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Long term advice (University related) Watch

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    Ok, this is going to be a relatively long post so if you can't be bothered to read it all stop now :P.

    Well right, where do i start. I'm 17 years old and currently in my second year of college doing my A levels (Young for my year group). Not one to blow my own trumpet but *Toot Toot* i am considered to be very intelligent. Sadly though i have always been incredibly lazy, putting work off, doing a little as i can to get by, relying more on native intelligence than anything else. This was reflected in my GCSE results; (A*ABBBBCCCC). My home situation had been tough during my time at school due to my father being diagnosed with a rare type of cancer, which slowly hacked away at any motivation i had to succeed academically.

    I started college hoping to turn a new leaf, to work hard, achieve academic success, get a placement at Oxford etc etc.

    It was all going well until sadly my father, (who i was incredibly close to) died in December 2008, just before the start of my January exams. The effect this had on me is ineffable. I say this because i couldn't work out how i was meant to feel, i was put in a position where i was looked upon for support by my younger brother and sister, so i guess i didn't really focus upon myself. As expected the January (A/S) exams went terrible, and set me back immensely. I did however strive to pick it all up, to work towards resits in June hoping then i'd achieve the results i wanted.

    However this motivation, this drive, phases in and out. Depression takes over at times, college attendance becomes low, emotions become distant. Despite this i managed to gain the highest results in my year group for Philosophy 99 and 100/100 on the two papers and obviously obtained an A grade AS level. With the other AS level choices i achieved an A in one paper, an failed the other (Due to resit workload). I've just resat the AS papers that i screwed up in June, and they went okay, but not fantastic, as i didn't properly prepare. September till now has been the worst period of my depression, and college became of little importance.

    The University application has been sent off applying for (V500) Philosophy at Durham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Queen's Belfast. (Couldn't face the stress of Oxbridge at the time it was running at college)

    I've received an offer from Queens of BBB which is a nice easy offer, i know it could be achieved with little effort, and would relieve a lot of stress off me this year. No other offers yet, but i i do receive offers of AAA from the top three, i'm not entirely sure i'll be able to achieve these grades this year due to all the extra work from constantly chasing my tail.

    Sometimes I'm certain that intellectual esteem is paramount to me, yet other times i do not, and then i am just lost.

    So my choice really is. Do a third year at college, Fast track two A-levels (Sociology and Psychology which i should of taken originally but didn't due to myths of them being 'doss subjects') , round my other A levels up to A's if need be, and then Apply to Oxford (Originally what i wanted to do) and Durham, Bristol, Edinburgh, UCL, this time grades in hand and an improved academic profile. OR;

    Head off to Queen's hopefully convinced that going to a prestigious university is no longer an ambition of mine, and grateful of the low offer and the subsequent easy ride i'll have at college this year.

    Ok, that feels good to get off my chest.

    Help please ?

    PS: As it took a while to write, i didn't check spelling or grammar, so i apologise for any mistakes.

    Thanks.
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    queens is an excellent uni
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    My advice is the fast track programme as you can try for different universities, ones you wanted to apply for. Gap year you make some money, travel etc etc to ease the burden. I wished In a way that I had taken a gap year as most of money goes on accomodation which seems quite wasteful.

    Thats just me really enforcing the idea of a gap year :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by EoghanM)
    queens is an excellent uni
    Yeah i mean no disrespect, it's a great uni, just not a prestigious one.
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    If Oxford is your dream and your parents can support you in a third year, then take the fast track A-levels and apply for the unis you want to go to :3 You're already ahead, afterall. I'm sure they'll be very interested in you, especially if you already have your A-level grades from this year by the time you apply.
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    How much do you like Queen's and the subject that you'd be studying there? If you are keen on both the university and the subject, then that's definitely an option you should consider.

    BUT, if you feel that you have not yet achieved your academic potential and would like to do so, then it might be a good idea to apply grades in hand and do a couple of extra A-levels (exactly what I'm doing at the moment!) I have to say though, that though there's nothing wrong with psychology and sociology A-levels in themselves, doing both at the same time might not be a great idea as I believe they're quite similar in content and range. Perhaps choosing one of the two and then another, different A-level might be a good idea? I'm not saying this because of their 'doss' reputations, (something that I completely disagree with) but you might be covering the same content twice over.

    So, if I were you I'd take an extra year out, do a few more A-levels and apply again in order to achieve your potential- but only if you think you wouldn't be happy at Queen's.
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    (Original post by llacerta)
    How much do you like Queen's and the subject that you'd be studying there? If you are keen on both the university and the subject, then that's definitely an option you should consider.

    BUT, if you feel that you have not yet achieved your academic potential and would like to do so, then it might be a good idea to apply grades in hand and do a couple of extra A-levels (exactly what I'm doing at the moment!) I have to say though, that though there's nothing wrong with psychology and sociology A-levels in themselves, doing both at the same time might not be a great idea as I believe they're quite similar in content and range. Perhaps choosing one of the two and then another, different A-level might be a good idea? I'm not saying this because of their 'doss' reputations, (something that I completely disagree with) but you might be covering the same content twice over.

    So, if I were you I'd take an extra year out, do a few more A-levels and apply again in order to achieve your potential- but only if you think you wouldn't be happy at Queen's.

    Thanks for the reply. Well i'm going to the Queen's open day in half term to try and get more of a feel for it, which should help. Yeah i know they are now, wish i did when i started college, ended up doing (History and Politics) which i despise.
    Do you still feel now that staying on was the right thing to do? I noticed you were rejected from Oxford (Sorry to hear was that after interview?), has that made you think that you shouldn't have taken the third year?
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    Think of it in the long term. Sometimes an extra year can be exactly what you need to figure out what you want, it's sort of what I've done - I got accepted to 5 uni courses last year and turned them down to do an art portfolio course at college so I could apply to art school this year. I spent the first half of this year thinking I'd made a huge mistake - obviously the whole intellectual esteem thing got to me a bit - sitting around making cruddy things out of paper when I could have been at edinburgh university! But I've finally figured out what I want (it was art school in the end) and if I had rushed off to uni last year I would have missed out on the time to make a better informed decision.
    Also it always feels good to do your best, so if you think you'd feel more satisfied with the grades you could get in better circumstances, it could be worth it...
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    (Original post by Supfresh.)
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    I think that you should firm Queens in case you change your mind, but plan to have a gap year. It really sounds like you need it. My best friend has gone through exactly the same thing as you and she took a year out and is much better now, although has some relapses with motivation, but don't we all!

    I think that having a year where you're able to relax, focus on yourself etc would probably be much more worth while and then you can start University and turn over a leaf and put everything into it like you want to. I don't think it would be good to go to Oxford without motivation!

    If you get straight A's though you wouldn't need to do the fast track A levels? Why do you want to do fast track and not just improve the grades you already have? Is there a certain reason for it? I'd much rather work for 6 months and bring my grades up in January exams and then travel for a few months over the summer or something. Maybe something to think about?
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    (Original post by Supfresh.)
    Thanks for the reply. Well i'm going to the Queen's open day in half term to try and get more of a feel for it, which should help. Yeah i know they are now, wish i did when i started college, ended up doing (History and Politics) which i despise.
    Do you still feel now that staying on was the right thing to do? I noticed you were rejected from Oxford (Sorry to hear was that after interview?), has that made you think that you shouldn't have taken the third year?
    Okay, that's cool that you're going to visit, always a good idea.

    Yes, definitely the right thing in my case. I didn't actually apply at all last year, so this is still my first time applying to university, but I wouldn't have been able to apply to the calibre of university that I did apply to this time round, and I, like you, wanted somewhere at least reasonably prestigious. With AS grades of ACCD, I thought that applying anywhere which wanted more than that would be risky- especially as I didn't know whether I was capable of doing better!

    So now I've got my final A-level grades, it made it much easier to choose universities that either wanted those grades (two out of my three options) or more than that as I'm taking more A-levels as you will.

    Oxford was just a long-shot for me, (I was rejected pre-interview unsurprisingly), but I didn't mind 'wasting' one of my five options as I knew it was likely I'd be getting at least one unconditional, and when you know that, the world's your oyster! Plus now my curiosity has been sated, and I'm not going to spend the next three years asking, 'could I be at Oxford right now?', as obviously the answer is a big fat NO. :p:

    As well as being able to apply to 'better' universities, having this extra year out has meant that I've been able to earn more money and go travelling here and there, and I know that when I DO go to university, it'll be the right one for me.

    Sorry for babbling so much, but I hope my experiences have helped you make a decision, and good luck whatever you choose!
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    (Original post by moomin_love)
    I think that you should firm Queens in case you change your mind, but plan to have a gap year. It really sounds like you need it. My best friend has gone through exactly the same thing as you and she took a year out and is much better now, although has some relapses with motivation, but don't we all!

    I think that having a year where you're able to relax, focus on yourself etc would probably be much more worth while and then you can start University and turn over a leaf and put everything into it like you want to. I don't think it would be good to go to Oxford without motivation!

    If you get straight A's though you wouldn't need to do the fast track A levels? Why do you want to do fast track and not just improve the grades you already have? Is there a certain reason for it? I'd much rather work for 6 months and bring my grades up in January exams and then travel for a few months over the summer or something. Maybe something to think about?
    Hey . Well that's the thing, i'm not entirely sure if i'll get straight A's this year. I'm pretty certain i'll achieve an A* in Philosophy, but with my other subjects its any ones guess. The reason for fast tracking two extra A levels would only to be impress Oxford, and show that although i've made some mistakes, i'm still keen to improve my academic profile. But yes the idea of fixing my current grades up in January then doing a bit of traveling sounds lovely.
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    (Original post by llacerta)
    Okay, that's cool that you're going to visit, always a good idea.

    Yes, definitely the right thing in my case. I didn't actually apply at all last year, so this is still my first time applying to university, but I wouldn't have been able to apply to the calibre of university that I did apply to this time round, and I, like you, wanted somewhere at least reasonably prestigious. With AS grades of ACCD, I thought that applying anywhere which wanted more than that would be risky- especially as I didn't know whether I was capable of doing better!

    So now I've got my final A-level grades, it made it much easier to choose universities that either wanted those grades (two out of my three options) or more than that as I'm taking more A-levels as you will.

    Oxford was just a long-shot for me, (I was rejected pre-interview unsurprisingly), but I didn't mind 'wasting' one of my five options as I knew it was likely I'd be getting at least one unconditional, and when you know that, the world's your oyster! Plus now my curiosity has been sated, and I'm not going to spend the next three years asking, 'could I be at Oxford right now?', as obviously the answer is a big fat NO. :p:

    As well as being able to apply to 'better' universities, having this extra year out has meant that I've been able to earn more money and go travelling here and there, and I know that when I DO go to university, it'll be the right one for me.

    Sorry for babbling so much, but I hope my experiences have helped you make a decision, and good luck whatever you choose!
    Thank you so much, it's been more than helpful, i wish you all the best too.
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    If you will spend th rest of your life thinking 'what if?' then I'd suggest a gap year and more A Levels.
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    (Original post by Supfresh.)
    Hey . Well that's the thing, i'm not entirely sure if i'll get straight A's this year. I'm pretty certain i'll achieve an A* in Philosophy, but with my other subjects its any ones guess. The reason for fast tracking two extra A levels would only to be impress Oxford, and show that although i've made some mistakes, i'm still keen to improve my academic profile. But yes the idea of fixing my current grades up in January then doing a bit of traveling sounds lovely.
    Ah, fair enough. I would possibly email the college/department of Oxford (don't really know how they work) and ask them if fast tracking 2 A levels would actually advantage you much/at all when applying if you hadn't achieved the grades you wanted first time round. Maybe explain your circumstances? If you have a good reason (which you do) as to why your grades have been affected then get your tutor to write it in your reference and also write it in your personal statement (a lot of uni's only read one or the other apparently). If it wouldn't really advantage you I wouldn't bother with the fast tracking and just improve the grades and travel do something worth while with your year. Maybe get some work experience or do something that will benefit your degree to show Universities that you are serious about your subject? Hope this helps!
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    If I were you I would go for the fast track.
    The extra year might give you the future that you want rather than settling for second best.

    Good luck.
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    This topic is ******* annoying to be honest.


    All you have really said is that your lazy. Thats not really important, just do some work. I you cba, dont do any work and go to a lesser Uni.f


    Just whatever, seems like a long read just for the fact that your so lazy.
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    (Original post by moomin_love)
    Ah, fair enough. I would possibly email the college/department of Oxford (don't really know how they work) and ask them if fast tracking 2 A levels would actually advantage you much/at all when applying if you hadn't achieved the grades you wanted first time round. Maybe explain your circumstances? If you have a good reason (which you do) as to why your grades have been affected then get your tutor to write it in your reference and also write it in your personal statement (a lot of uni's only read one or the other apparently). If it wouldn't really advantage you I wouldn't bother with the fast tracking and just improve the grades and travel do something worth while with your year. Maybe get some work experience or do something that will benefit your degree to show Universities that you are serious about your subject? Hope this helps!
    It does, thank a lot.
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    (Original post by Apollo_17)
    This topic is ******* annoying to be honest.


    All you have really said is that your lazy. Thats not really important, just do some work. I you cba, dont do any work and go to a lesser Uni.f


    Just whatever, seems like a long read just for the fact that your so lazy.
    Did you even read the post? The OP has had some pretty awful circumstances to contend with during an important part of their academic career. We all lose motivation from time to time but the OP, to me, has shown amazing strength in still wanting to carry on despite their father's passing, because quite frankly, I don't think I'd be able to do that.

    To OP: I would strongly recommend a gap year, if you can afford it. I had 2 years out after failing my first term of uni, going at 18 was not for me, I needed that time to gain some work experience and get my head around what I really wanted to do. Sometimes the pressure to go to university straight after college from family and friends, and especially tutors, can be hard, but everyone I know who has taken a gap year has done better in university than those who went at 18. In fact, the ones who went at 18 sometimes end up hating their course and having a massive change of heart about uni. If Oxford is your dream then you would be best preparing yourself in every way to give yourself the best chance - you're obviously naturally academic, so fast tracking is also a good idea if you can cope with it. I did a couple of fast tracks at college and to be honest it is hard work but it's worth it. I wish you the best of luck with whatever path you choose and I am sorry for your loss.
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    (Original post by Apollo_17)
    This topic is ******* annoying to be honest.


    All you have really said is that your lazy. Thats not really important, just do some work. I you cba, dont do any work and go to a lesser Uni.f


    Just whatever, seems like a long read just for the fact that your so lazy.
    It's a lot more than that. If you failed to see that then that's a shame.
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    (Original post by LouisianaPuuurchase)
    Did you even read the post? The OP has had some pretty awful circumstances to contend with during an important part of their academic career. We all lose motivation from time to time but the OP, to me, has shown amazing strength in still wanting to carry on despite their father's passing, because quite frankly, I don't think I'd be able to do that.

    To OP: I would strongly recommend a gap year, if you can afford it. I had 2 years out after failing my first term of uni, going at 18 was not for me, I needed that time to gain some work experience and get my head around what I really wanted to do. Sometimes the pressure to go to university straight after college from family and friends, and especially tutors, can be hard, but everyone I know who has taken a gap year has done better in university than those who went at 18. In fact, the ones who went at 18 sometimes end up hating their course and having a massive change of heart about uni. If Oxford is your dream then you would be best preparing yourself in every way to give yourself the best chance - you're obviously naturally academic, so fast tracking is also a good idea if you can cope with it. I did a couple of fast tracks at college and to be honest it is hard work but it's worth it. I wish you the best of luck with whatever path you choose and I am sorry for your loss.
    Thanks, you're advice is more than helpful, i agree entirely, there is no point rushing off if you're only going to come back later.
 
 
 
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