Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
x Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I'm not sure if I'm a 'mature' student at age 27, but I am thinking of returning to studying.

    I left school at 16 with a good mixed set of GCSE's:
    English A*
    English Literature A*
    History A
    German: A
    Resistant materials technology: B
    Biology: C
    Maths: C
    Economics: C
    RS: C
    Physics, Chemistry, Stats: D

    And one AS level taken early, German: D

    I then moved abroad for 8 years to work but I did complete an Open Uni BA in English language and literature with one social sciences module and got a 2:1

    I am now back in the UK and have been having difficulties getting graduate job interviews because my degree is a very general subject and they seem to despise the fact I have been working abroad for such a gap, which had left me wishing I had studied something specific (though I had no idea at the time).

    So, I have been considering getting some A levels since I didn't need them for Open Uni but now think they would give me something extra. I want one in German (natural strong subject) but also thought if I got 2 more in other subjects that would be good since 3 A levels seem to be more valuable than just the one to prospective graduate employers. Does Maths and perhaps one science seem good or ought I focus on my strengths and go for 2 more English A levels (one lang the other lit) along side the German?

    I have also considered doing a masters in something like interpreting or a PGCE, but it would be most odd if I was doing a part time masters and A levels at the same time!
    • TSR Support Team
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    TSR Support Team
    What grad schemes are you applying for? I don't think having A levels would improve your chances. I've heard that some grad schemes filter applicants that lack a certain number of UCAS points, but I don't think it's common.

    If you speak German it might be worth doing an A level, but I wouldn't bother with any other subjects. Another option would be to take a German-language qualification at the Goethe Institut. Not sure about a master's, it could be useful, why not post in the postgrad or career forums for some advice? There's no point doing a PGCE unless you want to teach, and if you want to teach, you certainly don't need A levels.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hmmyes)
    I'm not sure if I'm a 'mature' student at age 27, but I am thinking of returning to studying.

    I left school at 16 with a good mixed set of GCSE's:
    English A*
    English Literature A*
    History A
    German: A
    Resistant materials technology: B
    Biology: C
    Maths: C
    Economics: C
    RS: C
    Physics, Chemistry, Stats: D

    And one AS level taken early, German: D

    I then moved abroad for 8 years to work but I did complete an Open Uni BA in English language and literature with one social sciences module and got a 2:1

    I am now back in the UK and have been having difficulties getting graduate job interviews because my degree is a very general subject and they seem to despise the fact I have been working abroad for such a gap, which had left me wishing I had studied something specific (though I had no idea at the time).

    So, I have been considering getting some A levels since I didn't need them for Open Uni but now think they would give me something extra. I want one in German (natural strong subject) but also thought if I got 2 more in other subjects that would be good since 3 A levels seem to be more valuable than just the one to prospective graduate employers. Does Maths and perhaps one science seem good or ought I focus on my strengths and go for 2 more English A levels (one lang the other lit) along side the German?

    I have also considered doing a masters in something like interpreting or a PGCE, but it would be most odd if I was doing a part time masters and A levels at the same time!
    Have you had feedback to say that your time abroad and your subject are the reason you aren't successful? If not, ask for it wherever possible.

    A-levels might help if the grad schemes you want to apply for ask for x-amount of UCAS points as a minimum. If not it might just be an expensive and pointless venture.

    You really need to be committed to a masters course, they're tough. So if you want to do one, then yes if not then maybe think of other ways to make your application better. Obviously a PGCE is only any good if you want to teach at school/college.

    Also remember, jobs are hard to get. So many people apply for so few grad jobs that it isn't easy like it used to be. Maybe try and get some CV and application writing advice before embarking on a financially expensive alternative study route.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Snufkin)
    What grad schemes are you applying for? I don't think having A levels would improve your chances. I've heard that some grad schemes filter applicants that lack a certain number of UCAS points, but I don't think it's common.

    If you speak German it might be worth doing an A level, but I wouldn't bother with any other subjects. Another option would be to take a German-language qualification at the Goethe Institut. Not sure about a master's, it could be useful, why not post in the postgrad or career forums for some advice? There's no point doing a PGCE unless you want to teach, and if you want to teach, you certainly don't need A levels.
    The civil service fast stream asked for my ucas points which were very low, but I have been able to continue with the application regardless. But I may be kicked out when the closing date passes as a result of the low UCAS scores, I don't know yet. Other schemes were the Aldi area manager one which I wasn't successful in, nor the store manager role, but there was no feedback and no replies. I suppose I could contact to ask for feedback but I suspect my application would just be one of so many and I'd just get a generic reply.

    I originally wanted a German A level because one of the civil service departments (European one) required an A-C in French or German, so it was pretty much a necessity to get one so as to be considered seriously. I have looked at the Goethe Institut but am a bit suspect about how well-known and useful the resulting certification is. I figured an A level (equivalent of Abitur or International Baccalaureate) would be more useful..?

    My German is of above A* standard at GCSE so I would be able to get a B at least with an A level I suspect.

    Hmm yes I think I'll leave the PGCE as it's too niche and in a subject area I only would do if other choices didn't pan out. I like teaching, but not state school kids in the UK!

    (Original post by SuperCat007)
    Have you had feedback to say that your time abroad and your subject are the reason you aren't successful? If not, ask for it wherever possible.

    A-levels might help if the grad schemes you want to apply for ask for x-amount of UCAS points as a minimum. If not it might just be an expensive and pointless venture.

    You really need to be committed to a masters course, they're tough. So if you want to do one, then yes if not then maybe think of other ways to make your application better. Obviously a PGCE is only any good if you want to teach at school/college.

    Also remember, jobs are hard to get. So many people apply for so few grad jobs that it isn't easy like it used to be. Maybe try and get some CV and application writing advice before embarking on a financially expensive alternative study route.
    Thanks. My CV is already pretty much as good as it can be, I tailor it to each application anyway. I know it just takes one place to say yes but it's quite disheartening when you don't hear anything at all and can't even reach them afterwards.
    • TSR Support Team
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    TSR Support Team
    (Original post by hmmyes)
    The civil service fast stream asked for my ucas points which were very low, but I have been able to continue with the application regardless. But I may be kicked out when the closing date passes as a result of the low UCAS scores, I don't know yet. Other schemes were the Aldi area manager one which I wasn't successful in, nor the store manager role, but there was no feedback and no replies. I suppose I could contact to ask for feedback but I suspect my application would just be one of so many and I'd just get a generic reply.

    I originally wanted a German A level because one of the civil service departments (European one) required an A-C in French or German, so it was pretty much a necessity to get one so as to be considered seriously. I have looked at the Goethe Institut but am a bit suspect about how well-known and useful the resulting certification is. I figured an A level (equivalent of Abitur or International Baccalaureate) would be more useful..?

    My German is of above A* standard at GCSE so I would be able to get a B at least with an A level I suspect.

    Hmm yes I think I'll leave the PGCE as it's too niche and in a subject area I only would do if other choices didn't pan out. I like teaching, but not state school kids in the UK!
    I don't know anything about the civil service fast stream, but there is a big applicants thread in this forum - ask people there if UCAS points matter? If you speak German then it should be relatively easy for you to do the A level, but I thought the Goethe Institut was more impressive? Maybe do both? Up to you.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Hmm I shall research it, may end up doing both yes! Thanks for your help Snufkin
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hmmyes)
    Hmm I shall research it, may end up doing both yes! Thanks for your help Snufkin
    The thing you have to consider is that whilst the Goehte Institut may well be more impressive, if the schemes you are applying for ask for x UCAS points and a B in A-level German as basic criteria you are unlikely to be considered without them.

    It's a shame because with this filtering software I believe many excellent mature candidates must be filtered out for jobs they'd be perfect for. But if you don't meet those basic criteria you're filtered out before anyone even has a chance to look at your application.

    Obviously try not to set your sights on one job in particular and try to broaden your horizons by considering a variety of roles.

    It is horribly difficult, I'm not a graduate yet, but I do have a good job to do alongside my studies. Many days I despise it and think about quitting, but it took me 5 years to find a job like this; and could well take me a similar amount of time to find the next one, so I treasure it. You will find something, but sadly it can take a lot of time and seriously test your patience.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by SuperCat007)
    The thing you have to consider is that whilst the Goehte Institut may well be more impressive, if the schemes you are applying for ask for x UCAS points and a B in A-level German as basic criteria you are unlikely to be considered without them.

    It's a shame because with this filtering software I believe many excellent mature candidates must be filtered out for jobs they'd be perfect for. But if you don't meet those basic criteria you're filtered out before anyone even has a chance to look at your application.

    Obviously try not to set your sights on one job in particular and try to broaden your horizons by considering a variety of roles.

    It is horribly difficult, I'm not a graduate yet, but I do have a good job to do alongside my studies. Many days I despise it and think about quitting, but it took me 5 years to find a job like this; and could well take me a similar amount of time to find the next one, so I treasure it. You will find something, but sadly it can take a lot of time and seriously test your patience.
    Thanks man. Some sound advice there. I will indeed not put all my eggs in one basket, but I share your thoughts on the software that filters out people based on types of paper rather than actual abilities... it's nowhere easy to get careers now as it was in the baby boomer generation and it's really tiresome when some of those people assume our generation is lazy or faulty somehow when really it's them that unwittingly contributed to a lot of the world's woes!
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hmmyes)
    Thanks man. Some sound advice there. I will indeed not put all my eggs in one basket, but I share your thoughts on the software that filters out people based on types of paper rather than actual abilities... it's nowhere easy to get careers now as it was in the baby boomer generation and it's really tiresome when some of those people assume our generation is lazy or faulty somehow when really it's them that unwittingly contributed to a lot of the world's woes!
    I know. They worked really hard to get where they are so many of us (maybe our parents if they're younger than mine) had nice lives, so we could have better lives than they did. Though sadly now jobs are scarce AND there's little point in entering entry level jobs to establish a career as those routes that generation had available to them largely aren't available to us. You just can't get very far without a degree, and even with one the competition is tough.

    You should give this a read: http://brightside.me/article/why-gen...unhappy-11105/ it's very lengthy but is amusing and rings quite true to attitudes (and many posts on this forum) today.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by SuperCat007)
    I know. They worked really hard to get where they are so many of us (maybe our parents if they're younger than mine) had nice lives, so we could have better lives than they did. Though sadly now jobs are scarce AND there's little point in entering entry level jobs to establish a career as those routes that generation had available to them largely aren't available to us. You just can't get very far without a degree, and even with one the competition is tough.

    You should give this a read: http://brightside.me/article/why-gen...unhappy-11105/ it's very lengthy but is amusing and rings quite true to attitudes (and many posts on this forum) today.
    Haha that's a good article. I liked the rainbow-vomiting unicorn

    It does ring true though to a big chunk of reality today, and also a lot of misunderstanding from our parents generation. There's a lot of expectations about 'why can't you just do what we did' without the realisation that facts are different these days. But it's true in the article that we perhaps have somewhat inflated expectations. Ultimately I think we should focus on the fact that everyone has these doubts and feels totally DOWN about the whole thing from time to time and either learn to not take the tide of social media perfection seriously or else abandon the following of it entirely. We're all in the same boat ultimately and I suppose it's as uncertain a present as our parents' present times were. It'll all work out in the end
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Well of the few colleges near me that will accept external private candidates for A levels, the cheapest I have found is £320.

    Conversely, Goethe Institut's C1 level certificate costs £180. No brainer price wise but in terms of the qualifications usefulness and international prestige... Perhaps the A level is more 'school like' and generally dwarfed by my BA, whereas the G.Is certificate is more 'indipendent' and unique?
 
 
 
Poll
Do you like carrot cake?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.