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Admissions advice - disappointing grade leads to retake and gap year
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mummytime · 20/08/2017 08:13

A young person I know failed to get the grades for their offer to study Law. They got AAC rather than AAA.
They are now planning to take a gap year, resist the "C" subject. Get some relevant work experience, work and earn, travel a bit and do some other useful activities.
I am wondering if anyone has advice on how admissions departments will look at a new application this year? And for suggestions of anything we haven't thought of that they should be doing to help their applications?

As they now have 3ASs at A grade would it be worth applying to Oxbridge? Or would they reject because of the initial C grade and a retake? What about places like Durham?

Any advice or experiences of others in a similar situation in the past would help.

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KarmaNoMore · 20/08/2017 08:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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KarmaNoMore · 20/08/2017 08:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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Mumteadumpty · 20/08/2017 08:22

Did they look at going through clearing this year?

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chemenger · 20/08/2017 08:31

Some universities require all three A levels to be in a single sitting, so he may not be successful even if he gets the required grades. It's fairly obvious that doing one A level that you have already sat once is easier than doing three for the first time together so that grade will have less weight. I would suggest he talks to the admissions staff at the university to find out how they would view a resit. There are a lot of clearing places around this year, with good results (which AAC are), he should find a place that suits him.
I would assume both Oxford and Cambridge need all exams in a single sitting.

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goodbyestranger · 20/08/2017 09:43

I'm afraid I doubt Durham would consider him for Law as he hasn't got an A*, but they have started to dish out contextual offers, so are there any contextual circumstances at play?

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Moreisnnogedag · 20/08/2017 09:54

Where was his initial offer from? Might there need to be an adjustment in expectations? Oxbridge/Durham/London are likely to have their pick of candidates with higher grades at a single sitting. Have they looked at any other unis?

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HollyBuckets · 20/08/2017 10:03

Because of the demographics (drop in 18 yo population) there are some good opportunities in Clearing. So have a look at those as well.

Otherwise, the plan laid out for a fap year sounds excellent. I think all school leavers should do a gap year before university. They're much better to teach after doing a bit of growing up!

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mummytime · 20/08/2017 10:14

They have asked for a remark but it is too late for their first choice of Exeter.
There are no places they want in clearing, and they don't want to go to a place they don't like. For instance they looked around Warwick and despite it's good reputation it is not somewhere they can see spending 3years.

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ErrolTheDragon · 20/08/2017 10:52

To be frank, I'm not sure that oxbridge or Durham would consider the two A grades to be 'amazing'. Durham's standard offer appears to be A*AA www.dur.ac.uk/courses/info/?id=11730&title=Law and in reality most people on the course will have exceeded that.

I'm afraid she/he may be being a bit unrealistic. If they really don't want to accept any of the other options, it might be worth them calling/emailing the Exeter admissions tutor (perhaps after the dust of clearing has settled) to ask if reapplication with a resit has any chance of success.

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titchy · 20/08/2017 12:14

Do Exeter know they're going for a remark? They should be prepared to hold a place for the week or so that will take.

But otherwise I agree expectations need to be lowered. Top universities only look at the first attempt so resitting would be a waste of a year unless they're prepared to sets sights lower.

With all due respect this kid is NOT Oxbridge or Durham material... 2 x A stars maybe in with a shout, but As aren't amazing sorry.

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boys3 · 20/08/2017 12:15

they have asked for a remark

is that a priority remark op ? If it is the result should come back pretty quick.

I can'y help thinking pausing for breath as this DC seems to be doing is the sensible option. If the remark does up the grade (to B, or A ) that puts a whole different complexion on things going forward. Are there any grounds for expecting an improved grade at all?

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onadifferentplanet · 20/08/2017 13:39

were they rejected from their Insurance choice too?

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BasiliskStare · 20/08/2017 15:53

The DC of a friend of mine missed UCL because they got AAC - the C was the problem. Took a year off and retook the exam - now has a place at Manchester & very happy about it - also a slightly different course. I would say that Oxford Durham etc , anecdotally , would not be so interested in resit marks but I would also echo thinking and then phoning admissions depts. In my limited experience they are v helpful.

This DC did a mix of working and travelling during the gap year - so has some money in the bank and has done some interesting things as well as being happy where they have ended up.

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paq · 20/08/2017 17:25

My genuine advice would be not to study law. It's a massively oversubscribed course and over supplied industry. The vast majority of law graduates go on to other careers.

If they have another career in mind other than Law I would look at other social sciences subjects, e.g. history, politics, sociology.

Warwick is generally highly rated but I understand it's not for everyone.

What uni were they rejected from?

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paq · 20/08/2017 17:27

Sorry, I've just seen they chose Exeter.

Are they set on Russell Group?

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mummytime · 20/08/2017 19:28

I think so. They didn't have an insurance because their other main offer was Manchester but the same grades as Exeter and they rejected it. (Probably a mistake.) I have suggested studying something other than Law, but they were resistant to that just like taking a gap year.

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goodbyestranger · 20/08/2017 20:18

mummytime does this DC want to practice law after their degree?

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paq · 20/08/2017 21:00

I think they need to get some good advice from a careers advisor. It's a buyers market generally with university admissions as there are more places than applicants overall. But there will always be some universities and some courses that are oversubscribed.

But my advice at looking at degrees other than law stands, especially if they don't want to be a lawyer.

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goodbyestranger · 20/08/2017 23:37

paq I agree. If this student wanted to practice I don't think they would be competitive as things stand, either with AAC and a law degree from a not especially good university, or with A Levels taken in two sittings since I expect that would also end in a place only at a not especially good university. Work experience is of very little utility for a law degree, other than by way of indicating interest in law generally. What's required for academic law is....academic ability, not merely interest in law or a desire to read it as a degree/ practice law. A wholesale re-think seems the best way to go. Securing a decent training contract is very competitive indeed and securing pupillage even more so.

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Gannet123 · 21/08/2017 10:30

As a Law Admissions tutor I would echo the advice to contact the universities they like to see what the attitude would be to a resit - there may be some flexibility particularly if it is a reformed subject.

It's true that AAC is likely to be a problem searching for a training contract - not all firms have an A level threshold but a lot do - but if the grade is pulled up to a B some firms may not object to a resit, particularly if they go to a well-regarded university and get decent marks there..
However, plenty of law students don't practice law and that's fine - despite what some in the profession and regulators think, it's not a degree that merely exists in order to feed the profession. It's a highly rigorous academic degree, with a lot that is fascinating and engaging, particularly at the moment, and a lot of possible professional outcomes. If they want to study law, they should, as long as they can get into a decent university (which would certainly be possible with a resit). If they're not interested in the subject but merely in the profession, they shouldn't be studying law in the first place.

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ErrolTheDragon · 21/08/2017 12:42

there may be some flexibility particularly if it is a reformed subject.

I'd hope there might also be if it was the (unreformed) edexcel maths - the one which was leaked, which has produced many anomolously low grades.

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MotherofSausage · 21/08/2017 12:50

Message from MNHQ: This post has been withdrawn

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mummytime · 21/08/2017 13:08

Garnet123 - thanks, that is helpful, and a bit more encouraging.

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mummytime · 21/08/2017 15:21

It was that Maths exam :)

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Gannet123 · 21/08/2017 15:38

With resits, if there's a structural issue (such as a particular exam with anomalous results) it's always worth ensuring the school reference specifically explains what the issue is. Law admissions staff are dealing with thousands of applicants from around the world, and may not recall, even if they ever knew, specific issues with particular exams (particularly if the exam board hasn't communicated about it officially). The reformed subject issue is better known, because it's so widespread and there's always been an expectation that there would be winners and losers, but even so, if a particular school saw particularly disappointing results in one subject it helps if that is pointed out explicitly.
If there's no explanation in the reference, one might jump to the conclusion that the student isn't really up to it or didn't work hard enough - comments about a student 'taking the mature decision to resit' don't really cut it. Some institutions will be fine with this and make the offer anyway; others, particularly those that say that resits will be considered on a case by case basis, will be assisted by some explanation.

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