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Son Failed one module twice in 2nd year....

(17 Posts)
2512BC Wed 09-Sep-15 23:30:39

Advice please.... my son is in his early twenties and should be starting his final year. He is struggling to be honest and has always found academic rigour a challenge but he wanted to go to uni....His A-levels were C grades and he chose to do business and economics. He got through 1st year after re-takes. on a 2.2 Now in 2nd year he again had to re-take a module - consisting of 3 assessments but failed the retake as now he is on a very low 2.2 if that. Uni Have said he can still enrol for 3rd year and re-take again during the 3rd year???? - course administrator has asked him to come in and discuss his options. I am not sure what his options are and have advised him that he should have an idea before he goes in what he would like to happen. He struggles with the whole thing and so far has done enough just to get him by but I can feel he doesn't really have a passion for the subject and certainly not reading. He works in a shop on weekends and doesn't want to work in shops / retail hence trying to better his education. I am advising him that once he has finished UNi he won't be considered for apprenticeships, and most graduate entry roles want at least a 2:1. Am I wrong to suggest that he takes a break maybe works for a year or two and then goes back when he has matured. I feel that he has aspergers, as he displays lots of traits, and there was suggestion from UNi that he may have mild ADHD but he refuses to look into it any further. He feels he wants to continue and carry the module over to the third year, and my point is if it is difficult now - 3rd year is even more difficult! I want to help him but don't know if what I think is good advice is NOT. Any suggestions or advice appreciated. Thank you

Becca19962014 Thu 10-Sep-15 02:09:02

So he has failed one module in the second year and then done a resit and failed that as well. The uni are suggesting he does the resit again during this third year?? I'm assuming this wasn't a key module which is required for the third year (as otherwise that's setting him up for a lot of trouble in my opinion).

There is big gap between second and third year, honestly I'd be concerned about resitting for a second time a module that has been failed twice during a high pressured year and run the risk of failing that module again and others as well. He is very lucky to be given the option to resit again at all.

I'm guessing the sort of options he might be offered would be to change course (depending on his modules) within the department or year out though that would likely be very hard to arrange now.

In terms of taking a break for a year or two like you mention, what exactly would you expect him to do with this time? Going back to complete is hard after time away, especially if everyone else on the course hasn't done this, and there's a chance he wouldn't go back at all. There's also consequences for student finance.

In terms of apprenticeships and things like that with a degree I think extra help was going to be offered to graduates looking for work when they graduated if on JSA (it was at least twelve months before any help was offered but I think this has changed, or is going to). His classification is also relevant here as well as what sort of apprenticeships he was thinking of (if it was his suggestion).

Before he meets the admin at uni he needs to sit and think really carefully about what his plans for the future are, start thinking about careers he is interested in (which he needs to be doing anyway) and how to achieve that goal. Perhaps he could speak to the uni careers department about options as well before going to see the admin person? He also needs to explain regarding failing the module at resit again - especially if overs the summer with no other classes as he will be up against it even more resitting during his third year.

Becca19962014 Thu 10-Sep-15 02:09:57

Sorry that got a bit long and jumbled! Hopefully something in there is helpful!

LaVolcan Thu 10-Sep-15 09:23:56

It depends on the University whether there is a gap between the second and third years; with some modular degrees they allow you to take the module in either year. Then again some Institutions will allow you to collect a Diploma in Higher Education after two years, so you can walk away from the course but with a qualification.

FishWithABicycle Thu 10-Sep-15 09:34:58

Like LaVolcan suggests it may be best to try to work out what level of qualification he can reasonably get from what he has passed so far. He has done a lot of work and passed a lot of modules so shouldn't throw that away but getting an honours bachelor degree doesn't have to be the goal. Either an ordinary (non honours) degree or a certificate / diploma may be possible. He shouldn't embark on another year of study and rack up another 13k+ of debt if there isn't a realistic prospect of turning this around.

2512BC Thu 10-Sep-15 13:45:27

Thank you - Becca yes I understood where you are all coming from and very clear.
Lavolcan and fishwith..... I hadn't thought about the exit route with a diploma though. So that is something I can talk to him about.

2512BC Thu 10-Sep-15 14:03:15

Becca - Yes it was a compulsory module

igivein Thu 10-Sep-15 14:46:16

What he can do will depend very much on the regulations at the uni where he is studying, so although he needs to think what he would like to happen he may be constrained by the regs. He needs to talk his options through with the course administrator / his tutor before making any decisions.
If he is struggling with the work load he might do better to move to 'full time on a part-time route' which would allow him to spread the module he failed and his third year modules over two years, lightening the load to make it more achievable. It would also allow him to 'explore' the world of work whilst he's still studying (this route wouldn't impact his student finance, he'd still be eligible).

Becca19962014 Thu 10-Sep-15 16:30:41

I hadn't mentioned things like a diploma of higher education because I knew at the uni I taught at that wouldn't be an option as the resit would be needed (and two resits not an option for a diploma) and now knowing it is a compulsory module he wouldn't get a diploma because he hasn't completed enough modules to qualify for a diploma. It also isn't classified. The certificate is the first year equivalent, realistically at the moment, if allowed, that is what he can get.

Diplomas/certificates are not usually highly regarded by employers as there are assumptions made about why someone 'only' got a diploma or certificate and didn't get a degree - I'm not saying that's right but worth thinking about as it may cut down his options for the future.

It's a difficult situation.

Of course it all depends on the institution and their qualification regulations - that document may be on the uni website so get him to have a look and see.

Myrtille Thu 10-Sep-15 17:36:21

This sounds like a similar story to my son. He failed modules at the first year, retook them and passed some of them, then failed everything at the end of the first semester of his second year. At this point he was looking at doing a full second semester with 3 retakes.
He is at Uni in the same city as us so we are on hand to help him. He exhibits many signs of ADHD and an ed psych report confirmed learnng difficulties but also very high abilities in things like verbal reasoning.

He was failing modules because he was not doing coursework assignments due to an inability to organize himself. He was OK with straightforward exams because he's not unintelligent.

So we went to the learning support department of the university with him to work out what to do. They have been very good. They see this sort of thing all the time and they will talk to tutors and know what can and can't be arranged. He was allowed to drop a module in the second semester and with me helping him keep track of deadlines and coursework requirements, he managed to pass the retakes and all the modules in the second semester.

It's been bloody hard work for all of us. He will have to do the 3 modules he has failed or dropped in an extra year. He will probably only get a 3rd and will have a tonne of debt. However I think the achievement of getting a degree will do wonders for his self confidence.

Given his A Levels, he was never going to get on conventional graduate schemes but I'm sure he will find a niche.

We gave him the option, almost encouraged him to give it up but he wanted to keep going.

My advice would be to get involved, find out exactly why he's failing, see what options (learning support department, reducing workload) are available.
People will tell you he should be standing on his own feet and you should let him find his own way. These people don't understand ADHD. If he does have ADHD, he will not do it for himself. Hopefully you will find a way.
It would be really useful to do some research into ADHD with him so that he can realize it isn't all about over-excitable schoolchildren. it manifests in many different, frustrating ways.

One other thing, you may find his disenchantment with the subject comes from failing the modules. If he can experience some small successes the enthusiasm may come back enough to get through it.

I hope this helps

2512BC Thu 10-Sep-15 20:35:59

Igivein, Becca thank you

and Myrtle thank you for sharing that as so much of it relates to him - he told me he doesn't want me to come but I will talk to him and see. I agree about the achievement if only a 3rd will give him confidence long term.

Many thanks

2512BC Fri 11-Sep-15 19:08:26

I wanted to give you an update as you were all very helpful with your advice. My son went to see his tutor and they have managed to work out a way that he can use this module as a condoned fail and continue to year 3. She also said that year 3 is more economics focused which is his strongest area, so he should be ok, which he agrees.

Myrtle ...One good thing is that he has agreed to go to the GP and see if can be assessed, as today Learnings Support said they cannot offer any support for ADHD without a professional's confirmation.

He has agreed I can contact them to find out what help they can offer in the meantime.

Thank you x

AnnieNon Sat 12-Sep-15 09:44:05

That sounds like a good plan. I get the impression that most uni's do the best to help students in circumstances like this.

Myrtille Mon 14-Sep-15 10:05:31

I hope it goes well - Keep supporting him.

anrolnotrom Mon 11-Jan-16 18:57:12

Myrtle - I hope you don't mind me directing this to you but I read your post and it is so similar to our situation that I wanted to ask for your advice/comments/reflections? Our son is in his 2nd year of a physics degree. He struggles with ADHD and depression. He failed most of his exams in his first year, passing them at resits apart from one which he will sit this summer (with his summer 2nd year exams). He has just sat his first of 3 January exams and it has not gone well. He has revised like a demon but it turns out that the exam tested them on a very specific topic that he was not so clear on. Apparently the uni site outlined much of this but as usual, our son failed to look for this sort of vital information.

I just can't help wondering if it is worth him going on. It has been a struggle forever. He resat A-Levels and got 3xB's, then failed his first year exam and now is struggling through the 2nd year exams. He understands the topics and actually enjoys physics but for one reason or another he just fails to get the grades required in exams. He either doesn't revise enough, revises the wrong stuff or can't interpret the questions. I feel completely despondent and so, so low.

He has contacts in the support department but there is only so much they can do. If he studies the wrong things or does not revise effectively at his age, is there any point continuing? I just fear he is getting older and older and will end up with loads of debt, no degree and be in his mid 20's with nothing to show for it. But I don't know what alternatives there are without a degree.

Hoping you have some sage words of advice.

bojorojo Mon 11-Jan-16 21:08:02

An apprenticeship? This degree just sounds like torture! I think a job with training prospects may be the best way forward. Plenty of people do have a future without a degree! Life is not over without one and they do not guarantee a fantastic job anyway, especially a 2:2 or worse. What type of work might interest him? Did he have anything in mind after the degree?

AnitaChopraMatch Wed 03-Feb-16 16:16:56

Dear Anrolnotrom

It does sound like your DS is having a difficult time at Uni. You mentioned that he has ADHD and depression. These could be recognised as disabilities under equality law, which would mean the Uni would have additional obligations to make reasonable adjustments for him. It is important to ensure he receives all such adjustments to ensure he is not placed at a substantial disadvantage. In particular, he may benefit from study support. Unfortunately, equality law can be quite complicated in relation to both adjustments and time limits. It may be helpful to obtain specialist advice on such an issue, but in any event it is important to ensure your DS gets all the support he can.

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