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Btec diplomas versus A levels

(10 Posts)
crouchendmother Sun 29-Apr-18 12:37:14

I have a high functioning ASD 15 year old who wants to go into game design. Although very bright, she struggles with a lot of aspects of the GCSE formats and is considering not doing A levels [ even though she would do well] but to move straight onto her vocational work in game design. This would lead [ hopefully ] to an art foundation course, followed by BA hons in Game design.
Has anyone come across discrimination against Btec students versus A levels? Websites for Btec courses [ like Kingston College] say a level 3 Btc is the equivalent to 3 A levels, but we would love to know if there are any downsides for her following this route and whether it might close some doors for her.
Would be great to hear from anyone who is considering the same or had experiences in Btecs?

OP’s posts: |
TeenTimesTwo Sun 29-Apr-18 14:42:31

First, you may find this thread useful as background information:
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/secondary/2711613-BTECs-at-college-Support-thread-2 (My thread started before DD2 was a teen)
Note, the modern BTECs all have some level of exams.

There is 'equivalent' and 'equivalent'.

In general you can go on to university with an extended diploma (the 3 A level equivalent one). You need to hit the ground running and get good grades throughout. However some (many?) courses will be closed as they specifically want A levels not equivalents, especially at 'better' unis.

Some computing courses will want maths A level so you could be ruled out of them by doing an extended diploma rather than say Maths, Computing and Art A levels.

@Draylon may be able to advise re computing at university.

Next bit is my opinion and may be totally unfounded. I am concerned as to whether these 'Games Design' courses are perhaps too specific and whether they are setting youngsters up to fail - i.e. to discover there really aren't sufficient games design jobs, and anyway more generic computing is better, but the course then isn't sufficiently transferable. (I have a similar concern re forensic science courses).

hth

titchy Sun 29-Apr-18 14:57:25

For art foundation BTEC is fine. In fact maybe preferable as her portfolio may mean she can miss out the foundation and go straight to university.

It's a growing field - has she looked at Goldsmiths?

TeenTimesTwo Sun 29-Apr-18 15:22:31

Can you clarify - are you talking about an Art based BTEC or a Computing one? I assumed you were talking computing with an artistic bent, but maybe computing doesn't figure anywhere?

crouchendmother Sun 29-Apr-18 15:52:18

Thanks so much for the replies. She is looking at the area of design more than computing, so art and design will be the bias. She may also consider animation, so needs a really good portfolio ...

OP’s posts: |
VioletCharlotte Sun 29-Apr-18 16:14:47

Hi op. My DC are both doing btec extended diplomas (1 is 1st year, 1 in 2nd year). Neither are particularly academic and didn't do brilliantly in GCSEs, but the btec seems to suit their learning style much better. They're not an easy option, there's lots of coursework. DS1 is going to uni in September (subject to getting the grades).

borninastorm Sun 29-Apr-18 16:39:25

My dd didnt fancy A-levels - she didn't thrive in the school environment. So with my full support she did a Btec in Game Design at a local college. Despite having lots of health problems she completed her two year course last year with a Merit.

She's now at Uni studying UX and UI Design.

None of the universities she applied to seemed to discriminate against her for not having a-levels as she got offers from all 3 universities she applied to, to study illustration, animation and the course she's currently doing. And, if my recollection is correct, Btecs can give the same number of UCAS points as A-Levels dependent on the Btec grade, much like A-Level grades.

There were a lot of boys on her Btec course with ASD and other additional needs who just didn't manage in school, didn't fit in, couldn't cope with the level of work. Most of them are now studying Game Design at University or have had a gap year and are now going to Uni this year.

BubblesBuddy Sun 29-Apr-18 16:45:43

Look at The University of the Arts London for undergrad Animation courses. I have seen one at the London College of Communication and there may be others. It says students come with a variety of backgrounds, Art Foundation, BTec and A levels. Have a look and choose the right path for DD. If she gets the right results, she will not be held back. DD did an Arts degree straight from A levels and prepared a portfolio at the same time. Ultra hard work! Foundation gives more breathing space.

crouchendmother Sun 29-Apr-18 22:44:30

Thanks to all of you who have replied, really appreciate the info!That's so reassuring; it sounds like it is a real possibility for her to do a 2 year level 3 btec in game design and go to Uni to study animation or game design from there.
She is really cracking under the strain of GCSE's, feels like her brain is not wired to work in that way and she would prefer to specialize early so this could be her way out ...
Does anyone recommend a good college for Btec in game design? We are in North London and the best I can find so far is Kingston college. She would be happy to be away from home if there were boarding facilities.

OP’s posts: |
sashh Tue 01-May-18 08:05:33

I agree with everything TeenTimesTwo has said.

My two subjects, Health and Social care and computing, HSC is BTEC Computing GCSE and A level

I would much rather be treated by a student nurse with the BTEC than A Levels. For arts courses it has always been your portfolio that counted.
She might be better going for an Art BTEC than Games design, it will leave her options open.

If she can learn to code (if she doesn't already) in her spare time it will be an asset.

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