bad gcses, can i still apply to russel groups? please help! Watch

babihan
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English Lit: 6
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Combined science higher: 5-4
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In year 13, I would like to apply to Russell Group universities but I'm scared that they're not even going to bother considering my application due to my GCSE grades ;-(
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Paralove
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Were there any extenuating circumstances ie personal or educational reasons as to why you didn't achieve as well as you'd have liked?

Equally, A-Level grades are going to be more important to them - what are you expected to get and what courses are you interested in?
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NatP02
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Absolutely, nothing can stop you, although you have to put the work in ,for some subjects sadly it would be no, but it depends on what you’re doing and if you can show them what your capable of at a level
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babihan
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(Original post by Paralove)
Were there any extenuating circumstances ie personal or educational reasons as to why you didn't achieve as well as you'd have liked?

Equally, A-Level grades are going to be more important to them - what are you expected to get and what courses are you interested in?
Honestly, no. I just panicked during each exam but that's no excuse. They haven't given us our real predicted grades but I would like to do law
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babihan
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(Original post by NatP02)
Absolutely, nothing can stop you, although you have to put the work in ,for some subjects sadly it would be no, but it depends on what you’re doing and if you can show them what your capable of at a level
Is law one of those subjects? Because I really would like to study law at a russel group university : - (
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artful_lounger
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The Russell Group is a research consortium (really more of a lobbying group disguised as one but I digress) and so membership in the RG doesn't necessarily imply anything about the relative quality of undergraduate education, nor graduate prospects. Additionally the "best" RG unis are pretty far removed from the "worst" RG unis.

Some RG unis are heavily empahsise GCSEs for all courses (e.g. Oxford), some may have some requirements or weighting for GCSEs (pretty much most of them), while others have no GCSE requirements and don't really care about them otherwise (e.g. Cambridge). It's really impossible to advise without knowing which universities within the RG you may be interested in applying to - and bear in mind depending on which course you're considering, there may well be better universities outside of it.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by babihan)
English Lit: 6
RE: 6
English Language: 5
Combined science higher: 5-4
Maths: 4
Music: 4
French: 3
History: 3
In year 13, I would like to apply to Russell Group universities but I'm scared that they're not even going to bother considering my application due to my GCSE grades ;-(
It depends on the Russell Group uni but some aren't that bothered about GCSEs. Liverpool, for example, only require a C in Maths and English at GCSE. You will need to check each website of the unis that interest you
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Paralove
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(Original post by babihan)
Honestly, no. I just panicked during each exam but that's no excuse. They haven't given us our real predicted grades but I would like to do law
I recommend emailing the admissions or subject departments and asking how competitive an application you would make with your GCSE grades.

However my concern is A-Level - many law courses at RG unis will be looking for a minimum of ABB, usually closer to AAA... Are you realistically going to achieve that?

It may even be worth considering a gap year, and applying with your achieved grades so you have proof to hand that you're capable.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Paralove)
It may even be worth considering a gap year, and applying with your achieved grades so you have proof to hand that you're capable.
OP wouldn't need to take a gap year if they apply to unis that don't mind about GCSEs and have the right predicted grades
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BedfordMom
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(Original post by babihan)
English Lit: 6
RE: 6
English Language: 5
Combined science higher: 5-4
Maths: 4
Music: 4
French: 3
History: 3
In year 13, I would like to apply to Russell Group universities but I'm scared that they're not even going to bother considering my application due to my GCSE grades ;-(t
It’s not clearwether you are already doing your A’levels? If not, I will be blunt. Best advice I cangive is to forget about A’levels. First you will struggle to get a place in any good sixth form with those grades, second which subjects would you do ‘Advanced’ levels with those grades with the exception of Literature and RE?

But all is not lost, you are ambitious! and there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

If already in yr 12, then I’ll assume your poor gcse grades where a fluke (special circumstance so) and you’re now aiming for at least 3A’s. Which subjects are you doing and what are your predictions?
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Dancer2001
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Your GCSEs aren’t ideal, but they will be fine for most places if your A levels are good. The only possible problem might be gcse maths. Could you resit that if you needed to?
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harrysbar
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(Original post by BedfordMom)
It’s not clearwether you are already doing your A’levels? If not, I will be blunt. Best advice I cangive is to forget about A’levels. First you will struggle to get a place in any good sixth form with those grades, second which subjects would you do ‘Advanced’ levels with those grades with the exception of Literature and RE?
I think you're being a bit harsh here BedfordMom, I work in a very good state school with an oversubscribed sixth form and we only ask for 5 subjects at grade 5 and even then there is some flexibility for continuing students. Lots of students take 1 or 2 new subjects such as Sociology or Psychology or Business in addition to carrying on with a subject like English or RE.

I'm assuming OP is already in Year 12 and should now be working hard to achieve better grades
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babihan
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(Original post by BedfordMom)
It’s not clearwether you are already doing your A’levels? If not, I will be blunt. Best advice I cangive is to forget about A’levels. First you will struggle to get a place in any good sixth form with those grades, second which subjects would you do ‘Advanced’ levels with those grades with the exception of Literature and RE?

But all is not lost, you are ambitious! and there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

If already in yr 12, then I’ll assume your poor gcse grades where a fluke (special circumstance so) and you’re now aiming for at least 3A’s. Which subjects are you doing and what are your predictions?
I'm already in year 12 and I'm doing psychology, sociology and english literature. They haven't given me my real predictions yet but since my mocks 'mocks' are in february, they might tell me then.
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babihan
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(Original post by Dancer2001)
Your GCSEs aren’t ideal, but they will be fine for most places if your A levels are good. The only possible problem might be gcse maths. Could you resit that if you needed to?
Honestly speaking, I don't think I can go through that stress again. I was certain I failed and I revised voluntarily during the summer holiday but I was so happy to see that I got a 4
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babihan
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(Original post by harrysbar)
I think you're being a bit harsh here BedfordMom, I work in a very good state school with an oversubscribed sixth form and we only ask for 5 subjects at grade 5 and even then there is some flexibility for continuing students. Lots of students take 1 or 2 new subjects such as Sociology or Psychology or Business in addition to carrying on with a subject like English or RE.

I'm assuming OP is already in Year 12 and should now be working hard to achieve better grades
Thank you, and I am putting in so much effort to make my alevels shine! Despite having 3 teachers for sociology
(a bloody nightmare i know) I'm trying to work past that and just work independently at my own pace.
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BedfordMom
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(Original post by harrysbar)
I think you're being a bit harsh here BedfordMom, I work in a very good state school with an oversubscribed sixth form and we only ask for 5 subjects at grade 5 and even then there is some flexibility for continuing students. Lots of students take 1 or 2 new subjects such as Sociology or Psychology or Business in addition to carrying on with a subject like English or RE.

I'm assuming OP is already in Year 12 and should now be working hard to achieve better grades
It is in OP’s Interest to be as honest as possible. I don’t believe in giving false hope, that is cruel. Some may call that being ‘harsh’.
Most ‘good’ state schools will ask for higher grades than a ‘5’ in an applicants chosen A’level subjects, so the idea of a ‘good’ state school in this case is relative. If they are aiming for Law at an RG uni and hoping to practise Law the stakes are VERY high and OP’s academics have not shown strong ability in this area.

RG universities also prefer at least 2 facilitating subjects, which OP has now come back to say they are not doing.

OP, like I said all is not lost. I would ask, why do you want to do Law? Do see yourself practising as a lawyer or do you plan to just do the degree as a stepping stone towards something else? Law is one of the most fiercely competitive degrees (competing with students who straight 7-9s plus straight A’s in at least 2 traditional subjects). Have you looked at entry requirements for any of your preferred RG Unis eg UCL, Kings, Bristol etc Getting a pupillage is another hurdle once you’ve graduated. Law is one of the few degrees where employers take A’lvels Into account as well as the degree. You are right in preferring RG universities because Law again is one of those sectors that makes no secret of their preference for RG only, infact just a select few RGs, so what is worth doing is worth doing well. Of course OP could get in for Law at lower end universities, but I’d be interested to see there graduate outcomes for Law.

Do you really want to be a lawyer? If so you want to obtain with the strongest results possible. You are already doing A’levels or I would have advised following a different route - Btecs (I don’t know if those are acceptable for the Unis you are aiming at), an Access course etc explore what is available. Now you are on track with A’levels, I my advise is start looking university website and their entry requirements, they will tell you clearly what you need, if you have any other queries contact the universities, email or phone, most of them welcome students calling for advice, so don’t hesitate.

I also forgot to add, that rather than applying directly for Law now, why not consider something like ‘Sociology’ as a first degree, slightly lower requirements whilst leaving the door open for you to follow up with a graduate diploma in Law. Same result just different route.
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Dancer2001
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(Original post by babihan)
Honestly speaking, I don't think I can go through that stress again. I was certain I failed and I revised voluntarily during the summer holiday but I was so happy to see that I got a 4
(Original post by babihan)
Honestly speaking, I don't think I can go through that stress again. I was certain I failed and I revised voluntarily during the summer holiday but I was so happy to see that I got a 4
I know what you mean, I thought I was going to fail GCSE English and got a 4. Resitting in college is a different environment though, and you will be in a better position to do it. Haven’t you got more confident in maths since then from doing psychology? I retook English and got a 6, which I would never have got in school.
A 5 in maths might not be required for some law degrees, but if you can, it will make your whole GCSE profile look better.
Good predicted grades (eg. AAB) are most important though.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by BedfordMom)
It is in OP’s Interest to be as honest as possible. I don’t believe in giving false hope, that is cruel. Some may call that being ‘harsh’.
Most ‘good’ state schools will ask for higher grades than a ‘5’ in an applicants chosen A’level subjects, so the idea of a ‘good’ state school in this case is relative. If they are aiming for Law at an RG uni and hoping to practise Law the stakes are VERY high and OP’s academics have not shown strong ability in this area.

RG universities also prefer at least 2 facilitating subjects, which OP has now come back to say they are not doing.

OP, like I said all is not lost. I would ask, why do you want to do Law? Do see yourself practising as a lawyer or do you plan to just do the degree as a stepping stone towards something else? Law is one of the most fiercely competitive degrees (competing with students who straight 7-9s plus straight A’s in at least 2 traditional subjects). Have you looked at entry requirements for any of your preferred RG Unis eg UCL, Kings, Bristol etc Getting a pupillage is another hurdle once you’ve graduated. Law is one of the few degrees where employers take A’lvels Into account as well as the degree. You are right in preferring RG universities because Law again is one of those sectors that makes no secret of their preference for RG only, infact just a select few RGs, so what is worth doing is worth doing well. Of course OP could get in for Law at lower end universities, but I’d be interested to see there graduate outcomes for Law.
In my opinion you are being too black and white. As you say, the definition of "good" may vary but the fact is OP is already doing A levels and the school where I work would have allowed it too and we are unquestionably a good state school which achieves good results.

Also, it is not true that most RG unis will ask for 2 facilitating subjects for Law. Most say they don't mind which A levels people choose for Law (a few ask for at least one essay subject). This has been stated many times by returnmigrant (Bristol Admissions) and is also stated on uni websites that no particular subjects are required. Personally I would always advise students to take at least one facilitating subject anyway to be on the safe side, but OP has done this so there is no problem with their subjects
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returnmigrant
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The Russell Group has now totally dropped the idea of 'Facilitating Subjects' : https://www.theguardian.com/educatio...s-subjects-hit
Please note harrysbar!

All Unis now have to be totally open and up-front about the subjects they require, and if any subjects get you any advantage over any others - new marketing legislation means there can no longer be 'secrets' that only some applicants know about or that Unis never admit to. If you come across anything like this, please tell the Office for Students.

Bristol is very clear about exactly which GCSEs and A levels / BTECs etc subjects and grades they require for each course (see individual course pages on their website), and they explain exactly how applications are assessed for that course (see the appropriate admissions statement, accessible via a link at the very bottom of each course page). Whilst Bristol does not specify any GCSEs for Law, your overall GCSE 'profile' does form part of the assessment - 20% GCSEs, 40% LNAT, 40% A levels.

For Law, most Unis do not specify any A level subjects - they just want mega-high grades - others may want an 'essay based subject' such as English, History, Politics etc. Check on each website.

And to nail another myth - Oxbridge/RG Unis do accept A level Law for LLB courses : https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/content...AW-SUPPORT.PDF

And finally, there is no such thing as 'A level Criminology' - many colleges are offering a WJEC Level 3 diploma course in Criminology and suggesting that it is 'the same as an A level'. Whilst it may be worth similar UCAS points, it is not an A level and many top Unis, including Bristol, will not accept it for Law.

Any other questions, just ask and I'll do my best to help.
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babihan
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
The Russell Group has now totally dropped the idea of 'Facilitating Subjects' : https://www.theguardian.com/educatio...s-subjects-hit
Please note harrysbar!

All Unis now have to be totally open and up-front about the subjects they require, and if any subjects get you any advantage over any others - new marketing legislation means there can no longer be 'secrets' that only some applicants know about or that Unis never admit to. If you come across anything like this, please tell the Office for Students.

Bristol is very clear about exactly which GCSEs and A levels / BTECs etc subjects and grades they require for each course (see individual course pages on their website), and they explain exactly how applications are assessed for that course (see the appropriate admissions statement, accessible via a link at the very bottom of each course page). Whilst Bristol does not specify any GCSEs for Law, your overall GCSE 'profile' does form part of the assessment - 20% GCSEs, 40% LNAT, 40% A levels.

For Law, most Unis do not specify any A level subjects - they just want mega-high grades - others may want an 'essay based subject' such as English, History, Politics etc. Check on each website.

And to nail another myth - Oxbridge/RG Unis do accept A level Law for LLB courses : https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/content...AW-SUPPORT.PDF

And finally, there is no such thing as 'A level Criminology' - many colleges are offering a WJEC Level 3 diploma course in Criminology and suggesting that it is 'the same as an A level'. Whilst it may be worth similar UCAS points, it is not an A level and many top Unis, including Bristol, will not accept it for Law.

Any other questions, just ask and I'll do my best to help.
Thank you so much for this important information. I would like to ask, I saw above that I am able to choose any subject at an undergraduate degree and then I can convert with a law conversion course. What if I were to, for example, get an A or A* in psychology, apply to a Russel Group university, carry out this subject and then covert to law afterwards, is that possible? And would I still have to take the LNAT?
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