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Choosing A levels(30 Posts)
My daughter is starting 6th form in sept. Her current choices are biology psychology and media studies.
Can anyone advise as to whether these choices would exclude her from certain universities? My husband thinks media studies is soft option as it was back in our days 25 years ago (along with sociology). He’s particularly worried as she only has one traditional subject .
She doesn’t know what she wants to do at university but this is were her interests lie. Thanks
The best thing to do is pick some examples of courses she might possibly be interested in, then check some university websites for the A-level requirements.
The informed choices website would also give her an idea. She can put in different degree courses and it shows which A-levels might be required:
It sounds as though she wants to do something medical with the first two choices. The third one is a bit nothingy so I would think again.
She doesn't know what she wants to do
She must have some clue.
As the others have said get her to look through courses and come up with a vague list of the types of things that look interesting, and then look at their entrance requirements.
Sociology might be a better subject than media studies with the other 2 ?
It's not so much universities, but courses that you should be most worried about. It would be a shame for her to turn round and say 'Oh I really wanted to study XXX but I haven't got the right combination of subjects'
The only facilitating subject in there is Biology.
I agree with TheFirstONH
How academic is she? 7s, 8s and 9s at GCSE? 4s and 5s?
'facilitating subjects' has been dropped as a term by the RG and that website misses whole A Levels and degrees off, helpfully...
You only need one so called facilitating subject as I would hope people would know, anyway, and she has one. I presumed she enjoys Media and so wants to do it. FWIW, most media teachers I know are finding the new A level spec very dry and dull: lots of students are a bit uninformed about what it entails.
I do agree that media seems a little random next to the other two, but that will only matter if she wants to do Biology at uni where maths, or another science might be better. No one on here would make the comment about the incongruity of the 3rd subject if it was ,say, French or history ...
Your DH is not doing the A Levels. 'Soft' is not fair. All the A Levels were reformed. Any considered insufficiently rigorous had more hoops to go through, or were scrapped.
The scientific world is crying out for good communicators and with the massive rise in Netflix and other online content, this mix of A-levels could actually stand her in very good stead.
My only concern would be that most universities ask for chemistry as well as biology to enrol on a biology degree. So long as she’s happy with that door closing then three good A-levels in subjects she enjoys is better than two and one she hates.
By soft does your DH think that it is easy to get a high grade?
If so, then look at the grade distribution figures here:
Media 11% get A/A*
Biology 26% get A/A*
Psychology 18% get A/A*
The brighter students are less likely to take media studies.
Ofqual did an investigation last year because getting good grades in scinces and languages requires so much more work than other A levels. The response from the science departments shows that this wil not change. Not relevant here but I do love the exam boards making a whole 1% reduction in the A level French grade boundaries to make up for the number of native speakers sitting! its usually half the class in London.
Thanks for your responses all very useful food for thought.
I've been on informed choices (thank you ThefirstOHN )and it seems that media studies is an acceptable a level for a Russell group university. My husband's (and mine to an extent)concerns echo cake and breathlessness comments and that it may limit her choice or university education .
Career wise she'd likely to want to pursue marketing or HR - something more creative or people based. I'm more with Zodlebud that she needs to do subjects she enjoys and concentrate on getting good grades and then taking things from there. We will visit the 6th form college next week anyway and ask more questions. Thanks again for your input.
So what first degree is best suited to those possible careers? Would she do marketing at university? If so, what would that entail? What would Psychology or Sociology require? HR and Marketing jobs are competitive and doing a degree from a good university or highly relevant degree might be best. Lots of humanities, English, MFL, Sociology, Business and Management (etc, etc, etc) grads look for these jobs so it’s not as easy to secure a job as it might at first appear. Judging by friends DC that is. Some have had an uphill struggle.
* You only need one so called facilitating subject as I would hope people would know, anyway, and she has one.*
That depends on the course! It sounds as though this isn't relevant for the OPs DD but there are many on the STEM side where the subject requirements are much more defined than that (eg maths and a specific science).
That's true errol but that is because if the subject rather than because they are facilitating.
Very interesting. Ds1 has no idea what he wants to do. Do will check out all these links.
And there are courses/unis which will prefer two 'facilitating' subjects even if not specific ones - again, may not be relevant for the OPs DD but it's simply inaccurate to say that one is always enough.
(This is not saying the OPs DDs choices won't be fine for the sort of thing she may want to do, I'm just being pedantic)
You are indeed , especially since the term is being dropped !
Anyhoo, that aside, psychology and media are good subjects for marketing (which my DF lectures in). Biology is neither here nor there but a perfectly good choice. This is assuming she will decide she wants to do a Marketing degree, which will have grade requirements but no specific subject requirements. I think you will find most students applying to marketing have graphics, business, media, English, sociology, psychology, languages somewhere in the mix.
I'd be seriously considering if she would benefit from a maths programme alongside psych and bio, it would help massively (but also don't think I'd just do a level maths to support it, she'd need to want to as well).
I've not seen you mention her grade profile - tbh that combination wouldn't be an issue for low and mid range students because they would probably look at going to uni to do similar subjects. I think if she was a higher end grade profile I would be encouraging a more strategic grouping
If she has a particular direction she is more likely to follow or a passion for medicine etc then yes she needs to have different options.
Really focus though on her strengths and weaknesses - essays? Reading skills? Self starter? Independent learner, statistics? Creative? Debater). - all of these would mean she would excel in some subjects more than others.
Will she be able to try 3 or 4 subjects at a 6th form taster day before she starts? Try the subjects she is unsure about, rather than the ones she is certain about. It doesn't always work though as my DD tried 2 last summer, picked 1 and then tried (& failed) to switch to the other after a term.
Business studies A level contains some HR & marketing modules, so it may he worth a taster session even if she doesn't take it.
Many courses at better universities (Bath, Leeds etc) are Management and Marketing. Leeds makes it very clear quantitative skills are important. Bath wants AS level study of Maths. Therefore DD would be looking at lesser level courses. Business Studies might be good enough for some courses but not the best ones without Maths. There is no evidence Media Studies would be better than Maths but look at the course requirements because if quantitive methods are required, then it might be an uphill struggle without enjoying maths and studying it in the 6th form.
She's only got one facilitating subject there (I.e. traditionally academic), which will probably make her less likely to receive offers from very high-rankings universities but, to be honest, if those are her choices then she may well not be looking at those universities in the first place.
It depends what she wants to do: if she's thinking of doing a more vocational degree or something in a directly-related subject then her choices are fine, but if she still has no idea about future courses/careers then she might be better off swapping Media Studies for something a bit more traditional.
If you want to keep options as wide open as possible, I would swop media studies for maths, chemistry, or an essay based subject such as history, English, RS etc.
A media studies A level really isn't going to be a clincher for later careers. If she's really not sure what she wants to do, having a facilitating subject (in old-speak) in a science and a humanity will keep a lot of doors open. Maths and chemistry are also widely required/desired subjects
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