The Student Room Group

Where to apply with A*A*A for computer science

Which unis would you apply to with these grades for CS?
In Math, Comp Sci, And Econ respectively.

Also note that ill be in first year of mathematics undegrad at an RG at the time of applying.

I would just like a second opinion for unis that youd think are suitable/ safe to apply to. CS admissions are nuts.
With those grades you can get into most if not all unis.
Especially the Russell group.

For computer science - Oxbridge, Imperial, UCL and St Andrews are the best.
Most of these Unis prefer physics over eco but I'll doubt they would reject your application based on that, especially as eco has a substantial maths component.
Original post by 11rabz11
Which unis would you apply to with these grades for CS?
In Math, Comp Sci, And Econ respectively.

Also note that ill be in first year of mathematics undegrad at an RG at the time of applying.

I would just like a second opinion for unis that youd think are suitable/ safe to apply to. CS admissions are nuts.


Ordinarily I would say lack of FM would be an issue but if you're in the first year of a maths degree I think that should not be a concern. Oxbridge, Imperial, Warwick, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham all may be worth considering.

Original post by farnsolo
With those grades you can get into most if not all unis.
Especially the Russell group.

For computer science - Oxbridge, Imperial, UCL and St Andrews are the best.
Most of these Unis prefer physics over eco but I'll doubt they would reject your application based on that, especially as eco has a substantial maths component.


None of those "prefer" physics. Cambridge historically preferred a third science purely because CS students had to take one of the natural sciences papers in first year - but that is no longer the case. I'd argue Edinburgh and Warwick are stronger than UCL and St Andrews for the subject.
Original post by farnsolo
With those grades you can get into most if not all unis.
Especially the Russell group.

For computer science - Oxbridge, Imperial, UCL and St Andrews are the best.
Most of these Unis prefer physics over eco but I'll doubt they would reject your application based on that, especially as eco has a substantial maths component.

Thank you! I’m replying on my other account, but I was wondering since I’m on a gap year and at the time of applying I’ll be a first year math student, would this hinder my chances?
Original post by Angelj16
Thank you! I’m replying on my other account, but I was wondering since I’m on a gap year and at the time of applying I’ll be a first year math student, would this hinder my chances?


If you're on a gap year already why are you planning to start a degree you don't intend to finish?

Just take a(nother) gap year and avoid spending a lot of time and money unnecessarily, not to mention using one of your precious and finite student finance funding years.

I'd suggest doing A-level FM in that gap year.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Angelj16
Thank you! I’m replying on my other account, but I was wondering since I’m on a gap year and at the time of applying I’ll be a first year math student, would this hinder my chances?

You shouldn't have an issue, but you have to provide evidence that you have been engaging with CS during your gap year.
Original post by artful_lounger
Ordinarily I would say lack of FM would be an issue but if you're in the first year of a maths degree I think that should not be a concern. Oxbridge, Imperial, Warwick, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham all may be worth considering.



None of those "prefer" physics. Cambridge historically preferred a third science purely because CS students had to take one of the natural sciences papers in first year - but that is no longer the case. I'd argue Edinburgh and Warwick are stronger than UCL and St Andrews for the subject.

Is not doing FM A-level a serious issue if I'm planning on going to either oxbridge or top London unis? I was planning on taking maths, compsci and physics.
Original post by bears15
Is not doing FM A-level a serious issue if I'm planning on going to either oxbridge or top London unis? I was planning on taking maths, compsci and physics.


I think they would realistically expect you to take it if your school offers it. Especially for Oxbridge and Imperial, their courses are very mathematical in nature and focus a lot on the mathematical foundations of CS and theoretical CS topics. It would be very useful background for any CS degree though.

Bear in mind very few CS courses require A-level CS or even any prior experience of programming or CS, while almost all require a high level of mathematical preparation which for Oxbridge and Imperial and similar usually means they also expect you to be taking FM (certainly the majority of applicants will have it so not having it does make you stick out somewhat...). Also no CS degrees require A-level Physics.

So I would very much suggest taking FM if you have any plans to apply to those unis, either in addition to your other subjects or in place of physics or CS.
Original post by artful_lounger
I think they would realistically expect you to take it if your school offers it. Especially for Oxbridge and Imperial, their courses are very mathematical in nature and focus a lot on the mathematical foundations of CS and theoretical CS topics. It would be very useful background for any CS degree though.

Bear in mind very few CS courses require A-level CS or even any prior experience of programming or CS, while almost all require a high level of mathematical preparation which for Oxbridge and Imperial and similar usually means they also expect you to be taking FM (certainly the majority of applicants will have it so not having it does make you stick out somewhat...). Also no CS degrees require A-level Physics.

So I would very much suggest taking FM if you have any plans to apply to those unis, either in addition to your other subjects or in place of physics or CS.

I never realised how complicated picking A-level subjects can be! I'm really not sure if doing FM is right for me because I become demotivated very quickly if I don't understand something to my usual speed as usually I picked up things fairly quickly in maths GCSE. I'm not sure if I can perform at my best if I do FM but I feel disadvantaged if I don't take it. Is there anything extra I can do that could make my application better or at the same standard if I stick with not doing FM compared to other applicants doing FM? And how much of an impact would doing an EPQ have in this situation?
Original post by bears15
I never realised how complicated picking A-level subjects can be! I'm really not sure if doing FM is right for me because I become demotivated very quickly if I don't understand something to my usual speed as usually I picked up things fairly quickly in maths GCSE. I'm not sure if I can perform at my best if I do FM but I feel disadvantaged if I don't take it. Is there anything extra I can do that could make my application better or at the same standard if I stick with not doing FM compared to other applicants doing FM? And how much of an impact would doing an EPQ have in this situation?

I mean there are plenty of other universities offering CS, that are very good for it, where it's not as much of a deal breaker - most of them, in fact. Southampton, Edinburgh, Birmingham, (probably) Manchester, etc, etc.

And your point about feeling demotivated if you can't pick things up quickly might be an indicator Oxbridge at least wouldn't be a good environment for you mentally, if not practically, as they have very intensive workloads due to only having 8 week terms, and so you need to keep up with things and pick them up quickly just as a matter of course. If you don't and you suffer demotivation because of that, you will be hit by the double whammy of being behind AND being demotivated! I don't know if it's as much the case at Imperial or Warwick though.

So really it might just be limiting you to the good unis which you would thrive in by not taking it, in which case don't worry too much about it :smile: At the end of the day employers in the computing field don't really care where you studied provided you can pass coding tests, psychometric tests, have a portfolio of coding projects you've built up over your time in uni, have done relevant work experience/internships etc. So going to Oxbridge (or Imperial) would only be of benefit in a purely abstractly academic frame, and if you wouldn't thrive in that environment you're much better off going somewhere you will!

In any case an EPQ is unlikely to ameliorate a lack of FM for Oxbridge or Imperial if your school offers it, although some other unis may give you a lower offer if you get an A in one. AS FM might be better than nothing though. Also if your school doesn't offer it and your academic referee explains this in their reference they won't hold it against you per se.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by artful_lounger
If you're on a gap year already why are you planning to start a degree you don't intend to finish?

Just take a(nother) gap year and avoid spending a lot of time and money unnecessarily, not to mention using one of your precious and finite student finance funding years.

I'd suggest doing A-level FM in that gap year.


i have personal circumstances that do not allow me to stay at home. from a financial perspective it is wiser for me to go to university rather than have to move out on my own
Original post by Angelj16
i have personal circumstances that do not allow me to stay at home. from a financial perspective it is wiser for me to go to university rather than have to move out on my own


Financially it would actually make more sense to get a job and then move out using that money to support yourself and save money before starting uni and get some work experience and save yourself wasting a year of SFE funding.

Either that or apply through clearing to the course you actually want to do (CS) in the first place.

Also note neither Oxford nor Cambridge consider applications from students currently enrolled at another uni normally (Oxford may do so in circumstances where the uni "strongly supports" the application, but that isn't going to happen in first year on the course when you've known them for about 2 weeks before you send off the application). So if that is your plan you can rule those two out completely.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by artful_lounger
Financially it would actually make more sense to get a job and then move out using that money to support yourself and save money before starting uni and get some work experience and save yourself wasting a year of SFE funding.

Either that or apply through clearing to the course you actually want to do (CS) in the first place.

Also note neither Oxford nor Cambridge consider applications from students currently enrolled at another uni normally (Oxford may do so in circumstances where the uni "strongly supports" the application, but that isn't going to happen in first year on the course when you've known them for about 2 weeks before you send off the application). So if that is your plan you can rule those two out completely.


respectfully, i disagree and i have weighed out all the options, and going to university is the most viable option. There are simply way too many factors prohibiting me from doing that. However my question was about the university application, not advice as to whether or whether not I should sit that first year. I don't need it.

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