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Sadness of Open Days

(637 Posts)
Gemauve Sat 27-Jun-15 13:57:36

So on the stand this morning at 0905, I was approached by a charming woman and her keen, enthusiastic daughter. It's the first university they're visiting, in fact the first university that either of them has ever been to, but they're really looking forward to ... and they reel off a list of good places. Daughter really wants to do our subject, and has clearly checked out the top places.

And what A Levels are you doing?

Ah.

Well, you can't come here, and for what it's worth, we're slightly more relaxed than the other places you've named and I know that you won't be able to go to any of them to do our subject or anything even vaguely related. I didn't say "and on past experience from when we were even more relaxed to the point that we might have admitted you, you would almost certainly fail, and the last cohort where we did that less than 5% of them made it to finals". Sorry.

"My school said these subjects would be ideal".

They're catastrophically wrong. Did you look at any prospectuses before choosing your subjects? No. And off they went, their hopes destroyed by 0915.

What the fuck are schools playing at? Why do they let children who don't have middle class parents get into this situation?

Sparklingbrook Sat 27-Jun-15 14:00:22

I am a bit lost by your last paragraph.

What was the subject?

Stitchintime1 Sat 27-Jun-15 14:00:32

Maybe the student wasn't suited to the A levels that matched your course.

titchy Sat 27-Jun-15 14:04:42

Oh how awful hmm Some schools are pretty crap it has to be said. Did you point her towards some more middling providers?

Micah Sat 27-Jun-15 14:05:23

Yep, I've known schools tell kids a btec in health sciences or general science will meet the entry requirements for medicine.

Sparklingbrook Sat 27-Jun-15 14:06:33

Surely the students themselves can do a bit of research/googling to find out what A Levels for which courses. confused

CultureSucksDownWords Sat 27-Jun-15 14:08:38

Having been in the position of advising students and parents about A level choices, sometimes they don't listen...

usualsuspect333 Sat 27-Jun-15 14:09:39

How do you know she wasn't MC? was she carrying an Asda carrier bag?

BrilliantDayForTheRace Sat 27-Jun-15 14:09:56

That would make me sad too.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sat 27-Jun-15 14:11:42

Bit confusedat MC comment.

Decorhate Sat 27-Jun-15 14:15:53

In my experience, there are several problems. Some schools allow pupils to do A levels in subjects that they shouldn't going by the pupils GCSE results. Partly because they want as many pupils as possible to get more funding. Then, career guidance/familiarity with university requirements is not strong in every school. It is unfair to let pupils think they have a good chance applying for a particular course when they don't.

BestIsWest Sat 27-Jun-15 14:16:01

Are they non MC because they'd never been to a university before? What were the A levels? Genuinely interested.

maudpringles Sat 27-Jun-15 14:17:18

DD's friend was advised that she could go to university with a b tech and an a.s level in sociology.
Now, neither my DH are university educated but even we knew that wouldn't be good enough and sure enough she was disappointed on her first open day.
Why wouldn't you do some research with your children?

BestIsWest Sat 27-Jun-15 14:19:09

BTech's are fine for some subjects and some universities though.

Gemauve Sat 27-Jun-15 14:19:34

Surely the students themselves can do a bit of research/googling to find out what A Levels for which courses.

You need to know that you need to do it. She asked the school. They told her it would be OK (see Micah's point). Why would she doubt the school's advice?

Maybe the student wasn't suited to the A levels that matched your course.

Maybe.

Gemauve Sat 27-Jun-15 14:20:59

Are they non MC because they'd never been to a university before? What were the A levels? Genuinely interested.

Yes. Let me rephrase: should schools allow children whose parents have had no contact with higher education to suffer because their parents aren't necessarily in a position to help?

ICT, Business Studies and something of a similar ilk.

Sparklingbrook Sat 27-Jun-15 14:22:26

Call me old fashioned but I wouldn't rely on the school and would want to do my own research and get DS to do the same. I would check what the school had said, and I think DS's school is brilliant.

weebarra Sat 27-Jun-15 14:23:23

And that's why it's so sad that the English careers service has been pretty much dismantled and careers information, advice and guidance has been left in the hands of people who aren't qualified to give it.

ImperialBlether Sat 27-Jun-15 14:23:23

I taught A levels for many years and I've heard teachers giving really, really bad advice re which A levels to choose for which degrees. It's absolutely bloody lazy, too, as they know (or they should know) how to check the university's requirements.

Lancelottie Sat 27-Jun-15 14:23:48

DS is likely to be in a similar position, because he originally desperately wanted to apply to stage school, picked A-levels accordingly, and now is thinking of trying for an English degree.

I think a gap year and a radical rethink may be on the cards.

wooldonor Sat 27-Jun-15 14:25:09

As a general question does your course make any allowance for children who aren't at an exam/DofE factory? Without knowing what the subject is I realise it may not be possible but at your university do you give lower offers where the student may have been disadvantaged by the school they attend?

Gemauve Sat 27-Jun-15 14:26:59

do you give lower offers where the student may have been disadvantaged by the school they attend?

Yes, quite substantially. But not to the point of not having studied necessarily pre-requisites at all.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Sat 27-Jun-15 14:30:57

That's a separate issue, wooldonor. It's not the grades that are the issue in this case, if I'm reading the OP right, it's the subject choices. With the best will in the world the university can't take people who don't have the core knowledge and skills they need to progress through a given degree programme.

Duke of Edinburgh and other extracurricular stuff are not really all that important for university applications these days, as I understand it.

I'm guessing that IT and business studies have been chosen as preparation for either computer science or economics.

Gemauve Sat 27-Jun-15 14:31:57

Indeed, Gasp. And the problem, for both those courses, is maths.

Phineyj Sat 27-Jun-15 14:33:58

This is sad and it makes me angry that schools allow this to happen. Does your university have a route in through an access course?

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