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Could use some advice on what's best...

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    Hi TSR,

    I've come here looking for a bit of guidance really... I'm in a bit of a pickle with my life at the minute and don't know which is the best route to take.
    I've known from an early age (around 10 or so) that I've wanted to do Computer Science at university, unfortunately as I'm sure some of you are aware, its not always a straight line from A to B, or in my case, it's been more of a roller coaster.

    Background:
    I've got 8 GCSE's A*-C including a B in Maths, English and Physics.
    I went to a reputable college studying Computing, ICT and Technology.
    Unfortunately, I'm not sure what the cause was but I was battling a lot of anxieties and depression in my first year of college and I can only describe my college experience as hell. I scraped into the second year of Computing with a D and actually failed Technology. I was bouncing between therapists and counselors at this point may I add, like I was just a number on a piece of paper.
    So I was forced to take another subject up if I wanted to continue there at the college, which I obviously did because the end goal was Computer Science at university... Anyway, I took Business for some reason... Looking back It didn't make a lot of sense.. I think I just wanted something easy. (I'm not saying Business is easy or anything)...However things got worse and I'd convinced myself all hope was lost, and that there's no way I'm getting into University to do computer Science. I saw myself as a failure basically, I lost a lot of confidence and just wanted to get back on my feet... So I took an apprenticeship in electrical engineering.

    I'm 20 now and on my second year of doing the apprenticeship, whilst it's all going well and I'm good at my job and everything, it's not what I'm passionate about... I thought i'd be able to forget about Computer Science but It's not left me... There's not a day go's by where I don't code something on my computer, or look up tutorials on Youtube etc... This was and still clearly is my passion, It's what I've wanted to do for as long as I can really recall. You don't need to tell me life's not fair, but I've realised it's not too late for a change in career path... I am only 20 afterall.. I was wondering what hope does someone like me have in getting into University to do Computer Science? I have basically no worth mentioning A-Levels... and other than my level 3 in electrical engineering and GCSE's I've got no other qualifications... I was wondering what would be the best route for someone like me to follow their dreams and do what they're passionate about? Would I take a foundation year? Is it even worth me applying through UCAS, I'm worried they wouldn't take a second look at me? ... I've really drawn the short straw here.. Is there any hope for me at all? Should I retake my A-levels online or something? I'm really not sure where to go from here...
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    Do some research on computer science careers and see what qualifications they look for. You could always take evening classes or something like that at college to get more qualifications related to computer science. But I'd stick with the apprenticeship, much better to do that for now at least as you'll have good career options for that.
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    What is the level 3 qualification in EE? Universities may consider it in lieu of A levels. I suggest that you find a few universities that you like the look of, and email the relevant admissions tutor with a brief description of your qualifications and experience, and ask them what they would like to see from you in order to consider your application.
    If they want further study, your main options are A levels, Access to HE or a foundation year, but they should indicate which of these would be preferable.
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    (Original post by Schadenfreude65)
    What is the level 3 qualification in EE? Universities may consider it in lieu of A levels. I suggest that you find a few universities that you like the look of, and email the relevant admissions tutor with a brief description of your qualifications and experience, and ask them what they would like to see from you in order to consider your application.
    If they want further study, your main options are A levels, Access to HE or a foundation year, but they should indicate which of these would be preferable.
    Hi thanks for the speedy reply! It's a City & Guilds level 3. I've rounded it down to about 5 universities I like the look of, and they're not really "up there" so to speak with the rankings... I'm trying to be realistic about this.. I just want them to at-least consider me and if they think I'm not capable I'll go and get whatever makes me capable. I've e-mailed a couple today and I'm yet to hear from them
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    How long do you have left until you finish your apprenticeship?

    A university doesn't want to give anyone a place for them to drop out at Christmas.
    The admissions team will want some stability. If you leave your apprenticeship early, then it seems like you start things and don't complete them.

    Is there anything you can do with embedded systems or PLC's at your place of work, at least you can then do some programming.

    If you are doing a lot of coding in your free time, upload the projects to github and build up a portfolio of work.
    Try and contribute to some open source projects even if it just bug fixing, this will show everyone how keen you really are.

    Every cloud has a silver lining. I did electrical engineering and only got into computers because I could solder serial cables.
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    (Original post by st*r)
    How long do you have left until you finish your apprenticeship?

    A university doesn't want to give anyone a place for them to drop out at Christmas.
    The admissions team will want some stability. If you leave your apprenticeship early, then it seems like you start things and don't complete them.

    Is there anything you can do with embedded systems or PLC's at your place of work, at least you can then do some programming.

    If you are doing a lot of coding in your free time, upload the projects to github and build up a portfolio of work.
    Try and contribute to some open source projects even if it just bug fixing, this will show everyone how keen you really are.

    Every cloud has a silver lining. I did electrical engineering and only got into computers because I could solder serial cables.
    Hey I appreciate your response! What you've said makes a lot of sense... I've only got 6 months left on my apprenticeship so I'm definitely seeing it through.

    I was wondering, would it help if I took some distant learning A-Levels? Like I have a lot of free time on my hands with work (because I work flexible hours). Do Universities see these qualifications the same as an A-Level from a college? I've been thinking about it... If I can take A-Level Maths and A-Level physics through distant learning and pull out A's/B's in them, would this impress the university? I'm really confident with maths (I know I only got a B at gcse but I messed about a lot at school, I'm actually very good with maths), and I have a close friend who's currently at oxford who got an A in his maths who can help tutor me a bit, so I could easily see myself walking the exam if I just put the effort in. I suppose what I'm asking is... If I get the A-Levels I need to get into a reputable university, would it be enough? Like, they're not going to look at it and think "Oh he got it from distant learning, that's not as meaningful"... or something along those lines? Surely If I'm going out my way to fund and study this myself, it's the same if not more recognisable than your standard A-Level you get from going to college after school? ... IDK it's just a thought but it's a very doable option for the circumstances I'm in atm, what do you think?
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    (Original post by Spkrblst)
    Hey I appreciate your response! What you've said makes a lot of sense... I've only got 6 months left on my apprenticeship so I'm definitely seeing it through.

    I was wondering, would it help if I took some distant learning A-Levels? Like I have a lot of free time on my hands with work (because I work flexible hours). Do Universities see these qualifications the same as an A-Level from a college? I've been thinking about it... If I can take A-Level Maths and A-Level physics through distant learning and pull out A's/B's in them, would this impress the university? I'm really confident with maths (I know I only got a B at gcse but I messed about a lot at school, I'm actually very good with maths), and I have a close friend who's currently at oxford who got an A in his maths who can help tutor me a bit, so I could easily see myself walking the exam if I just put the effort in. I suppose what I'm asking is... If I get the A-Levels I need to get into a reputable university, would it be enough? Like, they're not going to look at it and think "Oh he got it from distant learning, that's not as meaningful"... or something along those lines? Surely If I'm going out my way to fund and study this myself, it's the same if not more recognisable than your standard A-Level you get from going to college after school? ... IDK it's just a thought but it's a very doable option for the circumstances I'm in atm, what do you think?
    Could you do Computer Science and Maths at A level?
    Some of the science courses have a practical lab assessment as part of the marking scheme.

    I know the college term has already started, but could you squeeze onto A levels at your local college?
    If you are continuing your education your employer maybe helpful with allowing you time off to attend classes.
    You could then apply to start a course through UCAS via college

    If you know which university you want to attend, you maybe able to do one of their access courses instead?
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    An A level is an A level. It makes no difference whether you learnt it at college or at home.

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