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Is there any hope for me getting into University?

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TSR's new app is coming! Sign up here to try it first >> 17-10-2016
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    I'm 17 and I've been depressed for about 2 years now. At first I though it wasn't such a big deal and that I should deal with it myself. The depression started around midway yr10 and yr11 was a pretty terrible time for me mentally. I found it really hard to be motivated and keep on top of everything and people used to make fun of me and call me lazy. I told myself I just had to get through it it and I could start anew in College. In the end I left with 2 A's (English literature and English language), 2 Cs (Maths and R.E), 2 D's (Science and additional science), 2 E's (Computer Science and Art) and 1 F (Spanish). I know a lot of you are thinking how pathetic that is and I agree with you but I'm trying to accept my past and move on. This year I've been studying at my local Sixth Form College and it's been the worst year of my life. I have no friends, I'm alone most the day, and my motivation and self confidence is practically dead. I'm retaking 2 GCSE's (Psychology and Science) and 1 AS Level (Sociology) they arranged for me after I told the college about my mental health issues. Obviously my plan of starting fresh in college didn't work and I've come to accept I'm depressed and I'm seeking help (I finally told my family and I'm going to see a GP tomorrow for an official diagnoses). I realise I'm going to be dealing with depression wherever I go so I'm planing on taking medication and look for possible therapy options.

    Here's my question. I really enjoy English literature and I'm quite good at the subject. I like reading and writing (although it is hard to do when depressed) and I would like to take it as an A-Level next year. As for the other 2 A-Level courses I originally wanted to take Theatre studies and Film studies, although those probably aren't the best choices in the long run so I'm not sure now. Lets just say if I do get through A-Levels, is there any hope that I would ever get into a good university? I'm not exactly expecting Oxford or Cambridge, but is there any chance I'd be excepted, or would they look at my past failure and turn me away?
    I'm trying my hardest to change my life and plan for a better future, but I realise education is a big part. I used to get depressed about being lonely and wasting my teenage years, but I'm trying not to dwell on that any more. I realise also that I have a long hard road ahead of me, so any advice would be great to hear. Thanks.

    1. Get you depression diagnosed and under control or sorted before you go to Uni.There are plebty of posts on TSR with students leaving or doing poorly in their degrees due to depression. If you are prone to it, then best understabd abd control it before you start spending £!5-£20k a year on your studies. Dont discount exercise and diet plus generally meeting more people as helping along with any therpay you cna get to improve your coping ability. It will also assist when you apply.

    2. The film studies and drama might be seen as soft options as A levels, so beware unless they are directly applicable to the course you are applying for , then they may limit you. Best do some research now and check with target universities. they might prefer more traditional A levels like History or a language. Doing some research costs you nothing.

    Yes you can get into a good university. but you need good grades. Yes they can overlook your GCSE performance if you get properly treated and get it under control. They are going to be more reluctant if you have poor results at both GCSE and A level, hence getting the situation resolved.
    This is the guidance from Russell Group Unis to give you an idea, but note its also aimed at keeping your options open. Film studies and drama could be directly relevant for courses with components of those.


    GL and hope you get it under control.

    My past is quite similar to yours although I am now a 26 year old mature student, I hope my advice and experience can help you.

    I suffer from anxiety mainly and I still do to this day, I especially feel it when in a classroom setting which is very counter-productive to learning since I have no concentration and it is very tiring. I have learnt that if I feel I can get more work done at home or by studying alone I tell the lecturer the real the reason for my absence and that it is more productive for do the work in my own time instead.

    Secondly I would try and seek some form of therapy or counselling instead of taking medication, I have had a lot of friends that have been prescribed citalopram etc and it doesn't help you find out why you feel the way you do and isn't a long term solution.

    The education system can be quite lenient with second chances etc and if you write a good personal statement explaining how you have felt depressed and can provide a doctors note they will look over your gcse's if you can improve your A-levels results. My mother died whilst doing my A-levels and I got CCD, I explained this in my personal statement and got accepted to an average University, I then got a 1st in my first year at Uni and have been accepted to a top 10 uni for my second and third years of study. What I am trying to say is if have legitimate reasons for past failure and can demonstrate this, but can also prove you are capable (through good a-level results) then you can still get where you want to be.

    In terms of practical ways you can help your depression, I found that eating a lot more fruit and vegetables and getting rid of sugar from my diet and also exercising regularly really does help.

    With the psychology and science resits, you would have 10 gcses. Ideally you want C and above but it shouldnt limit you from top 30 unis if you get the required grades at A Level. What are your plans for A Level? You could always take a study hiatus (perfectly acceptable in general, especially so considering you are suffering from depression). Once you are in a better place, you could do an Access course (it might be free if you dont have A Levels) and apply as a mature student. I knew someone who got in to Cambridge through an Access Humanities course, so they are a respected alternative to A Levels.
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