Need advice on my chosen courses for sixth form and career path.

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Randall082
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I desperately need advice on my current situation and courses.

I enrolled to a sixth form as of last week and am currently doing a Level 3 BTEC extended diploma in Computing. I don’t hate the course, the teachers are incredibly helpful and nice, however it wasn’t my first choice. I originally wanted to do A-Levels in Computer Science, Physics, and Maths, but was unable to due to COVID and the exam board giving a predicted maths grade that was under the minimum for all courses, something which I disagree completely since I’ve been studying since early May in Year 10 constantly, and even during quarantine (although it turned out to be pointless since they went with some algorithm to predict people’s capacity to learn).

I tried convincing my tutors about it, however kept on saying that it was “non-negational” as the predicted GCSE results are the only thing they could go off from. The November resits are out of the question as well since it would be over the 6 week time gap for people to be able to switch courses in my sixth form, I would miss one term os the course as results are said to come back in December-January, and the school “doesn’t want to set us up for failure”. (I am still taking the resits though as I don’t think some computer represents me and my ability to learn)

I would’ve been fine with it originally however I want to pursue a career in computer science, and most of the universities (Manchester or preferably any other uni from the Russel Group) that I want to go to require that along side a BTEC, I should have a Maths A-level too. So I’m starting to worry that I have wouldn’t be able to apply to these universities due to not meeting the requirements. There’s also the fact that A-Levels are more flexible than a BTEC, so I think I’ll be putting myself into a corner if I continue to do my current course. It doesn’t help that I come from an asian family who has exceedingly high expectations, and expects me to go to somewhere like Cambridge. (although it looks like Cambridge doesn’t accept BTECs, so I’m trying to apply to other Russel Group universities, or find out if there’s any other way of taking my chosen A-Levels. Apprenticeships however, are really discouraged in my family, as my parents think I’ve failed at having an education, and I really don’t want to have them think that)

I really enjoy Maths, Computer science, and it’s programming and problem solving aspects that come along with it. So I really don’t want to have to deviate from that career path unless there’s really no other option. Neither do I want to have to switch sixth forms as I don’t want to cause more trouble for my parents, and since the sixth form is highly reputable in my area.

If there’s anyway of taking my originally chosen A-levels, or at least the Maths A-level. Please let me know, I know the situation I put myself in is tricky to come out of but any advice is greatly appreciated.

If that doesn’t work out, then please let me know if there’s any chance if I can apply to Manchester University or any other RG Universities with only a Level 3 BTEC. Again, any advice is greatly appreciated.
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claireestelle
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(Original post by Randall082)
I desperately need advice on my current situation and courses.

I enrolled to a sixth form as of last week and am currently doing a Level 3 BTEC extended diploma in Computing. I don’t hate the course, the teachers are incredibly helpful and nice, however it wasn’t my first choice. I originally wanted to do A-Levels in Computer Science, Physics, and Maths, but was unable to due to COVID and the exam board giving a predicted maths grade that was under the minimum for all courses, something which I disagree completely since I’ve been studying since early May in Year 10 constantly, and even during quarantine (although it turned out to be pointless since they went with some algorithm to predict people’s capacity to learn).

I tried convincing my tutors about it, however kept on saying that it was “non-negational” as the predicted GCSE results are the only thing they could go off from. The November resits are out of the question as well since it would be over the 6 week time gap for people to be able to switch courses in my sixth form, I would miss one term os the course as results are said to come back in December-January, and the school “doesn’t want to set us up for failure”. (I am still taking the resits though as I don’t think some computer represents me and my ability to learn)

I would’ve been fine with it originally however I want to pursue a career in computer science, and most of the universities (Manchester or preferably any other uni from the Russel Group) that I want to go to require that along side a BTEC, I should have a Maths A-level too. So I’m starting to worry that I have wouldn’t be able to apply to these universities due to not meeting the requirements. There’s also the fact that A-Levels are more flexible than a BTEC, so I think I’ll be putting myself into a corner if I continue to do my current course. It doesn’t help that I come from an asian family who has exceedingly high expectations, and expects me to go to somewhere like Cambridge. (although it looks like Cambridge doesn’t accept BTECs, so I’m trying to apply to other Russel Group universities, or find out if there’s any other way of taking my chosen A-Levels. Apprenticeships however, are really discouraged in my family, as my parents think I’ve failed at having an education, and I really don’t want to have them think that)

I really enjoy Maths, Computer science, and it’s programming and problem solving aspects that come along with it. So I really don’t want to have to deviate from that career path unless there’s really no other option. Neither do I want to have to switch sixth forms as I don’t want to cause more trouble for my parents, and since the sixth form is highly reputable in my area.

If there’s anyway of taking my originally chosen A-levels, or at least the Maths A-level. Please let me know, I know the situation I put myself in is tricky to come out of but any advice is greatly appreciated.

If that doesn’t work out, then please let me know if there’s any chance if I can apply to Manchester University or any other RG Universities with only a Level 3 BTEC. Again, any advice is greatly appreciated.
i;d email a fair few universities but if you're willing to do a foundation year it's a possibility you could get a place.
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Randall082
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(Original post by claireestelle)
i;d email a fair few universities but if you're willing to do a foundation year it's a possibility you could get a place.
Thanks for responding, I didn’t know about foundation years until now and going to do some research on it. I’m still going to try and see if I’m able to do the A-levels along with emailing some unis, but I have a few questions about the foundation yearS:

1.I’ve looked around and from what I saw, the foundation year seems to be aimed toward international students rather than UK ones. So would I have the same chances of getting an offer for one, or are they more reserved for international students?

2.Is there a bad stigma around them? I’m worried that my parents would view them negatively and think they are a class for failure or something absurd like that, or that I end up with a class with loads of people who throw it off as some party year.

3. Is the foundation year like a qualification like A-Levels, BTEC, or GCSE? Do I have to reach a required score or grade on them before I can go onto, for example, a bachelor’s degree or masters.

4. Sorta related to question 3, but once I do complete the year, am I automatically qualified to do the bachelor’s or masters courses at the same university, or do I have to reapply to the same university? And if I change my mind, for example: I am doing the foundation year at University A but decide their computer science course is bad and prefer to go to University B, who has a better CompSci course. Would I be able to do the course at Uni B with my foundation year from Uni A as a qualification?

5. Kinda a personal opinion, but is a foundation year worth it at the RG universities? (somewhere like Manchester or Leeds, potentially Oxbridge if they do allow foundation years, although that’s probably a pipe dream now) I’m worried that I would waste £8k or more, learning something useless or relearning stuff from my current courses in sixth form, or end up with some horrible lecturer or class like I said before.

Sorry for dumping these questions on you and if you can’t answer them, then that’s understandable. I am going to do some research on them but I want to get someone else’s opinion before I make a decision I regret.

Sorry again and thank you for your advice. I really appreciate it.
Last edited by Randall082; 4 weeks ago
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Anonware
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(Original post by Randall082)
I desperately need advice on my current situation and courses.

I enrolled to a sixth form as of last week and am currently doing a Level 3 BTEC extended diploma in Computing. I don’t hate the course, the teachers are incredibly helpful and nice, however it wasn’t my first choice. I originally wanted to do A-Levels in Computer Science, Physics, and Maths, but was unable to due to COVID and the exam board giving a predicted maths grade that was under the minimum for all courses, something which I disagree completely since I’ve been studying since early May in Year 10 constantly, and even during quarantine (although it turned out to be pointless since they went with some algorithm to predict people’s capacity to learn).

I tried convincing my tutors about it, however kept on saying that it was “non-negational” as the predicted GCSE results are the only thing they could go off from. The November resits are out of the question as well since it would be over the 6 week time gap for people to be able to switch courses in my sixth form, I would miss one term os the course as results are said to come back in December-January, and the school “doesn’t want to set us up for failure”. (I am still taking the resits though as I don’t think some computer represents me and my ability to learn)

I would’ve been fine with it originally however I want to pursue a career in computer science, and most of the universities (Manchester or preferably any other uni from the Russel Group) that I want to go to require that along side a BTEC, I should have a Maths A-level too. So I’m starting to worry that I have wouldn’t be able to apply to these universities due to not meeting the requirements. There’s also the fact that A-Levels are more flexible than a BTEC, so I think I’ll be putting myself into a corner if I continue to do my current course. It doesn’t help that I come from an asian family who has exceedingly high expectations, and expects me to go to somewhere like Cambridge. (although it looks like Cambridge doesn’t accept BTECs, so I’m trying to apply to other Russel Group universities, or find out if there’s any other way of taking my chosen A-Levels. Apprenticeships however, are really discouraged in my family, as my parents think I’ve failed at having an education, and I really don’t want to have them think that)

I really enjoy Maths, Computer science, and it’s programming and problem solving aspects that come along with it. So I really don’t want to have to deviate from that career path unless there’s really no other option. Neither do I want to have to switch sixth forms as I don’t want to cause more trouble for my parents, and since the sixth form is highly reputable in my area.

If there’s anyway of taking my originally chosen A-levels, or at least the Maths A-level. Please let me know, I know the situation I put myself in is tricky to come out of but any advice is greatly appreciated.

If that doesn’t work out, then please let me know if there’s any chance if I can apply to Manchester University or any other RG Universities with only a Level 3 BTEC. Again, any advice is greatly appreciated.
Many people self study A levels at home. If you think you have enough time you could definitely self study maths, further maths also. You could get a tutor to help you, who can also offer predicted grades, or you could go on a online course, or request to take mock exams in school. Science subjects which require practical endorsements are over £1000 just to take endorsements so I’d recommend against that. The cheapest option would be studying Maths & Further Maths to fill that pot hole of not having physics or chemistry. Not even Cambridge require you to do physics. They require maths & some colleges further maths. So you’d still have a shot at all unis. However they do require 3 A levels, so you’d have to study another A level. Overall you could self study at home, request mock exams for your predicted grades in year 13 & then book the exams yourself which are about £80 a module, usually 3 modules for each subject. Good luck
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claireestelle
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(Original post by Randall082)
Thanks for responding, I didn’t know about foundation years until now and going to do some research on it. I’m still going to try and see if I’m able to do the A-levels along with emailing some unis, but I have a few questions about the foundation yearS:

1.I’ve looked around and from what I saw, the foundation year seems to be aimed toward international students rather than UK ones. So would I have the same chances of getting an offer for one, or are they more reserved for international students?
There's specific ones for international students but they are very much available for uk students

2.Is there a bad stigma around them? I’m worried that my parents would view them negatively and think they are a class for failure or something absurd like that, or that I end up with a class with loads of people who throw it off as some party year.
Not particularly

3. Is the foundation year like a qualification like A-Levels, BTEC, or GCSE? Do I have to reach a required score or grade on them before I can go onto, for example, a bachelor’s degree or masters.
Yes you would need a set pass mark each universities will be a bit different

4. Sorta related to question 3, but once I do complete the year, am I automatically qualified to do the bachelor’s or masters courses at the same university, or do I have to reapply to the same university? And if I change my mind, for example: I am doing the foundation year at University A but decide their computer science course is bad and prefer to go to University B, who has a better CompSci course. Would I be able to do the course at Uni B with my foundation year from Uni A as a qualification?
You would get into the course at that university if you pass, they aren't easily transferable between universities but that's not to say they wouldn't accept you.

5. Kinda a personal opinion, but is a foundation year worth it at the RG universities? (somewhere like Manchester or Leeds, potentially Oxbridge if they do allow foundation years, although that’s probably a pipe dream now) I’m worried that I would waste £8k or more, learning something useless or relearning stuff from my current courses in sixth form, or end up with some horrible lecturer or class like I said before.
Oxbridge don't accept them, manchester and leeds do them i think, you should consider unless you have a high starting salary that extra debt might not ever get paid off.
Sorry for dumping these questions on you and if you can’t answer them, then that’s understandable. I am going to do some research on them but I want to get someone else’s opinion before I make a decision I regret.

Sorry again and thank you for your advice. I really appreciate it.
See in bold above
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