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DS wants to go to uni but has no idea what course.

(31 Posts)
TeaAndALemonTart Sun 26-Oct-14 19:08:13

DS is in year12, did great in his GCSEs and has got good predictions for his AS levels, although it's obviously early days.

He wants to go to uni but has no idea what career he wants or what to study. How can I help him get ideas? All help gratefully received.

He is doing Maths,Economics,Geography and Psychology and know a he will probably drop maths next year.

DulcetMoans Sun 26-Oct-14 19:13:02

I think there was a course finder on UCAS that asked your interests and then have you some course listings to offer options.

Also, if you can, get him to a few open days this year and get him to go to subject talks when there and hopefully he will hear something that will inspire him.

It can be a really exciting time so long as he isn't overwhelmed by it all. Is the school/college supportive?

snowmummy Sun 26-Oct-14 19:17:18

Which subject does he enjoy most? What are his interests? He has my sympathy. At that age I didn't know what I wanted to do and I still don't now! I'd advise him to follow his interests and don't think too much about what he 'should' do or what's 'best'.

TeaAndALemonTart Sun 26-Oct-14 19:22:12

Thanks, his interests are all sports based but no good career wise. He finds geography easiest, and probably enjoys economics most.

Would Unis mind me taking him to a couple of open days when it's not really his time IYSWIM?

addictedtosugar Sun 26-Oct-14 19:30:11

Has he tried a career selector quiz?

There are loads out there; I picked the first UK one that came up!

DulcetMoans Sun 26-Oct-14 19:32:41

Absolutely not! In fact year 12 is a great time to look. Year 13 is so busy anyway and many schools get them to start applying in September so if he has been to look around then it removes a bit of the stress.

Sounds like he needs to look at the sports facilities too! Even if he won't study there, lots to get involved in and teams he might want to join.

titchy Sun 26-Oct-14 19:37:44

How about economics and geography then? Or international development? Human and social geography? Both subjects can fit together quite well....

micah Sun 26-Oct-14 19:39:25

all his interests are sports based but no good career wise

Why not? Sports science, sports psychology, sport is a business now so management... Biomechanics, statistics, there's all sorts.

I was very interested in sport but was always told there's no career in it. If I had my time again I'd definitely do something leading to a career in sport, it's quite lucrative these days smile

ZeroSomeGameThingy Sun 26-Oct-14 19:43:52

You should probably take a look at this thread before going any further!

Christelle2207 Sun 26-Oct-14 19:44:46

It may help to consider what he enjoys the most - for many careers a degree is important but it doesn't really matter what in. Few people I know work in a field directly related to their degree subject.
It's also fairly doable to change your mind once you get to uni as long as you do it in the first term.

MillyMollyMama Sun 26-Oct-14 20:46:07

A place on an Economics or Management degree course is greatly helped by A levels Maths. I would not advocate dropping this. Psychology is the one that should go out of these because you don't even need it for a Psychology degree. Maths, on the other hand, is much more sought after and opens doors.

Bonsoir Sun 26-Oct-14 20:50:43

Maths and Geography are facilitating subjects whereas Economics and Psychology are not. If he is unsure of what to do at university he should hold onto his two facilitating subjects.

ttlshiwwya Sun 26-Oct-14 22:11:31

Agree with Bonsoir. I was in a similar situation to your son albeit a long time ago. My year head at school advised me to keep my options open as long as possible i.e. keep the maths.

I looked at lots of courses and attended lots of open days. I still wasn't sure but decided to go to a Scottish RG university that had a modular course structure that let you study 3 different subjects in first year and didn't need you to decide finally what your honours subjects would be until the 3rd year. I'm glad I did as I chose to do joint honours in subjects that I didn't originally plan to specialize in (and have continued to work in these areas).

TeaAndALemonTart Sun 26-Oct-14 22:12:29

I do agree but maths is the one with the lowest prediction, C/B, all others are A.

Bonsoir Sun 26-Oct-14 22:14:48

Then he needs to pull out all the stops in Maths pronto grin

stonecircle Mon 27-Oct-14 09:05:20

Sometimes it's not just a question of pulling out all the stops to achieve in maths and you would have to be very brave to drop a subject you got an A in at AS to keep maths if you had a B/C in it.

DS2 insisted on doing AS maths - against my better judgement. He was predicted a B and really really pulled out all the stops. Probably spent more time on AS maths than his other subjects put together and I even got him a tutor. He ended up with a D (AAB in his other subjects). I so wish he had gone with an essay-based subject instead of maths. His HT is firmly of the view that people reach a ceiling with maths unlike other subjects where, if you keep working hard you are likely to keep doing well.

Not sure how many open days are still going on so you may need to wait until next year to attend lectures etc. Nothing to stop you having a look around a few places though if the type of university is important to him. I found what really honed DS's thinking was attending open day lectures. For example, he had been really sold on Cardiff - that was where he wanted to go most of all. But he didn't like the lecture at all so it's completely off his list now.

I would think he would have needed biology to do a sports related course, but am not sure.

But still plenty of time for him to decide!

Bonsoir Mon 27-Oct-14 09:35:20

Maths is much, much easier than some people claim at A-level (or equivalent). There is just so much pointless - even counter productive - scaremongering around maths and many so-called difficulties as DC progress through the maths curriculum are really gaps in knowledge of simple things or earlier failures to rehearse mental maths, times tables etc.

jeanne16 Mon 27-Oct-14 09:52:12

I am a secondary school maths teacher and I have to say the last post is not correct. There is a massive jump from GCSE maths to A-level. Pupils can get an A* for GCSE with just over 80%. While that may sound good, it means they could get an A* without being able to do the difficult 20% on the paper. They are then expected to know this as the starting point to the AS course.

There is so much talk about maths being a good A-level but frankly it is a terrible A-level if you get a C grade or worse. Many, many pupils come unstuck at A-level and I do believe schools should be stricter on who can do the subject. Sometimes they need to be protected from their own (or worse, their parents) enthusiasm for what is the 'right' subject.

ElephantsNeverForgive Mon 27-Oct-14 09:52:27

Total agree about there being a ceiling for maths, I scrapped my A level, but failed my first year university exams in a Maths heavy subject.

Became a Biologist instead and loved it.

Unfortunately, maths and Geog are your DS's only facilitating subjects. He will massively narrow his choices if he drops Maths.

TeaAndALemonTart Mon 27-Oct-14 10:18:23

Yes, we knew he would find it hard. He got a high A in GCSE and no matter how many practice papers he did found the A* stuff very hard.

He is in a class of 6 with a very good teacher, I'm happy to get a tutor if needed but so far he's getting on okay. He has had some tests and first one was an E and second a B, although he knows it gets harder as the course progresses.

Looks like he may be doing a geography degree then!

Thanks for all help so far.

Bonsoir Mon 27-Oct-14 10:19:04

Jeanne16 - your point does not contradict mine - it supports it!

Issues with examination standards are quite different to issues with the intrinsic difficulty of maths.

UptheChimney Mon 27-Oct-14 11:53:57

Can I be radical grin and suggest that he doesn't necessarily need to go to university at all, at this time in his life, if he doesn't know what he wants to do there?

Or he could take a gap year after A Levels, and work or volunteer to get some experience, and to start thinking about what he might want to do. He'll also be applying to courses with qualifications already in hand.

Or he could do some thinking about what he enjoys doing, and what he's good at. Both in terms of hobbies/non-school activities, and school studies. Where there's an overlap might be where to look at degree courses.

But really, if he doesn't know what he wants to study, and he doesn't know what he wants to do after university, university at this point in his life may not be a good thing for hi,

And it's definitely not a good thing for those who have to deal with him at university, frankly.

You ask about open days -- take him to as many as you both can stand! We love it when people come to find out about courses and facilities. But we can't answer the question "What should I do at university?" If he's not sure, he shouldn't be going until he is. And there are lots of ways of helping him work out what he might want to study.

The other thing is, I don't necessarily think it's so important to have a definite idea of what he might want to do after university. I think that some of the jobs our DC may do in 4 or 5 years time haven't even been invented yet. And it's likely that most professionals will do several different kinds of jobs over their working lives.

So my emphasis would be on finding out what he enjoys doing, and what he enjoys studying, and seeing where they overlap.

lljkk Mon 27-Oct-14 12:06:56

That A-level combo makes me think of Development Studies.

Greengrow Mon 27-Oct-14 18:42:24

What he should consider is
1. What ultimately he wants to earn - what kind of life, standard of living etc.
2. What he will enjoy doing as ajob and what A levels and degree he needs for that job.
Eg my daughters did a mixture of A levels and then a non law degree and then law after and are solicitors. One di arts A levels and one science A levels. What matters most to those recruiting in the usual recruitment fairs for a lot of general milk round post degree jobs is which institution you went to, rather than which subject (obviously not for medicine and science when of course the subject matters). So picking a subject you like (my daughter read ancient history at Bristol University) might be a good plan if you haven't picked a career yet as the better universities tend to open more doors and also pick a subject you'll get at 2/1 in as a lot of employers don't recruit people with 2/2 for the better paid jobs.

TeaAndALemonTart Tue 28-Oct-14 15:30:27

Lots of careers have been discounted due to low salaries, Green. Development studies looks great, I will show him.

I don't know if he's hit his ceiling with maths and we knew it would be tough but he wanted to give it a try. Several people have dropped out already.

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