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A level choice curveball?!

(30 Posts)
yolofish Tue 30-Jun-15 22:55:22

DD2 is very dance and arts orientated. She is currently on 3 days 6th form induction at her current school, where she wants to stay.

She wants to work in fashion if her dream of being a professional dancer doesnt come true (good plan), so is considering a fashion buying/merchandising course at uni in 2 years time.

Her plans were: double BTEC dance (2 A level equivalent); photography; creative writing, which sounds like a good creative mix to me.

Anyway, she has come home today and said she might do biology instead of photography - is this a positive, adding a hard science subject to the mix, or is it just off the wall when her other subjects are dance and writing?

I had NO idea she was thinking about biology!!

mummytime Wed 01-Jul-15 07:32:44

Biology is a good subject. In fact she could do with another solid subject, maybe English Lit instead of creative writing.
At present she has as her first choice of career a very risky profession, and one where retirement before the age of 30/35 is not unusual.
For her second career it is again a very competitive area, which is extremely difficult to get into.

So what is her third back up? Waitress? As an office temp she would need to show more academic potential. Biology might help if she tries to get a teaching qualification.

BTec Dance is not really training for a professional dance career, that would come from specialist dance lessons and maybe courses. Does she audition for shows?

I think you need some serious careers advice, and she could do with broadening her options. 16 is very young to restrict her options so much.

TeenAndTween Wed 01-Jul-15 07:36:30

Not knowing much about this side of things, I think it is a bit of a curve ball. I don't think she'd be able to 'go' anywhere with biology without another science or maths to back it up. On the other hand it is maybe more 'academic'.

Have you checked the course requirements for the proposed Uni course? (I would expect it to maybe want an Art/Textiles/Photography course).

homebythesea Wed 01-Jul-15 07:45:10

Why not A level dance instead if the BTEC. Have you researched the academic requirements of the Uni course- are the BTECS actually treated as equivalent? Is she doing or planning work experience in the fashion/buying industry? That will count for an awful lot in the application and she needs to get cracking on this. What do her dance teachers say- is she truly good enough to consider it as a career? You need brutally honest advice. I've got a dancer too but have come to the realisation that while she's good, she's not THAT good. And that's fine but what you don't want is for her to be deluded as to her real prospects. And my other one has changed his mind as to career/uni choice about 5 times since GCSE's. This may happen for your DD so choose subjects that will keep doors open rather than close some off.

Lolimax Wed 01-Jul-15 07:51:10

Just to add here DD did biol as wants to go nursing. It wasn't needed for nursing but she wanted to offer the best she could. Bright kid but has found it harder than she thought. We'll see in August how hard!! But I agree with the others get some really good advice, I don't think we did.

PurpleDaisies Wed 01-Jul-15 07:52:12

A warning about A level biology...the syllabuses are changing from September to become more challenging, specifically with much more maths content. I've no idea about your daughter's academic ability, but biology is a big step up from GCSE. It would be worth having a look at what is involved.

Almost all my biology pupils (I'm a private tutor) are doing it as a solo science subject and hadn't realised how much chemistry/maths was in it. Saying that, it is really interesting and sciences are great A levels to do so if she is genuinely interested, prepared to work hard and likely to get an A/B at GCSE no reason why she shouldn't go for it.

YesThisIsMe Wed 01-Jul-15 07:52:54

What's her predicted GCSE grade in the Biology? Does she have a good chance of getting a decent grade at A Level?

I agree that maybe Eng Lit might be a more bankable fallback option than Creative Writing in terms of actual qualifications - again, if she's capable of getting a solid grade.

YesThisIsMe Wed 01-Jul-15 07:55:16

And yes, what's her predicted GCSE maths grade? because if she's a maths struggler then any science A Level will be tricky.

senua Wed 01-Jul-15 08:52:04

Why this change of heart? What's her logic?

thehumanjam Wed 01-Jul-15 08:53:47

Most fashion merchandising type courses will require A level Art or Textiles and a portfolio.

yolofish Wed 01-Jul-15 08:55:11

hmmm. definitely a maths struggler so that's an issue I hadnt thought of. Thank you for that point.

The BTEC dance is a double, and is a really good qualification. School has performing arts status, sends loads of dancers onto respected places (eg Laban, Leeds, Chichester) and they do end up performing or teaching so not worried on that side of things. She is also in a dance company, performs 3 major show series a year etc as well as school performances. I think it is unlikely she will end up as a professional dancer but may well teach (is already involved in teaching younger students).

I hope she sticks with her first choices...

thehumanjam Wed 01-Jul-15 08:56:09

I also don't think that the creative writing will prove to be useful for her, far more useful to opt for a subject that will assist her with plan B.

yolofish Wed 01-Jul-15 09:00:32

senua I think she's worried about having too much coursework with photography and double dance, both of which are pretty time intensive.
She's quite bright at the things she likes, so her GCSEs are going to be a spread - probably A for photography, textiles and dance, and then anything goes for the rest, and the C in maths is our holy grail.
School doesnt do A level textiles, or else she would have gone for that.
She says no to Eng Lit because she hated GCSE Lit, but she does fancy creative writing.
She's not academic, we are not talking about RG scenarios!
I just want her to really enjoy what she does for the next two years.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 01-Jul-15 09:04:56

I think the btec dance is fine - possibly even better than A level.

But, I think she should take English Lit over Creative Writing (more respected) and surely needs Art (or possibly Textiles) to stand any chance of a fashion degree? Two friends who did fashion degrees and work as buyers had 2 x art A levels plus Eng Lit then a foundation art course .

thehumanjam Wed 01-Jul-15 09:05:48

Do they not offer the option on studying for a specific A level at a partner school? Our schools allows you to study at other local schools as long as it fits in with timetable constraints.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 01-Jul-15 09:07:26

Cross post - shame her school doesn't offer textiles...can she not do Art but focus on textiles within it?

yolofish Wed 01-Jul-15 10:29:08

that's an interesting idea, focussing on textiles within art, I'll get her to think about that one. I'm going to look at the creative writing thing too, and find out what the Eng Lit books are going to be before she writes it off completely.

they can change their minds up until October half-term, so nothing is set in stone at this stage.

thank everyone, v. useful.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 01-Jul-15 10:36:46

I despair at how the current GCSE Eng Lit puts people off books/reading AND studying lit at A level.

I'm hoping and praying that the new GCSE will be much better in this regard.

OP, has dd looked at admissions criteria for the types of course she might apply to if she doesn't go into dance?

Gruach Wed 01-Jul-15 10:41:43

Even though you don't think she's academic it might be worthwhile, since you have some time, to have a look at this thread:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/higher_education/2412554-Sadness-of-Open-Days?msgid=55285129

You never know, she might change her mind again!

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 01-Jul-15 10:44:20

Just had a really quick look at some fashion courses and found an example of Fashion Buying and Marketing at De Montfort (which looks like a good mid ranking uni/ course with not too onerous UCAS point requirements).

It states no specific A levels accepted, just 260 points BUT says the top 5 A levels held by students accepted onto the course are Fine Art, Art Textiles, Eng Lit, Psychology and Product Design Textiles - in that order.

Might be worth a look at a few similar courses.

Millymollymama Wed 01-Jul-15 14:18:03

LCF has a similar course and so do Manchester Met. They both look at the business side of buying and merchadising in that, if you look at the modules, maths is useful. Buying is not about textiles, it is about the techniques that make money for your employer! If the garments don't sell, and you are left with surplus stock, the shop loses money. It is all about managing the buying budget for the maximum profit plus understanding the needs of your employer and their market.

A level Subjecs suggested as useful by LCF are: English, Maths, Business Studies, Art, Media Studies and Languages. I do agree that some universities do not state their A level subjects, but Biology is not really a good preparation for buying and merchadising. OP, get your DD to read what the courses are about and the best preparation, then decide what A level courses might actually be suitable. Buying and merchandising has little to do with biology, dance or creative writing however, some universities wont be too choosy!

summerends Wed 01-Jul-15 15:10:26

If she really is unlikely to change her mind about RG entry then I would have thought Business Studies would be more useful than creative writing for both her present career directions plus as already said Art (incorporating textiles) instead of Photography. It is all pretty heavy on course work but might be no bad thing if exams are not a strength.

Millymollymama Wed 01-Jul-15 15:25:23

A level Art Textiles is not vital for Buying and Merchandising. No-one specifies it in the courses I have looked at. Art A level would suffice but the textiles element would be good. Business Studies/Maths are more important. I think people who do dance are different from people who do a degree in Buying and Merchandising and therefore choosing the best A levels for both is a conundrum.

Buying and Merchandising does not need a foundation year because it is not an "art" degree in the same way that fashion design is. They are very different. That is why it is vital to read what is involved in a Buying and Merchandising course and not just think it is like fashion design where knowledge of handling textiles within an art and design context is obviously more important.

HarrietVane99 Wed 01-Jul-15 15:30:45

I'm a writer and I'd definitely suggest Eng Lit, or another essay based subject such as history, over creative writing. Either of those, if well taught, should develop writing skills as well as subject knowledge.

I was going to mention the Open Days thread, but I see someone already has.

stareatthetvscreen Wed 01-Jul-15 15:38:55

why not eng lang ?

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