The Student Room Group

Do top universities consider chronic illness when looking at grades

I'm 17 and was struck down with a chronic illness just at the beginning of year 11 which meant I missed my GCSEs and only got a c in maths because I had to sit foundation. I was predicted an A. So right now while everyone is about to start the last year of a levels I'm considering a level 2 btec in applied science which I know top unis don't consider.

Anyways I don't want my chronic illness to hinder my chances of getting into a university and may see if I can do my a levels in one year which (silly idea I know) or do them over 2 years. But that would mean I apply at either 19 or more likely 20 years old and I know universities don't like resits but I can't help that I have a disabling illness that can fluctuate. Would top universities consider me? Even though I haven't got many GCSEs (I will do my English) and have good a levels. If I get A* at a level I will have 600 UCAS points. I know under the discrimination act they can't ignore me but will they consider my situation as an exentuating situation.

Do they look at the paper that says I have a chronic illness an have to do my a levels late or the one that just says my grades??.
The exam board could make adjustments of a few % marks if the examinations officer at your school/college informed them. That is the usual avenue for extenuating circumstances at GCSE and A level.
However I doubt very much they will consider you without the required GCSEs to do a higher education course.
(edited 9 years ago)
Original post by balotelli12
The exam board could make adjustments of a few % marks if the examinations officer at your school/college informed them. That is the usual avenue for extenuating circumstances at GCSE and A level.
However I doubt very much they will consider you without the required GCSEs to do a higher education course.


Can I get in with 2 GCSEs and a level 2 btec (in the subject) all at distinction/a*
BUMP!!!! please reply
yeah unis take it to account what exams did/are you doing
Original post by Ambrosia_angel
Can I get in with 2 GCSEs and a level 2 btec (in the subject) all at distinction/a*


You need to contact the university.
Original post by sophiamarni
yeah unis take it to account what exams did/are you doing

I want to study science at uni. I'm going to do a level 2 btec and maybe a level chemistry&biology or btec level 3 later on.
(edited 9 years ago)
Not sure if top unis take btecs, as someone said ring them up.
Original post by Ambrosia_angel
I want to study science at uni. I'm going to do a level 2 btec and maybe a level chemistry&biology or btec level 3 later on.


if you want to study science at a good university you need to study science at A level

I'm pretty sure that most universities will take into account illness in such a way that they may understand why you are applying at 19-20 rather than 17-18 but they will still expect you to meet the same academic standards as everyone else or you wont have proved you are capable of completing the course
No you can't.
All English universities have minimum GCSE requirements.
2 GCSEs are not enough.
Most demand at least 5 ato C grades. You are not offering these with lower grades you just don't have them.
Many unis demand even more for maths and science courses, expecting 6 As.


Suggesting top unis do not take BTechs is arrogant twaddle.
Is Durham top enough for you?
They gladly take them.
(edited 9 years ago)
Original post by Ambrosia_angel
I'm 17 and was struck down with a chronic illness just at the beginning of year 11 which meant I missed my GCSEs and only got a c in maths because I had to sit foundation. I was predicted an A. So right now while everyone is about to start the last year of a levels I'm considering a level 2 btec in applied science which I know top unis don't consider.

Honestly rather repeat a year early in college/sixth form, instead of making life more difficult for you. If your BTec is known to be not favored by universities and the only reason to do your BTec is not to resit your GCSEs, then it is a bad decision. It must be the best solution for you, especially if you already struggling with an illness.
Universities usually take extenuating circumstances into consideration, but not if the student had another option and just did not took it. Wether you are 21 or 25 at the beginning of your studies, is not interesting to them at all, you may even get additional funding resources at some universities by being already 21. The only degree where resits will really matter is medicine, but then again resitting for pure medical reasons (or not taking exams at all, like you) is not what universities mean with "no resits".
Anyway, no need for long answers, just contact all your chosen universities and see, what they say/require. Then you wil see, wether BTEC is right for you or not.

Anyways I don't want my chronic illness to hinder my chances of getting into a university and may see if I can do my a levels in one year which (silly idea I know) or do them over 2 years.

If you do it like that, then the illness it not your problem, but your feeling to be as fast as without illness and thus risking bad grades without those low grades being inevitable this time.

But that would mean I apply at either 19 or more likely 20 years old and I know universities don't like resits but I can't help that

As said above, they don't care at all. Going to university without any illness and being 22 or so, is completely normal. You have any chances, so don't stress yourself by making the false assumption, universities wouldn't take you because you are one year older or two. They won't. Not because of an anti-discrimination act, but because they only want, that you can proof you are able to fo the degree and that you are competitive. How fast you got to that point doesn't matter, except you repeating year after year because of your lack of intelligence.
Original post by Nathanielle
Honestly rather repeat a year early in college/sixth form, instead of making life more difficult for you. If your BTec is known to be not favored by universities and the only reason to do your BTec is not to resit your GCSEs, then it is a bad decision. It must be the best solution for you, especially if you already struggling with an illness.
Universities usually take extenuating circumstances into consideration, but not if the student had another option and just did not took it. Wether you are 21 or 25 at the beginning of your studies, is not interesting to them at all, you may even get additional funding resources at some universities by being already 21. The only degree where resits will really matter is medicine, but then again resitting for pure medical reasons (or not taking exams at all, like you) is not what universities mean with "no resits".
Anyway, no need for long answers, just contact all your chosen universities and see, what they say/require. Then you wil see, wether BTEC is right for you or not.


If you do it like that, then the illness it not your problem, but your feeling to be as fast as without illness and thus risking bad grades without those low grades being inevitable this time.


As said above, they don't care at all. Going to university without any illness and being 22 or so, is completely normal. You have any chances, so don't stress yourself by making the false assumption, universities wouldn't take you because you are one year older or two. They won't. Not because of an anti-discrimination act, but because they only want, that you can proof you are able to fo the degree and that you are competitive. How fast you got to that point doesn't matter, except you repeating year after year because of your lack of intelligence.


Thank you so much.

If I go down this route, I will have 2 gcses, 1 btec level 2 (which is equal to 3 GCSEs).
Then I may do a levels after. It depends I guess...
Reply 12
Durham definitely considered my illness when looking at my GCSEs, I was ill across the two years so I only took 6 and the grades weren’t stellar.

Though I did meet their minimum GCSE requirements, so if that’s not the case it’d be worth emailing them. My reference had a brief paragraph basically explaining the context in which I got my GCSEs, I’m sure your referee can do similar. :smile: Good luck.
(edited 9 years ago)
Reply 13
Original post by balotelli12
No you can't.
All English universities have minimum GCSE requirements.
2 GCSEs are not enough.
Most demand at least 5 ato C grades. You are not offering these with lower grades you just don't have them.
Many unis demand even more for maths and science courses, expecting 6 As.


Suggesting top unis do not take BTechs is arrogant twaddle.
Is Durham top enough for you?
They gladly take them.


You are incorrect. My daughter got an offer from 3 top universities including Durham and got to the interview at Cambridge with just 3 GCSEs - Maths, English lang, Eng Lit as she was suffering from anxiety. Universities are very open to students who have had problems.

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