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Anonymous #1
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I'm from a very disadvantaged background, went to a state school, and currently studying in college performed below average. Though, it didn't really stop me from doing as much as possible. I got 97765555 for GCSEs, however, instead of doing A levels, I chose BTEC since I would most probably get bad grades in A levels because subjects such as Physics or Chemistry are very rigorous + only 5 out of 300 people from the sixth form got ABB or above. Additionally, I took A level in my native language which (I hope) will be useful and worth something for unis.

Long story short, this year I will probably end up with D* D* D* in Computing Extended Diploma + A* (not maths, unfortunately), hence I have some questions and concerns regarding universities.

However, despite getting reasonably good grades for BTEC/A level I'm still concerned about the uni. I'm new to TSR, thus I felt down when some people were saying some negativity regarding BTECs being non-worthy qualification or that unis won't even consider me. I worked very hard to achieve those grades, finishing 4 exams with the highest grades, and having more than +80k words in total (essays/coursework). Could somebody tell me if it's only a TSR thing or it can occur in real life?

So anyway, I have some questions.
1. If unis say that they accept BTEC, are they telling the truth or they usually don't accept them?
2. Will I struggle in uni compare to A level students (P.S I'm a hard-working student)
3. Will my BTEC be accepted for Russel Groups and how likely will I be accepted with my circumstances
4. Gap year + A level Maths as a private candidate will it worth it?
5. How difficult will it be if I want to apply something different to Computer Science in unis?

Thanks
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Anonymous #1
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CalvinMedcalf1
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1. I would recommend checking either the prospectus or the website for your specific courses as most will list whether they accept the 'unconventional' qualifications (i.e. BTECs).
2. Not at all. I did quite bad in my A-Levels, but I'm extremely hard-working, and managed to pick up an award for academic achievement in my first year. Uni is all about the work you put in, especially since it's so independent, so work hard, enjoy yourself, and the results will come.
3. I can only speak for mine (Nottingham), but BTECs were accepted on my course. Because of my A-Level grades, I sat a Foundation Year (which allows people from disadvantaged backgrounds or those with lower grades the chance to study at a top uni). The program was amazing, I made some friends for life, and I learned a lot about critical thinking, reflective learning, and other key skills that are super useful at uni (as well as for employers!). I'd recommend checking them out!
4. It's honestly up to you. If you want to pursue a career in Finance, or one that involves maths, then maybe sit one. But if you want to go into something completely different, or do something you enjoy personally for uni, then I wouldn't.
5. Again, it depends massively, but some unis look at other things besides academic grades for certain courses. The fact you got amazing grades means they can tell you'll be hard-working, and if you can get that across in an interview/personal statement, you stand a good chance!

Finally, please don't let anyone get you down about BTECs. Sure there's a lot of talk about them not being worth an A-Level or such, but as long as you're keen, hard-working, and can do well in essays and/or exams, you'll be able to show admissions tutors that you can handle uni just as much as anyone else. I hope this helps, and if you have any other questions, feel free to send a message.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by CalvinMedcalf1)
1. I would recommend checking either the prospectus or the website for your specific courses as most will list whether they accept the 'unconventional' qualifications (i.e. BTECs).
2. Not at all. I did quite bad in my A-Levels, but I'm extremely hard-working, and managed to pick up an award for academic achievement in my first year. Uni is all about the work you put in, especially since it's so independent, so work hard, enjoy yourself, and the results will come.
3. I can only speak for mine (Nottingham), but BTECs were accepted on my course. Because of my A-Level grades, I sat a Foundation Year (which allows people from disadvantaged backgrounds or those with lower grades the chance to study at a top uni). The program was amazing, I made some friends for life, and I learned a lot about critical thinking, reflective learning, and other key skills that are super useful at uni (as well as for employers!). I'd recommend checking them out!
4. It's honestly up to you. If you want to pursue a career in Finance, or one that involves maths, then maybe sit one. But if you want to go into something completely different, or do something you enjoy personally for uni, then I wouldn't.
5. Again, it depends massively, but some unis look at other things besides academic grades for certain courses. The fact you got amazing grades means they can tell you'll be hard-working, and if you can get that across in an interview/personal statement, you stand a good chance!

Finally, please don't let anyone get you down about BTECs. Sure there's a lot of talk about them not being worth an A-Level or such, but as long as you're keen, hard-working, and can do well in essays and/or exams, you'll be able to show admissions tutors that you can handle uni just as much as anyone else. I hope this helps, and if you have any other questions, feel free to send a message.
Thank you for your reply! I was thinking about doing Foundation Year, but then I'm not sure if it is really worth it. Since I'm from disadvantaged background additional 9k to 27k sounds very expensive, I know that you can get student loans but, it's just, I'm not sure if I will pay everything off at the end. What about finishing an undergraduate in good uni and possibly do masters in prestigious ones at some point?
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CalvinMedcalf1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Thank you for your reply! I was thinking about doing Foundation Year, but then I'm not sure if it is really worth it. Since I'm from disadvantaged background additional 9k to 27k sounds very expensive, I know that you can get student loans but, it's just, I'm not sure if I will pay everything off at the end. What about finishing an undergraduate in good uni and possibly do masters in prestigious ones at some point?
Yeah I understand the worry with the extra £9k, it depends on whether you want to go a prestigious uni straight away or not. I'd obvs recommend it (because I loved it), but if it's not for you, for sure you should look around, start downloading prospectuses (prospecti?) and stick all the key info in a spreadsheet so you can compare everything quickly
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Thank you for your reply! I was thinking about doing Foundation Year, but then I'm not sure if it is really worth it. Since I'm from disadvantaged background additional 9k to 27k sounds very expensive, I know that you can get student loans but, it's just, I'm not sure if I will pay everything off at the end. What about finishing an undergraduate in good uni and possibly do masters in prestigious ones at some point?
Most people don't end up paying off their student loans in full anyway. The more you earn above a certain level the more you pay back and after 30 years you don't need to pay it back anymore. Look at this article for more information on student loans.

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/st...-fees-changes/

You should do more research as suggested by CalvinMedcalf1. However, because you come from a disadvantaged background your carers will not be expected to finance university at all and if you earn below the threshold you won't be liable to pay off the loan. Even if you do pay off some or all of it, the amount (especially when close the threshold) is not much at all.

Overall, what I am trying to say is that financing university is achievable. However, finding the right course and university is essential so do your research. Good luck!!
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Anonymous #1
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bump (last time want to see others advice)
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historynerd47
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1. Yes, some say they don't accept BTEC so they would have no reason to lie.
2. No, not at all.
3. Please please please explore contextual offers- an exams officer/head of sixth form etc at your school will be able to inform you more about this but basically makes it clear that you have performed outstandingly in an area with typically low achievement, especially in case you happen to not get the grades you said (but I believe in you!)

Unfortunately it is true that a lot of people can be snobbish about a-levels vs btecs, it's not a TSR thing. However your grades are absolutely outstanding and you should be so proud of how hard you're working. I went to a secondary school with similar results and know what it's like to be around people who aren't reaching what you are.
Unis WILL accept BTECs with those results! I'm not an expert on the course you want to do, but look around at the universities you would be interested in and see what they require. I just had a look at York (my uni) and for comp sci they require DDD for BTEC but specify an A in a-level maths also and I feel that may be a theme so I would consider taking that separately if you can, after your btec. The university experience is not going to be great for a while anyway with the pandemic, and it is worth taking the time to get into the place you want to go to to kickstart your career. After being at your school it will be wonderful to be with other high achievers and really inspiring.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by historynerd47)
1. Yes, some say they don't accept BTEC so they would have no reason to lie.
2. No, not at all.
3. Please please please explore contextual offers- an exams officer/head of sixth form etc at your school will be able to inform you more about this but basically makes it clear that you have performed outstandingly in an area with typically low achievement, especially in case you happen to not get the grades you said (but I believe in you!)

Unfortunately it is true that a lot of people can be snobbish about a-levels vs btecs, it's not a TSR thing. However your grades are absolutely outstanding and you should be so proud of how hard you're working. I went to a secondary school with similar results and know what it's like to be around people who aren't reaching what you are.
Unis WILL accept BTECs with those results! I'm not an expert on the course you want to do, but look around at the universities you would be interested in and see what they require. I just had a look at York (my uni) and for comp sci they require DDD for BTEC but specify an A in a-level maths also and I feel that may be a theme so I would consider taking that separately if you can, after your btec. The university experience is not going to be great for a while anyway with the pandemic, and it is worth taking the time to get into the place you want to go to to kickstart your career. After being at your school it will be wonderful to be with other high achievers and really inspiring.
Thank you for your reply! Unfortunately, there is quite high a chance there is going to be a second wave, it might be even worse than the first one. I feel like I'm better off taking a gap year and do A level maths as a private candidate + maybe even learn some comp sci content and practice A level exam style before uni, I think I'm very capable of achieving a high grade like A or A*.

Regarding universities, there are some very good unis that accept BTEC in computing. Like Leeds, Nottingham, York (they can consider my maths units in my course), Kings College and etc. It's just, I don't know, I feel like I might struggle for some reason. Though, as the person above stated that it's mostly the work you put in, if it's actually true then I will work very hard to achieve a good degree.
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historynerd47
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Thank you for your reply! Unfortunately, there is quite high a chance there is going to be a second wave, it might be even worse than the first one. I feel like I'm better off taking a gap year and do A level maths as a private candidate + maybe even learn some comp sci content and practice A level exam style before uni, I think I'm very capable of achieving a high grade like A or A*.

Regarding universities, there are some very good unis that accept BTEC in computing. Like Leeds, Nottingham, York (they can consider my maths units in my course), Kings College and etc. It's just, I don't know, I feel like I might struggle for some reason. Though, as the person above stated that it's mostly the work you put in, if it's actually true then I will work very hard to achieve a good degree.
This sounds like a great plan, you've done your research and know what to do.
I really genuinely feel that it's about the work you put in. I mean it. I went to a rubbish secondary, then got in to a grammar school for sixth form and was hugely disadvantaged in what I had been taught but managed to do very very well. One thing I would say though is that it's not about working all hours of the day but working effectively- ever heard of the expression work smart not hard? Get to grips with the mark scheme/what you need to get the best grades and plan your revision accordingly.
You can do it!
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