Choosing A levels - to Hat100! Watch

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Report Thread starter 16 years ago
Hi! Had to start a new thread as I couldn't post to the old one....

OK, let's look at all this again and I'm also going to tell you a bit about how Uni works, which most people here don't have experience of yet as they haven't yet been.

Right, first you like and are good at: English, Maths, Spanish and ICT. Well, if you were to take those all at AS level plus general studs and then 3 onto A2, you would have a great CV so far which would give you entry onto an enormous variety of degree courses. If I were you, I'd go for those 4 - they're all excellent subjects with real potential. Oh adn English is not considered a 'language' subject unless you are planning on taking A level English language. Also, Spanish at A level will include an intro to the literature available in Spanish and a lot more about Hispanic life and culture. Should be fsacinating!

Second - there's no such thing as an easy A level or an easy degree. Some people have strengths in one area and some in another. It's a rare person who can get As in everything, right? Maths is reputed to be harder than English, but that's not necessarily true. Someone who can get As at A2 maths and get a first class honours degree in it may be totally unable to get more than a passable grade at GCSE English. Good grades at A level and good degrees are highly valued no matter what subject they are in and the important people in your life, (Uni admissions tutors, employers etc), will know that.

Third - you're too hung up, at the tender age of 15, on getting your whole future mapped out and your career cast in stone! Ease off on yourself and concentrate on what you enjoy and are good at. If you don't have a definite idea of what you want to do in life right now, then get a good general education which will leave you with lots of options open when it comes to more serious decision time. Also, remember that the only things in your life that you can't change is who your family are and your own genetic code! If you make the wrong choices at 16, you can change them later on.

Fourth point - many people here seem to be focusing on the one academic subject taken from A level, through degree and leading into a specific career. In reality, this rarely happens. The only degrees where that's likely to really take place are things like medical professions, law and other highly specialised, specific vocational areas. If you were to do a degree in English say, there are MANY career options open, same as with degrees in any of the single options in your best subjects. What you're not taking into consideration are the other options at Uni such as joint and combined honours subjects, subjects that have no specific A level subjects needed for entry etc. With the 4 you mentioned, you could go into any of the business, economic, accounting, social science, maths, humanities, many language programmes (not just Spanish but also Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Russian etc which start from beginners and just want to see evidence of prior language learning ability to A level), and dozens and dozens more. Get hold of a prospectus and look at the 'table of offers' section which will tell you what grades and subjects are typically required for what programmes. Many do not need more than one, if any at all, specific A level subject!

Something people here possibly don't know is that, at Uni, there are often things called 'elective modules' available where you can follow up a number of other interests alongside your main programme. So, in this case you could keep up your Spanish or learn another language, do a business or management course or two, take a maths module alongside a joint honours in English and Spanish, learn a new computer related thing..... The list of combinations is endless. Many elective courses even offer the chance to transfer into that programme if your grades are good enough! Told you nothing was cast in stone!!!=)

Careers: You're too young to be convinced that you must know what you're going to do already! Many finalists at Uni, (those about to graduate), don't know that, so should you????=) Seriously though, have a browse around your local careers centre and see what seems interesting to you. There are some computer programme things that find out your interests and strengths then give you suggestions based on them - you could have a session on one of those. Talk to your careers teacher at school too.

So, DON'T PANIC! As you have no definite career idea now, (ie are not going for medicine, law, veterinary science, teaching etc), just take what you enjoy and enjoy what you take. I said that before and I'm repeating it for one good reason: It's bloomin' good advice!!! And it's what your teachers etc will tell you too.

All the best!

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