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To drop history or psychology A level....no real idea what to do at University....any help or advice welcome for DD.

(38 Posts)
Canadalife Sat 26-Aug-17 07:21:24

DD is doing A levels in Maths, Chemistry, Psychology and History. Going into second year at college she needs to drop one......but is totally confused about which one.

She has done AS and did equally very well in all subjects. She has no real idea what she wants to do at Uni. Her grades are good enough for RG and poss Oxbridge. She enjoys psychology more.

Our advice at the moment is that history will help to keep more doors open because it is a 'facilitator' subject. It is very much her decision.

We are struggling to advice and she is floundering. Please help with your experience or knowledge. Thanks

OP’s posts: |
Callamia Sat 26-Aug-17 07:27:50

Dropping psychology won't preclude her from studying it later - not all sixth form colleges/schools offer it anyway.

She should probably keep the thing that she thinks that she can do best in.

senua Sat 26-Aug-17 08:20:42

Our advice at the moment is that history will help to keep more doors open because it is a 'facilitator' subject. It is very much her decision.

You don't need all three to be facilitating subjects. Maths and Chemistry tick the facilitating box so the third subject can be a non-f. If she enjoys Psychology more then go for that.
Does she have to drop the fourth subject? Is she capable / allowed to carry on all?

Do you realise how soon the deadline is for Oxbridge entry? She needs to find her "passion" pdq so she can write her application forms.
There is a website where you can plug in your A Level choices and it suggests degree subjects. Someone more knowledgeable than me will be able to post a link.

MaisyPops Sat 26-Aug-17 08:26:04

I'd drop psychology and keep history.

History courses at top unis tend to state a level history. Psychology courses dont stipulate psychology.

Agree with Senua here, if she's potentially applying to oxford or cambridge then she needs to find a passion fairly soon and have loads of relevant things to put in her statement because decent grades dont aitomatically get you an interview.

Canadalife Sat 26-Aug-17 08:33:02

Thank you. If any can direct her to any helpful website that would be great. I think she is still needs to keep as many options open as possible at the moment because she is so undecided. She is a sensible person and knows that she can take a gap year if she needs to to make a more settled choice.

OP’s posts: |
Bekabeech Sat 26-Aug-17 09:06:48

If she doesn't know which to drop then she isn't ready to apply to uni, especially Oxbridge.
Can she continue with all 4?
If not which does she want to drop?
Why does it have to be one of those two? I'd probably suggest Chemistry as it is very hard and she doesn't seem to be heading for a science career.

andintothefire Sat 26-Aug-17 09:13:38

I wouldn't drop history (unless she wants to do a science degree) because it is the only essay-based facilitator subject that she is doing. So purely from the perspective of keeping her options open, I would drop psychology.

Dunlurking Sat 26-Aug-17 09:23:46

If she wants to keep her options open a little longer then it is worth considering a Liberal Arts degree - lots of RG universities offering them now - you can be flexible in the first year and decide what to major in from 2nd year. Sometimes it's called something slightly different - Arts and Sciences or similar. The student is still able to progress onto a Masters in their major subject afterwards. Also doing 4 years at a Scottish uni will usually allow much the same flexibility in the first year. Off the top of my head the English universities offering it include Durham, Bristol, Warwick, Exeter, UCL, Kings, Birmingham, Leeds, Surrey, Royal Holloway, and now my brain is failing me, but there are more.

senua Sat 26-Aug-17 10:16:53

If she doesn't know which to drop then she isn't ready to apply to uni

I disagree with that. Very able pupils often have a dilemma over what to drop because they are equally good at/interested in a plethora of subjects.

titchy Sat 26-Aug-17 12:21:40

History only facilitating if you intend to do a History degree. Does she? Is she intending to apply this autumn (to do what?!) or leaving it a year?

indulgentberries Sat 26-Aug-17 12:24:18

Keep the one she enjoys the most as she is most likely to get a better grade in a subject she enjoys.

As for facilitating subjects, my child is at an RG uni and only has one facilitating subject. They are studying a popular subject which is heavily over subscribed.

Canadalife Sat 26-Aug-17 12:26:10

Thank for the interest. she was thinking of a maths degree....but is very undecided. I think she thought that her grades would make the choice for her...but with hard work she got good grades equally in all subjects.

I think she would like to apply for next September...but is almost overwhelmed with the decision process.

OP’s posts: |
indulgentberries Sat 26-Aug-17 12:31:11

As she's thinking of maths I'd say drop the history as she's not doing an essay subject.

indulgentberries Sat 26-Aug-17 12:32:32

"“Our consistent advice is that taking two facilitating subjects will keep a wide range of degree courses and career options open. This is because these are the subjects most commonly required by our universities and hundreds of courses require one or more facilitating subjects.”"

from: russellgroup.ac.uk/policy/publications/informed-choices/

Dunlurking Sat 26-Aug-17 12:42:41

Unfortunately if she wants to do Maths then she has already limited her options by not doing Further Maths. There will be plenty of threads about it if you search - it's still possible, but not necessarily Oxbridge or RG. Please look into this quick as she maybe could do an AS level Further Maths in one year (if available), which would improve her chances.

senua Sat 26-Aug-17 12:46:06

What about studying Maths and Philosophy?

Canadalife Sat 26-Aug-17 12:47:29

We have been thinking about that as well. She is considering doing further maths fast track a level in a gap year. If she does maths her idea is to teach....

OP’s posts: |
Dunlurking Sat 26-Aug-17 12:49:51

Can do the 4 years Maths in Scottish universities without Further Maths. St Andrews is very good www.st-andrews.ac.uk/maths/prospective/ug/entryrequirements/

Canadalife Sat 26-Aug-17 12:50:32

Many thanks senua, might not suit DD1 as she is less of an abstract thinker. But Dd2 is off to Maths school this year and it might suit her in the future.

OP’s posts: |
DumbledoresApprentice Sat 26-Aug-17 22:11:57

History is not only useful for studying history. The whole point of facilitating subjects is that they keep a wide range of courses open. Dropping the history is fine if she's definitely going down a science route but keeping the history would be useful for history but also politics, economics, law, anthropology, philosophy, PPE etc. If she literally has no idea what she wants to do at Uni then history gives more options. The advice you've had is sound IMO.

HarrietVane99 Sat 26-Aug-17 22:27:24

I'm a historian, so I'm all in favour of people learning history for its own sake. But history A level isn't just about learning history. It's about selecting and weighing evidence, constructing an argument, putting it all together in a concise, fluently written essay which keeps to the point.

Those are invaluable skills for anyone in any career who ever needs to write a report or submit a request for funding or research proposal or give a presentation. So I'd agree that it's a good idea to keep an essay-based subject.

Pizzaexpressreview Sat 26-Aug-17 22:32:35

I'd let her stick with whatever she has more passion for or enjoys most. Won't close any doors and more likely to really study arou d the subject if interested. Psychology goes better with Maths. History is v essay
heavy if she isn't doing essay based subjects long term.

I similarly found it hard to choose between arts and sciences and loved psychology!!

MadeinBelfast Sat 26-Aug-17 22:45:49

Some colleges might allow you to attend classes for all 4 for about a month so that students get a feel for the topics/teaching styles used in Y13 and then make a more informed decision about which to drop. Would that be an option?

TwitterQueen1 Sat 26-Aug-17 22:48:53

Why does she have to drop one? My DD has just done 4 A levels....

SerfTerf Sat 26-Aug-17 22:51:38

Has she had a good poke around www.prospects.ac.uk ?

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