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Failed first year uni twice, what do I do now?

So as the titles says I've failed the first year of uni twice, there a number of mitigating circumstances that I have some short-term some long-term and they have all compounded on me leading me to also develop mental health issues. (if the circumstances are needed for context I'll provide them)

I was attending a top 10 uni on a contextual offer starting in 2021 and was studying Natural Sciences (I had taken a year out due to the pandemic, which tbh was the wrong move) and as such am wondering about my odds into getting into at least another RG uni given my A level grades of AAB and them being by the time of entry 2024.

I am already aware of the SFE situation and that I will need to pay for the first year of uni again and that I absolutely cannot afford to screw up again. I just want to get advice in terms of what to put on UCAS and how to approach reapplying since I'm worried that my A Levels will no longer be considered as valid and that I may have to sit them again. Further the most desire-able unis for me to attend is the one that I have been withdrawn from (I don't have my breath held in the slightest) and Manchester who's contextual admission is primarily based off post code and apparently doesn't consider A Levels older than 2 years.

Ideally I'd like to study in Manchester or London since they're city's with decent student life and close enough to Bham that I can visit my family often without being in Bham. I'm also looking at changing course since the version of Natural Sciences was Physics and Maths and Statistics which isn't suited to me in the slightest and I feel I would've been better suited to more chemistry focuses (alas I made my bed and was far too stubborn and laid in it despite things falling apart)

In summary, I kinda looking for one a breakdown of what my options really are and how best to navigate such options.

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Reply 1
If I do need to resit my A Levels is it a realistic goal to sit all three or just to merely try and bump one up a grade? i.e. make the B an A or make one of the As and A*
Reply 2
@PQ can you advise here.I would like to ask what would be different next time apart from the course and also what sort of career are you hoping to go into.
Reply 3
Career-wise I'm still somewhat undecided in terms of subjects that I think I'd thrive in they'd be computer science and chemistry since I was always quite strong in them at school and had always enjoyed lessons in them specifically the practical aspects (programming and experiments, respectively). I'm leaning more towards chemistry as I feel I'd have a great chance of success with UCAS studying it and I feel that it may prove to be a more useful degree for me as I'm already a fairly strong programmer and am looking at taking a govt bootcamp in digital work during this next year. Also I'm fairly unconfident in my mathematical ability right now, after this past year and feel like I need a bit of time to build that back up and chemistry isn't as maths heavy as compsci is (at least early on)

As far as what would be different. These past two years I had been working full time as whilst my parents earn enough that I am only entitled to the minimum maintenance loan, due to our family circumstances they can't actually afford to lend me money for uni and 6k isn't anywhere near enough to live in central london. Come 2024 I will have been provably financially independent for three years, and should be able to apply to SFE as an independent student. I feel like the reduced need to work to survive would make a fairly significant difference. Over the past year and a half my mum has also experience a tumour growing in her neck region (on her thryoid gland specifically I think) which paired with her mother being very ill for the past two years has been very stressful and draining for her, and obviously causing her difficulty breathing which was already harder for her as she has asthma. As a byproduct this has affected my studies as one I don't like to see my mum suffer, and two I've had to contribute to looking after her and take my eyes of studying at times. Over the past few months, the growth has seemed to be reduced a bit and my mum's overall health has improved. My grandmother has also passed which whilst is awful and still very raw for everyone, I feel long term will less the amount of stress on my mum and the rest of the family as she's won't be worried about her mother's health constantly. The last thing, which is a bit harder to control is making friends and not agreeing to live with people without getting to know them. As socialising on the natural science course I was at was quite hard since even if you were doing the same degree, for my options at least there were very few people you'd see often or consistently and I was the only stem undergraduate student in my accommodation (due to living costs I was placed in a post graduate accommodation, which had one flat dedicated to undergrads). As far as choosing whom to live with being more deciding on that front also instead of immediately agreeing to live with the same people as from halls, as by beginning of term three in 2022 my flatmates had already fallen out and the entire atmosphere and situation within the living space felt awful.
Reply 4
For further context, since I think it doesn't make sense to not include it. My elder brother has severe ASD and is diagnosed as needing 3-1 support at all times. Alongside the care provisions from the LA (which is not enough considering the actual care assessment carried out, which my family has had to take the LA to court over) my mum is frequently helping and overseeing the care staff for my elder brother being her primary source of stress. This is also part of the reason as to why my family can't really afford to contribute to my living costs and I have had to foot them all myself.

Whilst I have said I don't have my breath held in regards to going back to the same uni I was withdrawn from, I am curious, would it be a case that I'm just blacklisted from undergraduate entry for all time now, or that they'd need a very bad year of applicants (improbable) or be overwhelmingly impressed with a reapplication (mitigating circumstances put aside)
Reply 5
There are mitigating circumstances that might be accepted by SFE but you would need to look into the criteria for it.There does seem to have been a lot going on in your life.Was your uni aware of these details.
Reply 6
Original post by Scotney
There are mitigating circumstances that might be accepted by SFE but you would need to look into the criteria for it.There does seem to have been a lot going on in your life.Was your uni aware of these details.


Outside of being a young adult carer and working full timr not really. I didn't really want people to know I was struggling with uni at the time. Altho the other point is I've basically never met/had a personal tutor for the past 2 years either. I'll see about applying to SFE for mitigating circumstances but for me the bigger issue is reapplying and getting accepted to uni, since I'll be able to save up the money for first year on this year out anyways.
(edited 8 months ago)
Reply 7
@Admit-One do you have any advice for OP?Thank you.
Reply 8
@Lemur14 Can you advise here on best approach?
Original post by anom1233
So as the titles says I've failed the first year of uni twice, there a number of mitigating circumstances that I have some short-term some long-term and they have all compounded on me leading me to also develop mental health issues. (if the circumstances are needed for context I'll provide them)

I was attending a top 10 uni on a contextual offer starting in 2021 and was studying Natural Sciences (I had taken a year out due to the pandemic, which tbh was the wrong move) and as such am wondering about my odds into getting into at least another RG uni given my A level grades of AAB and them being by the time of entry 2024.

I am already aware of the SFE situation and that I will need to pay for the first year of uni again and that I absolutely cannot afford to screw up again. I just want to get advice in terms of what to put on UCAS and how to approach reapplying since I'm worried that my A Levels will no longer be considered as valid and that I may have to sit them again. Further the most desire-able unis for me to attend is the one that I have been withdrawn from (I don't have my breath held in the slightest) and Manchester who's contextual admission is primarily based off post code and apparently doesn't consider A Levels older than 2 years.

Ideally I'd like to study in Manchester or London since they're city's with decent student life and close enough to Bham that I can visit my family often without being in Bham. I'm also looking at changing course since the version of Natural Sciences was Physics and Maths and Statistics which isn't suited to me in the slightest and I feel I would've been better suited to more chemistry focuses (alas I made my bed and was far too stubborn and laid in it despite things falling apart)

In summary, I kinda looking for one a breakdown of what my options really are and how best to navigate such options.

Did you receive your AL grades in 2020?
Who are you planning on having do your reference?
I think that could be an important part, since usually it would be done by someone who knows you academically and recently (i.e. in your case likely someone from your previous uni). But they will need to be filled in about your other circumstances, since mitigating circumstances best belong in your reference.

A levels don't have a limited time they are valid for so don't worry about that, although you would usually need to either meet the entry requirements set, or have relevant work experience to mitigate the lower grades.
Original post by Lemur14
Who are you planning on having do your reference?
I think that could be an important part, since usually it would be done by someone who knows you academically and recently (i.e. in your case likely someone from your previous uni). But they will need to be filled in about your other circumstances, since mitigating circumstances best belong in your reference.

A levels don't have a limited time they are valid for so don't worry about that, although you would usually need to either meet the entry requirements set, or have relevant work experience to mitigate the lower grades.

Just to note that many unis do want recent study, (typically within the last five years), so whilst AL’s don’t have a period of validity, it’s worth checking with the uni.
Reply 12
Original post by Admit-One
Did you receive your AL grades in 2020?


yeah.
Reply 13
Original post by Lemur14
Who are you planning on having do your reference?
I think that could be an important part, since usually it would be done by someone who knows you academically and recently (i.e. in your case likely someone from your previous uni). But they will need to be filled in about your other circumstances, since mitigating circumstances best belong in your reference.

A levels don't have a limited time they are valid for so don't worry about that, although you would usually need to either meet the entry requirements set, or have relevant work experience to mitigate the lower grades.


If I'd either be going to my old sixth form since they're a bit more familiar with the home situations (whilst I was at school, they had some involvement with LA also so they'd be able to write a reference with a bit more familiarity on that front) or I could get one from my uni and detail the mitigating circumstances I've faced.
Original post by Admit-One
Just to note that many unis do want recent study, (typically within the last five years), so whilst AL’s don’t have a period of validity, it’s worth checking with the uni.


Fair point, I guess I was counting the years at uni as recent study, but I've no idea if unis would count failed years in that category now I think about it :redface:

Suspect resitting A levels isn't likely to be the solution here though
(edited 8 months ago)
Reply 15
Original post by Admit-One
Just to note that many unis do want recent study, (typically within the last five years), so whilst AL’s don’t have a period of validity, it’s worth checking with the uni.


My parents have suggested going to OU for this next year, since they think if I were to take another year out of uni it'd be very difficult to get back into education and that it'd be more manageable since I'd be at home and wouldn't have to look two ways to the same extent. Supposing I did, how realistic would it be to have the option to transfer into a red brick uni for y2 supposing I called them up before hand and asked what equiv modules I'd need to take and such. I've seen on the edinburgh website that it's possible however even as a y2 transfer you'd still be assessed and effectively competing against people applying for y1 without the baggage of a transfer and stuff.
Reply 16
Original post by anom1233
My parents have suggested going to OU for this next year, since they think if I were to take another year out of uni it'd be very difficult to get back into education and that it'd be more manageable since I'd be at home and wouldn't have to look two ways to the same extent. Supposing I did, how realistic would it be to have the option to transfer into a red brick uni for y2 supposing I called them up before hand and asked what equiv modules I'd need to take and such. I've seen on the edinburgh website that it's possible however even as a y2 transfer you'd still be assessed and effectively competing against people applying for y1 without the baggage of a transfer and stuff.


Supposing a transfer were to fall through tho, how respected in OU in industry? Like obvs it's not a top 10 uni, but would having a degree from OU hamper my chances of getting onto graduate schemes or the like?
Reply 17
Have you looked into apprenticeships? They pay you and you get to learn and work at the same time so you don't need to worry so much about working part time while studying.
Join the navy
Original post by anom1233
yeah.

If you are applying with grades awarded in 2020 then it would be worth contacting a few prospect unis ahead of applying. As above, some do want some evidence of recent study, and some use 5yrs as a cutoff, (so you are just within that). I think you'd be fine for the most part, but it's worth checking about the dates rather than wasting an odd choice because of some uni requirement that wasn't obvious.

Original post by anom1233
My parents have suggested going to OU for this next year, since they think if I were to take another year out of uni it'd be very difficult to get back into education and that it'd be more manageable since I'd be at home and wouldn't have to look two ways to the same extent. Supposing I did, how realistic would it be to have the option to transfer into a red brick uni for y2 supposing I called them up before hand and asked what equiv modules I'd need to take and such. I've seen on the edinburgh website that it's possible however even as a y2 transfer you'd still be assessed and effectively competing against people applying for y1 without the baggage of a transfer and stuff.

This is diffiicult to answer as transfers are case-by-case at the best of times. You could try, and have nothing to lose, but I think you'd be better off going in with the mindset that completing at the OU was the most likely outcome.

Original post by anom1233
Supposing a transfer were to fall through tho, how respected in OU in industry? Like obvs it's not a top 10 uni, but would having a degree from OU hamper my chances of getting onto graduate schemes or the like?

This is likely employer dependant. If there's a couple you have in mind, there's nothing to stop you contacting them and asking what their current policy is. Granted it's a few years out from when you'd apply, but it would give you a feel as to whether it might be a detriment at some places. (To my knowledge they're well respected as students are typically juggling studies with other priorities).

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