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Is 4 GCSes enough for uni/jobs?

(27 Posts)
themunster Wed 28-Aug-19 18:32:42

DD16 missed her GCSE exams and all of Year 11 do to personal family circumstances and MH issues. She has got onto a full time college course where they take 4 GCSEs over the span of a year, English and Maths, and then she's chosen Biology and Psychology to do aside. She wants to go straight onto Level 3 Health and Social care next year as if she did Level 2 followed by Level 3 she'd be there 4 years and would lose funding for a year. College's typical requirements to do Level 3 is 5 GCSEs from grade 4-9. However the college GCSE head has said that they allow students who they have taught GCSEs onsite to Level 3 as long as they get 4 good passes (so grade 5 rather than 4).

I'm confident DD will pass all 4 (was predicted 6s/7s at school) and therefore get onto Level 3, but I'm concerned only having 4 will be detrimental in getting into uni and jobs. She wants to do child nursing. Having looked, having 4 does rule out quite a few uni's (for example Manchester and Lincoln want 5), though there are some that just want passes in English and Maths. But even if they only require those 2 passes, surely if DD and another student who passed 8 GCSEs at school got the same grades on Btec both applied, the uni would choose the 8 GCSE student rather than DD with 4, wouldn't they?

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themunster Wed 28-Aug-19 18:36:30

Sorry for any typos, was up with the poorly younger child all night!

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Pinkblueberry Wed 28-Aug-19 18:37:07

But even if they only require those 2 passes, surely if DD and another student who passed 8 GCSEs at school got the same grades on Btec both applied, the uni would choose the 8 GCSE student rather than DD with 4, wouldn't they?

Most likely. And I think most pupils who apply for uni courses will have that many - she will definitely be in the minority with just 4. I would just take it all one step at a one for now though - she’s still got a lot to do before she gets to that stage.

LIZS Wed 28-Aug-19 18:39:53

I think 5 gcse passes, or equivalent ie level 2 Btec, plus level 3 is the general minimum for uni entry.

themunster Wed 28-Aug-19 18:41:09

@Pinkblueberry That's my worry, that she will stand out only having 4 and the unis will be hmm at her application.

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OtraCosaMariposa Wed 28-Aug-19 18:44:44

But does it really matter? Facts are that she wasn't well enough to do her exams this year. She has the option of doing exams this next year, and then progressing to a Level 3 which I think is A-level equivalent.

I'm not an admissions tutor but I'd say that going back and having another crack at it speaks volumes about her character and determination. She's taking a different route. Not a worse route, just a different one.

Wishing her all the best.

themunster Wed 28-Aug-19 18:44:54

@LIZS See, we've found a few that are happy with passes in English and Maths, such as Salford:

But my worry is DD will still lose out against the applicants who have more even though she techincally would fit the requirements.

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Geometric Wed 28-Aug-19 18:46:49

I would have thought there was scope for her circumstances to be covered in her personal statement and reference and therefore taken into account - this must happen from time to time.

OtraCosaMariposa Wed 28-Aug-19 18:48:54

Also there were people at Uni with me who had taken a non-traditional path, had done access courses, started with a HND or HNC and then transferred into second year - they all got their degree at the end.

It might take her a wee bit longer but in the grand scheme of things does it really matter??

Pinkblueberry Wed 28-Aug-19 18:53:47

Yes, but you’re no where near at that stage yet. She needs to catch up on those GCSEs first, then do her level 3 - that’s enough to think about for now. If it really becomes a hindrance at the next stage then she’ll either have to try and catch up on another GCSE qualification or reconsider her career options. I don’t think your concerns are unfounded I’m afraid - no GCSEs at 16 is a tough place to start in life, even more so when you have university aspirations, and unfortunately courses like nursing are competitive. It’s gonna be hard going from here on - but if she really wants it it’s not impossible. I would also speak to the college and see what advice they can give.

themunster Wed 28-Aug-19 19:03:11

Would if be worth her doing thse 4, then me funding and extra private one for each year following? So then she's at 6 for uni?

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Nameusernameuser Wed 28-Aug-19 19:07:43

If she starts her level 3 before she's 19 she won't have to pay. Level 2 for 2 years, then before her 19th birthday enrols for her level 3, another 2 years it's free. As long as she's enrolled on the course it's fine. So she'll finish her course when she's 20 but that last year won't need to be paid for.

themunster Wed 28-Aug-19 19:09:35

Nameusernameuser She would still need to do the 4 GCSE course for Level 2 anyway though as they won't let her on that with none, so she might as well take Level 3 if it's offered to her.

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themunster Wed 28-Aug-19 19:24:47

I was told by a friend that worst case scenario and she doesn't get any offers come uni time she can do an access course?

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LIZS Wed 28-Aug-19 19:32:18

Is English one gcse or Language and Literature separately?

themunster Wed 28-Aug-19 19:35:35

@LIZS Just language.

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Northernsoullover Wed 28-Aug-19 19:40:26

Is it possible she could do an extra GCSE alongside the BTEC in evening classes?

Stillabitemo Wed 28-Aug-19 19:45:14

If possible I would suggest trying to get an additional GCSE at some point - perhaps through an online school next year or during her L3 although that’s quite a workload. Could she do Health and Social Care Level 2 BTEC online somewhere next year?

Obviously she has extenuating circumstances which can be included in her reference and personal statement to go towards explaining her slightly different education history. She would also be interviewed for a nursing course and could discuss it then if asked/appropriate.

I would also recommend working to make sure her application shines in other ways - relevant work experience/volunteering, wider reading, good understanding of the sector etc.

LolaSmiles Wed 28-Aug-19 19:47:42

There's alternative entry to university,but that is usually more for mature students than 18/19 year olds.

E.g. Someone who didn't get a strong set of GCSEs or has level 3 in an unrelated area/no level 3 might do an access to higher education course.

Generally those sorts of pathways aren't taken by (or even for depending on college) teen students.

I think only having 4 GCCEs is likely to be a barrier, not one that can't be overcome but she's looking at a good few years of it and it also being forever on her applications when asked for secondary education.

BubblesBuddy Wed 28-Aug-19 19:49:19

That’s a good idea. She needs to work out how to do the additional GCSE IF it’s required. I say “if” because you need to check if they want the GCSEs all in one sitting. If they do, then it’s not worth it.

I would also be happy about any course at any university. Just make a shortlist of possibles and talk to tutors on open days.

themunster Wed 28-Aug-19 20:34:41

I have just emailed her college tutor asking about it and got an instant response. They offer 5 GCSE's in special circumstances. I told him that DD is apsiring to uni and that she is really willing to knuckle down and work etc.

He wants to see if she can cope with 4 first, and then will review her in January to offer a 5th.

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Pinkblueberry Wed 28-Aug-19 20:42:09

That’s great to hear OP. I think hers must surely count as special circumstances. I hope it all goes well, and well done to her for moving forward and giving it all another go smile

themunster Wed 28-Aug-19 20:54:40

@Pinkblueberry Thank you, she's had an awful time and has really picked herself back up and brushed herself off, she really wants this and is going to work hard so I want her to have the best chance smile

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Darbs76 Wed 28-Aug-19 21:00:36

If it’s a competitive uni course then possibly be some issues but when I was at Uni there were many who were mature students who had very few GCSE’s or O levels as they had done in their youth. But it didn’t matter as they did an access course or similar and go onto the degree. It wasn’t a super popular degree which helped but if you select a uni / course which works around your circumstances that will be fine.

I’d agree with taking things one step at a time to not overwhelm your daughter or worry her. Yes you could pay privately for more GCSE’s but I’d see how she gets on with these first. Baby steps. I’m sure it will all work out

themunster Wed 28-Aug-19 21:06:16

@Darbs76 It's child nursing which I'm told is v v competitive, adult is meant to be as well but child even more so. Which I really don't understand considering how understaffed our hospitals are, where are all these students going? But that's another discussion I suppose.

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