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HSC vs A Levels

(25 Posts)
farangatang Sat 28-Jan-17 07:11:01

I am wondering if anyone with experience of the NSW HSC and British A Levels has any thoughts on how they compare (apart from the obvious number of subjects you have to take and the different school academic year dates)?

Trying to decide best course of action for the final two-years of DDs schooling. She is currently at the start of her GCSEs.


Bobochic Sat 28-Jan-17 14:48:13

You need to make a decision based on what course of HE, and in which country, your DD intends to pursue.

farangatang Sun 29-Jan-17 01:54:56

She doesnt know! We are dual citizens and so are lucky to have a choice. I am wondering if one will give her more options than the other and also trying to work out what would be most interesting/worthwhile for her to study during the 2 years she will be doing it.

Bobochic Sun 29-Jan-17 08:36:45

She needs to know. You really cannot choose a high school leaving diploma without getting to grips with the options one or other will give you. This is not a nebulous "more or less" scenario.

FWIW the DC I know who live(d) in Australia but thought they wanted to go to university outside Australia did the IB.

Newbrummie Sun 29-Jan-17 12:46:42

I'm facing the same my daughter has dual citizenship- I want to go back and she'll do the wace but the English schools are telling her it's not worth the paper it's written on for uk university's

farangatang Mon 30-Jan-17 10:59:47

IB most definitely not for DD, who hates maths and science! I did the HSC and have spent most of my working life outside Australia so it hasn't limited me, but it is obviously less well-known internationally. I also think it is more on par with GCSE courses than the depth of study enabled with A Levels, but was hoping others might have a bit more information on how they compare academically than my own personal experience/interpretation!
She is currently British system and I think she prefers to the UK to Australia (as do I) so that is what will probably make the decision for us.

Newbrummie Mon 30-Jan-17 12:04:13

farangatang - where did you go to uni ?

farangatang Mon 30-Jan-17 14:18:52

In Australia

Newbrummie Mon 30-Jan-17 15:43:28

I wish I could convince DD1 an Australian degree is just fine

farangatang Mon 30-Jan-17 15:51:13

I have tons of friends who have worked abroad and done well in their careers in the US, UK, SEA and ME. If you go to a good Australian university and are good at your job, anything is possible.

My main concern for my DD is that, after completing GCSEs, is the HSC going to be 'more of the same' rather than a real extension and development of her learning? Just want her to enjoy the last few years of her schooling doing something she really enjoys (despite all the hard work).

ClaudiaWankleman Mon 30-Jan-17 15:56:52

What are the chances of her studying in the UK? For example, is she likely to want to take on the extra costs of studying here (as I don't think she would be eligible for the £9k fees and would pay more).
I would choose purely on those terms. Once she has a degree it is unlikely that anyone will focus on lower education.

Newbrummie Mon 30-Jan-17 16:02:37

See I just want DD to get to uni, I agree the GCSEs count for nothing once they have the degree. I'm looking at monash for her so hardly a Micky mouse establishment

farangatang Mon 30-Jan-17 16:14:18

Claudia - she wont have to pay foreign student fees in the UK as she's a citizen in the British system already. We're considering moving back to Australia and trying to decide if it's the right thing to do for the family. If HSC is the 'way to go' it affects when we'd move, and would mean she'd have to finish half a year of Y10 in Australia after her GCSE exams (or move halfway through GCSEs to finish Y10 in Australia without completing British Y11 and getting the formal qualifications - don't want to do that) before starting the HSC course in Y11 due to the different academic year dates.
Plus, she told me today she wants to go to Drama school, so that's going to be a fortune wherever she is and based on audition rather than school results! Great.

ClaudiaWankleman Mon 30-Jan-17 16:36:24

To be considered for home student fees I think you have to have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK or the EU for the three years prior to the start date of your course, so you'll have to factor that into the move back as it might invalidate the eligibility.

Saying that, I don't know if drama schools are funded in the same way as universities. If she wanted to study drama at a university then the above would apply. Awfully confusing.

Newbrummie Mon 30-Jan-17 16:40:57

Yes but she's already in the uk now, it's the Aussie system they are considering.
Another point I thought of, a lot of what we covered in A level for my degree we did again in the first year of uni for the benefit of those who hadn't studied the subject at A level which I found frustrating but it is what it is.

ClaudiaWankleman Mon 30-Jan-17 16:44:30

I understand that. I have two acquaintances who were born in the UK, moved outside of the EU in their mid teens and were both annoyed when they came back to the UK for HE and had to pay a higher rate. It's a possibility.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Mon 30-Jan-17 16:58:52

My knowledge of the Australian system is limited to watching Home and Away but the main criticism made of A levels is that they encourage specialising too early.

However, for some people, and I am one of them - I did maths, f. Maths, physics and chemistry for Alevel and if I could have chosen perfect A levels I would have been doing maths, f. Maths and extra hard maths! - specialism is good. They get to do what they are good out without their weak points pulling them down.

If your Dd hates maths and science and wants to go to drama school then English, Drama and History A-levels may suit her well.

farangatang Wed 01-Feb-17 14:15:22

Had a very interesting chat with the HE advisor at her school today about the comparison. I think I'm convinced about the value in A Levels. Apparently the ATAR needed for acceptance at a decent UK university if you do the HSC is 98 or above, but A Levels convert very favourably if she wanted to go to an Aussie university (and despite never having lived in Australia, her citizenship is enough to guarantee the same fees as every other non-foreign student).
Maths/Science are not compulsory in HSC so she could continue to study a wider range of her favourite subjects but would effectively have to achieve the equivalent of an A* in all of them to go to a UK university if she wanted that option. Not sure she is that academic, despite her aspirations!

Newbrummie Wed 01-Feb-17 15:08:31

I think that's the jist of what my daughter was told, I've either got to leave her with my ex to do her A levels here, pay for international school or I'm stuck in the uk for another 3 years 😩

Newbrummie Wed 01-Feb-17 15:09:22

Or of course madam could just go to an Australian university... out of the question obviously 🙄

farangatang Thu 02-Feb-17 13:08:59

Newbrummie - not entirely out of the question depending what UK tuition fees do. And how much she wants to live with her grandparents!

Newbrummie Thu 02-Feb-17 15:25:35

Oh god I meant my madam, not yours I would never say that about somebody's child shock
I'm thinking the same. I think 6 months with my ex should sort her out one way or another lol
I'm so close to getting the qualifications I need to get back to Australia, Luke literally one assignment away. It all feels very real all of a sudden.

farangatang Tue 07-Feb-17 14:21:22

Lol Newbrummie - I didn't take offence at your use of the word (even though I did think you were talking about DD - thought it quite appropriate, actually...)
Good luck with your final assignment and upcoming movegrin flowers

SuperBeagle Wed 08-Feb-17 06:21:54

If she wants to go to a drama college then it doesn't really matter which country she's in, does it?

As for the HSC, I think its difficulty is relative to the student's academic drive and their intellect, and I assume that's the same for A levels. In hindsight, I found the HSC easy, because it is when compared with university. But that's not going to be everyone's experience: I know some who were having daily panic attacks over the HSC, and one of my best friends got so badly burnt out that she's never wanted to further her education since.

The university matters to an extent, but not as much as it does in places like the US. Most unis in Australia are decent. Some get their reputation purely from their name, and not from the quality of their education. I looked at going to Sydney Uni when I was first starting out but hated it at the open day: the snobbery of it was out of this world. UNSW had a much better vibe, but specialises in Engineering, so that's a consideration. I ended up at Macquarie, which specialises in Business, and I got a double degree in Business & Law. I was happy with that choice and have not had any difficulty getting good jobs since.

The ATAR requirement is a bit of a crock, honestly. The ATAR requirement for Law at the time that I got in was something like 96, but I had people in my course who'd gotten in with ATARs in the early 80s, ditto my friend who was at UOW had people in her course who'd received ATARs more than ten points below the minimum cut-off. It depends on the popularity and demand for the course as to how willing they are to let people in who don't meet the requirements.

13loki Fri 24-Feb-17 12:12:56

Maybe a bit late, but I certainly wouldn't bank on being able to do HSC without maths or science. Even though only English is compulsory - most schools will have it set up in such a way that all students must do maths (as that will be the only subjected offered in that timetable place) and often a science.

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