This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
I had assumed Universaity wasn't for my DS1(16 Posts)
I think he's bright enough but he hasn't put the effort in (much to my frustration and despite my efforts!) and is heading for Cs at GCSE. Therefore, I'd assumed that he wouldn't be going to Uni.
I'm from a very academic family and was a proper swot at school. When Dc were small always thought my DC would naturally be the same and go on to higher education. I've learned to accept that my DC aren't me and that's fine.
However, a number of friends' children who achieved similar at GCSE have gone on to do A levels or BTEC equivalents and have been accepted by the "lesser" universities.
He doesn't have any firm idea of what he wants to do, which I guess is part of the problem with the lack of motivation for school work, but likes the idea of going away to college. I am conflicted, I can see lots of benefits but am loathe to see him saddled with a load of debt if the degree he ends up with has little value for him. What happens to "average DC" who get degrees from the less well respected universities?
In my family 90% of the older members of family didn't go to university. The younger ones have mostly gone to the old polys.
After a long time unemployed one of the younger ones has a job which he is enjoying (retail / organisation) but he doesn't earn enough to pay back the fees so the debt is pretty irrelevant.
The big plus for going away is that they mature faster but the downside is that they start earning later & of course have the high living expenses.
It may seem like every child goes to a high tariff University
especially on Mumsnet but in reality the majority of students who attend university do so at a Middle or lower tariff University, i.e. Not Oxbridge/Russel group type Uni.
How about visiting some nearby Universities this term to get a taste of what's on offer? It might help motivate your son and give him something to work towards. I think you need to do plenty of research and make sure you find somewhere that suits your son.
Your should encourage your son to do as well as he can in English and Math.
Do you think work experience would benefit him? I would really motivate him through his a-levels/college (as much as you can obviously) then he has the option of uni later on when he decides. I was like your DS and had very little motivation to do anything with my life until I started working. School just wasn't for me.
Does he have any idea what A Levels he would like to do, or what area of work he would like to go into?
DS don't rule anything out.
DS2 was in the shadow of much more academic DS1, was heading for Cs at GCSE.
After mocks he bucked up and got much better results, did surprisingly well at A2s and is off to a great Uni in September.
The turning point was work experience, he realised that if he wanted what he perceived was a good job then a degree was essential.
I think It's great for kids to go to uni, for all sorts of reasons. A 2ii in film studies is a waste of time though. It needs to be a worthwhile degree I think.
Tinkly. I disagree. A film studies degree might not get you a top job in the city but there can still be plenty of value to it. Places such as Southampton University offer a BA in Film Studies. I don't think they would bother if they thought it a 'waste of time'. .
Bitchy I am basing my comments on the experiences of my DD's lovely boyfriend, who has the aforementioned 2ii in film studies. Since graduating he has worked in bars and call centres. And he has a lot of debt.
Universities offer all sorts of courses that will get bums on seats and money in the coffers. They really aren't bothered if kids get jobs from them.
Years ago university was for selected jobs for the top students - and the degree reflected the job they did. Doctors business studies vets etc -
It also became a way for jumping the starter intake - like nurses were in the job now appear to need a degree first - I don't understand why?
There also seems to be some very weird degrees which could be done as in the job training -
It is bums on seats to make money
Titchy. I don't think you can write off all film studies grads based on a sample of one. I'm sure film study grads don't get as high paid jobs as, for example, stem subject graduates but that's not to say that it's a worthless. Looking on the bright side If your DDs BF carries on with bar work then he won't be paying back any of his massive debts.
When I was younger there were tech colleges and poly's and the fact that many of these are now called Universities is neither here nor there. Courses at low tariff Unis are often more practical which can make them attractive to employers. Many of the lower tariff universities have excellent links with industry.
I can't remember the exact numbers but I think it's about 3/5ths of students that attend mid or low tariff universities. I think that's roughly 300,000 a year. Its not all about bums on seats.
If you are looking at mid or low tariff universities then I think you have to do you research.
Techs and Polys did very vocational courses though. It is about bums on seats now. I agree, people very much need to do their research.
If anyone gets a C at GCSE in English I would be worried about how they will fare on a good quality degree course though. It would need to be a very practical course. Even my DDs practical course requires a dissertation! 8000 words and lots of research.
"If your DDs BF carries on with bar work then he won't be paying back any of his massive debts" but he will be contributing to a systematic debt problem that will in the future see bright but lower / middle class students completely miss out on the chance of an education. A lot of university courses would be much better taught as distance learning / College courses and not the full whack 3/4 years that they are currently taught as.
There were people on my MSc course who'd got 60,000 pounds worth of debt and as my field largely requires a PhD now they still had another 4.5 years of study to go. Reason my field requires a PhD is it's totally oversaturated at undergraduate level and feeds into a very turbulent industry.
Please make sure that when you are asking the question "How many of your students are employed 3 months after finishing" that you are actually asking "how many students are employed in a related field 3 months after finishing".
Work experience is a must, not only to figure out what he wants to do, but also to improve his UCAS chances. One long-term commitment (volunteering) is seen a very positive thing - and a few weeks doing varied things to find out what he wants to do. Don't be ashamed to use contacts for the varied bit, but DS should sort his own volunteering out and be passionate about it as it is a long-term commitment.
Do go and see some universities and do attend careers events. Myers Briggs career profiling can be useful (but also expensive). Make sure you visit college open days as well and make sue he knows what his options are.
I don't have any GCSEs and I had fairly poor A-level equivelant results (taking less and taking them over an extended period). My BSc was borderline too. Ten years down the line I'm at top tier University and about to submit my PhD. It took me a long time to learn a study method that worked best for me.
Good luck with your son's decisions - it's such an exciting time!
I read some research that had been done about the earnings of graduates by the Sutton trust. There was little difference in the average earnings between top unis and ex polys. However there was a greater difference between the subjects studied. Engineering at an ex poly was better than arts at Cambridge for example.
I second work experience. He can always work for a year or two before deciding!
one of my son's is bright but lazy. didn't want to go to uni so worked for a couple of years and then changed his mind and is just finishing the first year. Loves it. My only observation would be to make some of the financial pain his. We couldn't afford to cover the tuition fees so my son knows he will be 27k in debt at the end. this means its not just a free joy ride for him.
Join the discussion
Please login first.