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Sixth Form Choices - mix of A levels and BTEC?

(8 Posts)
Trillis Thu 17-Oct-19 11:10:56

DS is year 11 and has his school have just had their sixth form open evening so he is starting to think about A level options.

It is a given that he wants to do maths and physics A levels (unless things go badly wrong at GCSE). However instead of a 3rd A level, he is considering a BTEC National Extended Certificate in engineering, which his school offer as equivalent to an A level.

He isn't sure yet if he wants to aim for university or an apprenticeship after sixth form. For apprenticeship applications, the BTEC may even be more desirable than a 3rd A level. My concern is that if he decides he wants to go to university, which would probably be to do physics, how much of a problem might it be that he won't have either the standard 3 A levels or a full BTEC? Websites I have looked at this morning all seem to list grade/entry requirements for either 3 A levels or a full BTEC diploma - nor for a combination. The only place I found that mentioned the BTEC certificate said that it counts as long as it is relevant to the subject you are studying. This suggests to me that he couldn't do physics at that institution if he did the engineering BTEC, even if he also had physics and maths A levels.

I can (and probably will) ring round a few random universities to see what they say, but has anyone here got experience of DCs doing a mix of A levels and BTEC extended certificate, and how did this affect university applications? I'm hoping some of you applying right now might have this mix and can shed some light.

If it makes a difference, he is bright enough but not likely to acieve top grades. For GCSEs his targets are 7s rather than 9s, for instance. I just wouldn't want him to choose a route that will really limit his university options, should he choose to go down that route.

Thank you

OP’s posts: |
titchy Thu 17-Oct-19 13:19:50

He'll be fine. Physics is under-subscribed. Pretty much all applicants are made offers, apart from Oxbridge and Imperial. Possibly one or two others. He doesn't sound like he'd be applying to those though. But generally places like Bath, Bristol, Warwick will offer to all that apply. As long as he has M and P the third being a BTEC should be fine.

Ironoaks Thu 17-Oct-19 14:39:14

You'd need to check the websites for each course, but there are those which will accept it.

For example, Warwick says:
"We welcome applications from students taking a BTEC qualification alongside A level Mathematics and A level Physics."

BubblesBuddy Thu 17-Oct-19 16:05:09

I don’t understand choosing Engineering BTec if he then doesn’t even look at Engineering at university. Why just look at Physics? The BTec is very relevant to Engineering snd if he enjoys that, why assume he’s better doing that as an apprenticeship where he won’t get a choice of university or course. It would also probs my be BEng too. He could probably apply for MEng if he looked at undergrad engineering courses. There are so many options now, I would definitely not leave this possibility out with his choice of post 16 courses.

Stillabitemo Thu 17-Oct-19 18:09:33

Would be absolutely fine for most universities with the exception of very top ones who might not accept BTECs for all courses. I frequently recommend an A Level/BTEC mix for students.

Theresnobslikeshowbs Fri 18-Oct-19 08:26:09

Ds done 3 A-Levels and a B-Tec which had nothing to do with his university choice it just interested it. He was was a place at all the universities he applied to, and choose his favourite which happened to also give him an unconditional offer. Unless he is looking at the top universities, in which case contact them, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

Trillis Tue 22-Oct-19 12:34:42

Thank you all for your responses. Sorry I am late coming back to this.

To answer a PP - it's not that he doesn't want to consider engineering at university, more that he didn't want to make a sixth form choice now that would rule out the option of doing a physics degree in future, when that is his favourite subject. I had randomly chosen a few universities to google and more than one said they would only consider a BTEC alternative to a 3rd A level if it was directly relevant to the degree course he was applying for. Thank you for the suggestion of Warwick. I have now found others that state similar things so am happier that if he choses to go down the BTEC route he is still keeping his options sufficiently open at this stage.

OP’s posts: |
cricketballs3 Tue 22-Oct-19 16:48:19

I have never had a student who did the BTEC Ext Cert or Dip with A Levels not get offers, in fact I have never had a BTEC student ever fail to get offers (different subject though)

For physics, the BTEC in Engineering could give him an advantage as he would be able to use this application of his physics theory in his Engineering vocational learning in his personal statement (I did start a physics degree myself having studied BTEC Electronic Engineering although this was a few years ago!)

I do always advise students to select subjects/qualifications that they enjoy, especially if they are not sure what path they want to take

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