Bad combination of AS choices?? Watch

Penelope247
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Hi all,

This coming september I am going to move to a state foundation college sixth form to do my AS Levels. Basically I am very depressed about my AS subject choices. I wanted to do russian, as I've done it for GCSE and its something I've worked so hard at-it seems pointless to drop it. However my new sixth form college does not offer russian. I tried to negociate with the sixth form as to whether I could do it outside the college as my fourth A level subject. They said I could only do it as a fifth a level outside school. There is no way I will be able to take five a levels next year when I will be working at a store after college, fencing 6 hours a week, participating in an entreprenuerial scheme and being a member of a debating team, realistically there is only so much energy one can have. Also I'd rather get 4 A's than 5 B's. Anyway my original choice of subjects were: English Literature&Language, French, Russian and Economics.

I've now had to change Russian to History. I am good at all these subjects, predicted either A's or A* at GCSE except for economics which I have never done but I'm very interested in it and I already have some knowledge of it. But the thing is, realistically there are so many students in the UK taking this sort of path and I feel like these choices do not set me apart from the rest. If I took Russian it would have given me to oppertunity to possibly apply for oxbridge but now I can probably forget it. And seeing as these subjects are all highly competitive, I'm going to have to be pretty outstanding at them if I really want to at least make the top russel group univercities.

My dilemma is that I think my choices make me seem laissez-faire. I don't want to be a media student but at the same time I'm good at these subjects and enjoy them and sciences and mathematics are not my forte, nor is something like art etc. If I could take Spanish at A Level instead I would have but apparently you need the GCSE which I don't have. I'm not sure what other subjects I could do but I feel like my choices are positvely bland. Could any of you reccomend something I could do to make me appear to be someone who is not just your average media student? Basically how would I still impress univercities (apart from being good at my subjects)?
Also I'm interested in going into bussiness after univercity.
Thanks in advance for any advice given.
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Cowz
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That post could really benefit from being broken into paragraphs. It's hard to pick out what you're saying, but as a guess, not taking Russian will not be the end of you. I actually think taking three language related courses may harm your future prospects, and so the variety that history will offer is good.

Anyway, your primary focus should be on obtainain 4 decent AS-levels for the time being, whatever they may be. But is there any reason why you can't just move colleges, you seem to have found one that offers Russian? Also, have you considered the possibility of taking a Russian AS-level next year, alongside your main 3 A-levels? Presumably your college wouldn't have a problem with that as you would be taking the 3 A-levels with them anyway. Plus you will still only be studying 4 subjects in any one year.

I think though, you're going to have to realise that as you progress, you need specialise. You're still thinking like a GCSE student. Currently you spend perhaps 4 hours a week on a subject? Next year it will be near 10, you should think about that. At degree level, you will spend 40 hours a week studying only one subject (or a hybrid of two at most).

.
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Excalibur
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Firstly, please use paragraphs!

There's nothing bland about your subject choices - it's a misconception that you cannot get into Oxbridge because of not doing a flashy subject; as long as the subjects are traditional (and even then, non-traditional subjects wouldn't necessarily decrease your chances) and relevant to your course that's what matters. Not many people would have the opportunity or the resources to be able to study something so 'unusual' as Russian anyway. Plus, Oxbridge admissions are a lot more than subject choices.

And what do you mean by 'bland'? What makes French/History/Economics/Eng Lit bland and maths/sciences/Russian/Spanish un-bland? All those subjects are rigorous and academic, all develop useful skills - there's just different and have different degrees of usefulness for certain degrees. I think your extra-curriculars already make you stand out more than your average post-GCSE student; for business, I think things like debating and Young Enterprise would be positively looked upon.

You could perhaps pick up Russian AS alongside your three A2s next year? Or even if you can't do it officially as an A-level, perhaps you could still attend evening classes/do some self-teaching etc to keep it up; the qualification is really not the be all and end all. Having the interest and drive to do something like that would arguably be even more impressive.

Also, I don't pretend to be an expert in Business admissions, but have you not considered Maths? I know you said it's not your forte, but if you want to do something economics-related at a higher level I think Maths is very much an advantage/necessity.
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Cowz
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(Original post by Excalibur)
Also, I don't pretend to be an expert in Business admissions, but have you not considered Maths? I know you said it's not your forte, but if you want to do something economics-related at a higher level I think Maths is very much an advantage/necessity.
I forgot to mention that! Yeah, maths would be great I think as I've stated many times on TSR before.
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Penelope247
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(Original post by Cowz)
That post could really benefit from being broken into paragraphs. It's hard to pick out what you're saying, but as a guess, not taking Russian will not be the end of you. I actually think taking three language related courses may harm your future prospects, and so the variety that history will offer is good.

Anyway, your primary focus should be on obtainain 4 decent AS-levels for the time being, whatever they may be. But is there any reason why you can't just move colleges, you seem to have found one that offers Russian? Also, have you considered the possibility of taking a Russian AS-level next year, alongside your main 3 A-levels? Presumably your college wouldn't have a problem with that as you would be taking the 3 A-levels with them anyway. Plus you will still only be studying 4 subjects in any one year.

I think though, you're going to have to realise that as you progress, you need specialise. You're still thinking like a GCSE student. Currently you spend perhaps 4 hours a week on a subject? Next year it will be near 10, you should think about that. At degree level, you will spend 40 hours a week studying only one subject (or a hybrid of two at most).

.
No I can't move colleges. Firstly the college I am leaving is a public school which my parents can no longer afford and secondly all the other sixth forms did not offer russian either.

Ah I dont think you understand, sorry if I did not make this clear, I inquired as to whether taking Russian outside the sixthform alongside 3 AS-levels was possible and the sixthform was adament that I take 4 AS-Levels at the college and Russian would only be a fifth A Level.

Yeah I realise I am going to have to specialise, my plan was to specialise in languages. Russian would broaden my horizons compared to something like French.
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Bear_Grylls
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Unless your want to go to a top 10 uni then it really doesnt matter, i did such random/dos subjects, i did ict, business, media and photography, i basically choose what i enjoyed
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Cowz
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(Original post by Penelope247)
If I took Russian it would have given me to oppertunity to possibly apply for oxbridge but now I can probably forget it. And seeing as these subjects are all highly competitive, I'm going to have to be pretty outstanding at them if I really want to at least make the top russel group univercities.
I've just spotted this. Are you saying that you'd be willing to study Russian if meant you could get into Oxbridge??
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Excalibur
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(Original post by Penelope247)
Ah I dont think you understand, sorry if I did not make this clear, I inquired as to whether taking Russian outside the sixthform alongside 3 AS-levels was possible and the sixthform was adament that I take 4 AS-Levels at the college and Russian would only be a fifth A Level.
No, what he's suggesting is that you do the four A-levels (sans Russian) for the first year, then when you drop down to 3 A2s in the second year you could take up Russian as an extra AS in Year 13.
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Penelope247
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(Original post by Cowz)
I forgot to mention that! Yeah, maths would be great I think as I've stated many times on TSR before.
Haha, taking maths would make me suicidal. Although I'm predicted an A at GCSE its only because the grade boundaries are so low and I think I will get a B not an A. I have hated maths for most of my school life and believe me I really struggle to understand it. But you guys are right it would be a brilliant subject to take. However I don't believe in taking a subject I have no skill in nor am I good at it. I wish I was good at it, it would provide so many oppertunities.
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Penelope247
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(Original post by Cowz)
I've just spotted this. Are you saying that you'd be willing to study Russian if meant you could get into Oxbridge??
Not quite. I would study Russian regardless of Oxbridge because I enjoy it but obviously I am aware of the doors it could open for me.
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Penelope247
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(Original post by Excalibur)
No, what he's suggesting is that you do the four A-levels (sans Russian) for the first year, then when you drop down to 3 A2s in the second year you could take up Russian as an extra AS in Year 13.
Ah that is a very very good idea, I'm going to suggest that thanks! But when would I take the A2? I'm not taking a gap year as I missed a year of school, so I'm entering year 12 aged 17.
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Cowz
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(Original post by Penelope247)
No I can't move colleges. Firstly the college I am leaving is a public school which my parents can no longer afford and secondly all the other sixth forms did not offer russian either.
are there any grammar schools in your area?

Ah I dont think you understand, sorry if I did not make this clear, I inquired as to whether taking Russian outside the sixthform alongside 3 AS-levels was possible and the sixthform was adament that I take 4 AS-Levels at the college and Russian would only be a fifth A Level.
I see, so you're looking to tall all of your AS-levels to A-level? 3 A-levels + 2 AS-levels may actually look better in this regard (1 As first year, 1 AS second year), especially if you were opting to take Russian.

Yeah I realise I am going to have to specialise, my plan was to specialise in languages. Russian would broaden my horizons compared to something like French.
I wouldn't be so sure. If you have a natural talent for languages, then it's possible you opt for a degree in French, whilst also using your time at university to study other languages. For example, my friend studied history but also took the oppurtunity to take Spanish modules and count them towards his degree. Alternatively, you could just attempt to self-tutor Russian without worrying about gaining a qualification in the subject.
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Cowz
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(Original post by Penelope247)
Ah that is a very very good idea, I'm going to suggest that thanks! But when would I take the A2? I'm not taking a gap year as I missed a year of school, so I'm entering year 12 aged 17.
Sorry for not being clearer, oops! You'd take your 3-A levels as normal. The pattern would be something along the lines of:

1st year (aged 17-18): English (AS-level), French (AS-level), Economics (AS-level) PLUS History (AS-level) [all at your main college].

2nd year (aged 18-19): English (A-level), French (A-level), Economics (A-level) [all at main college] PLUS Russian (AS-level) [at some other college].
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jkyng1
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you don't necessarily need Russian!
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