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DD has changed her mind about which degree she wants to do

(61 Posts)
Yourownpersonaljesus Wed 12-Apr-17 21:52:01

My DD has got a conditional offer from Birmingham to read English Literature. We visited yesterday and she loved the university and decided to make it her firm offer - she hasn't done anything about it yet though. All good so far. Well today she has decided she now wants to study Law instead (don't ask!). She phoned Birmingham today to see if she could change and they said no as all their places have been offered (as I thought). What are her options? I know she could take a year out and apply next year but she really doesn't want to do that. I was wondering if anyone has been through this or works in a uni and could advise. Thanks.

Berthatydfil Wed 12-Apr-17 21:53:18

Depending on her grades etc I think she could try adjustment in August.

Yourownpersonaljesus Wed 12-Apr-17 22:13:16

Thanks for the reply. How does that work?

titchy Wed 12-Apr-17 22:13:52

Why law? If she wants to be a solicitor or barrister then an English degree from Birmingham followed by GDL is a really good route.

If she fixed on Law then four choices: withdraw and reapply next year; adjustment if eligible (she may not be); decline all current offers and apply for last minute Track places (these won't be at good quality institutions); decline and try clearing - again quality of places might be an issue.

titchy Wed 12-Apr-17 22:14:36

Adjustment only available if grades achieved are higher than the firm offer.

Yourownpersonaljesus Wed 12-Apr-17 22:31:10

I doubt her grades will be higher than her firm offer (AAB) so think that option is out of the question. Why Law? Good question. It was what she originally wanted to do last year when considering degree courses. She then changed her mind and decided on Economics and Politics. Then when she didn't do too well in her AS maths changed again to Engligh Lit (which she is predicted an A* in). I think she only chose English because she's good at it and really enjoys it at A Level (and has great teachers). She doesn't read for pleasure. She doesn't really know what she wants to do after uni. She did work experience at RBS in the City and loved that.

Yourownpersonaljesus Wed 12-Apr-17 22:48:23

Thanks for the replies btw.

MagYarRgw Thu 13-Apr-17 00:15:18

Could she find out about transferring courses. I am sure there was a thread on here where a parent discussed a large amount of first year law students leaving after the first year.

MagYarRgw Thu 13-Apr-17 00:16:31

At Birmingham I should have said.

Teabagtits Thu 13-Apr-17 00:18:49

I'd second sticking with non law degree then doing gdl afterwards if she's still interested. This will give her other options too.

Liska Thu 13-Apr-17 00:31:17

Agree that non law degree with a GDL sounds the best way to go, but "she doesn't read for pleasure" is a bit of a concerning flag if she's going into add English degree: there's going to be a lot of reading, and she'll need a good class of degree to get sponsorship for the GDL later, so she may be right about finding a way to change.

Gannet123 Thu 13-Apr-17 00:38:07

If Law is what she wants to spend 3 years studying, the GDL is not a good plan - it's a law degree with all the interesting and challenging bits taken out of it. She needs to give some thought to why she wants to study it and what she is expecting from it, which is what Open Days can be useful for.
If she is predicted AAB, then her options at institutions like Birmingham will be limited this year, although she's likely to be able to to find a place through extra or clearing at an institution with a lower offer (Birmingham asks for AAA for Law). If she gains AAB, she might be able to get an unconditional place at a decent Law school next year - there's quite a good few law schools that will ask for AAB. If she really wants to study law, I would have a look around at institutions asking for AAB this year and then see if she is ready to commit herself to one this year or would rather take a year out.
Transferring once she is at Birmingham is an outside possibility but, I suspect, will be very difficult if she doesn't get AAA - I don't know what their policy would be but it's unusual to be able to transfer onto a competitive course from another one in the same institution if your grades do not match the standard offer for the course you are transferring to.I don't know what Birmingham's drop out rate is but I imagine it is very low- RG Law Schools have high retention rates and the numbers always allow for a few people changing their mind - at my place, we always have a few too many at the start of term to allow for attrition.

Yourownpersonaljesus Thu 13-Apr-17 00:44:03

Yeah Liska.the not reading for pleasure concerns me too. Really not sure why she applied for an English Literature degree. I think she had to make a quick decision after not doing as well as predicted in her AS Maths so thought she'd do something she's good at. It was all a bit rushed in the end as she had to change her personal statement and also she'd chosen her work experience based on doing Economics and Politics. It's all been very stressful.

Yourownpersonaljesus Thu 13-Apr-17 00:47:06

Thanks Gannet that's all really helpful. I'll have a long chat with her tomorrow.

senua Thu 13-Apr-17 08:08:06

So she wanted to study Law but she's not sure what she wants to do after University (i.e. no burning desire to go into Law). Or Economics and Politics. Or Eng LIt though she doesn't read for pleasure.

Whatever she reads, it will cost her north of £50k. That's a huge investment to get wrong.

A year out to stop, draw breath and think might be an idea.

Turbinaria Thu 13-Apr-17 08:25:23

I second a year out, find a job, have a breather and then find about what she'd like to study. I think a year to mature is not a bad thing better than doing an expensive course you're not sure about

Enelya Thu 13-Apr-17 08:32:54

I'm a big fan of gap years, and I think if she isn't sure it could be a really good option for her. She could use this summer to try out some different work experience to help her decide, get a job in the autumn, reapply, then travel next summer and start uni with some extra cash.

Although I totally agree that English from Birmingham plus GDL would be as good a route in as a law degree. She would do a placement in her second summer, and could even get a training contract in her final year with the gdl/lpc paid for.

Yourownpersonaljesus Thu 13-Apr-17 10:44:22

I've suggested a year out. She has a part time job in a supermarket and she could probably get full time hours there. Of course whatever I suggest is a bad idea! After chatting with her about options today I just need to let her decide I guess. Thanks so much for everyone's help and advice.

titchy Thu 13-Apr-17 10:45:44

Agree English if you don't love books seems a mismatch!! Why isn't she consisting economics and/or politics?

Yourownpersonaljesus Thu 13-Apr-17 11:16:56

Do you mean considering? The reason she changed her mind about Economics is because she got a D in her AS Level Maths and would need an A or A* to get into a good uni. Realistically she could get a B with a lot of hard work but an A would be unlikely. She got an A* in her GCSE Maths and Stats exams but it finding A Level much harder (as it obviously would be). I feel that she had to quickly decide on another degree and chose English for the wrong reasons (finds it easy with minimum effort).

Cakescakescakes Thu 13-Apr-17 11:23:17

Don't let her do English if she doesn't love books and reading. It'll be an almighty slog. It was the norm to have to read 3 novels a week (one per module) when I was doing my degree. And you're expected to 'read around' your topics on to of that. If you don't love reading that will be tough.

titchy Thu 13-Apr-17 11:45:35

Pure economics would need a good maths grade but combined with politics wouldn't.

See here: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/econ/economics-and-political-science-bsc.aspx

Yourownpersonaljesus Thu 13-Apr-17 12:41:51

Thanks titchy. Will show her that.

FlyAwayPeter Thu 13-Apr-17 13:14:00

Gap year.

Or take up the Birmingham Eng Lit offer - it's an excellent University, and a good Department. Then do a graduate conversion course.

Adjustment & Clearing tend only to work if there are either places, or a far better result than expected. And universities with places in Clearing won't be the best quality, and a Law degree from a less good university won't necessarily get her where she wants to go.

Gannet123 Thu 13-Apr-17 14:19:31

One thing worth adding is that this is an issue that is becoming, in my experience, increasingly frequent. Every year we get more people (a) asking to change their subject once they have an offer from the university; (b) asking to change once they have arrived and registered; (c) asking to restart again on a different course after a few months of study. Dropping out after a few months and restarting again is particularly on the rise, and is a bit of an issue, in that it means taking time out and leaving all your newly made friends behind - and whilst student finance will give you one 'false start', it can get difficult later on if you have other issues during your study. More generally, uncertainty as to what to study makes it more likely that you will drop out altogether.
Why this is is probably a bit complicated, but I suspect a lot has to do with the focus of the decision making process. There's a lot of emphasis on the institution, and also young people are being increasingly pressured to make career decisions very early on. That means that really properly finding out about the academic discipline and the course can take a back seat, and then it turns out to be not what they were expecting. This is particularly prevalent in Law, where people think of the degree as a means to an end rather than as an academic discipline, and often misunderstand what it entails. Typical issues are: imagining that it is all criminal law, when very little is; not realising how much reading and critical thinking you have to do; imaging it as vocational training not academic study; and not realising how much of it is business/commercial focused.
It sounds to me as though she is just keen to get started and isn't interested in alternatives, which happens a lot. I do suspect a gap year to regroup and rethink would be the best plan - but my experience suggests that if she starts doing a degree or at a university that she is not happy with, she'll end up dropping out and restarting, which will give her a less planned out gap year anyway. But her focus needs to be on what she wants to study and really finding out about course content etc - if she hasn't done the Open Day process with, say, Law, she may find herself less informed and be more likely to have an unpleasant surprise once she starts.

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