A Levels to Uni(17 Posts)
When universities are looking at applications are there any preferred A levels?
Look at the Russell Group "Informed Choices" website but read it as a guideline, not the eleventh commandment.
It depends on the university, and the subject under consideration. Any more info?
Well Media Studies at London Met - anything goes, Medicine at Oxford prob maths chem and bio. You need to be more specific!
My DD hasn't finished her GCSE's yet but has predicted A*s across the board. Hopefully, that does happen. Her teachers are discussing A level options with her Year group and she's hearing about 'soft' A levels and 'preferred' A levels. I do understand that it depends on the course you want to take at Uni and have said this to her but she's getting worried about making the wrong choices in February. She's not sure about what she wants to do in Uni. Any advice?
Well she needs to have a broad idea of what she would like to do - at least in terms of Science, something creative, humanities, languages, something practical? Clearly if she's more interested in science than anything else, then maths and two sciences should be part if her choices. If she's a linguist then one or two languages plus at least one 'hard' subject (English, history). If neither of the above then at least two serious (google Trinity Cambridge hard and soft subjects - RG facilitating list is just a list of A levels you need to study specific degrees and not that informative if you're not planning a specific subject yet) plus any two more.
If she's very academic (and it sounds like she is), she should choose 'traditional' subjects. Sciences should always be considered in pairs (so, biology with chemistry; physics with maths; chemistry with either physics or biology. Warning, not to attempt physics without maths - it is possible, but so much more difficult without the maths backup). If she is looking to study any science at university, chemistry is pretty much the 'central' science, but biology, chemistry and a language or humanity subject can demonstrate breath and gives interesting talking points at university interviews.
It is difficult if she doesn't want to pinpoint a specific area yet.
Surely she must have subjects she enjoys more than others ? It's very important to be doing subjects you are keen on, and not ones you think someone else wants you to do, IMO.
Thanks for your replies.
Backforgood. Yes, you would think so but apparently not. She's not keen on English.
poetry and Shakespeare specifically but was one of 5 students in the Year group to get a good A* pass.
Anyway, she has a wee bit of time and some exams to think about it properly.
After doing umptymillion GCSEs, it can sometimes come as a bit of a shock when you get to sixthform - when there are fewer students, who do a narrower set of subjects - to realise that you are not 'allowed' to do certain things. Timetabling (blocking) means that some subject-combinations are out. They will do the obvious (eg sciences together or multiple languages) but more esoteric choices may not fit.
If she can start to pin down one or two definite choices then the rest may slot in by default.
I second what B4G says about going with her interests, not doing what others want her to do, but I know that it can be difficult to prune when they seem to be good at everything. Can you tell from her hobbies or work experience what might be a good route? If she was a mad-keen scientist I think that you would know it by now, so we are probably looking at a BA not a BSc. Have you heard about this new thing they (eg KCL, Exeter) have invented called Liberal Arts. It seems to be the BA equivalent of Natural Sciences.
I believe Harvard has been offering a liberal arts education for years.
OK. I shall rephrase it as a "new-to-the-UK thing".
Liberal Arts has been offered (an indeed is the basis of most if not all US degrees for 200 years?). Birmingham offer it, and it seems to be a rebadged and expanded version of their old General Studies.
Here's a list that Cambridge doesn't like that much. I think if you stick to the traditional subjects like maths, English Lit, modern languages, history, geography, chemistry, biology or physics, then you won't go too far wrong.
My DD was predicted A* across the board and achieved 12 GCSE's this summer - 9 A*'s and 3 A's
She is now in Y12 studying 4 A levels in History, French, Maths and Government & Politics. Also has to study RE .
It is hard for them to choose when they seem to be good at everything but as others have already said it is better if they choose the subjects they enjoy rather than those they feel they have to do. For my DD History and French were first on the list. She wanted to try something different so chose Government and Politics. The rest of the summer was spent deliberating between Maths , Spanish and English Lit before she finally decided on Maths.
Choices do matter though because there can be good courses closed down to students who make less informed choices than their peers. Doing one language is a mistake for linguists because if you want to do joint honours one language will have to be ab ignitio. Some courses do require recommended A levels and you are at a disadvantage if you don't have the right combination because others will. For example LSE wants further Maths as well as Maths for their economics course but some economics courses do not require an economics A level. This is why a scattergun approach is not always the best course of action nor is just doing what you enjoy. The best way forward is probably to assess which area of learning she is really best at and would like to study for another 2-6 years, ie A levels and degree. Then she can pick the complimentary subjects. If she gets all A* s then look at Oxford or Cambridge to see what they recommend for any chosen area of study. If they are happy, then others are likely to accept the combination.
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