Dealing with not going to a top university

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Derwss2003
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I've posted about this before, however recently thought more about it.

How do you deal with not going to your dream and top university? I got pretty average GCSEs, with 4s and 5s, which restricted me from going to University of Birmingham. This was caused by many factors, mainly lack of motivation. My initial degree I wanted to do was Medicine, however that quickly changed in Year 9 when I saw how I was doing in my GCSEs.

I now have gotten into Aston University to do IT, which, while IT is something I enjoy, I do feel really out of place and limited in what I can do, especially since all my friends are applying to or have the potential to go to a top university (Oxbridge, Bham, Warwick, Manchester etc)

My family have said taking a gap year will be totally wasted, even if I was going to retake my GCSEs. I have even explored the prospect of moving abroad and learning my religion more, as well as doing a degree program alongside.

Any advice? I feel really lost and not sure how to go about things. I just feel like I won't be entirely happy with Aston Uni, as it isn't where I wanted to go.
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Derwss2003
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IAmAMcNugget
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(Original post by Derwss2003)
I've posted about this before, however recently thought more about it.

How do you deal with not going to your dream and top university? I got pretty average GCSEs, with 4s and 5s, which restricted me from going to University of Birmingham. This was caused by many factors, mainly lack of motivation. My initial degree I wanted to do was Medicine, however that quickly changed in Year 9 when I saw how I was doing in my GCSEs.

I now have gotten into Aston University to do IT, which, while IT is something I enjoy, I do feel really out of place and limited in what I can do, especially since all my friends are applying to or have the potential to go to a top university (Oxbridge, Bham, Warwick, Manchester etc)

My family have said taking a gap year will be totally wasted, even if I was going to retake my GCSEs. I have even explored the prospect of moving abroad and learning my religion more, as well as doing a degree program alongside.

Any advice? I feel really lost and not sure how to go about things. I just feel like I won't be entirely happy with Aston Uni, as it isn't where I wanted to go.
Doing a course you don’t want to at a university you don’t want to be at will be an even bigger waste, believe me. If it’s too late to apply again this year, and you know where you want to go, apply again next year before it’s too late
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Derwss2003
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(Original post by IAmAMcNugget)
Doing a course you don’t want to at a university you don’t want to be at will be an even bigger waste, believe me. If it’s too late to apply again this year, and you know where you want to go, apply again next year before it’s too late
The university is the only issue, as I said I do like IT, however of course it isn't my first/dream choice. I just feel like I am restricting myself and there is really nothing I can do about it. There are options such as retakes along with taking a whole other A level to get into Computer Science which is similar to IT. I feel that something health related at one of the top universities is out of reach due to the grade requirements.
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IAmAMcNugget
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(Original post by Derwss2003)
The university is the only issue, as I said I do like IT, however of course it isn't my first/dream choice. I just feel like I am restricting myself and there is really nothing I can do about it. There are options such as retakes along with taking a whole other A level to get into Computer Science which is similar to IT. I feel that something health related at one of the top universities is out of reach due to the grade requirements.
For Medicine have you looked at foundation programmes? They have lower entry requirements and are meant to be more accessible. Some uni’s for certain courses don’t accept retakes as A-Levels so be aware of that. Don’t settle at this stage in your life, you still have so many options open to you, and don’t compare yourself to others, they weren’t in your situation so it’s not fair on yourself. I used to obsess over prestigious universities, especially since others in my school were all applying there, but now that I’m in uni it doesn’t matter nearly as much as whether you’ll be happy at the uni and you like the environment, people, etc.. Remember you’ll be spending money and time wherever you’ll go so be wise about it
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Derwss2003
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(Original post by IAmAMcNugget)
For Medicine have you looked at foundation programmes? They have lower entry requirements and are meant to be more accessible. Some uni’s for certain courses don’t accept retakes as A-Levels so be aware of that. Don’t settle at this stage in your life, you still have so many options open to you, and don’t compare yourself to others, they weren’t in your situation so it’s not fair on yourself. I used to obsess over prestigious universities, especially since others in my school were all applying there, but now that I’m in uni it doesn’t matter nearly as much as whether you’ll be happy at the uni and you like the environment, people, etc.. Remember you’ll be spending money and time wherever you’ll go so be wise about it
I did consider it, however was limited by my school and family, who were all suggesting to go with the second choice as it'd be too much effort.

Settling now seems like something I am being forced to do by family and school. I'm sure that once I go there I'll realize that it isn't so bad, but I know I won't be truly happy at Aston.
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CatInTheCorner
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(Original post by Derwss2003)
I did consider it, however was limited by my school and family, who were all suggesting to go with the second choice as it'd be too much effort.

Settling now seems like something I am being forced to do by family and school. I'm sure that once I go there I'll realize that it isn't so bad, but I know I won't be truly happy at Aston.
There's a BCC foundation medicine course that I know of that's a gateway. Don't lock yourself into a career you won't want.
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Kerzen
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In ten years' time, what do you see yourself doing?

If all options were available, what kind of job do you think would make you happy?
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Derwss2003
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(Original post by CatInTheCorner)
There's a BCC foundation medicine course that I know of that's a gateway. Don't lock yourself into a career you won't want.
IT isn't something that I absolutely hate doing, however medicine would be my first choice. My family will probably object to me moving out, unless there's another option in Aston or Birmingham that I could do, however I'm not sure if they're out of the question now, Birmingham especially as it'd require a lot of retakes to get to their Med course, which they don't even allow. Not sure about Aston though, I think it's the same.
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Derwss2003
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(Original post by Kerzen)
In ten years' time, what do you see yourself doing?

If all options were available, what kind of job do you think would make you happy?
That is something that needs serious figuring out, however I can't take a gap year, as my family don't want me to waste it, although I said I want to do various things during it such as learning a language etc maybe even exploring an avenue I wanted to go down, which was learning more about my religion, and maybe even some more work experience. They just think I should go into IT because it's my 'passion', as labelled by them. It sucks being put down like that.

Honestly if all options were available it would definitely be in health, maybe medicine. This is mainly due to the fact that my family all work or have worked in the health sector.
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CatInTheCorner
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(Original post by Derwss2003)
That is something that needs serious figuring out, however I can't take a gap year, as my family don't want me to waste it, although I said I want to do various things during it such as learning a language etc maybe even exploring an avenue I wanted to go down, which was learning more about my religion, and maybe even some more work experience. They just think I should go into IT because it's my 'passion', as labelled by them. It sucks being put down like that.

Honestly if all options were available it would definitely be in health, maybe medicine. This is mainly due to the fact that my family all work or have worked in the health sector.
If it's at all possible, get your family to stop interfering. It seems they don't understand what you want or what you care about. Search for medicine gateway courses, you don't need good A-levels for those, work your arse off in one of them, there are some in Birmingham I think, and get into med. Easier said than done, but it's possible
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Kerzen
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(Original post by Derwss2003)
That is something that needs serious figuring out, however I can't take a gap year, as my family don't want me to waste it, although I said I want to do various things during it such as learning a language etc maybe even exploring an avenue I wanted to go down, which was learning more about my religion, and maybe even some more work experience. They just think I should go into IT because it's my 'passion', as labelled by them. It sucks being put down like that.

Honestly if all options were available it would definitely be in health, maybe medicine. This is mainly due to the fact that my family all work or have worked in the health sector.
If your hope is for a career in healthcare, why opt for a degree in IT? To be honest, if your heart isn't in it, this could limit how well you do in your degree and you could find it difficult to make inroads with employers afterwards.

Would it perhaps be better to release that space for an IT degree for someone else to take while you reformulate your plans?
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Derwss2003
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(Original post by CatInTheCorner)
If it's at all possible, get your family to stop interfering. It seems they don't understand what you want or what you care about. Search for medicine gateway courses, you don't need good A-levels for those, work your arse off in one of them, there are some in Birmingham I think, and get into med. Easier said than done, but it's possible
It'll be a hard task to get my family to stop interfering like that, as they obviously just want the best for me.

(Original post by Kerzen)
If your hope is for a career in healthcare, why opt for a degree in IT? To be honest, if your heart isn't in it, this could limit how well you do in your degree and you could find it difficult to make inroads with employers afterwards.

Would it perhaps be better to release that space for an IT degree for someone else to take while you reformulate your plans?
While it could limit it, the feeling is that I can just get by, and 'coast' which is how my family are putting it. Any efforts to try and get somewhere better would take too much time and be wasted according to them. I don't mind doing IT.

It would definitely be better to perhaps defer or potentially release the space, however my family would be vehemently against it, as it'd be seen as just wasting time. It's annoying as I feel lost, not knowing what to do. IT is definitely not the first choice, however I feel it's the only one left that I will be able to somewhat enjoy.
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NumbaCruncha
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(Original post by Derwss2003)
That is something that needs serious figuring out, however I can't take a gap year, as my family don't want me to waste it, although I said I want to do various things during it such as learning a language etc maybe even exploring an avenue I wanted to go down, which was learning more about my religion, and maybe even some more work experience. They just think I should go into IT because it's my 'passion', as labelled by them. It sucks being put down like that.

Honestly if all options were available it would definitely be in health, maybe medicine. This is mainly due to the fact that my family all work or have worked in the health sector.
So sorry to hear that everything's not going as you'd like to have hoped for. If I could chime in on this situation, I'd say you are at point in life where decisions do matter a lot and everything is serious from this moment (unfair for your age but it's how the system is set up).

If you are truly passionate about medicine after doing the necessary pre-checks such as work experience, talks with doctors/books etc. then I do think you should consider that route even at this stage. I'm a grad who chose to switch to medicine and in total I probably have like 3 gap years (for different reasons) but I've finally arrived at what I want to start to do; however, this was by no means an easy choice as getting into medicine is even harder as a graduate and there's barely any financial support from the government so a gap year for you will definitely save so much more time and money if you work on your application and overall self.

Noone will ever know what you want aside from you. Please don't put what your family has to say over your own wants and priorities in life. My family was initially not supportive of my sudden career change but they understand it now.

I wish I had someone tell me this when I was at your stage, but I'd say pick a degree which you know will help you get a job/career you want to do, not because you necessary just enjoy the subject. It's a harsh reality but we do need to be a bit realistic as the jobs in IT might not be the same as studying IT (or if you do enjoy the jobs after the IT degree, then great!). Research is crucial at this stage and it helps avoid what I did (I picked a subject that I liked to study but as time passed, I realised I'm not so certain on the career and work at the end of it).
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Derwss2003
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(Original post by NumbaCruncha)
So sorry to hear that everything's not going as you'd like to have hoped for. If I could chime in on this situation, I'd say you are at point in life where decisions do matter a lot and everything is serious from this moment (unfair for your age but it's how the system is set up).

If you are truly passionate about medicine after doing the necessary pre-checks such as work experience, talks with doctors/books etc. then I do think you should consider that route even at this stage. I'm a grad who chose to switch to medicine and in total I probably have like 3 gap years (for different reasons) but I've finally arrived at what I want to start to do; however, this was by no means an easy choice as getting into medicine is even harder as a graduate and there's barely any financial support from the government so a gap year for you will definitely save so much more time and money if you work on your application and overall self.

Noone will ever know what you want aside from you. Please don't put what your family has to say over your own wants and priorities in life. My family was initially not supportive of my sudden career change but they understand it now.

I wish I had someone tell me this when I was at your stage, but I'd say pick a degree which you know will help you get a job/career you want to do, not because you necessary just enjoy the subject. It's a harsh reality but we do need to be a bit realistic as the jobs in IT might not be the same as studying IT (or if you do enjoy the jobs after the IT degree, then great!). Research is crucial at this stage and it helps avoid what I did (I picked a subject that I liked to study but as time passed, I realised I'm not so certain on the career and work at the end of it).
Thank you for the advice. I do feel very lost, I did initially think that IT might be the best for me, however there was this feeling in the back of head that I am not doing well enough or won't be reaching my potential at all. Comparing myself to others doesn't help, but it's inevitable at school etc.

GCSE IT is something that I did enjoy studying. Annoyed that I didn't try harder then I wouldn't even be in this mess in the first place.

Regarding your comments about medicine, I do think that medicine may be out of reach without some serious work and possibly even moving out, however I'm reluctant to tell my family all this as they'd be extremely angry. This is why I'm talking about the prospect and just dealing with it and settling for IT, as I can't do much else about it.
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Kerzen
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(Original post by Derwss2003)

This is why I'm talking about the prospect and just dealing with it and settling for IT, as I can't do much else about it.
Of course you can, you're not a child.
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Derwss2003
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(Original post by Kerzen)
Of course you can, you're not a child.
It's going to take a lot to just tell my parents that I'm going onto a whole other course like that. I have mentioned the prospect in the past however, and they scolded me for mentioning it, stating that my grades and performance are nowhere near good enough.
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Lluvia Morado
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You mention GCSEs but not A levels that I can see, did I miss something?

I don't think your GCSEs would restrict your choice of Uni if you got good A levels.

Not sure what course you are looking at, but when I was looking last year, all the Manchester Unis had slightly lower entry requirements for the same courses as say the entry requirements at UofLeeds.

Anyway, I think it really just depends on what A levels you get or UCAS points. But I would not do a degree just for the sake of it, especially not from a "technical college-turned-University". If the degree is 3 years and you use Student Finance it will use up your entitlement (to funding), which is worth considering if you are not completely committed to the course or the Uni, and if you are unsure of how it will benefit future job prospects.
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Kerzen
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Can you give a list of all the qualifications you have, both GCSEs and A Levels?
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Derwss2003
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(Original post by Kerzen)
Can you give a list of all the qualifications you have, both GCSEs and A Levels?
AAC predicted, psych bio and politics, with the C in bio.


GCSEs, 1 Distinction, 2 6s, 4 5s and 3 4s. Maths and English 5s, all sciences 5s except for Biology which I got a 6 in.
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