Will taking one 'soft' subject hinder my application?

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e2014
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Hi there,
I'm starting sixth form in September and so am considering my A Level choices. I'm pretty set on doing English Literature, Classics, and Philosophy, but I'm also very interested in becoming a screenwriter/ working in the film/tv industry in the future so I have an interest in Film Studies A Level. I know that this is apparently considered a 'soft' subject by many prestigious universities but it's something that I'm genuinely interested in. Would taking Film Studies limit my chances of getting into Oxford for English if I'm taking three other 'hard' subjects? Thank you.
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S.G.
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(Original post by e2014)
Hi there,
I'm starting sixth form in September and so am considering my A Level choices. I'm pretty set on doing English Literature, Classics, and Philosophy, but I'm also very interested in becoming a screenwriter/ working in the film/tv industry in the future so I have an interest in Film Studies A Level. I know that this is apparently considered a 'soft' subject by many prestigious universities but it's something that I'm genuinely interested in. Would taking Film Studies limit my chances of getting into Oxford for English if I'm taking three other 'hard' subjects? Thank you.
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jambojim97
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One 'soft' subject is very unlikely to hinder you application, especially if you drop it in year 13.

Whenever I see a thread like this, I always repeat my personal academic story.

GCSEs: bbbccddf
AS (first attempt at sixth form school): BCDU
AS (second attempt at new sixth form college, starting again): AAAB
A2: A*A*A and a B in a fourth AS I self-taught

And my subjects... English Literature, English Language, Sociology, IT
A2: English lit, English lang, Sociology, AS Maths

I'm now at Warwick studying Politics, finished my first year with a high 2.1, about to go into second year.
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BrasenoseAdm
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(Original post by e2014)
Hi there,
I'm starting sixth form in September and so am considering my A Level choices. I'm pretty set on doing English Literature, Classics, and Philosophy, but I'm also very interested in becoming a screenwriter/ working in the film/tv industry in the future so I have an interest in Film Studies A Level. I know that this is apparently considered a 'soft' subject by many prestigious universities but it's something that I'm genuinely interested in. Would taking Film Studies limit my chances of getting into Oxford for English if I'm taking three other 'hard' subjects? Thank you.
Thanks for your posting.

Your choices would be fine and a number of applicants take a 4th A-level for similar reasons to the ones you give.

Brasenose Admissions
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Lemur14
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(Original post by e2014)
Hi there,
I'm starting sixth form in September and so am considering my A Level choices. I'm pretty set on doing English Literature, Classics, and Philosophy, but I'm also very interested in becoming a screenwriter/ working in the film/tv industry in the future so I have an interest in Film Studies A Level. I know that this is apparently considered a 'soft' subject by many prestigious universities but it's something that I'm genuinely interested in. Would taking Film Studies limit my chances of getting into Oxford for English if I'm taking three other 'hard' subjects? Thank you.
One "soft" subject would not harm your application, especially if it was your fourth subject, as they are usually only interested in the grades of 3 A levels. What would more concern me is that I'm not sure classics or philosphy are really viewed as "hard" subjects. Certainly, this booklet suggests that 2 or more "facilitating subjects" (listed on page 29) are recommended for Oxford, and only English out of your choices is facilitating.
Conversely, this article suggests doing soft subjects can negatively affect you, but I think with it being your fourth subject there will be no problem with that if you amend your other choices.
HTH
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e2014
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(Original post by Lemur14)
One "soft" subject would not harm your application, especially if it was your fourth subject, as they are usually only interested in the grades of 3 A levels. What would more concern me is that I'm not sure classics or philosphy are really viewed as "hard" subjects. Certainly, this booklet suggests that 2 or more "facilitating subjects" (listed on page 29) are recommended for Oxford, and only English out of your choices is facilitating.
Conversely, this article suggests doing soft subjects can negatively affect you, but I think with it being your fourth subject there will be no problem with that if you amend your other choices.
HTH
I've read that Classics and Philosophy are quite good to do if you want to do an English degree?
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Lemur14
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(Original post by e2014)
I've read that Classics and Philosophy are quite good to do if you want to do an English degree?
I'm definitely on the STEM side of things so I'm not sure about that, was just concerned that 2 facilitating subjects might be a better option given the evidence above!
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Cubone-r
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(Original post by jambojim97)
One 'soft' subject is very unlikely to hinder you application, especially if you drop it in year 13.

Whenever I see a thread like this, I always repeat my personal academic story.

GCSEs: bbbccddf
AS (first attempt at sixth form school): BCDU
AS (second attempt at new sixth form college, starting again): AAAB
A2: A*A*A and a B in a fourth AS I self-taught

And my subjects... English Literature, English Language, Sociology, IT
A2: English lit, English lang, Sociology, AS Maths

I'm now at Warwick studying Politics, finished my first year with a high 2.1, about to go into second year.
Mine's even weirder lol..

GCSEs: BBBBBCCDE
AS: BBCE
A2 (Psychology, Sociology, History): BBC

Somehow got accepted into the University of Glasgow for Psychology and graduated with a 2:1 in June this year. Now about to start an MRes degree in September..

Anything is possible if you set your mind to it, and most of all, do what you love. Grades do not define the person..
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Inister
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It won't weaken your application, but bear in mind that AS-Level Film Studies is not likely to improve your chances of getting in to that industry - your degree classification (and where that degree is from) alongside your overall A-Level grades is more important. Also bear in mind that Film Studies is likely to have a lot of time-consuming coursework (correct me if i'm wrong)

Also, Philosophy and Classics are not facilitating subjects.
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Mightlobster
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(Original post by jambojim97)
One 'soft' subject is very unlikely to hinder you application, especially if you drop it in year 13.

Whenever I see a thread like this, I always repeat my personal academic story.

GCSEs: bbbccddf
AS (first attempt at sixth form school): BCDU
AS (second attempt at new sixth form college, starting again): AAAB
A2: A*A*A and a B in a fourth AS I self-taught

And my subjects... English Literature, English Language, Sociology, IT
A2: English lit, English lang, Sociology, AS Maths

I'm now at Warwick studying Politics, finished my first year with a high 2.1, about to go into second year.
How is any of this relevant?


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e2014
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(Original post by Inister)
It won't weaken your application, but bear in mind that AS-Level Film Studies is not likely to improve your chances of getting in to that industry - your degree classification (and where that degree is from) alongside your overall A-Level grades is more important. Also bear in mind that Film Studies is likely to have a lot of time-consuming coursework (correct me if i'm wrong)

Also, Philosophy and Classics are not facilitating subjects.
I know they aren't facilitating but they're academic and suitable for my chosen degree subject. I'm hoping to study English at Oxford for an undergrad degree and then hopefully study screenwriting at NFTS for a postgrad later on. I know it's not likely to help me get into the industry but I just feel the knowledge will benefit me and I'll enjoy learning about it, which can't harm my general aptness for the field in the future. Film Studies does have coursework, yes. It's either a 3-5 minute short film or a 1600-1800 word screenplay. I thought it'd be interesting to write a screenplay considering that's something I want to study in the future. On the other hand though, I could just attempt to study this sort of thing in my own time or self teach the specification?
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jambojim97
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(Original post by Mightlobster)
How is any of this relevant?


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To show that in spite of taking multiple soft subjects AND having a previously poor academic record, I still managed to make it into a top uni, thereby putting OP's mind at rest.
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BrasenoseAdm
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(Original post by e2014)
I know they aren't facilitating but they're academic and suitable for my chosen degree subject. I'm hoping to study English at Oxford for an undergrad degree and then hopefully study screenwriting at NFTS for a postgrad later on. I know it's not likely to help me get into the industry but I just feel the knowledge will benefit me and I'll enjoy learning about it, which can't harm my general aptness for the field in the future. Film Studies does have coursework, yes. It's either a 3-5 minute short film or a 1600-1800 word screenplay. I thought it'd be interesting to write a screenplay considering that's something I want to study in the future. On the other hand though, I could just attempt to study this sort of thing in my own time or self teach the specification?
Facilitating subjects are defined by the Russell Group as subjects that are required for entry on to specific courses. For English Literature at Oxford, the facilitating subject is ... English Literature.

History and Modern Languages are 'recommended' but neither are necessarily studied by applicants who offer quite an array of A-levels. As has been pointed out, Classics also has some affinity with History.

Its quite common for candidates to do a 4th A-level subject because it interests them. If your school offers it and you are strongly motivated, we can't see an issue with Film Studies.
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e2014
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(Original post by BrasenoseAdm)
Facilitating subjects are defined by the Russell group as subjects that are required for entry on to specific courses. For English Literature at Oxford, the facilitating subject is ... English Literature.

History and Modern Languages are 'recommended' but neither are necessarily studied by applicants who offer quite an array of A-levels. As has been pointed out, Classics also has some affinity with History.

Its quite common for candidates to do a 4th A-level subject because it interests them. If your school offers it and you are strongly motivated, we can't see an issue with Film Studies.
Thank you so much for your help and reassurance! I feel much better about possibly taking Film Studies now.
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e2014
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(Original post by jambojim97)
To show that in spite of taking multiple soft subjects AND having a previously poor academic record, I still managed to make it into a top uni, thereby putting OP's mind at rest.
Thank you so much!
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Dysf(x)al
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(Original post by e2014)
Hi there,
I'm starting sixth form in September and so am considering my A Level choices. I'm pretty set on doing English Literature, Classics, and Philosophy, but I'm also very interested in becoming a screenwriter/ working in the film/tv industry in the future so I have an interest in Film Studies A Level. I know that this is apparently considered a 'soft' subject by many prestigious universities but it's something that I'm genuinely interested in. Would taking Film Studies limit my chances of getting into Oxford for English if I'm taking three other 'hard' subjects? Thank you.
Having an extra subject is surely better than not having it. It'd only be a problem if doing the extra subject affects your grades in your three "hard" subjects.
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thotproduct
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I doubt people who do it as a degree consider it a soft subject, in fact, they probably did it themselves. In fact, you were very wise and took A Levels directly pertaining to your desired field, which is the general rule of thumb for A Levels.

In short: with hard work, and dedication, those 'soft subject' can be turned into one of your strong points.
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Confusedboutlife
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I don't think Oxford care that much for English what subjects you do at A Level ( bar E lit) provided you get good grades in it. Someone with English, Sociology and Psychology with A*A*A* is going to be seen as having better grades than someone with A*A*A in English, Maths and History. Individual tutors might have their preferences. Classics and Philosophy can be linked to Literature quite well.

Your 4th AS Level subject makes a tiny difference and is really not worth worrying about. Just make sure it's not lower than a B!
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username2393237
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(Original post by BrasenoseAdm)
Facilitating subjects are defined by the Russell Group as subjects that are required for entry on to specific courses. For English Literature at Oxford, the facilitating subject is ... English Literature.

History and Modern Languages are 'recommended' but neither are necessarily studied by applicants who offer quite an array of A-levels. As has been pointed out, Classics also has some affinity with History.

Its quite common for candidates to do a 4th A-level subject because it interests them. If your school offers it and you are strongly motivated, we can't see an issue with Film Studies.
Are fourth subjects totally disregarded in the decision process or would it look bad if the grade for it was low?
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BrasenoseAdm
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(Original post by YaliaV)
Are fourth subjects totally disregarded in the decision process or would it look bad if the grade for it was low?
It wouldn't be disregarded and high grades are better than low grades. That said, its more common for candidates to be taking 3 A-levels and quite often applicants drop an A-level after interviews, which selectors are conscious of. So while 4th A-levels can't count against a candidate they don't confer an enormous advantage. The most favourable case would be a post-qualification application with, say, four A*s. Even then, weight would also be put on admissions test and interview scores.
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