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How useful is Photography A level?

(10 Posts)
Harveypuss Wed 25-Jan-17 18:25:36

DD is in Yr 11 and currently considering options for 6th form. She is at a school that only offers IB in Yr 12/13 and is undecided whether to stay on (GCSE grades dependant) or switch to a different school and do A levels.

She is very "arty" and is good at this subject but not so good at the maths/sciences. I'm told this could be a disadvantage of the IB as poor grades in those subjects could drag her overall IB mark down.

She thinks she would like to do an Art degree or do something at Art college, which may/may not include an Art foundation year. If doing A levels, she wants to do Fine Art, Photography and either English or History. However, somebody mentioned to me that photography A level isn't well regarded, is seen as too soft a subject by Universities and two essay-based subjects would be better - giving her a broader range of subjects.

If anybody has any advice/views to offer, I'd be obliged.

Many thanks.

Dahlietta Wed 25-Jan-17 20:04:01

I would think the usefulness of A level Photography is very much determined by the final aim. For someone hoping to study medicine or wanting to do Modern Languages at Oxbridge, no, it's not going to be as highly regarded as a traditional essay subject like History or English. However, if your daughter is pretty set on doing something art-related, then I wouldn't think it would be any kind of hindrance and actually would give her another string to her bow. I don't think many Art courses are particularly fussy on A-level subjects, not least because your portfolio is often more important, but also because they're not purely academic subjects anyway. If she's not sure that Art is the way to go, however, then it might be worth keeping her options more open by choosing another essay subject. However, she needs to think about what she will enjoy and do well in. If she would definitely prefer Photography, she's likely to apply herself better and do better in it. Especially if she's going down the Art route anyway, an A in Photography may well be better than a C in English, for example.
As for the IB, I'm not convinced by it as an option for students who have a strong Arts/Humanities bias because there are more restrictions on what you have to study e.g. Maths and a Language, I think. It always seems to me to be a better route for an all-rounder academically. That needs to be balanced in your daughter's case against moving schools. Is that something she feels positive about doing? Is the school she would move to a good option?
I don't know if I really answered your question, but those are my thoughts!

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Wed 25-Jan-17 20:09:43

DS is doing Photography A Level alongside a handful of BTECs - Music, Performing Arts and Uniformed Public Service. He has ambitions to be a photographer or sound technician, and is really enjoying the mix of creative subjects he is studying. We bought him a decent DSLR for Christmas and he takes it everywhere he goes, always looking for the next great photo. I think it's good if your DD is interested in photography as I am a firm believer in doing what you love and loving what you do as far as possible. I suspect DS will join the army after sixth form though.

catslife Thu 26-Jan-17 13:29:01

For the IB you really have to be a good all-rounder. You also need a foreign language as well as Maths and a Science.
If your dd is sure that she wants to take an Art subject at degree level, taking both Fine Art and Photography is absolutely fine. I would check out options that follow on from the A levels that she is interested in. It may be that taking 2 Art type subjects at A level means that she can go directly to study for a degree whereas with only one she will need to do an Art Foundation course.

ifonly4 Thu 26-Jan-17 14:39:39

If she wants to do an art degree/course then doing photography in sixth form would be a good option. However, do look at the requirements of a few colleges/universities. Even though she'll be looking at doing art, would they want her other two subjects to be academic as you've already suggested. My DD aims to go to a Russell Group university and they certainly require two facilitating subjects so that could her Eng Lit and history.

Harveypuss Thu 26-Jan-17 16:23:53

Many thanks for your input. Much appreciated! smile.

bojorojo Fri 27-Jan-17 14:32:30

Leeds (RG) did not require two facilitating subjects for the Art course my DD applied for and got an offer. She studied Photography, Art and Business Studies. They wanted one essay subject but didn't mind which one. Just have a good look around. They didn't see a portfolio either.

However, traditional art colleges will want a portfolio and doing the two subjects gives a really good platform for doing this without a foundation course. However, the Art and Photography A level final portfolio prep tends to be done when preparing the university portfolio for interview. My DD was unbelievably stressed and busy in the Spring Term ! If she goes down the art route with just one art A level then a foundation course will probably be required. Make sure she will have top class teachers too. They make a huge difference.

governess Mon 19-Feb-18 12:19:22

What could they do with a Photography A Level? - become a photographer, website design type work perhaps.

The problem being is that the industry is becoming device driven, that cover up the mistakes perhaps - so it;s changed from being a professional industry to more of a semi professional industry - and certainly where the money has gone is now in the cameras themselves that people buy.

Personally I would ask - is there any money in it or just doing it because they like it ? - education nowadays seems to be a case of follow the money not your heart or you'll end up 30k in debt and struggle to get a job - unless she goes self employed

yolofish Mon 19-Feb-18 12:30:09

Photography A level is not for the faint-hearted, it is incredibly difficult to get an A - you need 79/80 for that. Both my DDs did it, both now at uni doing creative type courses. For those who know about the level of work and difficulty involved it is very well-respected.

BubblesBuddy Mon 19-Feb-18 13:51:48

Old Thread alert!

DD got an A* in Photography. Good teaching is the key. It is very helpful for art degrees along with fine art. You have to do a portfolio for these degrees though and that is a real slog with these two very time consuming subjects. All the portfolios need to be done by Jan/Feb and then some of the marked work for the A levels is required in March/April. If you like these subjects and put the effort in, its worth it. Not everyone can be a mathematician or scientist.

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