Advice needed - denied my A Levels and unsure where to go

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cleo135
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In March, my college refused to put me in for my A Level exams. I had been predicted A*A*A* with an A* in my EPQ, and had all but completed the curricula for every one of my subjects. I received offers from St Andrews, Edinburgh, UCL, Durham and Glasgow. However, I had been suffering from mental health issues due to being trapped in a violently abusive relationship since the end of Lower Sixth, and was unable to physically attend classes, which was not a problem during lockdown but afterwards became an issue, and as such my college denied me the opportunity to receive my A Levels.

Now, I am unsure what to do. I am concerned about time and financial constraints with regards to my education. I don't have the opportunity to return to college and retake my A Levels next year as it's financially impossible, the school is private and my parents could only afford to send me until I turned 18. Other colleges would not accept me so late in the day and there would be issues with the fact that I have actually studied the whole curricula, and was just refused at the very last hurdle.

I have considered two options:

1. Take a year out to recover fully and then apply for an Access to HE course in a field relevant to my chosen degree.

2. Opt for a foundation course at the University of Buckingham.

Neither of those options are particularly prestigious, and with the field I want to go into (politics and diplomacy) I am concerned that I will be put at the bottom of the pile. My dream was to study the dual degree programme at UCL/Sciences Po but I fear that an Access to HE course will not be acceptable, even if combined with my EPQ and extracurricular activities. Equally I hope to later take a Master's at the College of Europe, and thus I am not wholly convinced that a degree from Buckingham would quite cut it.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am not looking for a course where I can doss about, nor have I wasted my past few years of education - I was just dealt a very unlucky blow, and now I'm trying to work out how to move forward.
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123GRace321
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Why would they refuse to let you sit exams when you have such wonderful grades like that? You must be feeling frustrated, I suppose the best thing you can do is take a year out and try to focus on yourself, volunteer for charities and you could even research some apprenticeships; off the top of my head I know that there are degree apprenticeships for law. Perhaps you could even find if there is a way to do some work experience for the government as that will make you stand out amongst other applicants. I would also add that university isn’t the only option and there are other ways to achieve an ambitious career, however if you are able
To take up valuable work experience the employers may not be so bothered that you didn’t attend a prestigious uni.

However I suppose the most important thing here is your well-being as that is crucial for any happy and fulfilled life. Take up hobbies like meditation, exercise to alleviate stress, of course there is always counselling but from my long experience of having counselling for depression they can only lead you so far and these services are also v underfunded. It may also be worthwhile looking at some podcasts. Jordan Peterson is an excellent man to listen to, although his political views may be controversial he is a clinical psychologist and offers v good advice on mental health. I guess what I’m trying to say is taking a gap year would be a good opportunity for you to try out new things and see what you like and dislike. You are clearly a v capable individual and so the last thing I would like to add is to not give up and stay true to yourself.
Best of luck
Last edited by 123GRace321; 1 week ago
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Euapp
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Can't you contact the Unis that have made you offers and ask to defer entry a year explaining why, and then sit the exam as an external candidate next year.I don't know if it's possible, but worth trying.
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McGinger
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(Original post by Euapp)
Can't you contact the Unis that have made you offers and ask to defer entry a year explaining why, and then sit the exam as an external candidate next year.I don't know if it's possible, but worth trying.
You cant defer/carry over an unfulfilled offer. The OP would have to reapply next year when they are well enough, and retake A level exams either in the Autumn or next Summer.
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McGinger
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(Original post by 123GRace321)
Why would they refuse to let you sit exams when you have such wonderful grades like that?
You only have the OPs version of this.
Usually situations like this are far more complicated than they appear.
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Euapp
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(Original post by McGinger)
You cant defer/carry over an unfulfilled offer. The OP would have to reapply next year when they are well enough, and retake A level exams either in the Autumn or next Summer.
I know you can't normally, but there is nothing to lose in contacting them and explaining the situation ( and again I am aware we only have one side of the story here) given that the last 15 months are far from being standard.
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PQ
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Resit your A levels at a local FE college in the autumn and reapply to the universities that you want to go to. Make sure that your reference mentions that you had circumstances beyond your control preventing you from being graded in summer 2021. Then do something brilliant with the 8/9 months free you have in 2022 before your degree starts.

This is much less of an issue that you’re making it. An Access diploma is a silly choice when you’ve completed A levels just without being assessed.
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McGinger
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(Original post by Euapp)
there is nothing to lose in contacting them and explaining the situation
UCAS have already said that there will be no 'hang-over' applications to next year - what they did last year was exceptional and will not be repeated. So if this applicant does not get a place this summer, they will have to make a fresh application next year.
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Euapp
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(Original post by McGinger)
UCAS have already said that there will be no 'hang-over' applications to next year - what they did last year was exceptional and will not be repeated. So if this applicant does not get a place this summer, they will have to make a fresh application next year.
O.K!
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