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Will not having a GCSE language limit my sons uni choices?

(25 Posts)
mulranno Thu 09-May-13 19:10:24

Back in my day I think the Scottish Unis required a language at GCSE even if you were studying sciences....does anyone know if any other unis impose this?

circular Thu 09-May-13 19:14:24

I thought LSE did

BackforGood Thu 09-May-13 19:16:19

Not in any of the courses I've been looking at with ds, but you should know I'm not a typical MNer as my ds isn't looking at Universities that offer AAA wink
The thing to do would be to go on the UCAS website, pick a random 3 or 4 universities you think you might consider, and look up what their requirements are for a sample of courses you think he might like.

Erebus Thu 09-May-13 19:19:37

I am under the impression that a MFL is highly regarded. It appears to demonstrate a certain type of learning, like under other circumstances, music might.

At our high achieving comp, if you want to withdraw your DC from their MFL to GCSE, you have to write a letter to the Head explaining that, in doing so, you understand that you may be limiting your DC's future options!

BackforGood Thu 09-May-13 19:21:34

I do agree with Erebus, that a language GCSE is highly regarded, by many, and, if capable, I would generally advise that dcs do take one, I just think that it won't necessarily limit entry to a particular course (except languages of course smile)

MTSCostcoChickenFan Thu 09-May-13 19:22:32

My friend is involved in admissions at a London Uni. I asked her the same question. It is not compulsory but it is desired. It all goes towards having a balanced portfolio of subjects.

I've no idea what the attitude is at less selective unis.

senua Thu 09-May-13 19:45:39

It used to be a requirement of some Universities. Then the Government made MFL no longer compulsory at KS4 and loads of schools dropped it. This left Universities requiring something that only Independents/Grammars did, so they had to drop it or face charges of back-door discrimination.
Now that schools have a league table for EBacc, they are suddenly re-introducing MFL at GCSE. It is only a matter of time before the more elitist Universities start requiring it again.

SanityClause Thu 09-May-13 19:50:29

DD1's school don't insist on them doing a MFL, but they strongly recommend it. The tale we were told was of one girl being refused for medicine at Kings, because she hadn't done a language at GCSE, despite everything else being perfect.

For some courses, competition is so fierce, the slightest thing will be used to rule you out of the selection process.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Thu 09-May-13 19:52:41

My DD grammar insists on at least one, so do most private. Presuming this is because most Russell Group uni's want them.

jeee Thu 09-May-13 19:54:30

When I dropped foreign languages at 14, I knew that it might affect me in the future. But I thought then (and I still think I was right) that the inevitable D or E grade would have been far worse.

And dropping the subjects that made me miserable meant that school suddenly became enjoyable - which it hadn't been since I'd left primary school.

Leeds2 Thu 09-May-13 20:18:48

I thought LSE required a language too.

At my DD's school, they have to do a modern language unless there are exceptional circumstances. I think learning English as a second language during the modern language lessons is one such circumstance.

ArbitraryUsername Thu 09-May-13 20:28:44

I think an E or a fail at a MFL would be worse for a child than a decent GCSE in something else. There is really no point in doing a MFL is you are atrocious at them (and some people are, even if they are great at other subjects).

ArbitraryUsername Thu 09-May-13 20:32:56

DS1's school expects everyone to do 2 MFL GCSEs. DS1 is unlikely to do any though as he is really, really dreadful at them. He gets low level 2s in French in Year 8 (but level 7 in maths and 6 in science and 5/6 in English). He will only fail a GCSE in French, so there is absolutely no point in forcing him through one, never mind two.

Mind you, I still have to fight this with the school come GCSE choice time next year. I don't see it as limiting his future choices; it's accepting that his talents lie elsewhere.

kritur Thu 09-May-13 21:11:59

GCSE in mfl is required for many undergraduate English courses.

Startail Thu 09-May-13 21:18:29

DD dropped French from a great hight with great delight, (she's dyslexic and can't spell in English never mind French).

She wants to do something biological and I can't find a trace of anyone wanting MFL.

ArbitraryUsername Thu 09-May-13 21:23:51

I think actually requiring MFL for totally unrelated courses would be problematic because it disadvantages applicants with certain SN (like Startail's DD and my DS1, who is dyspraxic and almost certainly dyslexic). He want to do some kind of engineering or science. It doesn't really matter that he is dire at French.

creamteas Thu 09-May-13 22:12:59

It is extremely rare now to have MFL as an admissions requirement for degrees that do not have the study of that language as a main or subsidiary area. So it is very unlikely to make a difference to most applications even at top unis.

Also unis virtually never disclose why they decline applicants, so the story that someone was denied medicine is likely to be based on assumption rather than actual knowledge.

bruffin Thu 09-May-13 22:18:29

Ucl want a C at gcse for mfl or you can do an extra language course. DS looking at science/engineering and its the only one we have come across.

glaurung Fri 10-May-13 00:03:02

UCL is the only university (I think) that currently really likes a GCSE MFL. Even there it's not a hhard requirement, but you have to study an MFL to an equivalrnt level once you are there if you don't have one.

"UCL encourages intercultural awareness in all its students, and considers experience of learning a foreign language a vital element of a broad and balanced education. UCL wishes to ensure that all of our graduates have had some experience of exploring another culture through language – but we are concerned to ensure that our admissions requirements do not disadvantage those who did not undertake language study to GCSE or above at school. UK students who do not have a GCSE grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) on admission to UCL will be required to acquire an equivalent level of language proficiency once they are enrolled with us."


adoptmama Fri 10-May-13 07:32:49

In a word, yes. Whilst many universities no longer require MFL at GCSE or Standard Grade level, the fact is they need to differentiate between candidates. On the whole predictive grades and references are not highly rated by universities: everyone gets high predictions and a good reference these days. They look at achieved grades (GCSE/AS), spread of subjects and personal statements. MFL is important - it is challenging and universities know children drop the subject simply because it is hard, so that does communicate something to them about a candidate (fairly or unfairly).

lljkk Fri 10-May-13 07:48:30

Very little difference, this has come upon MN before and there were very few examples where it really made a difference. Only the most ridiculously in-demand courses and a few specific Unis/courses.

MNers seem to have loads of offspring who are in a with a good chance to get onto those extremely high-demand and rigorous courses so I guess they have to worry about the MFL. I guess that goes with lots of people here who went to Oxbridge themselves and sent their kids to selective schools, too. I'm lucky enough to have rather more ordinary kids.

Moominmammacat Fri 10-May-13 09:26:52

I think Edinburgh asks for one?

mulranno Fri 10-May-13 09:53:06

Thanks all. I studied French to GCSE - but is was by far my worst subject. I got a B in the mock but as I was studying for 13 different subjects and was going on to medicine I decided not to revise for the final exam so that I would have more time to prioritse on my science subjects. My teacher went nuts. My only regret is that I wasted time during the exam period turning up for all of the (many) French exam papers. My son who is a bit dyslexic and dyspraxic is a highly selective grammar - in the bottom sets studying for 10 GCSEs - he finds French a real chore and I was thinking of cutting him some slack when he goes into year 11 to ask if he can drop French....not sure if it has been done - if they insist he still goes to lessons then maybe I will say to him to not worry about the revision at the end. However on reflection I think that he could probably pull off a pass....he is probably so demoralised about it because everyone there is so good at languages - 90% routinely get A* or A. Maybe I should encourage him to do something he finds difficult just for the life experience?

ArbitraryUsername Fri 10-May-13 11:08:12

Edinburgh only asks for a MFL at GCSE/Standard Grade for (some) programmes within the college of humanities and social sciences. Not all of them though. The other colleges couldn't give a shit about MFL. Science and engineering is much more interested in maths.

mumslife Fri 10-May-13 13:04:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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