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Academics/Oxbridge types, advice please!

(10 Posts)
TobeLaRoan Fri 12-Nov-10 14:08:44

Have namechanged, before spreading lots of identifying detail over t'interweb. smile Would be grateful for advice from anyone who knows about 6th form choices and university applications.

dd is in Y11, we're looking at A-level choices. She's in a girl's grammar school, almost certainly going to stay in the same school for A levels. She's predicted 11A*s at GCSE.

Her masterplan (I fear) is to read English at Oxford (yes yes, I know how hard it is, she has plans B C D and little plan Z all lined up too).

So bearing in mind she wants to do English at university level, the subjects she's planning to do for A2 are English, History, German and Latin. She wants to do a 5th subject which she will do to AS level. Until now she was planning to take Biology, to give a spread of subjects, yadda yadda. After the 6th form evening at her school she has now somewhat re-thought that, saying that the biology curriculum they outlined made her heart sink a bit, and she would far rather do Theology/RE (whatever they call it).

So the question is: is there such an advantage to doing a science subject to show breadth of interest/ability, that it should outweigh personal preference and (probably) natural talent? My guess is that she'd enjoy Theology much more both from the content and the teaching staff (who have already made a not-very-discreet pitch to get her to choose their subject) and would probably get a better grade with less effort (though she's a bit of a straight-A merchant anyway, so might not make that much difference to the actual outcome).

Would English History German Latin and Theology look too one-sided?

Would be grateful for any thoughts. She's going to talk to heads of Enlish and History dept at school, but all other input welcomed!

motherinferior Fri 12-Nov-10 17:18:27

It does look a bit one-sided to me - but then I am a Confirmed Atheist so not great on Theology blush.

Fennel Fri 12-Nov-10 18:55:58

I would think that's fine as long as she's sure she wants to do English or a similar arts subject.

A science A level would be good if she might change towards some of the non-school-subject courses (Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, possibly Linguistics).

Theology is good if she ends up being interested in Philosophy, there's quite a lot of overlap.

ilovemountains Fri 12-Nov-10 19:16:29

Cambridge has useful information here: lish/requirements.html

I'm sure Oxford has a similar set of guidelines, althogh couldn't find it in my one-minute google search.

I seem to remember that science subjects aer definitely approved of to show breadth, and certain combinations are considered too similar. Sorry, cant remember the exact details!

ilovemountains Fri 12-Nov-10 19:21:14

Sorry, wrong link! Correct one is here: subjectmatters.pdf

TobeLaRoan Fri 12-Nov-10 20:57:50

Thanks, that's really helpful.

She's sure she wants to do English, tbh. The only variation might be to combine English with a modern or classical language. We;ve had some off-board suggestions that she should stick with what she enjoys, and that doing a lone science among a batch of arts-based courses is not always helpful, esp if it might affect the grades she gets. So looks as if we're edging towards RE/theology rather than Biology.

From OP: that should of course be "girls' grammar school".

<<shoots self>>

Milliways Fri 12-Nov-10 21:25:09

My DD took English, French, German, History & Maths at AS. then dropped History for A level. She found Maths the hardest but wanted to keep it instead of a pure science to balance up her Arts subjects. All 5 of her AS were on the "approved" list and I am sure that helped her application (for an Arts course).

Milliways Fri 12-Nov-10 21:26:47

Oops, sorry - meant to add Theology IS a great A level and I do think it supports an English course well.

pippop1 Sat 13-Nov-10 15:51:34

Future jobs-wise, I think that Maths A level would be good as it opens many doors and would be useful in, say, law if she chose to study that after graduating.

My DS2 did Maths, English, History and Latin for a history degree. Got A*, A* and AA respectively. I'm hoping that the Maths shows he is not good at the Arts only.

Gooftroop Sat 13-Nov-10 16:20:34


It will make ZERO difference to an Oxford English application whether she does Biology or RS as an AS. Zero. If anything, RS is a better choice because she is genuinely interested in it so will be able to discuss it with animation at interview.

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