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Do I drop out of 1st year at uni to re-do my A-levels?

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    Hi Guys,

    Just looking for some neutral advice on my situation
    Basically, when I sat my A-Levels last year I was facing quite alot of personal problems following the attempted suicide of a very close person to me and I therefore did not do as well as I had expected in my A-levels. I was predicted to get AAB but ended up getting a BDU. Due to the fact that I attended a private school on a sponsorship, it was not financially viable for my family to fund me through an extra year of 6th form, so I had no choice but to leave.

    I managed to scrape onto an Engineering Degree at a pretty low league university where I cannot stand it and I really do feel like I’m underachieving to the max. I get really upset when I see all of my old school friends on Facebook enjoying their lives in big prestigious city universities and I’m stuck in a dead end town, small university where everybody (students and lecturers included) has a "can't be bothered attitude".

    Due to me not liking my current university, I've applied through UCAS to do a different course at another bottom of the league university where I've received an offer- I keep having second thoughts about this as I can already tell that I might be in a similarly unhappy position when I move on.
    In the back of my mind I keep pondering whether going back home to live and re-doing my a-levels at a college then reapplying for university in 1/2 years in the hope that I can too attend a prestigious university and fullfill my aspirations. This to me seems like the last ever opportunity to do so as I believe I only get 4 years student finance and I have already used 1 year of that up.

    I’m very confused and indecisive unfortunately....half of me doesn’t want to return to A-levels because I've already had a taste of the independence of university life although as a whole I have not enjoyed the overall experience at my current university. Either way I want to leave because the feeling of knowing that I'm underachieving here and not getting the best out of life with the possibility of not enjoying my next university really does depress me and it feels like its a "now or never" chance to change my life for the better.

    Moving back home wouldn’t be very simple for the pure fact that I no longer have a bedroom in our family home, my girlfriend is moving to a big city university in august and trying to find a part time job good enough (in an area with very little job opportunities anyway) to fund myself for 2 years through college and scraping together enough money to actually survive without being dependent on my single mother just seems like such a massive feat.

    So, put yourselves in my shoes- What seems like the most sensible idea?

    Thanks for listening and advice gratefully received.
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    Honestly, I would start to look past the prestige aspect and try for something that you'll enjoy. I know from personal experience that you start to see how respected your uni is (or isn't) as being one of the negative factors that makes you want to leave but if you take a step back you will start to realise that this is secondary. I have recently left a university which was well regarded but certainly not one of the best and nowhere near being one of the best that I could get into.

    I would say the most sensible idea is transferring somewhere else and giving it the best shot you can. Make sure your marks for this year are as good as you can get them and aim for a university where you know you would have a good shot at being happier. The fear of moving from one bad situation to another is overwhelming but I can honestly say that it is better to move from one bad thing to another than to be left wondering if the grass was greener elsewhere. Give some unis a call and see if they would consider you; you don't need to aim really high but maybe take a chance and see what they say.

    Living at home sucks and your girlfriend shouldn't be too big a factor. Depending on when you would need to register with a college I would say it might be worth deferring your current uni for a year sp you can keep your options open and do some serious research into your prospects. I'd just add that I left my uni this year and I'm so incredibly happy that I did, so if there are a load of factors then I would definitely go for it, even if it is just to take a short break. If you're interested in engineering have you considered industry placements?

    Good luck!!
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    Have you considered doing a masters? Maybe a long way off, but if you achieve so well at your current lower Uni (what uni is it?) and get on to a good masters course your undergraduate will be forgotten to some extent.
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    I agree with the people who are saying that, at this point, just continue with the best university and course and the moment and put your all into it, going from strength to strength and stepping stone to stepping stone to get where you want to. The A level chapter has, essentially, closed now, and unless you got none at all and it is a requirement to get into higher education, I just don't think it makes sense to go backwards instead of forwards... you may well think you'll do a lot better this time round, but even that you don't know for sure. Could well depend on circumstances and teaching.
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    Contrary to most people here I'd say redo your A-Levels. Employers will more than likely ask for your A-Level results in addition to your degree results and if you don't feel proud of them, or don't feel that they are the best that you can achieve, then I think that redoing them seems sensible.

    By your own admission you're not happy where you are anyway, so it seems silly staying there if it's making you miserable.
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    (Original post by Emmaleuk)
    Contrary to most people here I'd say redo your A-Levels. Employers will more than likely ask for your A-Level results in addition to your degree results and if you don't feel proud of them, or don't feel that they are the best that you can achieve, then I think that redoing them seems sensible.

    By your own admission you're not happy where you are anyway, so it seems silly staying there if it's making you miserable.
    Not necessarily, but I see where you're coming from. Once you've got a degree, I'd assume that would count for more.
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    (Original post by Emmaleuk)
    Contrary to most people here I'd say redo your A-Levels. Employers will more than likely ask for your A-Level results in addition to your degree results and if you don't feel proud of them, or don't feel that they are the best that you can achieve, then I think that redoing them seems sensible.

    By your own admission you're not happy where you are anyway, so it seems silly staying there if it's making you miserable.
    I wouldn't advise OP to take this route lightly. Imagine the fees he has to pay for exam retakes as well as looking for a centre that will take him that does his exam board.

    Unless the OP want to apply to some high-end career position like Banking or Law firms there are a handful of companies (extremely competitive ones) that look at A level results to filter out their candidates. But I reiterate, it its only a handful of employers that does this.

    As with OP, I can truly symphatise. I was in a similar position, hating my University and Town but I've successfully applied for a transfer at a different institution whilst making sure this time I did my research, visit the university and checked out the Student Union. I made sure that I made a well informed decision. Although I'll be starting afresh again at a new University for a different course, I know I will be happy there and would be fulfilled. I got an unconditional offer too.

    Always remember at the end of the day it is not the prestige of the university that matters but your enjoyment and if you utilise the three years of your degree well. I would say choose wisely, like you said Student Finance can only support you for 3 more years.


    If you need help you can post at this thread I started: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1942079

    or send me a PM.


    Hope this helps
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    I think you can still do well although your not in a very good uni, in your postion I would write a list of pros and cons of staying and leaving to retake. Maybe if you retake do other things during the year as well as studying like voluteering possibly more so it shows that although you've retaken your putting in effort, but do bare in mind how long the course takes if it's 4 maybe don't if it's 3 that's more reasonable. I would also take into account the fees this year!
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    1. Make sure you pass the first year exams well.

    2. Check out the other university you have an offer for. Make sure that your reasons for choosing it over the one you are currently make it worth the upheaval of changing.

    3. Stop worrying about league tables. Whilst some employers will whittle out applications by where you studied, most start from degree class, if that is relevant.
    You are doing engineering, if you are aiming for an engineering orientated job, then your ability matters more than where you studied. I know many engineers who came through the apprenticeship route, studying at places league tables don't rate who are very successful.

    4. If your A level grades bother you and you have the capacity for self study. Why don't you just retake the ones you got a D and a U in the evenings at a college local to your university. I've known people with worse grades go from that to 1st in their UG and finish up with a PhD. Bad grades are not the issue, it is what you do after getting them.

    5. Remember, some employers require you to list any exam you have taken since age 11, so you may not escape your BDU by retaking. So retake for you not some future employer.

    6. Going back at this stage may seem like a a good idea. But it can be hard to maintain the momentum through full time retakes, applying for uni again and another 3/4 years of a degree. There is no guarantee that you will be any happier. The friends whose happy Facebook university life you seem to envy, will be starting their careers, whilst you are still studying. That is another lot of angst for you to get through. You need to focus on making yourself happy, maybe the university you are at is the issue, maybe it's not. Next year, you might have come to terms with the things that affected your exam performance during your A levels and have a much better time. You may not have experienced 1st year eurphoria like your friends, but you might hit your stride in the second year. Similarly it is not uncommon for a fabulous 1st year to transistion into a slog 2nd an/or 3rd year.

    7. Post graduate study is a great way of having a different study experience at a higher ranked uni (if that still matters to you).

    Whatever you decide to do, good luck.
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    I can understand how hard it is for you, even though I've never been through what you are experiencing. And I understand how much of a big decision this is for you, it shapes the rest of your life, which is a big thing. Firstly, don't blame yourself for your A-levels, the majority of people if faced with what you've been through would give up and run away, but you succeeded in finishing your a-levels, even if they're not what you wanted, you still achieved.

    If there is any chance of you finding what your going to do, firstly, you have to stop telling yourself that your an underachiever, because your not, the fact that you were predicted AAB tells everybody that, things happen and it took you off your track but your not an underachiever.

    Secondly, ignore everybody elses opinions, because at the end of the day their views are not important. Your the only one who is important in your life, and put yourself and your thoughts first. Only you can be a judge of yourself. Also, forget standards, you are you and be proud to be who you are, people would crumble after being through what you have but you haven't, so be proud of that.

    Lastly, do what you believe is the right thing to do, people can only give advice but only you can decide. If I were you, I would dismiss everybody's opinions and do what will benefit me, to me it would be re-taking my A-levels, and i'm definitely, most certainly sure that your girlfriend wouldn't mind you living with her in the big city, lots of accommodations have double rooms

    But like I said, do whats best for you. Your'e the only person who will be kicking themselves for not doing as they wanted, everyone who pressured you and told you their opinions will be carrying on with their lives and what they want to do and not worry about how they've effected you. What i'm saying is that you don't want to regret anything. If you go to college you can get a job and get your A-levels while your young, instead of realising you need them when your like 36 and have a wife and kids. You could either spend two years funding your A-levels or masters, but to get to your masters you need A-levels. If you get your A-levels you can still go to the university you had your heart set on and can have the best time you've dreamed of, while your still young. But then on the other hand you could go through clearing again to university, but end up in a place that you dislike and be in the same situation next year :/ I just don't want you to lose your potential, you have so much and you can achieve so much.

    Forget everyone else, just look into you and decide what you need to do, for you, not for your image or your family or friends, for you, and your future, your potential. And your girlfriend will be right there beside you to kick you in the backside and make sure that your happy P.S, I hear they have lovely big rooms with a double bed and a kitchen in some flats, just saying <3
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    What uni?
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    that's heartbreaking...if i were you, i'd go and retake my a levels and hopefully get the best grades possible to apply for a good uni. I think if your gonna do a degree with the high tuition fee's, it might as well be at a really good uni. don't just settle for that one because you've enjoyed some independence. It will be more worthwhile in the future to do a levels again.
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    (Original post by Ally Ally Oh....)
    Hi Guys,

    Just looking for some neutral advice on my situation
    Basically, when I sat my A-Levels last year I was facing quite alot of personal problems following the attempted suicide of a very close person to me and I therefore did not do as well as I had expected in my A-levels. I was predicted to get AAB but ended up getting a BDU. Due to the fact that I attended a private school on a sponsorship, it was not financially viable for my family to fund me through an extra year of 6th form, so I had no choice but to leave.

    I managed to scrape onto an Engineering Degree at a pretty low league university where I cannot stand it and I really do feel like I’m underachieving to the max. I get really upset when I see all of my old school friends on Facebook enjoying their lives in big prestigious city universities and I’m stuck in a dead end town, small university where everybody (students and lecturers included) has a "can't be bothered attitude".

    Due to me not liking my current university, I've applied through UCAS to do a different course at another bottom of the league university where I've received an offer- I keep having second thoughts about this as I can already tell that I might be in a similarly unhappy position when I move on.
    In the back of my mind I keep pondering whether going back home to live and re-doing my a-levels at a college then reapplying for university in 1/2 years in the hope that I can too attend a prestigious university and fullfill my aspirations. This to me seems like the last ever opportunity to do so as I believe I only get 4 years student finance and I have already used 1 year of that up.

    I’m very confused and indecisive unfortunately....half of me doesn’t want to return to A-levels because I've already had a taste of the independence of university life although as a whole I have not enjoyed the overall experience at my current university. Either way I want to leave because the feeling of knowing that I'm underachieving here and not getting the best out of life with the possibility of not enjoying my next university really does depress me and it feels like its a "now or never" chance to change my life for the better.

    Moving back home wouldn’t be very simple for the pure fact that I no longer have a bedroom in our family home, my girlfriend is moving to a big city university in august and trying to find a part time job good enough (in an area with very little job opportunities anyway) to fund myself for 2 years through college and scraping together enough money to actually survive without being dependent on my single mother just seems like such a massive feat.

    So, put yourselves in my shoes- What seems like the most sensible idea?

    Thanks for listening and advice gratefully received.
    Ahh, I feel your pain my friend. I am in a similar situation right now. Just finished first year, however rather than the university/a-levels it is the course I am not happy with. I am in a humanities course and feel I have wasted my entire education going do an arts route. I had always been better at sciences and foolishly entered for foundation tier gcses (I planned on an engineering apprenticeship that only required 5C grades so didn't enter for higher tier, due to the recession I was back in school a year later though).

    I have applied for an access to engineering course 1yr (usually 2yrs but it is fast-track) and A-levels 1yr (still to pick my subjects but I hope there will be room on the maths and physics otherwise I'll be screwed. I also applied for engineering courses with a year 0 entry, though with my C grade gcse maths/science and severe lack of work exp. on top of a very late entry I am expecting 5 rejections, but if I have a chance (even 0.05%) of avoiding an extra year at home I'll go for it.

    As for yourself, don't take the course at the different university. This will screw you over in terms of Student finance and you may never have the chance to go back to university unless you have £9,000 in your bank to pay 1st year upfront. That is of course if you take the new one and change again. You don't get 4yrs SF funding. You get:

    (current degree - previous years study) + 1yr = total years of funding

    So if you go into second year at this university, even if just for 30minutes on your first day, that counts as two years. If you change university that also counts as two.

    so say you change to a 4yr MEng after going back to college:

    (4yrs current - 2yrs previous) + 1yr = 3yrs SF funding


    You are clearly doubting this new university so do not go. The doubt will only increase as you progress through the year (I have a feeling te same happened during your first year of the uni you are at now?) All in all you will be really unhappy I suspect if you chose to go to university next year, whether it is at the new one or the current one.

    Also, ask yourself, would you really want to drop out and go on to a new course you are not 100% about and pay £9000 a year? Imagine paying £9000 a year on a university you cannot stand being at?

    Part of the reason why I have about 0.05% chance of getting a place on these year 0 courses is because I have not picked a university that I wouldn't be happy at. If I was paying say £3k a year I'd probably settle for less, however for £9k? No chance. I'll happily take my 5 rejections with me to college in September and Apply for 2013 entry.
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    (Original post by Ally Ally Oh....)
    Hi Guys,

    Just looking for some neutral advice on my situation
    Basically, when I sat my A-Levels last year I was facing quite alot of personal problems following the attempted suicide of a very close person to me and I therefore did not do as well as I had expected in my A-levels. I was predicted to get AAB but ended up getting a BDU. Due to the fact that I attended a private school on a sponsorship, it was not financially viable for my family to fund me through an extra year of 6th form, so I had no choice but to leave.

    I managed to scrape onto an Engineering Degree at a pretty low league university where I cannot stand it and I really do feel like I’m underachieving to the max. I get really upset when I see all of my old school friends on Facebook enjoying their lives in big prestigious city universities and I’m stuck in a dead end town, small university where everybody (students and lecturers included) has a "can't be bothered attitude".

    Due to me not liking my current university, I've applied through UCAS to do a different course at another bottom of the league university where I've received an offer- I keep having second thoughts about this as I can already tell that I might be in a similarly unhappy position when I move on.
    In the back of my mind I keep pondering whether going back home to live and re-doing my a-levels at a college then reapplying for university in 1/2 years in the hope that I can too attend a prestigious university and fullfill my aspirations. This to me seems like the last ever opportunity to do so as I believe I only get 4 years student finance and I have already used 1 year of that up.

    I’m very confused and indecisive unfortunately....half of me doesn’t want to return to A-levels because I've already had a taste of the independence of university life although as a whole I have not enjoyed the overall experience at my current university. Either way I want to leave because the feeling of knowing that I'm underachieving here and not getting the best out of life with the possibility of not enjoying my next university really does depress me and it feels like its a "now or never" chance to change my life for the better.

    Moving back home wouldn’t be very simple for the pure fact that I no longer have a bedroom in our family home, my girlfriend is moving to a big city university in august and trying to find a part time job good enough (in an area with very little job opportunities anyway) to fund myself for 2 years through college and scraping together enough money to actually survive without being dependent on my single mother just seems like such a massive feat.

    So, put yourselves in my shoes- What seems like the most sensible idea?

    Thanks for listening and advice gratefully received.
    I'm in a similar position to you dude, i've got a bad feeling about my A2 exams :/ and therefore i believe i might be going to mid table (ranked approximately 40) university :'(.
    I intend on going to that University for the first year and in my first year i also intend on doing 2 extra A levels and re-sitting some modules. I intend on applying to an Oxbridge/Imperial/UCL university for my second year .
    Please keep in touch, i need to know how to do this
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    (Original post by bahjat93)
    I'm in a similar position to you dude, i've got a bad feeling about my A2 exams :/ and therefore i believe i might be going to mid table (ranked approximately 40) university :'(.
    I intend on going to that University for the first year and in my first year i also intend on doing 2 extra A levels and re-sitting some modules. I intend on applying to an Oxbridge/Imperial/UCL university for my second year .
    Please keep in touch, i need to know how to do this
    can I ask if this if you are a already a year behind at school? In otherwords have you already repeated a year of A-levels?
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    I'd say redo your A levels and re-apply to a better uni for a better course
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    (Original post by ilovecatsforlife)
    Good luck transferring to prestigious unis like that for 2nd year...that's near on unheard of...

    Everyone on this forum is so obsessed with rankings...if you haven't gone to the RG or 'prestigious' unis first time round, like most of other kids at them, it's saying something. It's saying you're not good enough for them. I personally feel resits should be banned, unless there is overwhelming evidence of extenuating circumstances, they're incredibly unfair on students who revised hard for their A2s in their first sitting.

    My view, neg me all you want.
    I've been excepted into a top 20 University in the world dude . (UBC) but the grade requirements are very, very high. None the less the mid table University too has the specific course i want to do . So i'm happy
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    (Original post by Ally Ally Oh....)
    ... going back home to live and re-doing my a-levels at a college then reapplying for university in 1/2 years in the hope that I can too attend a prestigious university and fullfill my aspirations...
    In my opinion: you have one life, your time is slowly but steadily slipping away, do what you truly want to do. If I were you, I would definitely re-sit and reapply in 1-2 years. You'll always wonder "what if" otherwise, which is always worse than knowing for sure, even if the truth turns out to be unpleasant.
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    (Original post by Ally Ally Oh....)
    Hi Guys,

    Just looking for some neutral advice on my situation
    Basically, when I sat my A-Levels last year I was facing quite alot of personal problems following the attempted suicide of a very close person to me and I therefore did not do as well as I had expected in my A-levels. I was predicted to get AAB but ended up getting a BDU. Due to the fact that I attended a private school on a sponsorship, it was not financially viable for my family to fund me through an extra year of 6th form, so I had no choice but to leave.

    I managed to scrape onto an Engineering Degree at a pretty low league university where I cannot stand it and I really do feel like I’m underachieving to the max. I get really upset when I see all of my old school friends on Facebook enjoying their lives in big prestigious city universities and I’m stuck in a dead end town, small university where everybody (students and lecturers included) has a "can't be bothered attitude".

    Due to me not liking my current university, I've applied through UCAS to do a different course at another bottom of the league university where I've received an offer- I keep having second thoughts about this as I can already tell that I might be in a similarly unhappy position when I move on.
    In the back of my mind I keep pondering whether going back home to live and re-doing my a-levels at a college then reapplying for university in 1/2 years in the hope that I can too attend a prestigious university and fullfill my aspirations. This to me seems like the last ever opportunity to do so as I believe I only get 4 years student finance and I have already used 1 year of that up.

    I’m very confused and indecisive unfortunately....half of me doesn’t want to return to A-levels because I've already had a taste of the independence of university life although as a whole I have not enjoyed the overall experience at my current university. Either way I want to leave because the feeling of knowing that I'm underachieving here and not getting the best out of life with the possibility of not enjoying my next university really does depress me and it feels like its a "now or never" chance to change my life for the better.

    Moving back home wouldn’t be very simple for the pure fact that I no longer have a bedroom in our family home, my girlfriend is moving to a big city university in august and trying to find a part time job good enough (in an area with very little job opportunities anyway) to fund myself for 2 years through college and scraping together enough money to actually survive without being dependent on my single mother just seems like such a massive feat.

    So, put yourselves in my shoes- What seems like the most sensible idea?

    Thanks for listening and advice gratefully received.

    The important factor to consider is time. You only have one shot at this, and might as well go all out! Contact your school, being a prestigious school they should be some-what sympathetic, see if they'll allow you to return to the sixth form for 1 year free. Re-do the same A-levels why? Because you're going to be more familiar with the content, so expect to reach ABB as a minimum of what you can achieve this time around. Failing prep school doesn't allow you in, enrol in the local college (a respect, well known one) - Do not **** around. Get ABB/AAA/[insert good grades here] and apply for a top tier uni. I'm talking about a russell group uni, let's be honest, are you going to be satisfied looking back in 10 years time and thinking, 'I could have gone to a better uni, and had better prospects' - the worst thing is regret. And it's not unusual for a 20 year old to be in Sixth form/especially not college. Go to University league tables and look at entry requirements for your course and go for it. To those suggesting to transfer to a different, same level uni- you're ****ing with what could be. Do the logic, mate go and re-take A-levels and apply to a uni you can look back and be content with... Actually let me re-phrase. One that you'll be 'happy' with. The better uni, the better prospects. You'll meet people, and have opportunities, especially considering you'll have some sturdy A-levels and a kickass degree in engineering.

    Sorry to hear about your friend bro.

    Good luck and I hope you read this, it could make one hell of a difference
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    You are doing an engineering degree...therefore it must be challenging to a certain extent. If you feel that the work is not demanding enough, you might feel differently once you take exams and find them significantly harder. But in terms of changing degree courses, this is feasible as you get student financing for 4 years, so if you do a 3 year degree its fine. Redoing A levels would be an option only if you understand very clearly why you underperformed the first time round. Even if you live in a crap town and crap uni, there are still lots of things to do. I live in what is a crap town by general consensus, but enjoy my life here, even though I know I don't want to live here forever.

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