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Student wants to switch degree after getting offers

(15 Posts)
shockthemonkey Mon 18-Apr-16 11:49:54

Hi again, would really appreciate if anyone has any experience to share.

A very strong student is weighing up two offers, one from UCL and one from Warwick, to study Economics. In the meantime he has decided that he really LOVES maths and would prefer to switch programmes.

He doesn't know if it puts his offers in jeopardy if he asks to switch BEFORE confirming them, but the reality is that for Econ he prefers UCL, and for maths he prefers Warwick.

Does he ring up both universities now and see what they say? Or is he more likely to be able to switch programmes after an offer changes to unconditional?

Thanks so much if you can advise!

hayita Mon 18-Apr-16 12:07:53

Warwick will not accept a student for maths without STEP papers or equivalent. The student will not be able to change from economics to maths later, unless he has the required STEP grade.

Similarly UCL has quite strict requirements for Maths. They would be unlikely to let him switch unless he has STEP.

titchy Mon 18-Apr-16 12:16:46

He should withdraw completely for this year, take a year out to do STEP, then re-apply for next year. No way he'd be able to just swap.

titchy Mon 18-Apr-16 12:17:37

Having said that the likes of Warwick et al might be sniffy about a year out.....

shockthemonkey Mon 18-Apr-16 12:24:13

Thank you so much! I probably should have checked entrance requirements first before coming on here.

He is a French student studying in France, so STEP will be impossible because a) nobody in France does that much maths and b) the timing of the STEP exams is bang in the middle of Bac week.

Really appreciate your help.

hayita Mon 18-Apr-16 12:46:33

But, for exactly the same reasons, he would thus find UK mathematics at degree level difficult at the beginning. He could get into courses other than Oxbridge, Warwick, Imperial and UCL without STEP but other top courses (Bath etc) will still start at a high level relative to the French Bac.

hayita Mon 18-Apr-16 12:47:19

Maths degrees really aren't that sniffy about years out - no big deal, provided students have reasonable plans, except at a handful of Oxbridge colleges.

bojorojo Mon 18-Apr-16 20:24:39

I do wonder if both these Economics courses have options that are very maths oriented. Econometrics or Accountancy for example. Would this be a better route than waiting a year and going to a university not requiring STEP? Do they have options that overlap with a maths degree, for example? If the French Bac is not good preparation for Maths, is Economics a better way to go anyway? Sometimes loving maths at school is not the same as loving it at university if it becomes a struggle.

hayita Mon 18-Apr-16 21:07:42

I do wonder if both these Economics courses have options that are very maths oriented. Econometrics or Accountancy for example.

Accountancy really has absolutely nothing to do with university/research level mathematics. Nor does econometrics. Neither subject is taught by mathematicians.

A French student probably has a better idea of what university/research level mathematics is than a UK student would have, so if he likes Maths then it seems reasonable to look at ways to switch.

Warwick has a MORSE course (Maths, Operational Research, Statistics and Economics) to which it might be possible to transfer from Economics after being accepted. Their MORSE course is highly respected but not all students come in with STEP maths.

Needmoresleep Tue 19-Apr-16 06:32:55

I agree with Hayita. Both UCL and Warwick economics degrees are known for having a mathematical approach. But the maths is specialist and won't reflect the sort of maths available on a maths degree.

As far as I know, accountancy is an option often taken by those who find economics too mathematical.

OP. You, or rather he, can but ask.

bojorojo Tue 19-Apr-16 13:52:23

I thought I suggested that both UCL and Warwick Economics courses had a high maths input! I was not suggesting that Accountancy and Econometrics were part of a maths course! At Warwick the Maths Department run Maths and Economics and Maths and Business Studies. Perhaps these courses could be investigated as opposed to Maths.

On their Maths BSc course students can study Introduction to Quantitive Economics and in Year 2 they can choose Starting a Business, Foundations of Accountancy and Foundations of Finance as well as Mathematical Economics. So Accountancy is available on a Maths degree and is not just for people who cannot do Economics. At Warwick there are plenty of modules on the Economics courses aimed at students with an A in Maths at A level.

hayita Tue 19-Apr-16 14:12:08

UK maths departments often encourage weaker students to take financial maths options in years 2 and 3 as "easier" options which are also viewed as being useful for later employment. It is relatively unusual for stronger students from Warwick to take options such as Foundations of Accountancy.

Outside the UK, maths degrees would not teach Accountancy, Finance etc. (We do it to get bums on seats and also because we have a very broad definition of "maths" in "maths degree".) A French student studying maths is not usually interested in taking such modules, because they wouldn't match what is taught on a maths degree in other countries i.e. employers from France wouldn't expect to see Accountancy modules on a maths degree transcript. French maths students typically take "traditional" maths modules when studying maths in the UK.

BTW mathematicians do not teach Accountancy, Finance etc. Even when maths courses offer such options (note that Oxbridge etc don't) such modules are not taught by mathematicians.

shockthemonkey Tue 19-Apr-16 17:42:37

Thank you all again. I spoke to UCL and they will waive STEP for French applicants, as will Warwick, in exchange for a higher maths score in the Bac (18 for Warwick, lower for UCL). This still seems, as pp have suggested, not quite the same as STEP grade 1 or 2 but if the unis are making this allowance for French-educated students, then they must know what they're doing (or will soon find out!).

I also spoke to the student (and his anxious mum who is not sure the switch is a good idea). I said it was possible he would soon find out econ had sufficient maths for his liking once he got there, with judicious module selection on his part. What I would find a pity if he swapped, is that he is very good on verbal reasoning, argumentation and essay-writing and I think he will enjoy developing his skills even further in this area/would miss it if he went over to maths.

Some very useful suggestions from bojorojo, sleep and hayita, thanks again very much

hayita Tue 19-Apr-16 18:17:45

What I would find a pity if he swapped, is that he is very good on verbal reasoning, argumentation and essay-writing and I think he will enjoy developing his skills even further in this area/would miss it if he went over to maths.

Essay writing, yes: it doesn't really come in until masters level.

Argumentation is a big part of higher level maths.

BoboChic Fri 22-Apr-16 09:24:30

"What I would find a pity if he swapped, is that he is very good on verbal reasoning, argumentation and essay-writing and I think he will enjoy developing his skills even further in this area/would miss it if he went over to maths."

TBH, both my DSSs (Economics at Bristol and UCL) have quite limited opportunities to write essays that develop and display great verbal and argumentation skills.

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