How important /relevant is a strong EPQ when applying to unis??

(17 Posts)
drivinmecrazy Wed 13-Jun-18 13:33:46

DD1 is currently looking at uni options and also in the process of choosing her EPQ subject.
I've noticed on one of her favoured choices (Royal Holloway ) states that a good EPQ can have a bearing on offers for her course. Yet another, Exeter, makes no mention.
Is it very much down to individual unis how much weight they apply to them or is there a more widespread view of them?

OP’s posts: |
purplegreen99 Wed 13-Jun-18 16:23:48

This recent thread might be worth reading:

nomilknosugarplease Thu 14-Jun-18 15:15:33

When DD applied 2 and a half years ago, Sheffield lowered requirements from ABB to BBB with a good EPQ but the other unis didn’t take it into account at all

Fad Thu 14-Jun-18 15:37:23

None of mine did EPQ and they all got offers from five top unis including Oxbridge.

Skiiltan Thu 14-Jun-18 15:57:58

It used to be fairly common for EPQs to be included in offers when most students took either a fourth AS-level or an EPQ (many did both). As most now don't do a fourth AS I think the inclusion of EPQs has become much more uneven.

I always tell sixth-formers not to think of EPQs in terms of ammunition for meeting offers. They develop useful skills for university study; students should think of them as helping them to adjust to having to work independently. I think most students who have done EPQs well will find their first year at university slightly easier than students who haven't done them, or have done them badly. It depends on the course, though, and on how much the school/college helped them with their EPQ.

SnappyFartyKarate Wed 20-Jun-18 08:50:51

It's not so much important for offers, some take it into account and some don't, but it's good for learning skills that will come in handy at University. Also, with more offers being based on points rather than grades it's a way to get points without needing to sit an extra set of exams.

GeoGirl94 Wed 20-Jun-18 08:54:42

When I applied to Uni back in 2012, i was offered an interview on the basis of my EPQ, ended up doing my dissertation on it in the end!, but i know my cousin got a really good grade on his, however hi uni didn't take them into account, so I'm guessing it might have to do with the university?


drivinmecrazy Wed 20-Jun-18 11:49:55

Interesting mixed bag of opinions here.
We had a meeting at DD school last night attended by a representative from UCAS , a local uni and the head so I asked this question.
I came away with the impression that it is quite valued and looked upon favourably ny many unis even if its not reflected in the offers given. Her sixth form head said they refer to it on their references along with offering a predicted grades. It's also something useful to add to their personal statement.
DD is quite excited about doing it anyway so will be going ahead with hers. I was quite surprised when DD told me only 25 students last year at her sixth form did it.
It seems to be a 'win win' to me.
She's decided to do hers on feminism within the Spanish film industry, and what can be done to encourage wider representation. All goes over my head but she seems to know her stuff confused
Hoping to study JH spanish and English so might be a useful exercise of nothing else.

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drivinmecrazy Wed 20-Jun-18 11:53:30

As an aside, how important is the personal statement? I've read varying opinions on MN as to its relevance and what consideration is placed on it.
It's all a huge learning curve here as DD is our first so I'm sure I'll be filling this board with equally daft questions before applications season ends !

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Wed 20-Jun-18 13:08:42

Do read the statement of the university for the relevant course regarding the Personal Statement. Some universities clearly state they give it a weighting when deciding upon offers so therefore, they must read it. If all A level predictions are similar, there has to be a way of differentiating between who gets offers and who does not so GCSE passes and PS might be looked at. So check up on the web sites.

Others, where courses do not fill up, will probably be less concerned. There is no blanket relevant or irrelevant. The best advice is to do the best PS you can because you have everythng to gain, and nothing to lose! If it is a highly competitive course at a highly competitive University, do a good one! A lower ranked university with vacancies course will not bother too much!

titchy Wed 20-Jun-18 13:35:01

Language applications are in free fall, so she could skip the EPQ, write garbage 200 times on her statement, miss her grades and STILL get a place.....

Mrskeats Wed 20-Jun-18 13:37:42

My oldest did an EPQ based on something related to the degree she was applying for. She missed one grade but still got an offer as her uni seem to like them.
At the very least they are good practice for being an undergrad as they entail independent study and research.

MyVisionsComeFromSoup Wed 20-Jun-18 13:50:59

DD2 used her part-completed EPQ for the "previous work" required by the Cambridge college who interviewed her, who went through it line by line asking her to justify each of her decisions/analysis points. OTOH no-one was at all interested in DD1s EPQ, as her course was only interested in grades.

DD3 is planning one, as her potential uni course does interviews, and it may help if she goes with a "non-standard" group of A levels for that particular course.

IME they can help with essay writing if you're doing non-essay subjects (as even STEM subjects at uni have essays, and if your last essay was on Macbeth for GCSE and you got a B, extra practice won't harm); and public speaking if that's not your thing (cf DD1 who managed to make a joke in her maths-based EPQ, AND got laughs shock).

But, ultimately good grades are what gets you into uni, so if an EPQ will help that, go for it. If it would hinder, then concentrate on A levels.

nomilknosugarplease Wed 20-Jun-18 14:15:23

Quite relevant to you then OP as DD does French and Spanish at uni now. Some of the stuff she did her EPQ on has ended up being on the course so has been really helpful even if she didn’t need it to get in!

But as titchy said, there are so few language applications that it’s hard to slip up when applying. Most of the people on DD’s course didn’t get the entry requirements, some didn’t get anywhere NEAR them, and still ended up getting in, despite the uni having a really good reputation and being known for strictness with other degree subjects.

nomilknosugarplease Wed 20-Jun-18 14:17:06

And as for the personal statement - at one of DD’s interviews they asked her about some of the books she’d put on there. Luckily she’d actually read them grin

drivinmecrazy Wed 20-Jun-18 14:30:58

I'm loving the comments particularly pertinent to MFL degrees. Something I'd half expected but hoping DD doesn't catch on too quickly!
She's predicted 3 A's and would hate for her to become too complacent and let things slide.
It seems such a shame more kids aren't pursuing languages even up until GCSE's.
DD2 (yr8) isn't as strong as her sister academically but even she knows as far as we are concerned an MFL upto GCSE is non-negotiable. For me it stretches back way way way back to my education in the 80's and the woeful provision for languages, something I very much regret now.
A language is a gift IMHO.

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BubblesBuddy Wed 20-Jun-18 15:45:10

I can assure you, you won’t walk into Oxbridge MFL courses on a wing and a prayer! It’s still competitive but less competitive then PPE or History. Durham and a few others will expect decent grades too.

MFL is suffering from poor teaching and low expectations! It’s always seen as ok to give up an MFL and too few schools offer two MFLs at GCSE but are happy for pupils to do triple science and computer science. So even if you are good, you won’t get the chance to fulfil your potential, unlike scientists. It’s a total disgrace.

However, if a young person is doing 2 or 3 MFLs at A level, then the EPQ is a good idea in the absence of an essay A level. DD noticed some without essay writing A levels struggled with the essays required on an MFL degree. The degrees don’t get easier and firsts can be difficult to come by unless you are a native speaker.

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