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Good A level choices to keep options open

(20 Posts)
WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 09-Nov-12 18:07:29

I'm posting on behalf of a friend whose DD needs to submit options for the 6th form. She's not sure what she wants to do but has mentioned Accountancy or Law, though I think that's more as the school suggest them as options rather than because she particularly wants to do them.

She's doing really well in all her GCSE subjects and every teacher they saw at options night wanted her to take that subject . School were suggesting 5 subjects, 4 minimum. Sounds a lot to me but I guess it's all changed . She puts a lot of pressure on herself and is the first in the family to be looking at university and her Mum's worried she's pushing herself too hard and stressing too much about what she wants to do and is by nature a worrier. I'm trying to reassure them it's not the end of the world not to know at this stage and to chose things that keep options as much as possible .

Current thinking after options night are English Lang or Lit, Maths, Physics, History and Dance (she loves this). The physics teacher was saying it's a good option as works well alongside Maths. When I talke to her about various careers she could think about and mentioned Pharmacology, she was adamant she didn't want to do anything science orientated.

She really enjoys Spanish as well. Talking to her Mum today it sounds like she would probably enjoy doing English Lit, Maths, History and Spanish, with possibly Dance. Sorry to have gone on, do they sound like solid options to keep options open ? And is it normal for them to do 5 subjects . I thought they were suggesting 5 at A1 but her Mum says they were saying that at A2 (hope I have the right terms here).

Thank you if you've got this far, any advice would be much appreciated.

webwiz Fri 09-Nov-12 18:22:46

English lit, Maths, History and Spanish sound like great choices. Its normal to take 4 and then drop down to 3, 5 would be very hard work and not necessary at all.

I'd keep dance for out of school.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 09-Nov-12 19:31:32

Thanks Webwiz. She just rang for a chat and realised herself about dance so that's good. She's not so sure about Spanish and is looking into Economics for the fourth but definitely English Lit, Maths and History. She hasn't done any Economics and isn't really sure what is is so is researching it this weekend.

School are really pressuring them to get their forms in and seem to be pushing the 4 subjects thing. I pointed her towards the website of our local RG university so she can see that the typical offers are on 3 A Levels. She's lovely and I'm sure she'll do really well in whatever she choses.

noblegiraffe Fri 09-Nov-12 21:00:43

3 A-levels and 1 AS would be what students normally achieve, by starting with 4 and dropping one at the end of Y12.

AMumInScotland Fri 09-Nov-12 21:16:06 - read this! It's what the Russel Group of universities say about A level choices. They talk about which subjects are good in general, and for different subject.

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 09-Nov-12 21:24:55

English Literature, Maths, History and Economics is a good set.

I'd recommend that she does a few taster lessons in Economics, both micro and macro, to see if it's the kind of subject she likes. She should be interested in current affairs and business.

prettydaisies Fri 09-Nov-12 21:26:53

My DD does English lit (no English Lang offered at her school), maths, physics and geography. I don't think anyone else does this at her school, but she's certainly keeping her options open! Sounds like your friend's DD would with her options too.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 09-Nov-12 22:07:43

Great, thank you all very much. I found the Russell Group info earlier on and text that through to them along with the suggestion they try to get hold of The Dummies Guide to Economics to just introduce a very quick intro to some of the concepts. That was the best I could think of at short notice , I flipping hated the bit of Economics I did !

Think if she doesn't do Economics she'll do Spanish or Physics so all pretty solid and she went off the idea of a BTEC Diploma in business pretty quickly md is now getting the whole soft subjects issue. I'll let her explain it to my DD in two years time !

MsAverage Fri 09-Nov-12 23:08:51

I have heard the this combination of A-levels
exactly in this sequence gives the widest choice of options. That may mean that cumulative number of unis' place requiring (or accepting) these subjects are larger than any other combination.

celiam Sat 10-Nov-12 17:17:29

Your DD can start studying law and accountancy later on if thats the career she wants. Her choices of English Maths and History are all well respected and keep options open. Many employers consider a language a bonus even if its not essential - plus if she likes travelling Spanish could be useful. Keep dance for after school fun and exercise. No need to give it up.

alreadytaken Sun 11-Nov-12 09:16:26

English Language or Literature, Maths, History and Economics are good sets. Maths is accepted for most courses at university and is also popular with employers. 5 AS courses is unnecessary but achievable for the able, dropping to 4 at A2 and keeping more options open. However for a worrier it would be better to go for 4 at AS, dropping to 3 at A2 as that's all they actually need.

eatyourveg Sun 11-Nov-12 09:32:13

already taken I wouldn't say English language or Literature, I'd say Literature or Language and Literature combined. English Language on its own is not so well regarded.

trinity0097 Sun 11-Nov-12 10:14:50

Geography is a good option, a geography degree leads to a huge number of types of jobs - it's not all physical geography! For example my dissertation in 1999 was about whether the Internet is a place!

cocolepew Sun 11-Nov-12 10:21:45

Trinity can I ask you if you used your geography degree for your job? My DD is in 4th year and has no idea what she wants to do as a job, but she loves geography. Thanks smile

BeckAndCall Sun 11-Nov-12 10:24:06

If she wants to do say law at uni, then she'd be better doing english lit - not Lang and lit - as it's the more rigorous Alevel.

Tbh, if you've read Informed Choices, that should have all the info you need. The rest is Down to preference.

Agree with Webwiz, tho, leave dance out of it for serious universities.

And also, don't think of doing physics without Maths (although I see she's not, just in case she goes that way later)

almapudden Sun 11-Nov-12 10:53:16

I think English Lit, Maths and History is an excellent core group. Either Economics or Spanish would work well with those choices.

campergirls Sun 11-Nov-12 11:04:55

Sounds like she's a smart girl and heading towards some good choices.

As a lecturer, one thing jumped out of your OP at me, and it's this: 'the first in the family to be looking at university and her Mum's worried she's pushing herself too hard'. Can you help her mum understand that if her daughter is able and ambitious (and it sounds like she is), then pushing herself hard will be a good thing - and indeed necessary, if she wants to succeed at A levels and university.

Being committed to your studies and challenging yourself are necessary for success, but they don't have to lead to 'worrying too much'. There'd be more to worry about if she didn't achieve her potential, given how tough it is out there for young people at the moment.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 11-Nov-12 14:59:04

That's great, thank you all very much. They get the choice of English Language with English Literature or English Lit and I think she's now firm on the English Lit.

She hasn't mentioned Geography and I've got a feeling she didn't take that as a GCSE option. She realised herself Dance wasn't a good idea when sh looked at what the Grammar offered and saw it wasn't an option. I do think the school could give them a bit mor guidance. She was stung about taking Law A level at the start of that until I said not too. How hard would it be to point them towards that bit on the Russell Group site ?

Her Mum is struggling with it all as feels they have let her down by not being academic themselves sad. I'm telling her that she does a fantastic job supporting her, creating the righ environment etc. I do sort of see where she's coming from about the first in the family thing, she is a lovely girl but not confident, worries a lot and is a perfectionist.

I'm confident that she is going to get excellent GCSE results this summer that will really boost her confidence and she'll start to fully appreciate what she can achieve in the future. They've had the weekend to mull it over so will see where they are at now. The scary thing is she's only two years above my DD, I've just realised how very serious it's all getting, I'll be back shortly for advice for her !

creamteas Sun 11-Nov-12 16:57:45

Unless she knows that she wants to do, it is worth while having a balanced profile at AS. So take at least one maths/science subject and one arts/humanity. For maths and science subjects at uni, you usually need specific subjects and most essay subjects at uni will want you to have studied an essay based A level.

At my DC's school you can take Geography at AS without having studied it at GCSE provided you have a really good grades in other subjects.

Phineyj Tue 13-Nov-12 21:08:07

Economics - goes with everything and doesn't close any options down (and Russell Group like it). I agree it's not for everyone, OP, but it does depend on the teacher (and the student, obviously). I suggest your daughter watches these 60 second videos to see if it appeals:

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