A Level subjects compromise chances? Watch

milkbeetle
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#1
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#1
I'm finally narrowing down my university choices and, at the moment, UCL, York and Warwick are top of my list, with Durham and Bristol also looking quite attractive.

I already have AAAa but I can't help worrying because my subjects (History, Fine Art, Photography and Eng Lit) seem to pale a bit in comparison to applicants with Politics and Economics etc. (I've also just spent a year on an Art foundation.)

So, I want to know if I'm aiming too high and if anyone wants to suggest some 'safer' options? And how many of my choices should I play safe?

I did spot a thread about 'odd A Level combinations' but since I'm horribly insecure I wondered if I could get a few more opinions? Brutal honesty is preferred :yep:
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milkbeetle
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I might try that, thanks for the suggestion! Although, would they really openly state that they favour certain subjects to others? They always seem to emphasise that every one gets treated 'equally' (grades considered).
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peachmelba
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You have A in two well respected academic subjects. Even Cambridge explicitly accept one "soft" subject out of three. Oxford have no official blacklist, just a list of essential/helpful subjects which vary. LSE also have a blacklist (though I can't remember if this is just for economics).

It's almost impossible to say whether you would be at a disadvantage compared to someone who has already achieved an A in say politics rather than photography. History is so competitive at leading unis and many other factors will be taken into account: GCSEs, reference and crucially personal statement.

I think you could turn your year doing the foundation course into an advantage. Explain exactly what it is you miss about doing history. You will then sound like someone who has explored another avenue and then come to the mature decision that history is a better path for you.

UCL, York, Warwick, Durham and Bristol would be a very high risk set for any candidate. Even though you have AAAa in the bag, I'd recommend substituting one or maybe two less insanely competitive unis. Have a look at Sheffield, Nottingham. Also it could be worth a crack at Oxbridge if the place/course appeals. Being a year older could give you an advantage in terms of self-confidence at interview.
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Wez
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Durham bum GCSE results and your A-levels are obviously good enough so with a good personal statement and reference I see no reason why you wouldn't get in. Doing an Art Foundation won't harm your chances any more than any other type of gap year. So you wanted to do something artistic for a year? So what - why would that mean you're less dedicated to History than if you went travelling for a year, worked for a year etc. Just explain that you always wanted to do History but also knew wanted to do a bit of Art beforehand because you're interested in that too!
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Mook
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I know someone at Oxford who was doing History, English Literature and Art :dontknow: Was your AS for English Lit then?

I don't think you're aiming too high. Looking at your GCSEs as well, you've clearly got a strong academic record. As others have said, you can use your foundation year as a positive; after all, lots of people apply for degrees without fully thinking through their options and considering other avenues. What you've done in your year out has made you realise that you really want to do History, and you're prepared to totally change your plans in order to pursue this, so if you can get that across then I think you'll be fine.

What are you going to do in your year out anyway? If you've only got an AS in English Literature, maybe you could consider going back to college and getting a full A level? Basically, you can make your application stronger by making this coming year a really constructive and productive one.
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Lucible
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I'd throw in a weaker uni, just in case things went wrong, but I think you look strong enough.
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Mook
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(Original post by milkbeetle)
Yeah, AS English Lit. I did consider taking it up to A2 or taking French AS but most colleges have already closed enrollment in my area. Plus, I didn't want to spend money on another course if it wasn't wholly necessary - finances are quite tight, which is why I shall be working this year instead!
Your best bet is obviously to email the admissions departments at your chosen universities and ask for their opinions directly, but if you're only offering Fine Art and Photography as other A2s then I think you might have to consider what you can do to prove you're really committed to essay-based subjects.
You shouldn't need to work fulltime for an entire year to fund university; it certainly shouldn't prevent you from being able to keep up some kind of academic study. Check out the bursaries offered by your chosen universities if you think you might qualify; I know Oxford offers grants (i.e. they never have to be repaid) of up to £4000 in your first year and £3000 in subsequent years to those from low income backgrounds.
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