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A level or btec

So I’m currently switching from my btec in film to do a levels because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do film at uni.
Whilst I thought this was a good decision I can’t help but worry that I have made a mistake as I’m gonna be set back a year behind and I’m worried that I have no idea what I want to do when I’m older
Can anyone offer some advice?
Original post by The student Dan
So I’m currently switching from my btec in film to do a levels because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do film at uni.
Whilst I thought this was a good decision I can’t help but worry that I have made a mistake as I’m gonna be set back a year behind and I’m worried that I have no idea what I want to do when I’m older
Can anyone offer some advice?


So are you asking for advice on whether to keep your BTEC or switch over to A Levels, or are you asking what subjects to do to keep your options open?

The only real way to be sure if you want to do film or not is if you already studying the degree. Whilst you can get input from anyone who did or is doing the degree, their personal experience will be different from yours.

To my knowledge, film degrees generally accept BTECs and A Levels in any subject (i.e. no required subjects). In other words, you can do the degree so long you have the right grades for your Level 3 qualification. You're not at a loss in picking a subject that's not in film studies, and having a BTEC/A Level in film studies is not required nor put you at an advantage in your uni application.

If you do pick A Levels, you would be open to a wider range of degrees, especially the academic ones that require A Levels over BTECs. However, this would depend more on the subjects you pick and the degree that you pick. If the sort of degrees you are going for would accept BTECs in any subject, you're not really putting yourself in much of an advantage.
Having said that, if the degree course that you want to study has required subjects and accept BTECs, it's likely they would ask you for the A Level subject alongside a specific BTEC e.g. if you want to study a degree in life sciences they normally ask for Biology and/or Chemistry as required subjects for A Levels and the BTEC they would only accept is Applied Sciences, but they will usually ask for the Biology and/or Chemistry A Level alongside the BTEC.

Normally, the appropriate steps to choosing your degree and qualification is to find out what you want to do after your degree. Since you don't know what you want to do, I would look at the sort of subjects or possible career areas that kind of interest you.

If you want the bog standard response of which subjects would keep your options open the most allowing you to go into the most degrees (provided you get the grades, etc.), then you would be looking at the 3 sciences + maths. Outside of STEM, A Level Maths allows you to go into the pickier finance degrees, actuarial science, and economics.
Required subjects on certain degrees can include: art, literature, history, geography, classics, and languages; usually for their respective subjects. Having said that, art and literature are not necessarily required for degrees from mid-tier to low tier universities, and you don't necessarily need geography for human geography degrees (if there is a physical geography component, you would need the A Level).
If the above subjects are not areas that you have any interest in, then you don't need to worry about which subjects you would need to pick. If the degree course that you want to apply for does not need specific A Level subjects and accept any BTEC, then there's not much advantage in switching over to A Levels (other than to say you have A Levels as opposed to a BTEC in your application).

The sort of degrees that are required for specific jobs then to be in healthcare/life sciences, academia, or education. Those areas that would require degree level education that can be achieved through professional qualifications and apprenticeships tend to be in accounting, actuary, engineering, medicine, economics, nursing, architecture, law.
Most things in healthcare or life sciences would require A Levels in biology and chemistry. Engineering, actuary, and economics would likely need A Level Maths (with very likely Physics on top for engineering). Accounting, nursing, law, and architecture won't require specific subjects (some of these would accept BTECs).

If you want to go into government services, your BTEC should be fine, and they generally don't require specific subjects. I would check in the specific area that you want to work in for their entry requirements to be sure though. A Levels are accepted, but they generally don't specify any required subjects.

If you can give a rough idea of which industries or subjects you're interested in, I would be able to at least look into what you should do or which subjects you should pick.
thank you for your response, I have been debating back and fourth about what is it I want to do as I have many different career ideas. A couple ideas I had in mind was data analysis or forensics, criminology and film production or screen writing.
Original post by MindMax2000
So are you asking for advice on whether to keep your BTEC or switch over to A Levels, or are you asking what subjects to do to keep your options open?

The only real way to be sure if you want to do film or not is if you already studying the degree. Whilst you can get input from anyone who did or is doing the degree, their personal experience will be different from yours.

To my knowledge, film degrees generally accept BTECs and A Levels in any subject (i.e. no required subjects). In other words, you can do the degree so long you have the right grades for your Level 3 qualification. You're not at a loss in picking a subject that's not in film studies, and having a BTEC/A Level in film studies is not required nor put you at an advantage in your uni application.

If you do pick A Levels, you would be open to a wider range of degrees, especially the academic ones that require A Levels over BTECs. However, this would depend more on the subjects you pick and the degree that you pick. If the sort of degrees you are going for would accept BTECs in any subject, you're not really putting yourself in much of an advantage.
Having said that, if the degree course that you want to study has required subjects and accept BTECs, it's likely they would ask you for the A Level subject alongside a specific BTEC e.g. if you want to study a degree in life sciences they normally ask for Biology and/or Chemistry as required subjects for A Levels and the BTEC they would only accept is Applied Sciences, but they will usually ask for the Biology and/or Chemistry A Level alongside the BTEC.

Normally, the appropriate steps to choosing your degree and qualification is to find out what you want to do after your degree. Since you don't know what you want to do, I would look at the sort of subjects or possible career areas that kind of interest you.

If you want the bog standard response of which subjects would keep your options open the most allowing you to go into the most degrees (provided you get the grades, etc.), then you would be looking at the 3 sciences + maths. Outside of STEM, A Level Maths allows you to go into the pickier finance degrees, actuarial science, and economics.
Required subjects on certain degrees can include: art, literature, history, geography, classics, and languages; usually for their respective subjects. Having said that, art and literature are not necessarily required for degrees from mid-tier to low tier universities, and you don't necessarily need geography for human geography degrees (if there is a physical geography component, you would need the A Level).
If the above subjects are not areas that you have any interest in, then you don't need to worry about which subjects you would need to pick. If the degree course that you want to apply for does not need specific A Level subjects and accept any BTEC, then there's not much advantage in switching over to A Levels (other than to say you have A Levels as opposed to a BTEC in your application).

The sort of degrees that are required for specific jobs then to be in healthcare/life sciences, academia, or education. Those areas that would require degree level education that can be achieved through professional qualifications and apprenticeships tend to be in accounting, actuary, engineering, medicine, economics, nursing, architecture, law.
Most things in healthcare or life sciences would require A Levels in biology and chemistry. Engineering, actuary, and economics would likely need A Level Maths (with very likely Physics on top for engineering). Accounting, nursing, law, and architecture won't require specific subjects (some of these would accept BTECs).

If you want to go into government services, your BTEC should be fine, and they generally don't require specific subjects. I would check in the specific area that you want to work in for their entry requirements to be sure though. A Levels are accepted, but they generally don't specify any required subjects.

If you can give a rough idea of which industries or subjects you're interested in, I would be able to at least look into what you should do or which subjects you should pick.
Original post by The student Dan
thank you for your response, I have been debating back and fourth about what is it I want to do as I have many different career ideas. A couple ideas I had in mind was data analysis or forensics, criminology and film production or screen writing.


This is going to be fun...

Have you done any of the research on what you would need for these roles? As far as I can tell, the only roles where you'll be limiting with what degree you took are in forensics and criminology. See the following:
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/criminologist
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/forensic-scientist
The other roles don't specifically need you to have a degree to go into them i.e. you can go into them with any random degree or none at all.

With forensics, you can either do an accredited forensic science degree or something in chemistry. With criminology, you would need something related to criminology or sociology.
Having probed around, you can do a forensic science or chemistry degree then do a postgrad conversion degree in law or economics before going into a master's for criminology (allowing you to firstly get into forensics and then later criminology should you change careers and later want to go into criminology). However, you can't do an undergrad in criminology/sociology then work around a postgrad to get into a master's in forensic science or chemistry (i.e. you would need to do another bachelor's instead).

If you want to get into a forensic science/chemistry degree, I would always recommend doing the A Levels over doing BTEC. Some places might accept the BTEC in Applied Science for forensic science, but you would need to check the entry requirements for the specific degree regarding this.

This is all if you want to keep your options open. If instead you know exactly what you want to do, then go for that as opposed to juggling around your options.

Note, there is nothing stopping you from getting data analysis certificates and writing scripts whilst you are doing your degrees, or at any point in time.
Thank you for your reply and investigation into all of this. I found a cause called digital forensics which seems really interesting. I’ve looked at the entry requirements and 8 unis / 11 have said you don’t need specific studies or haven’t mentioned anything about them but I don’t know how to know for sure. Should I trust this?
Original post by MindMax2000
This is going to be fun...

Have you done any of the research on what you would need for these roles? As far as I can tell, the only roles where you'll be limiting with what degree you took are in forensics and criminology. See the following:
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/criminologist
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/forensic-scientist
The other roles don't specifically need you to have a degree to go into them i.e. you can go into them with any random degree or none at all.

With forensics, you can either do an accredited forensic science degree or something in chemistry. With criminology, you would need something related to criminology or sociology.
Having probed around, you can do a forensic science or chemistry degree then do a postgrad conversion degree in law or economics before going into a master's for criminology (allowing you to firstly get into forensics and then later criminology should you change careers and later want to go into criminology). However, you can't do an undergrad in criminology/sociology then work around a postgrad to get into a master's in forensic science or chemistry (i.e. you would need to do another bachelor's instead).

If you want to get into a forensic science/chemistry degree, I would always recommend doing the A Levels over doing BTEC. Some places might accept the BTEC in Applied Science for forensic science, but you would need to check the entry requirements for the specific degree regarding this.

This is all if you want to keep your options open. If instead you know exactly what you want to do, then go for that as opposed to juggling around your options.

Note, there is nothing stopping you from getting data analysis certificates and writing scripts whilst you are doing your degrees, or at any point in time.
Original post by The student Dan
Thank you for your reply and investigation into all of this. I found a cause called digital forensics which seems really interesting. I’ve looked at the entry requirements and 8 unis / 11 have said you don’t need specific studies or haven’t mentioned anything about them but I don’t know how to know for sure. Should I trust this?


I'm not entirely sure whether you even need a degree to go into digital forensics for cyber security, but if you want to do a degree in it by all means.

If it's not specifically stated that you require specific subjects, then you can be confident that you don't need specific subjects especially if you have checked all the entry requirements for the degree.
If you still need some reassurance, you can contact the undergrad administrator of the forensics/computer science department of the specific uni course that you're enquiring about. Chances are, the administrator would regurgitate what's on the entry requirements section of the course page.

Just make sure this is the degree you want to do and you won't have any regrets doing it.
(edited 6 months ago)

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