Threads

See more results

Topics

Usernames

Mumsnet Logo
Please
or
to access all these features

How did your overwhelmed teen fill in their UCAS application choices?
116

lljkk · 22/10/2021 06:25

If you had a teen who found the UCAS choices very hard to make, how did they decide in the end?

I ask in case there is a way of choosing I haven't thought of so far.

Trying to keep this concise. Rather than Uni, After A-levels, DS/we would like DS to do a higher apprenticeship, but the process is very confusing, hard to get places. It seems like DS has to directly approach & sell himself to employers if he wants to stay local, persuade them they want to create an apprenticeship for him. DS won't directly approach & sell himself to employers. Else wait for adverts (may not happen) that could take him anyway in UK. Apprenticeship is Plan A but it might not happen.

DS wants UCAS application for a conventional course as Plan B, but he's overwhelmed how to narrow down to just 5. Within 3 hours travel time, there are dozens of possibly suitable courses at a tariff he might achieve. We have discussed Software Engineering, Data Science, Data Analysis, Computer Science. Looking at the modules doesn't help DS decide between them.

His only firm decision is a campus (not city) university. He's unlikely to consider Uni if his results or CCB or worse (can eliminate those tariffs). The filters on FrogUni & UCAS website are very limited.

Any other ideas how to choose?

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

lljkk · 22/10/2021 06:31

ps: problem isn't just Data Analysis vs. Software Engineering, but even if DS only looked for Software Engineering, there are still a dozen to choose from. Too much choice.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

Oblomov21 · 22/10/2021 06:48

I don't have any real suggestions, I'm afraid.

Are you asking too much re the apprenticeships though. When do they actually open and get advertised. Surely he just waits till they do. But warn him, actually filling them in and doing rounds and rounds of tests takes utter commitment. That is if his apprenticeships are anything like the ones Ds1 is applying for.

Ds1 is looking at apprenticeships, and has been for ages. They are being advertised now, he's applied for them and is waiting to hear. Some he's started on the tests, he's had some nights where he had 4 to do and they all take 1 hour + up to 1.5 hours each.

Re is the UCAS, Ds1 is organised. He's finished his PS and knows his Uni choices. But this didn't happen by accident, he and I both spend a lot of time looking at courses, visiting places, asking questions, doing reviews, checking things out - parts for the course he didn't like, parts which appealed more, somewhere he could have more choices and options. This takes donkey work, time and dedication. It doesn't just happen by accident.

Many others on our A'level thread still aren't sure. Some people very subtly change their subject choice at the last minute or some people still unsure which universities are the top 5. Some people have finished their personal statement, some haven't, but they should've at least started - most schools are asking them to be submitted soon.

However the UCAS form does not need to be submitted to the 26th of January so there is still plenty of time. no stress, no hassle, yet! there's 3 months and 13 weeks until this needs to be submitted. now is the time to start thinking about things.

But I don't mean to be rude but your DS needs to make these decisions himself and put in the effort himself. if he doesn't want to do that, then maybe this is not the right choice for him?

Apprenticeships are like gold dust. Gone are thr days when some lacklustre student might go on an apprenticeship because they didn't know what else to do.
Now they are considered to be the crème de la crème, Uber competitive, and I read a statement the other day that many students: "top calibre candidates who don't get on apprenticeships , now go to the top unis, as a second choice! "

So unless he's got the bit between his teeth and is extremely committed and driven, no apprenticeship is going to fall into his lap!

Have you talked to him about all of this? Being driven, deciding himself, what he wants?

Please
or
to access all these features

JuneOsborne · 22/10/2021 06:53

One way of thinking about it (the UCAS application) is: I will be spending 3 years and tens of thousands of pounds going to uni. Therefore, he needs to be confident that the subject is one he enjoys enough to spend all of that time and money on.

What's his passion? Because of its software, he goes for that. He can always choose 4 software courses and throw in a wild card.

He needs to be careful that his personal statement is specific enough too.

The other way is to research the unis that he likes and narrow it down that way. Say he loves Warwick or Univ of Birmingham. Drill down onto the courses at those unis.

Or, of he's this undecided, take a year out. Work.

It's a lot to think about when you are so young, isn't it?

Please
or
to access all these features

PermanentTemporary · 22/10/2021 07:00

Ill describe our process in case it helps. It may sound organised- it wasn't- but the more we thought about it and just did stuff to engage, the more things became clear.

Ds made the crucial choice himself, which was the course. He started watching uni videos 'day in the life of a computer science student' stuff.

I then did a spreadsheet combining 4 different lists of 'top unis for computer science' and looked at course websites to add what their standard offers were. Based on what he thought he might get, ds then mentioned a couple he'd Iike to visit. I took him to see one that was just reasonably close. All we did was walk across campus and look at the department plus drive around nearby. That one visit was fantastic, we both loved the campus and everything about the place and it's still very high on ds's list. He then went off with a friend to see two more. I then took him on visits to three others. By that time we'd both had enough and he felt he'd seen 5 places he was happy to apply to.

I was in theory willing to take him to somewhere quite far away but it didn't happen, so he's ended up applying to places that are reasonably easy to get to from here, plus at a fairly early stage he just ruled out Scotland or London.

Please
or
to access all these features

VanCleefArpels · 22/10/2021 07:02

Have you looked at
www.multiverse.io/en-GB
and
www.notgoingtouni.co.uk/

Which are great resources for alternatives to university. Sounds like he’s interested in high rehabs industries. If he can apply a bit of “oomph” on his own behalf (sounds like he’s a bit passive at the moment) he might be pleasantly surprised at the opportunities available

As for UCAS choices I agree it can be overwhelming. My kids narrowed it down v much by geography and ease of travel to/from home. Visiting campuses is also a great filter: you can quickly get a feel for one that looks great on paper but just hasn’t got the right “vibe”.

Otherwise he will just need to almost put a pin on a list if there really isn’t any difference in course content. Aiming as high as possible for the grades will keep more doors open at the other end.

Please
or
to access all these features

VanCleefArpels · 22/10/2021 07:02

High DEMAND industries not rehab!

Please
or
to access all these features

CovidCorvid · 22/10/2021 07:15

Towns/cities which he thinks he will like living at for whatever reason. Might be down to size, nightlife, easy access to countryside?

Looking at what modules are offered.

Open days/virtual open days, seeing the campus, talking to staff, going with gut feeling.

Please
or
to access all these features

wooliewoo · 22/10/2021 08:14

Finding out which courses are well regarded in the industry? Where do the big employers recruit from (LinkedIn good for this)
Do any offer "real" work experience?
Yes agree with visiting the towns, going to open days if they're on. Get a feel for whether he could spend 3 yrs there.

Please
or
to access all these features

TizerorFizz · 22/10/2021 08:24

My DDs decided about where they would be happy living for university. So first they narrowed down university. For them both it was city. Campus within a city was ok but no remote places! Then they thought about where they would fit in. Where there might be possible friends like them.,They talked to existing school friends.

Then they visited. They didn’t sorbs hours looking at courses! DD1 accepted whatever the course required (MFL) and ditto DD2 for fashion. So no great analysis because I (and they) thought it led to confusion and almost too much info to take in and digest!

The other issue is too many course choices allied to one subject. DD2 did have this issue. We tried to look at her skills and career thoughts and look at what matched. Some of the computer degrees are very niche but possibly not flexible? I would look at a general degree and specialise later. Often y3 allows more specialist choice anyway. I would also look at which courses lead to professional qualifications. Which are too niche to do that?

What are the employment stats? Are employers wanting these grads? If so, which ones get the best jobs? Data analysis for 3 years doesn’t look broad enough in my view. Loads of stem grads could do this job. Data science ditto. What is it and who needs grads in it? This info would inform choices in your position OP. Are these courses just designed for bums on new sears?

Please
or
to access all these features

Malbecfan · 22/10/2021 08:45

I've posted this before but will do so again as it's relevant. DD is now 22, so it was over 5 years ago now.

She knew she wanted to apply for Natural Sciences and we had visited Cambridge in the summer holidays between year 11 & year 12 and spent a day wandering around. She put together a long list of places offering the course then struck out those which were only Biological Science leaving around a dozen places. She and I went on a road trip in May half term. We live in Devon so I drove north and we started in Newcastle, staying in a Travelodge. We arrived mid-afternoon so hopped on the train to Durham and had a wander round there. In the morning we looked around Newcastle, then drove to York where we had a wander and some lunch. So far, DD liked Durham & York. We drove onto Leeds (she hated it even though I studied there) then Sheffield (hated) and stayed overnight near Mansfield in a Premier Inn. The next day we visited Nottingham (hated) and Warwick (liked) then came home. In the summer holidays, I drove to Southampton (hated & refused to get out of the car), Bath (loved), Cardiff (hated) and Bristol (ambivalent). That narrowed her list down to Cambridge, Durham, York, Warwick and Bath but she also wanted to include Imperial, so I think she ditched York for her final selection.

It wasn't scientific, but she knew what she wanted and seeing the campus and location, even quite briefly meant she had an idea about the places. She got offers from all & ended up at Cambridge.

Please
or
to access all these features

stubiff · 22/10/2021 09:43

OP, does he have a passion for anything in IT, does he code, or is he just thinking 'looks like IT may be something I'd like to look at'?

You mention not Uni if less than BCC, but what is he predicted/working to at the moment? And why the thought on the former?

Please
or
to access all these features

Daisysway · 22/10/2021 09:49

Suggests he looks at JLR (Jaguar/Land Rover) they offer apprenticeship schemes with Warwick University.

My friends daughter was successful 2 years ago and is now in her final year...(Computer Science).

Please
or
to access all these features

user1497207191 · 22/10/2021 10:00

@Oblomov21 But this didn't happen by accident, he and I both spend a lot of time looking at courses, visiting places, asking questions, doing reviews, checking things out - parts for the course he didn't like, parts which appealed more, somewhere he could have more choices and options. This takes donkey work, time and dedication. It doesn't just happen by accident.

I agree with all that. It's hard work to do the research, both reading the Uni websites and course details, but also doing tours of the Unis. We went through the same with our DS. He's ended up doing a course he never thought of doing at a Uni which he initially rejected. That evolved by going to view about a dozen Unis (both city and campus), attending open days, attending subject specific talks, etc. It's very overwhelming at first, but as you do more visits and research the courses more, you start to at least discount the Unis/courses you don't want to do, leaving a much shorter list of those that you prefer. It's a matter of elimination really.

Our DS started the process thinking he wanted to do Physics or Engineering and ended up doing a Financial Mathematics course. He thought he wanted a city Uni but has ended up at probably the most rural and self contained campus Uni. That was his first choice preference on the UCAS application, so he got the course/Uni he wanted after very extensive research. He often says how right it was and how he made the right choice (except for the way they messed up big time due to being over zealous and unsupportive due to covid, but lots of Unis fouled up in that respect).

Please
or
to access all these features

TizerorFizz · 22/10/2021 10:19

I find it quite difficult to understand why students love some cities and not others. L Sheffield scores highly for students satisfaction so why would any student hate it?? After a brief visit it’s a very harsh judgement!

My DDs were far less judgemental and just wanted a larger city. It’s so much easier if they don’t take against places for no obvious reason. We are maybe a more relaxed family and we didn’t work at it much at all! It really does not have to be so daunting. What if, after all this effort, you still get it wrong: what then? It’s better to choose the university you feel comfortable with. Where are your “tribe” likely to be? What else do you want from your university experience? Sport? Music? Other hobbies? What about 2nd year housing? Life at uni isn’t all about the course! I strongly suggest taking a view of the whole city or university is more realistic. If you are not well travelled, visit the most likely.

Please
or
to access all these features

user1497207191 · 22/10/2021 10:29

@TizerorFizz I find it quite difficult to understand why students love some cities and not others.

It's not just students though. Lots of adults like and/or hate certain cities too. So many factors that drive initial instincts, such as historic buildings, type of shops, look of restaurants/bars, river or not, traffic, public transport, people, etc etc.

Please
or
to access all these features

Comefromaway · 22/10/2021 10:42

Luckily for us (autistic) ds has decided that he wants to study the subject that both dh and I studied at university and that dh teaches at further and higher education level. He's doing a Btec not A levels and we know he wants to specialise in certain areas so that narrowed things down a lot. So I made a shortlist and took him to lots of open days and he told us what he "felt" about the places.

Where we are now struggling is that he needs a 5th 'safe' choice and there are probably 10-15 lower ranked courses that fit the bill. We simply cannot visit them all and ds is overwhelmed on how to narrow it down.

Please
or
to access all these features

clary · 22/10/2021 11:42

Echoing a lot of others. If they go to uni there they will hopefully live there for three or more years. So where would they like that to be?

DD wanted to be relatively near to home so that made things easier. We went to a number of open days - she found course very similar but got very different vibes from the cities and campuses.

DS2 couldn't go to open days in 2020 but we did do a bit of a tour of a few places just to get a vibe. We are central in country so that was easier. Then he looked at sport provision (very important for him) and course content. Ended up at Loughborough which he is liking except that it's a bit nearer than he would have liked I think (but at least I can still go and watch him play football Grin).

OP how about looking at a few places on the list? Even if no open days, some days out over half term might help?

Please
or
to access all these features

TizerorFizz · 22/10/2021 12:50

@user1497207191
I don’t find many adults who hate anywhere! You cannot judge people in a day and historic buildings aren’t really part of most students’ experience! Therefore taking against somewhere in a short visit is a bit limiting and not very sensible.

Please
or
to access all these features

enuffty · 22/10/2021 13:58

DS/we would like DS to do a higher apprenticeship, but the process is very confusing, hard to get places. It seems like DS has to directly approach & sell himself to employers if he wants to stay local, persuade them they want to create an apprenticeship for him.

All the big tech consultancy companies are doing apprenticeships and they are starting to advertise them now. Many other large businesses and financial institutions do computing and data analysis apprenticeships too. Many (especially banks) have bases in cities around the country, not just in London. Where is your nearest city?

There is a government website which shows all apprenticeships here: www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship.

If interested in a specific company, look on their website for the early careers section - all the info will be there and they will probably say when the application process opens.

Your DC could also join the mailing list for Young Professionals - they do a lot of webinars and online work experience with major employers offering apprenticeships.

Please
or
to access all these features

enuffty · 22/10/2021 14:01

The higher apprenticeships are competitive to get onto, but so is getting a job, so its good practice even if he's not suucessful.

Please
or
to access all these features

thing47 · 22/10/2021 14:17

I take TizerorFizz's point, but I do think vibe is an important factor.

If your DC feels like they are going to like, or dislike, a particular place, that's a consideration when they are basically going to be living there for 3 years or more. If an aspect such as the accommodation is unappealing on first viewing, for example, it is unlikely to get any better when you are living in it!

Equally, though, it's important not to let peripheral elements assume too much importance. DD visited the university where she ended up on a gloriously sunny day, and everyone was friendly and upbeat (probably in part due to the weather); she insisted on going again when it was pouring with rain just to double-check she hadn't been unduly influenced by the sunshine Smile

Please
or
to access all these features

TizerorFizz · 22/10/2021 18:11

@thing47
That’s really what I was getting at. Just a shell thing like shops that you hardly ever visit is not really a good reason to reject a university. Most universities offer newer and older accommodation. Most second year accommodation for students isn’t much different and who gets to see it in a flying visit. I think a considered view is best and not necessarily a knee jerk reaction from one visit. I think the people one would be hugely difficult to justify!

Please
or
to access all these features

lljkk · 22/10/2021 18:15

Thanks for replies, I went quiet because working all day. I like hearing other people's anecdotes.

DS's passions are eating chips & playing video games.

Not sure what he's predicted, but he thinks BBA is likely. That's too low for the Warwick degree apprenticeships (I have pointed at them several times).

He's a brilliant employee in several respects, clever & utterly reliable, but not great initiative, & won't sell himself. May not interview well.

Wow, right now there actually IS one suitable looking apprenticeship advertised in our area -- it's post-GCSE but at least the right kind of thing. Generally we find nothing within 40 miles. DS could go to a strange city where he knows no one to start work in a company (with no student induction type experience), but it's not very appealing prospect.

Thanks for multiverse & notgoingtoUni links, I will have more looks at them, I can't tell if they are courses the student pays to go on? What is the actual qualification gained...

I feel like we've tried the things suggested as helping to implement PlanB but they don't make sense to DS.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

lljkk · 22/10/2021 18:54

ps: Computing is one of DS's A=levels but we perceive he's not into hard ware, or the "science" of computers.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

stubiff · 22/10/2021 20:34

Sounds like Software Engineering (more programming) may suit then, rather than Comp Science.
There are also things like Games Development or AI.
Should be plenty of options around the BBB mark.

Please
or
to access all these features
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.