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Predictions slightly lower than expected(18 Posts)
DS (end of year 12) has just received his A-level predictions. He was expecting AAB which would open up quite a few of the top tier / Russell Group courses in his chosen subject (History), but school has predicted him AAC. The C is in Maths which he's finding hard going - but it's unrelated to the subject he wants to read at university and in which he's predicted an A. His other subject is English Lit. He got mostly 8s in his GCSEs.
He's devastated. None of the "traditional" unis seem to have standard offers which include a grade lower than a B - so that C prediction has completely thrown a spanner in his plans and I fear will put him straight into the reject pile of all the places he wanted to apply to.
There are a handful of 'easier to get into' places on his list but even they require ABB-BBB which still exceeds his predictions. The C effectively renders the two As in other subjects almost worthless.
In retrospect choosing maths was a mistake as he probably could have done much better in another essay-type subject, but obviously it's too late to change now.
Where do we go from here? We've never done this before and I don't know how unis formulate their offers or whether anywhere might take this kind of issue into comparison.
The school is a very average comprehensive - but not, unfortunately, disadvantaged enough to be on the contextual offers list at most universities. They don't aim high in general and consider it a great result if their students get into our local new uni / ex-poly.
Tell him to go and speak to the school, fight his case. It has to be worth a try and they'll admire him for his determination if nothing else.
My DD did this for RS, asked to sit a second mock paper (which gave improved results) and told them she'd work her socks off handing in lots of extra essays, really trying to take onboard what she was missing. By fighting DD got her B up to an A, and funnily enough they've been marking some of her practice essays as A*, so worth a try.
In his case he could ask if the teacher is willing to see him occasionally if it's clear he hasn't understood something, ask for extra work in the holidays or if the school have any other ideas for extra support, ie something online. Could you afford a few extra lessons out of school?
I will say, first of all, that I am not an expert. So feel free to ignore.
However, a couple of things come to mind. Very many predictions are wrong. He is now at the end of y12. Could the C become a B before the UCAS application goes in? He’s not early closing date so he has time to improve and negotiate! Therefore, from what you say, could you ask to see the Head of Maths and explain the situation. Yes, it appears he has chosen the wrong subject in Maths and that’s a great problem as it wasn’t needed for History. Can the school not up the prediction to B and then he would at least (probably) get offers. He might not need to achieve the actual offer to get in if you choose university courses wisely. Which ones are in clearing?
The other strategy that might help him is that you can put History with other subjects for a lower offer. The traditional route is Anthropology or Sociology but there are others. There might be more wriggle room regarding grades required for less popular joint honours. He would need to consider if this trade off for a better university is worth it, but it could be.
I’m sure others will know more but I would definitely see the school regarding their input into the process and their prediction which could stop him getting an offer from a university where he could do well. History is also very competitive so look for a wider subject area too.
If his predictions are AAC and the C isn't in History, he is highly likely to get offers from courses who are giving out AAB offers.
Two years ago, DS1 applied with BBC predictions, got an ABB offer, got BBC as predicted and they accepted him anyway.
Apart from those applying to places like Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrew's and Imperial (and occasionally Edinburgh, Durham, LSE or UCL) all of his friends got offers from every university they applied to.
This year the number of 17-18 year olds is lower, so your DS is even more likely to get offers.
For a subject like History, with AAC predictions, I would suggest applying to:
1 at AAA level
1 at AAB level
2 at ABB level
1 at BBB level
The C effectively renders the two As in other subjects almost worthless.
As the C isn't in a subject related to what he wants to study, universities would accept AAC as equivalent to ABB.
Also, could he spend, say, an hour or so each day over the holidays working on his Maths to consolidate his Year 12 material and perhaps make a start on next year? By doing that, he could raise his level to a B and feel more confident. Perhaps he could ask his school for extra material to help him raise his game over the summer...
Where did DS1 apply to and in what subject? t the best RG universities, MFL departments accept students with lower grades plus lots of science courses but History at top universities might not be so generous. At many it’s very oversubscribed and they can choose. However, it’s precise info about History that you need. What happened to MFL or Business Studies students is beside the point.
It was History, at Leicester.
Sorry, I should have specified that it was History in my initial comment.
Leicester isn’t RG but is a decent choice for History. I think that’s the strategy the OP should be looking at. As well as joint honours possibly.
AAC is the same as abb, only a handful will be that fussy for history especially if it's a poor maths grade. Dd got in on bbd despite them advertising abb!
With AAC predictions (and GCSE Grade 8s at a school where it sounds like the the average GCSE results were significantly lower) I think the OP"s son could confidently aim at places the level of Southampton (or even higher) with somewhere the level of Leicester as a safety / backup.
As Uni applications aren't needed in just yet, he could work on improving his work and ask the school if they will up his prediction. AAC is essentially same value as ABB, so he's still likely to get good offers anyway, provided History is not the C.
Or he could do as my daughter did and decided not to apply, just worked her hardest thinking she wouldn't go, therefore she needed the best possible A levels. She was predicted BCC and achieved A*AB and got accepted on a course on clearing. Meant no wasting time on visits and was a complete lack of hassle from our POV, she rustled up her application with no input from us.
Thanks everyone. Some enormously helpful tips and reassurance here and from what you're all saying, it seems that all may not be lost anyway. I had heard that there is a dip in current 17-18 year olds which may work in his favour, fingers crossed.
Is their a chance your school may up his grade prediction if he does better in maths next term?
Also I would advise to be aspirational, my DS underperformed last year (ACD) he decided to retake, his school decided to predict ABC and he made his applications including Bath and Birmingham as aspirational. Both offered him a place at their standard offer of AAB but Birmingham offered ABB if he put them first.
He’s just taken his exams so hoping he gets the 2 Bs he needs and then he will go to Birmingham.
Mind you this is a science subject not history, but I’m very glad he did put aspirational unis on his form as it gave him something to work for.
Be careful about the clearing strategy. Not visiting is not a great idea and more students drop out who came via clearing than those who did sensible research to check the course and university met their needs.
See if he can get the prediction increased. Don't be put off applying to courses with higher entry grades. Check the universities' literature, even RG universities make their standard offer for students with lower predictions. Look at UNistats for what they actually accept. Clearing can be a good option if you've already visited universities and know you'd be happy there. You do need to be flexible about accommodation though if going through clearing. Good luck 😀
It's may be worth waiting until he applies, for most courses/unis it makes not difference if he applies in September or January (exceptions are of course are Oxbridge and some of the Scottish Unis). Also from experience with my son, who also ended up with a C prediction in one subject (which he actually got on results day!). He applied 2 days before the closing date in January. Unis tend to hand out their standard offer anyway even if it's a bit higher than the predicted grades. I would suggest targetting around the AAB level as AAB places are likely to accept AAC on offer day if the C is in an unrelated subject.