ) he's now keen on.

BlueStringPudding Tue 14-Oct-14 23:50:03

She was predicted A*AA, and got full UMS on both Geography AS papers. She also had strong references from her college which Bristol said was why they decided to take her even though she didn't make the offer..

Rascalls3 Wed 15-Oct-14 00:06:42

I think your son needs to pin his biology teacher down. It is not unreasonable for him to get an A prediction if he and biology teacher believe this is achievable. My daughter is in her 4th masters year at Bristol and has absolutely loved it. She chose physical geography in her 2nd year I think. Exeter Falmouth campus was her back up choice. She is now looking at Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds and a few others for her PHD so assume these unis must have a good undergraduate programme too.

stonecircle Wed 15-Oct-14 00:28:22

So your daughter was predicted higher than the typical offer Bluestring? I was trying to establish if it is worth applying with predictions lower than the typical offer.

I agree Rascalls and have insisted that he speaks to him tomorrow!

stonecircle Wed 15-Oct-14 16:14:00

I needn't have bothered asking - his biology teacher has predicted him an A so his predictions are now A*AA. Now, next thing for me to worry about is whether the D he got in his fourth AS (Maths) will count against him?!

BlueStringPudding Wed 15-Oct-14 21:28:22

good news stonecircle, meant to say DD also got a B in AS Biology, but was predicted an A. She got a B though. Her fourth AS was a C in Chemistry and that didn't seem to matter although she also had an A from an AS she took the year before (ICT).

skylark2 Thu 16-Oct-14 15:11:45

It's not really worth putting down a load of unis all with very similar requirements unless they're all aspirational and the hopes are that he'll manage to get an offer from one of them - because you can only go to one of them anyway.

DD had four similar unis. Her first choice gave her a lower than their standard offer (because she had a A in her fourth AS, since that was being discussed as well), and then she was in the position of her next three choices all asking for AAA, which was about as much use as a chocolate teapot. Fortunately she'd seen sense on option 5 and put somewhere which gave her a lower offer usable as insurance.

stonecircle Thu 16-Oct-14 15:31:24

Skylark - but he's finding it very difficult to identify anywhere he likes that doesn't fall into the AAA-ABB bracket. And, as everyone keeps saying, there's no point in putting somewhere down as an insurance that he doesn't really want to go to.

At the moment he's definite about applying to Exeter (AAA-AAB) and Southampton (AAB). Probably Royal Holloway (ABB). Possibly Loughbrough (ABB) and possibly Reading (ABB-BBB). Possibly Sussex (AAB)

We had been thinking of Brighton (BBB) or Coventry (BBC) as an insurance but he's not sure.

Advice from school is that his insurance doesn't need to be lower than ABB - that would be dropping a grade in each subject against his predictions and dropping a grade in 2 subjects from AS.

I think, as he's so undecided, and school deadline for RG applicants is tomorrow/next week, he's going to press ahead with Exeter, Southampton and Royal Holloway then add the remaining 2 choices in the next few weeks.

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 16-Oct-14 16:15:10

DD has gone with AAA, 3 lots of AAB and ABB. If she gets an offer from the AAA one, then one of the AABs will be her insurance. If she firms one of ht3e AAB's, another might be her insurance (as they were in clearing for her subject this year!) The ABB is a last resort if she feels she needs it.

BlueStringPudding Thu 16-Oct-14 17:25:06

DDs Geography offers were A*AA(Durham), 3 x AAA (Bristol, Exeter, Leeds), and AAB (Cardiff). She went for Bristol as firm, and Cardiff as reserve. I don't think you should worry too much about having them close together, because you may not get offers from them all, and you can only choose 2 anyway. In practice many will accept candidates with lower grades anyway, so you could choose a Firm and Reserve with the same grades, and hope that one is flexible if the offer isn't met.

With an A*AA prediction I don't think you'd need to go lower than an AAB offer, unless you particularly liked the course or university. There is always Clearing and there were a reasonable number of places this year for Geography. DD's plan if she missed her reserve was to go into Clearing and go for a place on the Exeter Penryn Campus Geography course, which was asking ABB.

MillyMollyMama Thu 16-Oct-14 17:51:49

Oh dear, stonecircle, I can see why you adopted this name! Going round in circles springs to mind!

UCL is very expensive on the accommodation front so you will spend more money and the extra loan is miserly. Think long and hard about this. Royal Holloway is a bit detached and Loughborough is for sporty types and also detached. Is he sporty? He does not need to go below ABB. I would definitely put Sussex down as it is near Brighton and I would add in Bristol? The offers reflect desirability and there is a reason why some universities are BBC! He would be mis matched to those. The grammar school pupils are unlikely to get the lower offers but they can still negotiate after results day if need be.

What does he actually want from the Uni? Be very careful about course options because lecturers can leave, go on maternity leave, do research, write a book and withdraw their option just when you thought it was the perfect choice. Apply to the best universities you possibly can. If you don't get any offers you get a other go anyway.

stonecircle Thu 16-Oct-14 18:24:26

Yes indeed Milly - I do feel as if I'm going round in circles! I'm not entirely sure on what basis he refuses to consider some places. Birmingham? "Funny accent!" (apologies to anyone from Birmingham - DS's accent is nothing to write home about). "And too far north". Er, he's considering Loughborough and Leicester.... Bristol? "No". Why? "Just no". Similarly, I'm not sure why he's keen on some places. He wants to put Royal Holloway down on the basis of a quick look at the website. I think because it's a London university. It's 40 mins away by train!

As to London - a whole other issue. We are close enough for him to live at home. But he doesn't want to. This has ruled out Queen Mary and possibly Kings (whose website and prospectus give conflicting information about the likelihood of getting accommodation if you live within commuting distance). I'm quaking at the possibility of having to fork out thousands for him to live a few miles away but can hardly refuse if I'm prepared to pay for accommodation elsewhere (though I know London is hugely more expensive).

I've no idea what he wants from his course though I think he does as, though he really likes Cardiff, he's ruled that out because, having attended a lecture, he didn't like the course.

And yes, he's extremely sporty so that has to be factored in as well!

Kez100 Thu 16-Oct-14 19:07:50

My extremely sport Godson loves Loughborough - perhaps a little too much! But he loves it.

ElephantsNeverForgive Thu 16-Oct-14 20:59:40

Birmingham is well worth a visit (not at all like he might expect) it's ild and beautiful, ok I'm biased wink

Also they are planning/building an amazing new sports complex.

skylark2 Fri 17-Oct-14 09:01:30

Birmingham's a lot more accessible than Exeter from London.

No wonder he can't find many places to apply if he thinks Birmingham is too northern! Has he looked at Leeds, Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Liverpool, the Scottish unis...

Also, has he considered what sort of place he'd like to live in? DD was very keen on UCL - yay, London, parties, clubs, shopping! She went to an open day and came back saying "nice course, nice people, couldn't live there, too much concrete." She's ended up at Reading which is a huge and very green campus and loves it.

stonecircle Fri 17-Oct-14 09:54:09

Skylark - but he really likes the place and course at Exeter and also he's quite familiar with that part of the country and knows he likes it. To be fair, he's as much focused on the course as the place (if he wasn't he would put Cardiff down which he really likes as a uni). He looked at Nottingham - didn't like it.

I take the point about UCL - so much so that I am taking him for a walk around there tomorrow so he can get a feel for the place.

Lemonsole Fri 17-Oct-14 09:58:12

I've been working with A level students and UCAS applications for years, and offered grades are, in my opinion, getting more and more like Boden pricing. A high price goes into the catalogue, but an increasing number of student don't actually end up paying that price. You can't trawl the net for UCL discount codes, but you can ask at Open Days what the average entry grades are. grin

It annoys me that the universities don't have to publish this information. It's to make themselves look more exclusive than they are in reality.

stonecircle Fri 17-Oct-14 10:21:06

Lemonsole - maybe it's because, from what I've read here, they know that many schools over-predict? I'm still flabbergasted by people saying that their school automatically predicts one grade higher than at A2. If universities know schools are doing that then I'm not sure it's surprising that they're making such high offers!

stonecircle Fri 17-Oct-14 10:39:26

one grade higher than AS at A2 I mean!

ZuluBob Fri 17-Oct-14 23:17:54

i have found all the admissions staff to be really helpful so if you have any questions I would just give them a quick call. I've always encouraged my DC to do their own research but my fourth DC has asked me to help her so I am. None of the admissions staff have been the slightest bit annoyed that I am calling and not my DD.

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