What Should I Do? Applications & Grades & References

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joejoeeames
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#1
Report Thread starter 4 weeks ago
#1
Right here's the situation.

I took my A-Levels Last year and got:
D1/A** in Geography, A in Biology, C in chemistry & A* in EPQ
I'm retaking my Chemistry exam this year to up my grade but couldn't get a prediction as I'm taking it as an external candidate.
My GCSEs are: 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9 & 6

So here's the rub: I applied to some universities last year not even super high tier just the ones I want to go to and got rejected from them all.

I am going to have to reapply this year and take a SECOND gap year

I think my UCAS references are a bit rubbish.

And i really dont know what to do now.

I asked universities about this and they siad my double gap year would make my application less competative.

WTF should I do about this...?!?!?!?!
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booklover1313
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#2
Report 4 weeks ago
#2
(Original post by joejoeeames)
Right here's the situation.

I took my A-Levels Last year and got:
D1/A** in Geography, A in Biology, C in chemistry & A* in EPQ
I'm retaking my Chemistry exam this year to up my grade but couldn't get a prediction as I'm taking it as an external candidate.
My GCSEs are: 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9 & 6

So here's the rub: I applied to some universities last year not even super high tier just the ones I want to go to and got rejected from them all.

I am going to have to reapply this year and take a SECOND gap year

I think my UCAS references are a bit rubbish.

And i really dont know what to do now.

I asked universities about this and they siad my double gap year would make my application less competative.

WTF should I do about this...?!?!?!?!
Are you eligible to do UCAS Extra?
Otherwise, you don't really have much of an option. Which universities told you that your double gap year would be less competitive?
Your GCSE grades are strong, and if you can get a good grade in the Chemistry, you will have a good application. Did you ask for any feedback on why you were rejected? Can you improve your personal statement?
Try and plan to do something constructive in your 2nd gap year, so you can demonstrate that you have used the time well. Could you also get updated UCAS references? Your old school should be able to provide them.
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McGinger
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#3
Report 4 weeks ago
#3
Dont worry about your reference - Unis just skim read them at best and they certainly don't 'grade' them.
What they are interested in is your academic profile, predicted grades, and your PS.
That is what they will actually assess / score / grade.

What subject area at Uni are you aiming at?
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swanseajack1
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#4
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#4
(Original post by joejoeeames)
Right here's the situation.

I took my A-Levels Last year and got:
D1/A** in Geography, A in Biology, C in chemistry & A* in EPQ
I'm retaking my Chemistry exam this year to up my grade but couldn't get a prediction as I'm taking it as an external candidate.
My GCSEs are: 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9 & 6

So here's the rub: I applied to some universities last year not even super high tier just the ones I want to go to and got rejected from them all.

I am going to have to reapply this year and take a SECOND gap year

I think my UCAS references are a bit rubbish.

And i really dont know what to do now.

I asked universities about this and they siad my double gap year would make my application less competative.

WTF should I do about this...?!?!?!?!
What grade is D1/A**..With an A* in Geography, A in Biology and C in Chemistry you should have options as long as it isnt Medicine. What subject are you interested in
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joejoeeames
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#5
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#5
(Original post by swanseajack1)
What grade is D1/A**..With an A* in Geography, A in Biology and C in Chemistry you should have options as long as it isnt Medicine. What subject are you interested in
Geography but wanted to do something in Finance.
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joejoeeames
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#6
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#6
(Original post by McGinger)
Dont worry about your reference - Unis just skim read them at best and they certainly don't 'grade' them.
What they are interested in is your academic profile, predicted grades, and your PS.
That is what they will actually assess / score / grade.

What subject area at Uni are you aiming at?
I want to do something like Geography or Geography with Economics.
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McGinger
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#7
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#7
(Original post by joejoeeames)
Geography with Economics.
Looh for a course with a placement -
Loughborough - https://www.lboro.ac.uk/study/underg...ith-economics/
Reading - https://www.reading.ac.uk/ready-to-s...nal-experience
or look at International Development -
Sussex - https://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/under...development-ba
UEA - https://www.uea.ac.uk/course/undergr...with-economics
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swanseajack1
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#8
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#8
(Original post by joejoeeames)
I want to do something like Geography or Geography with Economics.
The problem is that Economics and things like Finance are very Mathematical and often require Maths A level usually grade A at top universities and this is probably why you are getting rejected. Apply through extra and think about leaving Mathematical subjects aside.
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swanseajack1
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#9
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#9
Here is a list I compiled a couple of years ago of universities that accepted students for Economics without A level Maths. Have a look on ucas extra filter on showing only courses with vacancies and see if any of these will accept you. It is more likely to be no Maths A level that is your problem than your grades,

Economics without A level Maths
Aberystwyth grade 4
Aston grade 5
Bangor grade 4
East Anglia grade 5
Essex grade 5
Hull grade 4
Kent grade 6
Lancaster grade 6
Leicester grade 5
Loughborough grade 6/7
Queens Belfast grade A
Reading grade 6
Royal Holloway grade 7
Stirling grade 4
Srathclyde grade 6
Surrey grade 7
Sussex grade 6
Swansea grade 5
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swanseajack1
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#10
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#10
As an example I have just checked and Lancaster is showing vacancies for Geography and Economics at grades AAB. It is quote likely they will accept you but you will need to meet their GCSE requirement as if you dont it will be an automatic rejection which are GCSE Mathematics grade B or 6, English Language grade C or 4. You need to ring the university before applying. In extra you can only apply to 1 university at a time and you have to have no offers
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joejoeeames
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#11
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#11
(Original post by booklover1313)
Are you eligible to do UCAS Extra?
Otherwise, you don't really have much of an option. Which universities told you that your double gap year would be less competitive?
Your GCSE grades are strong, and if you can get a good grade in the Chemistry, you will have a good application. Did you ask for any feedback on why you were rejected? Can you improve your personal statement?
Try and plan to do something constructive in your 2nd gap year, so you can demonstrate that you have used the time well. Could you also get updated UCAS references? Your old school should be able to provide them.
Yes but sorry to be crude - I didnt sweat my balls off at GCSE / A-Level to go to a sub par uni desperate to fill its spaces.
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joejoeeames
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#12
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#12
(Original post by swanseajack1)
The problem is that Economics and things like Finance are very Mathematical and often require Maths A level usually grade A at top universities and this is probably why you are getting rejected. Apply through extra and think about leaving Mathematical subjects aside.
Yes exactly - I have plans to sit A-Level Maths in in November - but again, I had plans to do it this cycle and that didn't work out so we'll see how that goes...
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joejoeeames
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#13
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#13
(Original post by swanseajack1)
Here is a list I compiled a couple of years ago of universities that accepted students for Economics without A level Maths. Have a look on ucas extra filter on showing only courses with vacancies and see if any of these will accept you. It is more likely to be no Maths A level that is your problem than your grades,

Economics without A level Maths
Aberystwyth grade 4
Aston grade 5
Bangor grade 4
East Anglia grade 5
Essex grade 5
Hull grade 4
Kent grade 6
Lancaster grade 6
Leicester grade 5
Loughborough grade 6/7
Queens Belfast grade A
Reading grade 6
Royal Holloway grade 7
Stirling grade 4
Srathclyde grade 6
Surrey grade 7
Sussex grade 6
Swansea grade 5
Thank you mate this is really helpful...
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swanseajack1
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#14
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#14
(Original post by joejoeeames)
Thank you mate this is really helpful...
There are some very good universities amongst this list. Several former 1994 universities which rivalled the Russell Group before it was closed in 2011. Places like Lancaster and East Anglia are every bit as good as most RG universities.
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lilygbh
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#15
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#15
idk how helpful this will be because i know nothing about the courses you're hoping to do, but i applied to unis after two gap years and got all five offers (king's college, southampton, sheffield, queen mary, city university london). queen mary gave me an unconditional for god knows what reason. i don't know what exactly about my application worked well enough for the unis to give me offers, but just thought i'd let you know that it's 100% possible.
i was the first year 13 of the pandemic so my grades got predicted as BBB (when i was working towards A/A*s), and i didn't get into southampton (my firm when i first applied). the main reason i took two years out was due to undiagnosed autism & subsequent issues that made school a living hell - i'm like 80% recovered now and i think 2 years was necessary to do that. i mentioned it briefly in my personal statement and elaborated on the situation when queen mary asked about it (they quite bluntly said 'what have you been doing for two years??'). so idk how to help on that front because i have different reasoning for taking two years, but i will recommend that, since you've got genuine reasons for it, you could make those known to the unis. not in a here's-my-excuse kind of way, but just enough to justify it and make a point of how you've academically progressed in that time.
i'm cringing massively at this but here's a sentence from my personal statement;
<em>'During my extended break before university - in which I plan to sit my A-levels in favour of moving forward with predicted grades, as well as learning to manage my own disability - I have begun to study [....]'</em> & here i talked about how i read a brief history of time and then did a self-taught physics AS, which has been extremely stressful but a success in spicing up the personal statement (i mentioned 'my own disability' since my personal statement was for biomedical engineering, and the main chunk of it talked abt prosthetics). so. i don't know if that's at all useful bc your situation is very different to mine. but i made an unashamed point of why i took two years out and how i made the most of my time, and it must have done something good.
if the rest of your application is strong (which it sounds like it is) then it's not impossible to get good offers. wishing u all the best
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University of East Anglia UG Student Rep: Danielle
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#16
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#16
(Original post by joejoeeames)
Right here's the situation.

I took my A-Levels Last year and got:
D1/A** in Geography, A in Biology, C in chemistry & A* in EPQ
I'm retaking my Chemistry exam this year to up my grade but couldn't get a prediction as I'm taking it as an external candidate.
My GCSEs are: 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9 & 6

So here's the rub: I applied to some universities last year not even super high tier just the ones I want to go to and got rejected from them all.

I am going to have to reapply this year and take a SECOND gap year

I think my UCAS references are a bit rubbish.

And i really dont know what to do now.

I asked universities about this and they siad my double gap year would make my application less competative.

WTF should I do about this...?!?!?!?!
Hi joejoeeames

Congratulations on those grades, and best of luck with your Chemistry retake this year! Sorry to hear about the rejections. I saw you were interested in potentially studying a degree in Geography so just wanted to share our BA Geography course page with you in case that was something you'd find useful. There is a good run down of the modules offered year by year on there

You have great grades, so my personal advice would be to make your application shine as much as you can. Make sure the passion for your subject comes across in your personal statement! I took a double gap year between leaving college and starting here at UEA and it wasn't a problem, just try and utilise your time in that year as best as you can.

We are hosting some undergraduate open days if you'd like to come and get a feel for our campus and discover more about the course. We'd love to welcome you! These will be running on:

Saturday 2nd July
Saturday 10th September
Saturday 22nd October
Saturday 19th November

There is also an on-demand virtual open day which should give a great insight into our university if that is more convenient for you on here you can find content on all aspects of uni life from the course/s you're interested in, to our wonderful campus and also the city of Norwich!

If you have any questions about UEA, the course, or being a student in Norwich please do feel free to let me know and I'd be happy to help. Wishing you lots of luck with your next applications. Hope it all goes brilliantly for you!

Danielle
Film and Television Studies
Last edited by University of East Anglia UG Student Rep: Danielle; 4 weeks ago
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