Year 12 not engaging with uni application(49 Posts)
DS did well at GCSE ( straight A's) and is doing maths and sciences at AS. I'm concerned that he may be one of those students who failed to realise the step up needed in year 12. He does not feel he's done well in AS ( he was rightfully confident and in control in year 11. )
I'm not sure if it this new lack of confidence or just his adolescent personality but he really won't engage at all with us about making future plans. He doesn't see the point in going to uni open days, and says he doesn't care where he goes. He thinks online research is all he needs to do.
He does see the need to get a degree ( he only seems motivated by the need to earn a decent salary !)
I know some 17 year olds have no idea what they want to do, but he's not even thinking of options. He assumes he will do maths,( maybe with economics) as this is his best A'level. There is no enthusiasm or even a flicker of interest though.
He also has literally zero hobbies / stuff to write about on a PS. As well as totally refusing to get a summer job though we explained to him at length ove the years that he needs stuff for his CV/ PS.
I will add he is a regular smoker of cannabis ( not daily AFAIK) despite our best efforts to stop him and obviously I'm worried this may be the cause of his lack of motivation. He worked hard in year 11, did far better than expected, and refused to believe that the weed would have any effect on him. Don't flame me for this, we have sent him to drug counsellors and taken all steps we can to stop him, but it's what his group of mates do and it's what they WANT to do in their spare time.
Any advice ?
If the AS results are really bad could you persuade him to move sixth forms to escape the drug scene? The shock of bad results might make him work harder. This happened to my brother and it only got better when he left the school and influence of drug taking friends. for you.
Uni isn't for everyone and these days visits are less necessary than they might have been. However his disengagement generally and the drug use is more concerning and may well already have had an effect on his results and mood.
I was a right pain in the arse during my AS year after having worked very hard all through school. I'd discovered sex, drugs and rock and roll and just basically didn't work as hard as I could or should have.
I didn't get shocking results but they weren't my best work (I got A*s, As and Bs at GCSE but then found myself staring ABCE in the face at AS level) and seeing that E on paper on results day brought me to earth with a bump! I pulled it together, got ABB in my A levels and went to a decent uni. Now a functioning member of the human race with a good career.
Wait till after results day, I think you might find it wakes him up.
Thank you all for the non judgmental replies.
I fear it may be that good results at AS will spur him to a better attitude and poor results will make him more disengaged because he has worked reasonably hard.
It drives me crazy that he has no interests. I had a chat with him just now, didn't mention the weed / demotivation , just asked why he didn't feel interested in anything. He says nothing in his school subjects interests him. I explained that hobbies grow over time and you have to try new things to see what grabs you. He just doesn't get it.
He also said I'm 'obsessed' about the uni applications, and 'pestering ' him- whereas this is one of the first chats I've had with him, off the back of a presentation made to us at his school last week.
It's just impossible to support him as he won't take any advice from DH nor me.
Once again, I can see some reasons why national service was a good thing.
if I ruled the world I'd have every 18 yo do a year of civic service (not military). Living away from home, being disciplined, thinking about something other than themselves, AND - really important, I think - seeing that their work has value, their effort can make a difference, and they belong to a community.
< strains of John Lennon's "Imagine" > sigh
Upthechimney - agree !
Thing is a GAP year would be disastrous for him unless it was totally structured. He would spend it in the park getting stoned or in his room on YouTube. He won't go abroad on any sort of project - tried that !
Also for maths type subject I don't think a year out is beneficial.
How about one of the summer youth projects? They tend to be for a week or fortnight at a residential centre.
Both my older ones went on the Rotary programme for 16 and 17 year olds. The Rotary organisation pick the children who they think will most benefit so your son would not be at a disadvantage. My dds really enjoyed it. They did abseiling, navigation, fundraising, games and canoeing at a residential centre. It was free, funded by the Rotary. The group are still meeting up socially.
There is also a government Citizenship youth programme over summer and he might still be able to apply. Don't have the details but should be easy to find.
The programme you refer to is called the Challenge. It costs £50 for a 3 week period, 1 week of which is residential. It is very good value. Not sure if there are still places for the summer or whether you can persuade your DS to attend, but it may be worth a try.
Cannabis smoking is almost certainly the cause of his apathy. I would second trying to get him to move schools and possibly repeat Y 12.
He had a place on the Challenge last summer because I signed him up but flatly refused to go. Believe me I have tried a lot of things !
He has a large social circle and there no guarantee that a change of school would change who he socialises with or the type of people he would gravitate towards.
I think he needs to decide for himself that a change is needed. He doesn't like me and DH to get involved in his life, consequentially we have very little influence on him.
Where does he get the money for the weed? I thought it was quite expensive nowadays
not like when I was a young miscreant.
What are his friends doing about University or other future plans?
Where does he get the money for the weed?
Exactly what I was thinking. No money, no weed.
I think at this age they have to want to do it for themselves. Thankfully there are all sorts of options for older students - he may need to bum around a bit before he finds his own motivation but it's never too late.
A Maths degree will stand him in good stead long term. Maybe discuss your views on whether you will support him financially or let him live at home post-18 if he is not at uni or working, so he can't drift into just doing nothing beyond school. If you say he can't stay home and do nothing he may well at least so his UCAS form. No hobbies won't stop him getting on a Maths degree somewhere!
We have made it clear he will not be supported by us if he is not in full time education! No way is he dossing about at home on us.
Where do teenagers get money for weed ? I don't know. He does a bit of babysitting here and there.
So long as he knows he can't come home and doss, he should eventually wake up and decide what to do (secondary school teacher speaking, fwiw.). The seriousness of the UCAS process only really dawns on quite a lot of sixth formers once they start back in Sept and school deadlines for PS etc start to get close. Once it becomes the main topic of all conversation among his peers, and his form tutor starts hassling him for his PS, he should find himself keener to get on with it.
Great that he wants to do Maths...even if he leaves it to the clearing stage he should get on a decent course!
Don't put too much pressure on him. It may be he is in two minds about uni - or it may be come September he gets into gear.
Open Days arnt that necessary. Not everyone has the time or money to go traipsing round the country. Back in my day I only visited universitys that I had applied to for my interview or after receiving a conditional offer.
The canabis thing is very very worrying though.
A bit of babysitting here and there is not going to fund a regular cannabis habit though?
Unexpected I think that depends on where you live- in some places cannabis is probably cheaper than you think it is, especially if he has friends who will sometimes share.
I do think it has to come from him at this age. He says he wants to do a degree, and is doing research online. Maybe try taking a step back and see if he does anything about UCAS applications in the autumn? Most universities will also have an autumn open day, so maybe when he is applying and things seem more real, he will want to visit? Alternatively, once he gets offers he may be invited on an applicants day- which he might want to attend.
Luckily, for a maths PS, hobbies and similar really aren't that important.
The one thing I would say is that at uni, he will almost definitely have more access to money and drugs- especially if he goes because he has been pushed into it, rather than really wanting to go.
Your problem is the cannabis. There is no point even thinking or taking to him about the other issues until this is stopped. You can't have a discussion with dope, which is what you are trying to do.
I would back right off until September. He really doesn't need to go to any open days and if he chooses to do his looking on the internet, then he's in the company of a great many other young people. Open days are definitely not essential so don't worry on that score. None of my DC have gone to more than one pre-application open day each and that's only because it was organised by the school and involved an overnight stay and looked to be reasonable fun. In many ways spending time on the websites is far more valuable and far more appealing to many than spending hours in a car with a parent or parents. I suspect the more you attempt to discuss it the more he'll withdraw. I would also think it very likely that come the start of the Autumn term he'll creak into action and that's easily early enough. Between now and then his results may provide a catalyst by being a welcome surprise or a nasty shock. If his friends smoke cannabis then I'm not surprised he does too. It amazes me how common it was when we were young yet how shocked my generation are that their own kids smoke - I'd assume it's a phase and will pass. Anyhow, if he wants to smoke then he will and there's not a lot you can do about it so it's not going to do any good to get wound up about it because that in itself might prolong the habit!
Thanks all for different views.
The students and parents ( separately ) had a talk last week on the importance of this summer in terms of the students doing stuff they could write about on their PS - jobs, visiting relevant places, work experience. Etc. I just felt a bit hopeless because you can't make a 17 year old do anything and it also brought home to me how motivated some of his peers are.
I'm also a very task oriented person and so is DH. It's hard to understand what drives people and why some people have no motivation.
Whilst I don't wish to nag I do want to help/support / gently guide him.
Claybury I very much doubt your DS has no motivation, I expect this is just him at the moment and I genuinely think his chilled attitude will become more entrenched if you nag. He really doesn't sound unusual at all and Y12 is often the year when they step off the gas. Just remember he does still have plenty of time, he's sitting on great grades and he's able at a great subject which will keep doors wide open. He also has the advantage that his is a subject where he doesn't actually need to shadow a GP for a week or be senior prefect. Is he your eldest? I've just had number six go through the system - perspective is a wonderful thing! Enjoy your summer, try to forget about UCAS, at most possibly buy a single really interesting maths or economics book from Blackwells or similar and lob it into his room telling him he needn't read it but it's there in case. I'm sure it will all come right.
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