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Advice please about dd's A level choices. (She's asked me to ask you- I'm not being helicoptery)

(81 Posts)
seeker Sat 16-Mar-13 19:39:42

Dd is currently taking History, Philosophy, English and Theatre Studies at AS level. She has always intended to read History, so she was going to drop Theatre Studies after AS. However, since she's been in the 6th form, she has changed her mind, and now thinking about applying to study drama or theatre practice- in a completely ideal world, at Central. So she decided to take all 4 subjects on to A2 to keep her options open. So far, so good.

On Friday, she was told that they probably won't be able to timetable all 4 subjects. They are still trying, but it looks unlikely. So she'll have to drop one. Obviously TS is the one she should drop if she wants 3 good academic subjects for University entrance, but she needs it for any theatre based course. But she will be closing other doors for herself if she drops English, her least favourite, and doesn't have 3 solid subjects.

Any advice? Does history, philosophy and theatre studies look a bit lightweight? It does, doesn't it?

cherrycherry41 Sun 17-Mar-13 23:27:36

Philosophy wasnt counted as a weighty a level when i studied it 5 yrs ago x

FelicityWasCold Sun 17-Mar-13 23:37:28

Right, the reality is that none of those subjects are 'bad' 'soft' or 'limiting'.

They show a range of skills and are complementary without being too similar.

She must do what she wants to do the most.

But for the love of God DON'T tell her she can do Drama in an extracurricular fashion- it's just bollocks. Joining the local am dram is not a substitute for A level drama.

If I regretted not taking (for example) History or English at A Level I could sit them in June in any given year via a distance learning course. A Level drama requires a group to work with- she won't get this opportunity again once she leaves school.

FelicityWasCold Sun 17-Mar-13 23:39:10

Oh and for the record, it doesn't matter if Her A level drama group is shite- people in the same group can get A's and U's- but to get the A you have to work with others.

GetOrf Mon 18-Mar-13 00:03:16

That's a real shame that they cannot timetable all 4 subjects - she sounds as if she is very able indeed and would be able to cope. Could you try and push for that? I don't know how useful that would be but it would be great if she could do all the subjects.

If she has to drop one, I would say English, History and TS would be the best combination, but if she really loves philosophy and doesn't like English, well I would go for that. The work is very hard, I think it is so important that she is passionate about all her subjects.

She is going to get As in all 3 which is marvellous, and also you say she has a lot of theatre experience, and I expect she has loads of other extra curricular stuff on her CV (she rides horses as well doesn't she). In any case she has a load of things going on for her, I am sure that she will have a good chance of being accepted with her brilliant grades and everything else. You must be very proud indeed.

GetOrf Mon 18-Mar-13 00:10:57

I could sob at all this by the way.

DD's ideas of university are fading slowly as she just wants to bloody go and join the army at 18 and it is too bloody close for comfort. She is very serious about it, is camping at Pen y Fan this week in some armed forces camp. I just want her to go back to being a third of my height wearing knee high socks. It was a lot easier then.

purplepenguin86 Mon 18-Mar-13 02:13:57

Hmmm, is there no way the school can timetable them? It sounds like she is academically very capable of doing all 4, and if she is enjoying them all it does seem a shame to drop one.

As others have said, drama schools don't require specific A Levels, so from that point of view she could drop Theatre Studies. However, it sounds like she's really loving it, and so I suspect she would be very unwilling to drop that one. Also, having studied it for AS there is a fairly good chance she would be asked in drama school interviews why she hadn't carried it on to A2. But ultimately they would neither accept nor refuse her based on Theatre Studies A Level - it is all about the audition and interview for drama school.

I'm wondering if there would be any mileage in her continuing one of the subjects outside of school? Either by paying a tutor, or finishing the A Level by correspondence? Obviously it would be less convenient, but I would have thought she'd be able to do most of the work for it at school during her free periods.

seeker Mon 18-Mar-13 11:43:30

Oh, Getorf- I'm sorry- that must be sooooo hard! As you say, you just have to support them doing what they want, but I'm not sure I'd be able to in your position. No chance she'll change her mind?

Yellowtip Mon 18-Mar-13 14:53:37

I'd probably suggest focussing more on the drama stuff than the pony stuff in the PS, especially coming from a Kent grammar....

seeker Mon 18-Mar-13 14:54:36

Pony stuff? Did I miss something?

seeker Mon 18-Mar-13 14:58:26

Ah, I see I did. grin

I don't think she's going to come over all Betjeman in her PS, don't worry!

Yellowtip Mon 18-Mar-13 14:59:53

GetOrf said she expects your DD has loads of other extra curricular stuff, for example riding.

Yellowtip Mon 18-Mar-13 15:01:00

Crossed smile

seeker Mon 18-Mar-13 15:11:43

She is a bit of a stereotype, I admit. Actually, she's a lot of a stereotype!

IvySquirrel Mon 18-Mar-13 16:57:33

I am involved in admissions on a very similar course to the Central one.
Although we do not ask for specific A levels I would be suprised if someone who was comitted to a performing arts career had dropped theatre studies.
Otherwise it doesn't really matter what subjects you offer, evidence of extra-curricular activity is more important.
Ignore the 'don't work in theatre' nay sayers, employment rates from technical/backstage courses are excellent. Of course she'll never be rich, but DH & I have both had decent careers that we have thoroughly enjoyed and are certainly not destitute!
Which strand does she want to go for?

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 18-Mar-13 17:21:26

Are allowances made for students whose schools do not offer theatre studies?

IvySquirrel Mon 18-Mar-13 17:28:10

Yes - we do not ask for specific subjects ad I said before, so if a student had not done theatre studies because it was not available then that would be fine as long as they had plenty of relevant extra curricular experience. However I would think it odd if it was available, they had done AS and then dropped it, but were set on pursuing a career in theatre.

LadyPeterWimsey Mon 18-Mar-13 17:33:38

I wonderif there's any mileage in going back to the school and seeing how close they can get to timetabling all four subjects. If it meant missing a lesson or two a week which she could make up in her own time, that might mean she doesn't have to drop anything. And it would show how self-motivated she was.

Admittedly DS is doing this at GCSE level, not A level, and one of the two subjects is music which he does a lot of at an extra-curricular level (but the other is a classical language which he doesn't smile) AND he hasn't taken any exams yet so we don't know how he will do in the end, but it shouldn't be beyond the bounds of possibility for an able child.

GetOrf Mon 18-Mar-13 17:35:41

No, I don't know what to do with her army choices. She has beem thinking vaguely about it for years, but now is really determined. I really don't want her to join - so am encouraging university as at least then it is deferred for 3 years if she does join.

She just wants to do something in the public services - if not to forces, the police, prison or probation service. I just feel disenheartened at my cheery daughter spending her life seeing people at their very worst. I feel rather glum about it.

Plus, I just want her to stay at home with me blush. Not that I would ever say this to her. But I am going tomiss her horribly. Silly sod.

Sorry for thread hijack!

Tigerstripes Mon 18-Mar-13 20:19:12

Can I just sound a warning bell for trying to persuade school to do all four/doing a fourth in own time. A girl in my year 13 English class did five AS levels last year. She very much underestimated the amount of work this was and ended up with Bs and Cs in all, rather than the As which she actually wanted and was perfectly able to get if she'd had the right amount of time. There's a reason why dropping an AS is recommended. Three As/A*s will looks better than four Bs.

Knowsabitabouteducation Mon 18-Mar-13 20:46:25

I agree, Tigerstripes.

Our education system is designed for students to do 3 A2s - that's what university entrance is based on.

A2s are more challenging than AS, and students maintain their grades because they are doing fewer subjects.

If the OP's DD is in an 11-18 school setting, she will have responsibilities beyond her academic studies, eg sports captain, house captain or even head girl, in addition to prefect duties. Given her interests, she will undoubtedly have a major role in the annual production. Does she want to give these wider interests up in the pursuit of an A2 that no one else is interested in?

As for the practicalities for the school, most school will keep the same option blocks from AS to A2, so can easily accommodate those students who want to do 4 or even 5 A2s. Perhaps there is a teacher retiring or moving on that is affecting the blocks. Perhaps the school really wants to discourage additional vanity A2s because their experience is that students do less well overall.

seeker Tue 19-Mar-13 09:04:30

Getorf- I do know what you mean- I'm having to stop myself pushing the university that's only 10 miles from our front door.......sad

Lots of kids at dd's school do 4 A2s- but the school only lets the ones they think will cope do it. You ask, are either told you can or you can't- then they try to timetable- blocking in everyone's 3 top choices, then trying to fit in the 4ths.

She's meeting the head of the 6th form tomorrow, so she should know more then. She is veering towards dropping English- I am still not sure what she should do for the best!

cory Wed 20-Mar-13 13:20:39

I would say drop the philosophy on the principle that a stage school might think dropping theatre studies when she was already doing it looks like lack of commitment and might be awkward to explain in interview without sounding half hearted about drama.

Dd is going to be in a similar situation in a few years time re the balance between academic and theatrical subjects. She is going to college to do English lit, History, Theatre Studies and the BTech in Acting. Hopefully this will still get her into university should she change her mind.

countrykitten Thu 21-Mar-13 15:33:41

I teach Theatre Studies and this combined with English and History is a great set of A Levels. Drop Philosophy.

GetOeuf Thu 21-Mar-13 15:43:59

How did it go with head of 6th form seeker?

lljkk Thu 21-Mar-13 19:08:05


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