Had my gap year - Now do I resit (at cost) or just go to uni? Watch

samzeman
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I got DDD in 2018 in Maths, Physics, and Chemistry, against the predictions of my teachers (They thought BBB at worst). I've called up a college and they've given me the option of resitting, but because I'm 19 now, I have to pay for it (£3000 a year or term. Kicking myself for not writing which it was down when they told me).

I really want to move out already and many of my friends and family have told me uni would be beneficial to me. I could /probably/ manage to swing a course I'm interested in (Geology, Biology, Palaeontology if poss) with a uni of some sort, though I don't really get to choose which or go to one of the big ones. I don't think that's an issue from what I've read though, they seem to all be alright.

I'm aware you pay for uni too, but the loans are much more accomodating for that than for retaking. Also, I really hate A-levels. The exam papers just grind my gears in some way and I feel powerful dread whenever I see one. I'm under the impression that uni work, while more difficult, is also not quite the same as the endless exam papers of A-level. Essays are fine.

As you can tell, I'm leaning heavily towards doing uni through clearing (if I can). Is there a reason why not? I know ultimately only I can decide, but I was wondering if anyone had a similar experience or something I might have missed.
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She-Ra
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(Original post by samzeman)
I got DDD in 2018 in Maths, Physics, and Chemistry, against the predictions of my teachers (They thought BBB at worst). I've called up a college and they've given me the option of resitting, but because I'm 19 now, I have to pay for it (£3000 a year or term. Kicking myself for not writing which it was down when they told me).

I really want to move out already and many of my friends and family have told me uni would be beneficial to me. I could /probably/ manage to swing a course I'm interested in (Geology, Biology, Palaeontology if poss) with a uni of some sort, though I don't really get to choose which or go to one of the big ones. I don't think that's an issue from what I've read though, they seem to all be alright.

I'm aware you pay for uni too, but the loans are much more accomodating for that than for retaking. Also, I really hate A-levels. The exam papers just grind my gears in some way and I feel powerful dread whenever I see one. I'm under the impression that uni work, while more difficult, is also not quite the same as the endless exam papers of A-level. Essays are fine.

As you can tell, I'm leaning heavily towards doing uni through clearing (if I can). Is there a reason why not? I know ultimately only I can decide, but I was wondering if anyone had a similar experience or something I might have missed.
National Careers Service University of Brighton Enquiries Edge Hill University can you share some wisdom?
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She-Ra
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(Original post by samzeman)
I got DDD in 2018 in Maths, Physics, and Chemistry, against the predictions of my teachers (They thought BBB at worst). I've called up a college and they've given me the option of resitting, but because I'm 19 now, I have to pay for it (£3000 a year or term. Kicking myself for not writing which it was down when they told me).

I really want to move out already and many of my friends and family have told me uni would be beneficial to me. I could /probably/ manage to swing a course I'm interested in (Geology, Biology, Palaeontology if poss) with a uni of some sort, though I don't really get to choose which or go to one of the big ones. I don't think that's an issue from what I've read though, they seem to all be alright.

I'm aware you pay for uni too, but the loans are much more accomodating for that than for retaking. Also, I really hate A-levels. The exam papers just grind my gears in some way and I feel powerful dread whenever I see one. I'm under the impression that uni work, while more difficult, is also not quite the same as the endless exam papers of A-level. Essays are fine.

As you can tell, I'm leaning heavily towards doing uni through clearing (if I can). Is there a reason why not? I know ultimately only I can decide, but I was wondering if anyone had a similar experience or something I might have missed.
Hey,

Have you looked at university courses? You mention Geology, Biology and Palaeontology - where are you interested in studying?

Some universities (depending on entry tariff) may offer a foundation year which you can get funded through the student finance system. It's a year 0 and in theory will help you achieve in year 1 and beyond.

Regarding your A-levels, do you know why things didn't go as well as you hoped? I understand the desire to want to change things up, move away, get a fresh start but try not to rush your decision.
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samzeman
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(Original post by She-Ra)
Hey,

Have you looked at university courses? You mention Geology, Biology and Palaeontology - where are you interested in studying?

Some universities (depending on entry tariff) may offer a foundation year which you can get funded through the student finance system. It's a year 0 and in theory will help you achieve in year 1 and beyond.

Regarding your A-levels, do you know why things didn't go as well as you hoped? I understand the desire to want to change things up, move away, get a fresh start but try not to rush your decision.
I've had a look, there are quite a few courses still available even for my tarrif point amount and below, which is good to know (though I know I shouldn't wait right until the clearing end deadline to set it up, ofc). I honestly don't mind where I study. It seems to me like any city except London is kind of homogenous (Since I grew up rural I guess I am less able to see the distinction between them). Hull has a good reputation and I've heard good things about Keele, and they both offer Geology courses for low tarrif amounts.

A foundation year would be great, and I'm aiming for them where possible, with the theory that the entry requirement are going to be lower but with a better end result.

I have a tentative theory that I didn't do well in my A-levels because of multiple things; I totally was going through a bad breakup at the time. I realised that I didn't actually like the career I was aiming for (Astrophysics) and on top of that, I kind of hit the "wall" that some people hit - I was suddenly unable to skim a book and get an A in the test, and that wall happened right at the start of the second year. I ended up getting disheartened and giving up, and I think I totally needed the year off to regroup. Also, I wouldn't say one way or the other yet, but I think I might have ADHD or something since my friends don't seem to relate to my descriptions of how difficult it is to concentrate for extended periods. I plan to see a psychiatrist about that at some point, once I can drive in a month or so.

Thanks for replying!
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She-Ra
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(Original post by samzeman)
I've had a look, there are quite a few courses still available even for my tarrif point amount and below, which is good to know (though I know I shouldn't wait right until the clearing end deadline to set it up, ofc). I honestly don't mind where I study. It seems to me like any city except London is kind of homogenous (Since I grew up rural I guess I am less able to see the distinction between them). Hull has a good reputation and I've heard good things about Keele, and they both offer Geology courses for low tarrif amounts.

A foundation year would be great, and I'm aiming for them where possible, with the theory that the entry requirement are going to be lower but with a better end result.

I have a tentative theory that I didn't do well in my A-levels because of multiple things; I totally was going through a bad breakup at the time. I realised that I didn't actually like the career I was aiming for (Astrophysics) and on top of that, I kind of hit the "wall" that some people hit - I was suddenly unable to skim a book and get an A in the test, and that wall happened right at the start of the second year. I ended up getting disheartened and giving up, and I think I totally needed the year off to regroup. Also, I wouldn't say one way or the other yet, but I think I might have ADHD or something since my friends don't seem to relate to my descriptions of how difficult it is to concentrate for extended periods. I plan to see a psychiatrist about that at some point, once I can drive in a month or so.

Thanks for replying!
University of Hull and Keele Student Ambassador Keele University are both on TSR so you can talk to their reps about your options in their forums here: university of hull and keele university.

Have you visited either uni? I'd really recommend it. If you're moving out you want to make sure you're going to feel at home there.

Leviathan1741 do you have geology wisdom to share?

A foundation year would hopefully help your confidence and get you up to speed, but it is an additional year of funding (£9250) + living expenses so you'd need to think about this seriously and also check that accommodation for year 0 is available.

It sounds like you've had a really good think about why things didn't work out as planned. Do you feel motivated to learn right now?
Passing your driving test will give you so much freedom
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National Careers Service
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(Original post by samzeman)
I got DDD in 2018 in Maths, Physics, and Chemistry, against the predictions of my teachers (They thought BBB at worst). I've called up a college and they've given me the option of resitting, but because I'm 19 now, I have to pay for it (£3000 a year or term. Kicking myself for not writing which it was down when they told me).

I really want to move out already and many of my friends and family have told me uni would be beneficial to me. I could /probably/ manage to swing a course I'm interested in (Geology, Biology, Palaeontology if poss) with a uni of some sort, though I don't really get to choose which or go to one of the big ones. I don't think that's an issue from what I've read though, they seem to all be alright.

I'm aware you pay for uni too, but the loans are much more accomodating for that than for retaking. Also, I really hate A-levels. The exam papers just grind my gears in some way and I feel powerful dread whenever I see one. I'm under the impression that uni work, while more difficult, is also not quite the same as the endless exam papers of A-level. Essays are fine.

As you can tell, I'm leaning heavily towards doing uni through clearing (if I can). Is there a reason why not? I know ultimately only I can decide, but I was wondering if anyone had a similar experience or something I might have missed.
Hi there,

Hope I can offer some support here.

From the A-levels you have you have 72 UCAS points as it stands. The good thing about the Clearing list is you can filter your search by points to help you find courses that you may be eligible for.

If you haven't done so already check out what's available - https://www.ucas.com/clearing-launch

If you're ready to progress to uni and you can find a course in clearing that you really want to do and think would be a great career for you I don't see why not. Make sure to do your research on the courses, call the uni to speak with them and once you've been accepted through UCAS get your student finance sorted as quickly as you can.

We speak to many students who didn't do well at A-level but got a great degree results, it's about hard work, determination and the way you manage your time.

I hope this helps and good luck with your decision.

Sophie.
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samzeman
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(Original post by She-Ra)
University of Hull and Keele Student Ambassador Keele University are both on TSR so you can talk to their reps about your options in their forums here: university of hull and keele university.

Have you visited either uni? I'd really recommend it. If you're moving out you want to make sure you're going to feel at home there.

Leviathan1741 do you have geology wisdom to share?

A foundation year would hopefully help your confidence and get you up to speed, but it is an additional year of funding (£9250) + living expenses so you'd need to think about this seriously and also check that accommodation for year 0 is available.

It sounds like you've had a really good think about why things didn't work out as planned. Do you feel motivated to learn right now?
Passing your driving test will give you so much freedom
I'll have a look into their forums!

I should visit, yeah... Again, should be a lot easier when I can drive. They have some open days I could get to before then, though, so I might book one of them quickly if poss.

Accomodation is something I hadn't even thought about for year 0.... Yikes.

I feel really motivated honestly. I've started binge reading material by myself off the internet, so I think I'm probably equipped emotionally to head back into education.

I'm really looking forward to being able to drive, for sure. I started learning way too late!! At least I got a lot of use out of my bike. 😅
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samzeman
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(Original post by National Careers Service)
Hi there,

Hope I can offer some support here.

From the A-levels you have you have 72 UCAS points as it stands. The good thing about the Clearing list is you can filter your search by points to help you find courses that you may be eligible for.

If you haven't done so already check out what's available - https://www.ucas.com/clearing-launch

If you're ready to progress to uni and you can find a course in clearing that you really want to do and think would be a great career for you I don't see why not. Make sure to do your research on the courses, call the uni to speak with them and once you've been accepted through UCAS get your student finance sorted as quickly as you can.

We speak to many students who didn't do well at A-level but got a great degree results, it's about hard work, determination and the way you manage your time.

I hope this helps and good luck with your decision.

Sophie.
I've checked out the list - Good to see there are still plenty that will accept me.

It's good to hear that other people have been in my position and turned it around at degree level. I'm totally ready to do the work, I think, so I should be grand.

Thanks!
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National Extension College
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(Original post by samzeman)
I got DDD in 2018 in Maths, Physics, and Chemistry, against the predictions of my teachers (They thought BBB at worst). I've called up a college and they've given me the option of resitting, but because I'm 19 now, I have to pay for it (£3000 a year or term. Kicking myself for not writing which it was down when they told me).

I really want to move out already and many of my friends and family have told me uni would be beneficial to me. I could /probably/ manage to swing a course I'm interested in (Geology, Biology, Palaeontology if poss) with a uni of some sort, though I don't really get to choose which or go to one of the big ones. I don't think that's an issue from what I've read though, they seem to all be alright.

I'm aware you pay for uni too, but the loans are much more accomodating for that than for retaking. Also, I really hate A-levels. The exam papers just grind my gears in some way and I feel powerful dread whenever I see one. I'm under the impression that uni work, while more difficult, is also not quite the same as the endless exam papers of A-level. Essays are fine.

As you can tell, I'm leaning heavily towards doing uni through clearing (if I can). Is there a reason why not? I know ultimately only I can decide, but I was wondering if anyone had a similar experience or something I might have missed.
Taking 3 A levels with the National Extension College would cost £1,875 for the full A levels (up to two years of study) and they are flexible so you can learn at your own pace. It is possible that you could get into university with the grades you have through clearing, but if you would like to learn more about our options, please visit our website https://www.nec.ac.uk/, message me on TSR, email [email protected] or call for free on 0800 389 2839.

Best wishes,
Charlotte
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Edge Hill University
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(Original post by samzeman)
I got DDD in 2018 in Maths, Physics, and Chemistry, against the predictions of my teachers (They thought BBB at worst). I've called up a college and they've given me the option of resitting, but because I'm 19 now, I have to pay for it (£3000 a year or term. Kicking myself for not writing which it was down when they told me).

I really want to move out already and many of my friends and family have told me uni would be beneficial to me. I could /probably/ manage to swing a course I'm interested in (Geology, Biology, Palaeontology if poss) with a uni of some sort, though I don't really get to choose which or go to one of the big ones. I don't think that's an issue from what I've read though, they seem to all be alright.

I'm aware you pay for uni too, but the loans are much more accomodating for that than for retaking. Also, I really hate A-levels. The exam papers just grind my gears in some way and I feel powerful dread whenever I see one. I'm under the impression that uni work, while more difficult, is also not quite the same as the endless exam papers of A-level. Essays are fine.

As you can tell, I'm leaning heavily towards doing uni through clearing (if I can). Is there a reason why not? I know ultimately only I can decide, but I was wondering if anyone had a similar experience or something I might have missed.
Hi, hope you're well!

First of all, it's great to see how motivated you are. You may feel down about your results, but you've got the drive to do well in university.

You mentioned how you don't like A-Levels because of exams. While some university courses do have exams, there's a larger focus on assignments instead. I hate exams too, and it's one of the reasons I wasn't crazy about A-Levels myself. However, doing assignments let me be more creative and let me take things at an easier pace. If that's your kind of thing, you may find uni better.

There's definitely no reason not to go through Clearing. If you have an idea of what you want to do, and a few universities you're interested in, then go for it! At the very least, it's worth chatting to a university or two to discuss your options. Clearing is your chance to sell your skills without feeling restricted by grades, so if you're passionate about doing a course, it's worth pursuing. If you feel ready for university, it sounds like it'll be a better option than doing A-Levels.

It sounds like you're really keen to return to education, so it's worth browsing a few university websites, taking to advisors at a few unis, and even visiting Open Days if possible. We wish you the best of luck!

Alex
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Leviathan1741
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(Original post by samzeman)
I've had a look, there are quite a few courses still available even for my tarrif point amount and below, which is good to know (though I know I shouldn't wait right until the clearing end deadline to set it up, ofc). I honestly don't mind where I study. It seems to me like any city except London is kind of homogenous (Since I grew up rural I guess I am less able to see the distinction between them). Hull has a good reputation and I've heard good things about Keele, and they both offer Geology courses for low tarrif amounts.

A foundation year would be great, and I'm aiming for them where possible, with the theory that the entry requirement are going to be lower but with a better end result.

I have a tentative theory that I didn't do well in my A-levels because of multiple things; I totally was going through a bad breakup at the time. I realised that I didn't actually like the career I was aiming for (Astrophysics) and on top of that, I kind of hit the "wall" that some people hit - I was suddenly unable to skim a book and get an A in the test, and that wall happened right at the start of the second year. I ended up getting disheartened and giving up, and I think I totally needed the year off to regroup. Also, I wouldn't say one way or the other yet, but I think I might have ADHD or something since my friends don't seem to relate to my descriptions of how difficult it is to concentrate for extended periods. I plan to see a psychiatrist about that at some point, once I can drive in a month or so.

Thanks for replying!
Hi samzeman

I studied Geoscience at Keele, which has now been changed to single honours Geology. I agree with you that university is in some way easier than A Levels, perhaps because you're focussing on a single subject that you like? The assessment is also more varied than at A Level, there are exams (which in my experience were mostly longer answers with diagrams and essays), plus fieldwork, reports, posters, presentations etc. I get the feeling that you would rather just go to uni, which should be okay for a subject like geology because the lecturers start more or less from the basic principles. I was fortunate to have studied it at A Level, but plenty of people were new to it and managed to do well.

If you've got any questions about studying geology and/or Keele, feel free to ask
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Keele University
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(Original post by samzeman)
I got DDD in 2018 in Maths, Physics, and Chemistry, against the predictions of my teachers (They thought BBB at worst). I've called up a college and they've given me the option of resitting, but because I'm 19 now, I have to pay for it (£3000 a year or term. Kicking myself for not writing which it was down when they told me).

I really want to move out already and many of my friends and family have told me uni would be beneficial to me. I could /probably/ manage to swing a course I'm interested in (Geology, Biology, Palaeontology if poss) with a uni of some sort, though I don't really get to choose which or go to one of the big ones. I don't think that's an issue from what I've read though, they seem to all be alright.

I'm aware you pay for uni too, but the loans are much more accomodating for that than for retaking. Also, I really hate A-levels. The exam papers just grind my gears in some way and I feel powerful dread whenever I see one. I'm under the impression that uni work, while more difficult, is also not quite the same as the endless exam papers of A-level. Essays are fine.

As you can tell, I'm leaning heavily towards doing uni through clearing (if I can). Is there a reason why not? I know ultimately only I can decide, but I was wondering if anyone had a similar experience or something I might have missed.
Hi samzeman,

I know you have started to do your research, but maybe I can help signpost.

With the grades you have, you could look into the Geology courses at Keele, and we offer combinations if that was something you were interested in - https://www.keele.ac.uk/study/underg...entry/geology/

Our clearing lines are still open if you wanted to speak to someone about a place (01782 733000 or 01782 968751) and you would be welcome to visit and see what Keele is like.

Completing A Levels is different to completing your degree, as you are focusing at one subject area and the assessment types are different (as exams weren't my favourite either).

Do have a look around and see what is available!

All the best,
Kiran
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samzeman
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Thank you all for your advice! I'm still looking into various options but once I've written my personal statement (I should've done it sooner I know....) I'll start calling around. You've all been very helpful
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