Can I do 3 a-levels while at uni?

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mma_jd
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#1
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#1
Hi,

I know this question probably makes no sense at first, but hear me out. I got into a decent russel group uni for law, but I am only now finding out that apparently law firms automatically filter out candidates based on a levels. Needless to say I was quite surprised, I mean to me it makes sense that if you got into a good uni and get a good grade, THAT is what you should be judged by, not something you did (or in my case didn't) do when you were 17 years old.

Either way, point being I never did a levels. I did a business BTEC, then took a year out after (didn't go straight to uni), and now am studying an access to HE course in law. Clearly this was sufficient for getting into uni, but if law firms really do judge you on an exam you take at the age of 17, what's the point in doing a 3 year degree just to get filtered out because of this? The way I see it my best option is to do the 3 a-levels while I'm at uni, this way I will actually be able to hopefully achieve decent A levels and not automatically get filtered out from top law firms. I know this probably sounds pretty ridiculous but I can't think of anything else, aside from giving up on law altogether. It just sucks that a good grade from a RG uni isn't enough...
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masterspjm
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#2
Report 1 year ago
#2
Honestly, you would be far too busy in your first year to try and take on 3 full A levels in addition to the amount of studying, extra reading, lectures, sports, society activities, extra curriculars, boozing, recovering from said boozing, etc. that you’re likely to be doing as a fresher. I tried to take on one extra 20 credit module (which I think is not even equal in work to A level) in my first year and couldn’t handle the extra workload and barely a month. If you’re really keen on getting the 3 A levels then think about doing one of them per year? That might be more manageable. Alternatively, I’d highly recommend getting yourself a summer placement or even an “industry year”. This would immediately put you above even straight A’s A level students. Once you’ve got your foot in the door sort of thing. Like you, I took a different oath to uni without A levels and did a science foundation year to get into an RG uni. Since graduation give gotten a job with one of the best engineering consultancies in the country, all without an A level in sight. Having said that, I have no idea what the application process is like for law firms. They obviously do whatever they can to whittle down the number of applicants. There are only ever a few places for every 100+ applicants nowadays, in all sectors and industries though not just law.

Hope this helps!
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mma_jd
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#3
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#3
(Original post by masterspjm)
Honestly, you would be far too busy in your first year to try and take on 3 full A levels in addition to the amount of studying, extra reading, lectures, sports, society activities, extra curriculars, boozing, recovering from said boozing, etc. that you’re likely to be doing as a fresher. I tried to take on one extra 20 credit module (which I think is not even equal in work to A level) in my first year and couldn’t handle the extra workload and barely a month. If you’re really keen on getting the 3 A levels then think about doing one of them per year? That might be more manageable. Alternatively, I’d highly recommend getting yourself a summer placement or even an “industry year”. This would immediately put you above even straight A’s A level students. Once you’ve got your foot in the door sort of thing. Like you, I took a different oath to uni without A levels and did a science foundation year to get into an RG uni. Since graduation give gotten a job with one of the best engineering consultancies in the country, all without an A level in sight. Having said that, I have no idea what the application process is like for law firms. They obviously do whatever they can to whittle down the number of applicants. There are only ever a few places for every 100+ applicants nowadays, in all sectors and industries though not just law.

Hope this helps!
Thanks. The problem with law firms though, at least from what I'm just recently hearing, is that they literally "automatically" filter out applicants based on A levels - as in I could graduate from the best uni with a first and the best possible summer internship, and still wouldn't stand a chance because my application would be thrown away once they see I have no a levels. This might be wrong though, and honestly it is really depressing to think about how much emphasis is put on an exam you would have taken when you weren't even fully matured, no matter how much you do to make up for it as an adult...
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masterspjm
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#4
Report 1 year ago
#4
(Original post by mma_jd)
Thanks. The problem with law firms though, at least from what I'm just recently hearing, is that they literally "automatically" filter out applicants based on A levels - as in I could graduate from the best uni with a first and the best possible summer internship, and still wouldn't stand a chance because my application would be thrown away once they see I have no a levels. This might be wrong though, and honestly it is really depressing to think about how much emphasis is put on an exam you would have taken when you weren't even fully matured, no matter how much you do to make up for it as an adult...
Yeah, like I said, most big firms will have some method of filtering applications. I was once told by an older recruiter for a sales company that the way they dealt with applications was those that had been sent with a first class stamp would be opened (back when you applied by post) and those with a second class stamp would be thrown in the bin without being opened. On the next day he would the opposite and throw away the first class stamped envelopes just to reduce the sheer numbers of applicants.

Perhaps give the one A level a year a go then. If you’re dedicated then you could do it, just be prepared to put more hours in studying compared to your mates. Also, you’re underestimating how good summer placements and industry years look on your cv. They really do trump your grades. I’ve known friends with 2:2 classifications get good jobs because they did an internship of some sort. They’ll usually offer you a job at the end of it if you prove your worth.

I do somewhat understand why they might get rid of applicants based on not having A levels though, especially in a highly academic field such as Law. Either way, don’t be too disheartened and you certainly give up a shot at a RG uni. Even if you don’t get a place at a “top” Law firm you will likely get a good job anyway by perhaps the less snobby/ picky firms.
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mma_jd
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#5
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#5
(Original post by masterspjm)
Yeah, like I said, most big firms will have some method of filtering applications. I was once told by an older recruiter for a sales company that the way they dealt with applications was those that had been sent with a first class stamp would be opened (back when you applied by post) and those with a second class stamp would be thrown in the bin without being opened. On the next day he would the opposite and throw away the first class stamped envelopes just to reduce the sheer numbers of applicants.

Perhaps give the one A level a year a go then. If you’re dedicated then you could do it, just be prepared to put more hours in studying compared to your mates. Also, you’re underestimating how good summer placements and industry years look on your cv. They really do trump your grades. I’ve known friends with 2:2 classifications get good jobs because they did an internship of some sort. They’ll usually offer you a job at the end of it if you prove your worth.

I do somewhat understand why they might get rid of applicants based on not having A levels though, especially in a highly academic field such as Law. Either way, don’t be too disheartened and you certainly give up a shot at a RG uni. Even if you don’t get a place at a “top” Law firm you will likely get a good job anyway by perhaps the less snobby/ picky firms.
Yeah, I might do. The way I see it, if I'm studying Law anyway, by the 2nd or 3rd year A levels such as Law and English should be pretty easy for me to do (certainly easier than for the average 16 year old going into them after GCSEs). I just wonder if law firms will still look down on it when they find out I did it at uni and not when I was 16, like if this is a "can't change your past" type of scenario for me and I might just have to accept that and settle for smaller law firms.
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masterspjm
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#6
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#6
(Original post by mma_jd)
Yeah, I might do. The way I see it, if I'm studying Law anyway, by the 2nd or 3rd year A levels such as Law and English should be pretty easy for me to do (certainly easier than for the average 16 year old going into them after GCSEs). I just wonder if law firms will still look down on it when they find out I did it at uni and not when I was 16, like if this is a "can't change your past" type of scenario for me and I might just have to accept that and settle for smaller law firms.
I don’t know why they would think that. If anything, they would/ should be impressed that you’ve taken on extra academic work whilst studying. If they do have the “can’t change your past” attitude then they really don’t sound like great firms to work for, but that is just my own opinion of course. Again, I can’t speak for Law firms specifically, but companies are more likely to be looking for a well rounded graduate, not just straight A’s student. In fact, in some engineering firms, I knew for a fact that they would take a student with a 2:1 who had some charisma/ people skills over the 1st Class student who couldn’t talk to people because they had spent their whole lives looking into books! That’s not to say that you can’t be extra smart as well as a people person of course, but it is something to bear in mind.
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mma_jd
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#7
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#7
(Original post by masterspjm)
I don’t know why they would think that. If anything, they would/ should be impressed that you’ve taken on extra academic work whilst studying. If they do have the “can’t change your past” attitude then they really don’t sound like great firms to work for, but that is just my own opinion of course. Again, I can’t speak for Law firms specifically, but companies are more likely to be looking for a well rounded graduate, not just straight A’s student. In fact, in some engineering firms, I knew for a fact that they would take a student with a 2:1 who had some charisma/ people skills over the 1st Class student who couldn’t talk to people because they had spent their whole lives looking into books! That’s not to say that you can’t be extra smart as well as a people person of course, but it is something to bear in mind.
Very good point, academic knowledge isn't everything and I am personally of the belief that practical life experience is better at building critical thinking and, as you mentioned, things like people skills as well. I will definitely look into getting a summer internship, maybe even multiple if I can (like maybe one before starting uni and one during? Who knows)
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masterspjm
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#8
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#8
You may struggle somewhat before you’ve started at uni but it’s still worth a shot! Either way, good luck whichever way you go!
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mma_jd
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#9
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#9
What do you mean by requisite academic background exactly? And surely the mid & top firms wouldn’t treat an access course the same if they filter out applicants based on a levels?
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