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How do you find university course?
58

Areyousorted12 · 19/10/2019 22:08

DH or I never went to university. DD is going GCSEs this summer but is being asked to pick A levels now. I said think about what you want to do at university. I have no idea says DD. What do I say to help her pick something? What should she be looking at? Any tips/advice very welcome.

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CatToddlerUprising · 19/10/2019 22:10

I would first decide what kind of career path she would like to aim for, then maybe use the National career service website or general research to see what degree or subject areas are needed. Then use the UCAS site to see what unis over those courses

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CatToddlerUprising · 19/10/2019 22:12

*offer those

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aibutohavethisusername · 19/10/2019 22:44

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aibutohavethisusername · 19/10/2019 22:46

Sorry. Should be.

www.ucas.com/undergraduate

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Embracelife · 19/10/2019 22:57

If she has no idea she should fo the subjects she loves for s levels.
School may also help there are some quiz type things which can point to what careers might suit .

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Embracelife · 19/10/2019 23:00

So do a few online ones like
www.prospects.ac.uk/planner

And get some ideas... that might help ger think about plans for unj and beyond

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KronksSpinachPuffs · 19/10/2019 23:07

Aa above look at the prospects website, UCAS website and pick a couple of universities (pick randomly if you're really not sure which ones to look at) and they list courses both a-z and by department

It's been a few years since I went to uni but hope that helps!

If shes still not sure after that then I would recommend either going for a good spread of subjects or just going with what she enjoys as she'll be more likely to do well in subjects she likes.

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merryhouse · 19/10/2019 23:21

Does she like finding out how things work, or does she prefer to study people?

Is she comfortable playing with numbers, or does she like playing with words?

Does she have a particular creative gift?

What's her gut reaction to the following phrases:

  • maths physics chemistry
  • english french economics
  • history politics psychology
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clary · 19/10/2019 23:30

Yes agreed, study subjects she enjoys and is good at.

Consider facilitating subjects as these are most often asked for by uni - maths/FM/sciences/history/geography/MFL/Eng lit. Two from that list would keep options open, but she still needs to decide between maths/science and humanities/language.

She doesn't have to go to uni either. Work or a higher level apprenticeship may be more suitable.

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MarchingFrogs · 20/10/2019 00:07

but she still needs to decide between maths/science and humanities/language.

Not really, if her favourite / best three or four subjects happen to be a mixture and the school / college can accommodate her in its timetabling. It would be very unlikely that a university would stipulate e.g. Reqiired A levels: Maths, Physics. Will not be considered if third A level offered is German / French / Spanish.

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clary · 20/10/2019 00:14

yeah that's true. Tho I did get castigated on another thread for suggesting that my ds could do biology degree without another science! Some even suggested he HAD to have chemistry. He's doing maths actually but in fact the likes of Warwick will take biology on its own.

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Piggywaspushed · 20/10/2019 06:44

Her school will have a careers adviser and she could request an appointment. I imagine they will also have an Open Evening.

She needs to decide what she likes doing most and combines this with thoughts about potential career paths. In most cases, the A Levels themselves don't matter.

If her school is signed up to Unifrog, she could have a play with that.

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sashh · 20/10/2019 07:00

Have alook, not just at uni courses but at what degree she needs for a particular career eg forensic scientists don't normally have forensic science degrees.

I find working class students (sorry for the jumping to this conclusion about you) tend to opt for courses that lead to a set career eg nursing, teaching but there is a whole world where a degree in any subject is the only criteria.

Also at uni you don't need to do a single subject, you can do joint or even three subjects although people who start with three often drop one after the first year.

When looking at A Levels have a look at the content and whether it will help the next stage eg I taught a girl who wanted to be a vet her A Level choices where initially chemistry, maths and business studies because she wanted to open her own practice. She didn't realise that business studies would bot be useful for that.

I totally agree with do something you enjoy.

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QuaterMiss · 20/10/2019 07:15

Is this a wider question than simply ‘what A’ levels to choose’?

Does your daughter have other family members or close friends from whom she would have gained an idea, growing up, of what university is like and what it’s for? She really needs a degree of familiarity with the whole concept (the long and short history of university, women’s hard-fought struggle for admittance and equality, recent government intervention to create a new two tier system, etc), as well as plenty of clear sighted discussion of varied personal experiences - to help her see the big picture and what it might mean for her.

Then she’d be well advised to pick (at least) a dozen random universities from across the U.K. (and further afield?) and read their online prospectuses and other info from cover to cover. So she gets an idea of the variety of environments and subjects available to choose from.

(One piece of good advice I’m always reading is that parents are the worst people to give advice on careers because so many current and future options didn’t exist when they were teenagers - so your own non-university history could be an advantage ...)

I wish I could say with sincerity that she needs to be proactive about information gathering - but so many teens just aren’t, even when they have all the information at their fingertips. So you will probably need to be an active companion on her journey of discovery.

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Xenia · 20/10/2019 08:00

Have a think about careers. Eg if she wants to earn £100k + as a London business lawyer then she should take three good A levels and go to somewhere like Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Bristol, Warwick, LSE/UCL (London) and some others. There is a list here of where many lawyres went to at university www.chambersstudent.co.uk/where-to-start/newsletter/law-firms-preferred-universities-2019. It is very likely that most other high payment jobs have similar university choices and you can often look on websites of jobs she might want to do and look at the ujniversities of the newest people they hired by looking at the website or the linkedin profiles of those people.

Then pick the traditional A level subjects - at least two that are known as facilitating (i.e. harder) subjects eg my sons at Bristol did history and geography and one did economics and the other classics. Although the facilitating subjects list may be going in practice it remains wise. I did 3 of them when I did my A levels - English, History and German. Here is the list www.clare.cam.ac.uk/subjectchoice-alevelchoice/ -


" Mathematics and Further Mathematics
English Literature
Physics
Biology
Chemistry
Geography
History
Languages (Classical and Modern)

There are also subjects which are not on this list, such as Economics, Geology and Religious Studies, which provide a good preparation for university study but which are rarely a requirement for university entry".

If she is not too worried about future income and could be happy earning not very much even then it can pay to pick the harder subjects and better universities as that tends to give you more chances in life.

She probably has an idea now if she is an arts or sciences person. If arts person then pick something like I and my twins above did. If sciences and of course if she wants to be a doctor pick sciences/maths side. Although you can mix and match in some schools if the timetable allows it it is a bit complex eg if you like writing essays then English literature (don't do language) and history together are a good combination - both requiring essay writing skills.

Try to avoid going " where your friends are going" as they made have made unwise choices and try to plan ahead. I planned my career around the age of 14 and therefore could see that for some graduate jobs there are set timetables sometimes 2 or 3 years ahead for applications.

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Piggywaspushed · 20/10/2019 08:46

Oxbridge aside (and bonkersly, Sheffield, which is famed for its media courses and yet does not accept Film A Level is an academic subject : one wonders when they actually looked at the spec! But apparently, science in society is fine. Grr)), Most unis are coming round to a much wider range and understanding of A Level subjects (partly, at least , in the desire to widen participation).

Observe Edinburgh:

www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/entry-requirements/ruk/approved-subjects

UCL has a list which basically lists every subject!

Facilitating subjects were so called because they developed facilitating skills to support other academic subjects (like service subjects, really). This has given them the reputation of being harder. Not always true. I have taught 4 different A Level subjects, and studied two more myself (in a different country but to a similar/higher standard). I am confident they were all equally rigorous, demanding and inspiring.

OP , this choice really needs to be based on what your DD's school offers, what she enjoys and is motivated by , whether she likes practical and vocational opportunities ( T Levels and BTecs , for example, are a great fit for many) and how broad or focused her interests are.

Her school won't just tell her to 'choose subjects' and leave her to it!

Interestingly, I just tried the prospect site and , despite entering DS's interests as being languages/media/ business based, all the high matches came up in scientific or medical careers! The questions are also hard for your average 15 year old to answer. I'd avoid that site, really. He also said he wanted to earn 'above the average' as a starting salary and the top match was a TA...

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Piggywaspushed · 20/10/2019 08:54

Although this is for a select group of unis, it is a pretty useful website these days:

www.informedchoices.ac.uk/start

You choose A Level combos and it suggest degrees.

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Embracelife · 20/10/2019 09:01

Pick a newspaper and list all the jobs or careers mentioned from politicians to doctors to retail. What excited her? What might she like to be in 10 years time? How to get there? Some specific eg doctor =biology
Other more flexible- retail manager any degree.
Reading the news journalist history english languages or specialist subject
Etc
You can mix eg engineering with a language
Sports science degrees or physiotherapist if she into sport

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Velveteenfruitbowl · 20/10/2019 09:06

You work backwards.
How much do I need to earn at age 30?
What careers will allow that?
Which of those careers is the best suited to me (not which one I like best, but which will I be able to do, which will have the kind of flexibility/whatever I need for the kind of life I want etc).
Which university courses can I do to get into that career?
Which of those courses has the lowest entry requirements in oxbridge/Russell group?

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RiojaHaze · 20/10/2019 09:13

If she goes to her careers advisor at school or uses the national careers service, there's a really good piece of software they use called Kudos. It lets you enter your likes and dislikes and future plans, then suggests careers that would suit you along with the pathway to get there inclusive of a levels, degrees or vocational training.

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QuaterMiss · 20/10/2019 09:29

Which of those courses has the lowest entry requirements in oxbridge/Russell group?

Seriously? (HmmConfused)

Round my way we have been accustomed to encouraging ambitious A’ levellers to aim for places with the highest entrance requirements they can possibly achieve.

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Xenia · 20/10/2019 09:32

Velveteen's advice is good and say better what I was trying to say in my longer post.

Setting out goals in life can be a good plan eg XYZ income is my minikmum because I want to run a car or buy a flat or whatever might be important to that person, if they have no idea then aim high as it is dead easy to drop later with your As at A level and very good degree from Oxford rather than London Met but very very hard to move later to those careers which require good grades in traditional subjects from good universities.

However my son is not using his degree and was a postman for 3 years and now delivers supermarket groceries and we joke the only qualification that has really been useful for him was his driving licence which he got aged 17 and he is happy and made choices he thinks were right for him including getting his degree. So I am certainly not sitting here saying only go for the £100k jobs my daughters and I might be in.

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LoveGrowsWhere · 20/10/2019 09:39

I disagree about start with what you want to earn at 30. Children of 15 don't need to plan the next 15 years! It's an unrealistic expectation & jobs market will look different in many areas unless law probably.

Why not put her favourite/best gcse subjects here & I'm sure people would offer up some ideas? University is a great plan and degree apprenticeships are another eg with the big accountancy firms.

DS yr11 has no idea of what he would like to do career wise but does know he prefers sciences. Who knew so many science degrees offer different paths in the second year! Biology start can lead you to biomedical science, pharmacology, climate change, animal conservation management etc. Agree with PP look at the ucas site then look at university websites especially for what/where industry placements.

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QuaterMiss · 20/10/2019 09:56

A question she might ask herself is

“How do I want to change the world?”

Another:

“What am I doing now that I really want to pursue to the highest level?”

That might be arguing about the future of the environment, upcycling old clothes, calming nervous pets on Bonfire Night, reading and rereading a set of children’s books - whatever - there will be either a degree or another route to training in a field that involves that interest.

She should certainly be guided to consider the social and political implications of today’s teens being encouraged to choose university courses purely on the basis of future earning potential.

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