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    I finished my A levels in 2011 and have so far had two 'gap years'. I'm considering applying to university to study international relations or international development. However, I don't have particularly good grades at A-level (BCD) nor did I study geography, economics or anything directly relevant to international relations.
    This said, I have since taken part in schemes that are heavily development-based and have acquired alot of knowledge and a experience by visiting overseas development projects and interacting with/attending talks and workshops with people who work 'in the field' on a regular basis. Anyway, I feel I'm well equipped for studying international relations, although my subjects and grades don't reflect this.
    My question is, what are my chances in getting into a university course without the required grades? Would a university even look at my application if I don't have the grades?
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    (Original post by hannahhannah2)
    I finished my A levels in 2011 and have so far had two 'gap years'. I'm considering applying to university to study international relations or international development. However, I don't have particularly good grades at A-level (BCD) nor did I study geography, economics or anything directly relevant to international relations.
    This said, I have since taken part in schemes that are heavily development-based and have acquired alot of knowledge and a experience by visiting overseas development projects and interacting with/attending talks and workshops with people who work 'in the field' on a regular basis. Anyway, I feel I'm well equipped for studying international relations, although my subjects and grades don't reflect this.
    My question is, what are my chances in getting into a university course without the required grades? Would a university even look at my application if I don't have the grades?
    Depends on how far off you were. You could possibly get into a course with asking grades of BCC with a good personal statement, anything higher would probally be a longshot. For International Relations you don't need any prior knowledge and you don't have to study economics as part of it. Most universities just want you to have a humanities A-Level (English,History e.c.t) As you've only been out of education for 2 years grades come ahead of experience. Universities generally only consider experience above grades if an applicant has been out of education for a long time (like 10 years+)
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    If you are already 21 then the admissions requirements are more flexible - experience can make up for actual grades. This is just one example of a University's policy about this : http://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/ug/app...maturestudents

    However, Universities usually still ask for some evidence of recent study or simply evidence of your ability to still write an essay. You could do something like an introductory unit with the OU (http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergr...dies/index.htm) or a one year A level (Geography? or Politics?) to show you have this ability (and enthusiasm for study) in the meantime. It would also give you an idea of whether you really do want to study in this area.

    Why dont you email a couple of Geography Depts (use the email contacts on the course pages) and explain briefly what you've done re. experience and give them your A level grades etc, and see what they say? And if they wont take you now, what would you need to do to bump-up your application?
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    (Original post by returnmigrant)
    If you are already 21 then the admissions requirements are more flexible - experience can make up for actual grades. This is just one example of a University's policy about this : http://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/ug/app...maturestudents

    However, Universities usually still ask for some evidence of recent study or simply evidence of your ability to still write an essay. You could do something like an introductory unit with the OU (http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergr...dies/index.htm) or a one year A level (Geography? or Politics?) to show you have this ability (and enthusiasm for study) in the meantime. It would also give you an idea of whether you really do want to study in this area.

    Why dont you email a couple of Geography Depts (use the email contacts on the course pages) and explain briefly what you've done re. experience and give them your A level grades etc, and see what they say? And if they wont take you now, what would you need to do to bump-up your application?
    that would depend on what sussex meant by 'some years' which is probally more than 2 or 3 (as would be the case if the OP applied for 2014 entry)
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    I applied to Sussex twice - 2012/13 and 2013/14 to go as a mature student in Social Work. The first time I got shortlisted and was asked for an "enhanced personal statement" but never got through to the interview stage. I requested for feedback and they said that my answer to a question regarding "a time in my life that I demonstrated tenacity to deal with the unexpected" was not strong enough compared to other applicants. In 2013, they rejected my application straight away in spite of the fact that I had a stronger personal statement. This time they said I was a "very good candidate" but others were even better! As they were rejecting me without even an interview (which is mandatory for Social Work) I got 3 unconditional offers elsewhere. I should point out that my Access grades are nearly perfect. It is worth noting that Sussex is one of the top-rated Universities, so competition is quite high. Your grades and experience with be compared to the other applicants. But why not give it a try!
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    Thank you for all of your answers, they've been very useful!
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    Hi Hannah,

    I know it's a bit late to reply but hopefully you will still see this. I'm in the exact same boat with you! I've done my Alevels back in 2011, I don't have amazing grades too (BCC) and none of them was anything relevant to development (art, textiles & maths). Back then I wanted to do Arts. I got into University of the Arts London, during the 2 years I did an art foundation course for a year, the following year did a fashion course. Made up my mind then applied and got into London College of Fashion to do a fashion design degree. But that summer (2013) I had a chance to volunteer in Ethiopia for 3 months. Fell in love with development work, even now still finding it so hard to be back in London because of the expensive lifestyle and doing a course so superficial. Now seriously thinking to apply for international development but obviously I don't have the grades but don't know if I should still try anyway and also see if there's anything else I can do to support my application??

    Enough of my story, so I am just wondering if you did end up applying anywhere or not? If so how's the results?

    Thanks a lot!
 
 
 
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