Cardiff Uni suggesting different course to one applied for

(47 Posts)
Squirrelsinmypants Sat 08-Dec-18 08:28:03

DD is applying for Biochemistry. She has received standard offers from 4 universities. Cardiff (which she liked best based on Open Days) have emailed suggesting that "based on her personal statement" they feel that she should be applying for Biomedical Science and would she like to amend her application to this.

This has thrown us and we are trying to work out why they would suggest this. I would have thought that Biomedical Science was more popular and competitive than Biochemistry so it's not like they are trying to switch applicants to fill a less popular course.

Has anyone else had this type of suggestion from a Uni?
DD is worried that if she says she wants to stick with Biochemistry that Cardiff won't make her an offer.
We'd be grateful for any advice or insight.

OP’s posts: |
TeenTimesTwo Sat 08-Dec-18 08:32:30

No expertise.

But what was there in her personal statement that led them to think this?
Maybe they just really like her and want to make sure she is on the most suitable course?

TeenTimesTwo Sat 08-Dec-18 08:37:08

Can she not reply something like:

Thank you for your suggestion. I did consider the Biomedical Science course but I still believe the Biochemistry course is more suitable. This is for the following reasons: <then compare and contrast and tie in to interests and future ambitions>. Conclude with ^The university and course at Cardiff are my preferred option out of the courses I applied for, and I would fully anticipate to make you my firm choice should you give me a suitable offer. I look forward to hearing from you.

Again, I have no specific knowledge or expertise on admissions.

BubblesBuddy Sat 08-Dec-18 08:41:05

DD was asked at interview if she had considered an alternative course. She said she hadn’t and gave the reasons why she wanted the course she had applied for. Perhaps your DD could get back to them and strengthen her reasons for wanting the course she applied for? If she isn’t that bothered, agree to their suggestion. Is it a bums on seats suggestion from them? Moving candidates to fill an under subscribed course? Not sure. However go over her PS and see why they think this and if this is really the case!

BurningGubbins Sat 08-Dec-18 08:42:46

Why doesn’t she ask for a phone call with the person that sent the email and have a proper conversation about it? The Uni might be right, there might be something about the other course that really appeals when she hears about it. And I don’t see any problem with her asking right out whether continuing with the original course application will affect her chances of a place.

LillianGish Sat 08-Dec-18 08:46:45

Well it shows they read her personal statement (which isn’t a given) - I’d email and ask for more information. They might be right.

NotUsedBySomeoneElse Sat 08-Dec-18 08:55:40

Biomedical Science leads to a specific job usually. Although it is a good way into other things (research, going on to study medicine etc) it’s usually the route into being a biomedical scientist, so working in a hospital diagnostic lab. If she’s indicated that she’s interested in this on her personal statement, then they may be suggesting a more appropriate degree based on that. It may be a more appropriate course for someone wanting to go into research too, but that depends on the specific course.


Alienspaceship Sat 08-Dec-18 08:56:37

Phone them up and ask to talk it through.

ViragoKnows Sat 08-Dec-18 08:58:33

Ask them. She just needs to politely ask them to explain their reasoning. They’ll be happy to help.

HarryTheSteppenwolf Sat 08-Dec-18 13:27:26

Impossible to say without seeing her personal statement and knowing what she wants to do after her degree. If she wants to go into research in a biotechnology or pharmaceutical company, for example, I would be inclined to agree with the university that biochemistry or cell & molecular biology would be more useful than biomedical sciences.

Clavinova Sat 08-Dec-18 14:13:01

The A level entry requirements seem slightly higher for Biochemistry - what are her predicted grades? Does she have offers from any other Russell Group universities?

Loopytiles Sat 08-Dec-18 14:14:51

Has she researched career options for her preferred choice?

ShineOnHarvestMoon Sun 09-Dec-18 10:01:50

I did consider the Biomedical Science course but I still believe the Biochemistry course is more suitable.

Sorry, but if I received this as an Admissions tutor from an 18 year old with very limited knowledge & experience of the degree programmes I teach, I'd be a bit hmm - the better response would be to ask why the Admissions tutors think that the alternative course is more suitable. They may even have useful information & advice - er, they are experts on their degree programme ...

BubblesBuddy Sun 09-Dec-18 11:04:56

That’s a bit deferential though. Admissions tutors shouldn’t assume they are Gods and weild their power over unworldly 17 year olds!

I would have thought it was best to try and discuss it. When students are interviewed, like DD, it becomes clear where their interests lie. So I would advise contacting them and trying to see why the admissions staff think like this when no other university has. Your DD could, if the response from Cardiff pushes her down a route she doesn’t want, withdraw. If she has 4 offers already, you only need one to firm. Unless she was desperate for Cardiff, of course.

Yohooo Sun 09-Dec-18 11:10:55

Have a good look on Unistats and compare the two courses.
They both have good student retention but I’d be questioning why so many students 50% get a 2:2 or less on the Biochem course. That’s slightly alarming. Don’t trust the stats but use it as a starter to find out more info

TheFirstOHN Sun 09-Dec-18 11:14:13

This might seem cynical, but could it be that the Biochemistry course has enough applicants and the Biomedical Science course doesn't?

DimProblem Sun 09-Dec-18 11:18:42

Cardiff is just about to undergo yet another round of voluntary redundancies and hasn’t ruled out compulsories. This on the back of massive expansion and spends. It’s not a happy place and staff are hugely demotivated. Name changed for this as I am one of them.

You might say the same about many other institutions and this probably doesn’t have any impact on your current dilemma but I genuinely wouldn’t want one of the DC to attend. Many current students are happy though, but I thought I’d say my bit!

MedSchoolRat Sun 09-Dec-18 11:19:22

I'm a little bit involved in admissions. BioMed is usually the 2nd choice for our failed applicants.

My guess is they are low on # of applicants for BioMed, even though you wouldn't expect it, and plenty of applicants for BioChem. The main thing is for her to make sure she's down for the course she most wants. It absolutely won't count against her if she declines to change; that would be completely unethical for them to count it against her. I guess it's possible she would have less competition for BioMed, so getting into her 1st choice Uni could be easier if their criteria for BioChem entry are about limited % choosing from those with highest grades not a case of over-the-threshold & you're in (she can directly ask about that in phone call).

So agree with others, ring up & ask why they think her PS sounds like BioMed is a better fit. Check on entry requirements, too. Then make the decision what she most prefers.

ShineOnHarvestMoon Sun 09-Dec-18 11:19:39

In what world is recognising that a university lecturer may actually know more about course content than an applicant who’s never even studied at university turned into the tutor thinking they’re God? Bonkers response, really. Or an ignorant one- not listening to experts in this situation is just silly.

Actually asking the Admissions people why they’re suggesting an alternative course might be the start of a useful and helpful conversation. Simply responding by refusing to engage and repeating “I believe I’m right” isn’t likely to get the applicant anywhere.

I’m rather sceptical of the undergraduate expression of “I believe “ - it suggests blind faith over knowledge.

And I do have to laugh - on here I read consistent criticism of universities for not reading personal statements. Here’s an example of a university reading a PS, and taking it seriously, and offering advice which they judge is in the best interests of the applicant.

And so-called “advice” on here is simply to ignore the offer and for the applicant repeat that she really wants to do the other course.


Talk to the Admissions people at Cardiff. Ask why the alternative offer, and why they’re advising it. It’s taken them far more time and thought to respond to your DD’s application than simply make her a standard offer or decline her. Find out why. Goodness, she might learn something.

MedSchoolRat Sun 09-Dec-18 11:22:11

Also worth asking just how much the modules overlap for the 2 courses. The overlap may be very high, anyway.

MedSchoolRat Sun 09-Dec-18 11:24:52

Unis don't have resources for suggesting changes unless it's A) a routine problem, they find for the applicants of these courses are often better placed elsewhere or B) the suggestion can tend to solve another problem (like numbers a bit low on the BioMed course this year). #s being low does not mean it's a rubbish course, btw, not at all.

Zorayda Sun 09-Dec-18 11:53:41

Another perspective; are they considering shutting the Biochem course and have written to all applicants suggesting they change? Especially if staff may be leaving as DimProblem says.

titchy Sun 09-Dec-18 12:16:24

dimproblem Can you elaborate a little? Any particular subject areas looking weaker than others? Any idea how support services could be affected? I have one keen to firm Cardiff hence my question...

To be fair though, most English universities are in pretty poor straits financially and in terms of staff pressure - a third of my team are likely to leave under our VS package sad but I'm not familiar with Welsh HE policy. Sounds just as bad.

imonlyherefortheAIBU Sun 09-Dec-18 12:34:38

If her personal statement reflected biomed rather than chemistry then I think it's great that they've highlighted it m

imonlyherefortheAIBU Sun 09-Dec-18 12:34:59

Because they're probably right*

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