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BTEC V A Levels and UCAS points

(18 Posts)
stayathomegardener Tue 30-Jun-15 22:45:17

DD is currently trying to decide between a Level 3 BTEC extended Diploma in Photography (grotty college but fab and well equiped course) or A levels in Photography,Media and Textiles. (Amazing college, but poorer art facilities and broader subjects than she would like)

Hopefully she would like to study Photography at Degree level.
So trying to help her decide by looking at uni entry requirements I see she would need about 260 UCAS points.
I have read and reread the UCAS site regarding points and am really none the wiser.

BestIsWest Wed 01-Jul-15 10:46:36

Bumping for you as DS is currently doing a Btec and I don't understand it either.

eatyourveg Wed 01-Jul-15 16:44:36

260 points is DMM in an extended diploma. If your dd did A levels she would need CCCc ie 3 Cs and an additional C at AS to get the same points. Not all places take a Btec so check that the place she wants to go actually accepts it. Ds is currently doing an extended diploma and going on lots of university open days, some of the courses he has been looking at state the grades with a qualifying minimum number of units at distinction so its really important to inspect the requirements in full

Kez100 Wed 01-Jul-15 16:50:21

My Dd is currently doing a photography degree and while Ucas points are the starting point it's only the starting point.

all the best degree courses require a good personal statement, interview and portfolio review and it's following that you get degree place offers.

The extended diploma BTEC was the route my DD took, completeing it with a triple distinction star. That gave her 420 Ucas points. Her degree course required 280 points, interview and portfolio. The extended diploma gave her plenty of opportunity to create the portfolio. She applied to three courses and received three interviews - her first choice gave her an unconditional offer, another rejected her and another made a standard offer. So, however good you are, offers are not guaranteed.

A levels sometimes do not give enough opportunity to create a portfolio and a foundation year is needed before starting the degree to develop it. However, once there you (probably) have a better grasp of essays.having taken A levels.

Millymollymama Thu 02-Jul-15 15:26:14

DD did A level art, photography and business studies. She got an A* for photography and an A for Art. She was given a standard offer, no interview or portfolio needed at Leeds, and a standard offer (CC) at LCF, although not a photography course, after a portfolio and interview and two standard offers from 2 photography degrees. The 5th choice interviewed her but never told her if she was accepted or not by 30 April so she rejected them. Be wary of Brighton! They are anti anyone who has not done a foundation course but say A levels are a method of entry in their prospectus straight into the degree course.

My DD worked like stink on her portfolio and it was not her A level work. You need to avoid the same subjects as everyone else! It is better to demonstrate your own ideas and work and not be constrained by a syllabus. Therefore you can get onto the courses by taking either route, but if she wants to have more time for a portfolio, and the universities want to see different things within the portfolio, the extended diploma might be best. It may, however, narrow the degree options. DD decided against doing a degree in photography and her A levels opened up more options, such as the course at Leeds because they required a B in an A level that required written answers and the Business Studies was suitable.

stayathomegardener Thu 02-Jul-15 17:48:00

Apologies for late response was away.
Thank you all for your imput.
Great nuts and bolts info re UCAS points eatyourveg.

Routes your DC have taken are really helpful.
Kez100 I can see that DD's portfolio will be weaker following the A Level route but being dyslexic with structuring problems I don't think the BTEC will prepare her for essay writing at degree level.

DD is already working as a photographer so is getting a reasonable portfolio together. I would love her to go to Brighton Millymollymama my Dad was head of photography there in the 80's and it would be such a fantastic full circle.

eatyourveg Thu 02-Jul-15 17:55:56

Don't forget that the uni will more than likely cater fo students with dyslexia and no doubt have laptops loaded with speech recognition software which makes essay writing a lot easier should your dd decide to take the btec route. Check the unistats and look at the average ucas points for the students on that particular course, I think there is a pie chart in there somewhere which tells you what % come in with A levels and what % have btec or other qualifications. May help with any decisions over which route to take

BestIsWest Thu 02-Jul-15 18:05:22

That's really useful EYV, thank you. DS seems to be basing his uni aspirations on a school daytrip to Cardiff Met he did in year 10 and I can't get him to look at anything else.

stayathomegardener Thu 02-Jul-15 18:12:18

We have the voice recognition sortware at home but it was not a success as DD strugles with structuring sentances rather than spelling and writing and to have it waiting for her to say something seemed to pressurise her and make her worse.
She really only just started structing on a passable basis just before GCSE's so would lose that momentum if decided against A Levels.
I will look for the entry route pie charts... At least I now know following your inital post eatyourveg that d and M on the UCAS site stands for distinction and merit!

eatyourveg Thu 02-Jul-15 18:28:20

Best ds has just swiped Cardiff Met off his list having been to the open day (Cyncoed campus) - great course, the only one in the country actually and always in the top 20 for his subject. What swayed him was the course being too narrow and the lack of decent accommodation - it was mainly catered with only a few self catering rooms and they talked about having to ask to keep breakfast back and providing packed lunches for the athletes who had early morning training or travelling to competitions so no opportunity to have a paid for meal before going off out. Very friendly staff though - just not ds's cup of tea.

Personally I was rather glad he dismissed it as the size would have prevented him from having the full uni experience and I was disappointed on the lack of spoken welsh around but thats just me being picky and wishing ds would take up the language. He's decided to head north instead.

BestIsWest Thu 02-Jul-15 19:00:37

I can't even see the course he wanted to do on their website any more. I think I'm going to have to sit down with him again and look through courses.

I'm not sure about Cardiff as a university town, everything is so spread out.

Kez100 Thu 02-Jul-15 21:46:25

Most degree courses require English at a C and some need maths at C too.

I'd say do the course she will love - my Dd had an absolute blast studying the BTEC and if the only disadvantage was the essay side, then I'd be inclined to have some private tutor lessons one-to-one preparing her for essays rather than doing A levels just for that reason. BTEC has plenty of opportunity for writing on projects just not essays (Or my DDs didn't). I've always encouraged my two to take the course they will love and thrive on.

a levels do keep options open though as you tend to do three or four different subjects. It's great for a broader education.

My Dd knew she wanted to be a photographer at 15, so a BTEC was great as it covered a lot of different technical skills but she was also extremely lucky in attending an amazing BTEC course at an art college. After two years of immersion in photography she also felt extremely confident in which degree course suited her. They do differ quite a lot. She chose a very commercial course as it suited her perfectly. Open days are great for gauging the right course and right university .

Millymollymama Fri 03-Jul-15 21:43:22

However, do be very careful about the need for a foundation course that was not a requirement in the prosoectus if your DD looks at Brighton with A levels . It was such a waste of time . They had seen DD's portfolio and invited her for an interview knowing she was an A level candidate . When she declined them they were still advertising for applicants on their web site! They couldn't be bothered to reply to the applicants they did have . A real shame so do consider a foundation course if you really want Brighton because, unless they have changed the prosoectus and their open day info, your dd will need one !!!

Kez100 Fri 03-Jul-15 21:59:41

I can understand the family connection but a degree is very expensive nowadays and the quality and course map varies so much between courses. Once a student gets to the end of year 12 they hopefully have more idea of the type of areas they want to study and that might mean looking elsewhere for courses. Or it might mean Brighton is perfect.

In the end, my Dd truly only wanted to do one particular course. She had already applied to three which was all she could find following research that supported her focus really well. Luckily, that's where she picked up.her unconditional, so life was all good.

I also agree many say they take A levels and then request foundation . We heard that quite a bit when meeting students at open days. Having said that, a foundation is another years education and I don't see that as a bad thing necessarily . Not in the arts where maturity and time is all improvement time.

mumeeee Fri 03-Jul-15 22:25:40

Bestiswest. Cardiff is a great university city. 3 universities and loads of students around.

BestIsWest Fri 03-Jul-15 23:22:54

I work very close to the main Cardiff University Buildings, Mumeeee, I know Cardiff well. I'm sure the student experience is great but I think it depends where you are. I suppose I'm comparing it to a more campus based uni or a smaller town which is probably the wrong thing to do. DS is very keen on Cardiff precisely because it is a bigger city.

mumeeee Sat 04-Jul-15 11:28:27

I didn't realise you knee Cardiff well. So do I as I live there and DD1 went to Cardiff University.

BestIsWest Sat 04-Jul-15 14:38:04

Swansea girl here Mumeeee (or just west of anyway) so Cardiff has all the bright lights DS is looking for in comparison grin.

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