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(edited 3 months ago)
Research has found STEM and non STEM grads have equivalent career outcomes in the UK. So if you prefer doing languages and continuing with them to degree level, do that!

Universities don't care about what combination of A-levels you're taking provided you're taking any required A-level subjects for the degree you're applying to.

That said i would recommend doing 4 A-levels unless two are maths and FM - if your school requires it to start with just plan to drop one in year 12. You don't get "bonus points" for doing additional A-levels.
Reply 2
Original post by artful_lounger
Research has found STEM and non STEM grads have equivalent career outcomes in the UK. So if you prefer doing languages and continuing with them to degree level, do that!

Universities don't care about what combination of A-levels you're taking provided you're taking any required A-level subjects for the degree you're applying to.

That said i would recommend doing 4 A-levels unless two are maths and FM - if your school requires it to start with just plan to drop one in year 12. You don't get "bonus points" for doing additional A-levels.

Hi thank you so much for your response, that was very insightful. However, i’ve heard that top unis will often want you to have a range of subjects in a similar area, or at least that it makes you more likely to get in. E.g having let’s say, physics art and business would be a bit of an odd combination and wouldn’t be great for a physics degree for example. Is that true? Thanks again :smile:
Reply 3
Original post by emilyfordx
my question is, would doing french as an alevel and then taking it further and doing languages at uni be worth my time? it’s my favourite subject now (year 11) and the only one i have a real ‘passion’ for i suppose, i’m quite good at it, and i definitely want to take it at a higher level. however there are 2 issues:
1. my other option to take at alevel would be science (chemistry and physics), and obviously those would have much better career/money prospects. also i was always kind of set on doing stem subjects at alevel until a few months ago
2. i don’t know what alevels to take alongside french? i would be taking 4 because at my school you have to (unless you want to do the EPQ which i dont). i think i would do maths as a back up because it’s so versatile and i dont really mind it, but then would having french, two arts/humanities and then maths look really weird to a university? i’m thinking of doing french, english, politics and maths but is that just really weird??

hope someone can help
thank you

in the uk currently there's a large problem w graduates not having language skills/there not being enough modern languages graduates for companies, which makes having a languages degree highly desirable after graduation!

modern languages graduates can also have higher starting salaries than other graduates thanks to their employability through having a multitude of languages, and it's a degree which allows you to go into a variety of different fields with no restriction, unlike a STEM degree where you might be pigeon-holed into one field of study. if you are passionate about languages, then i vote you do it as a degree as there are a large number of unique positives to doing a languages degree which you might not find with stem.

as for getting into a languages degree, they don't mind what a levels you take as long as you are taking a language a-level. i took spanish, english literature and sociology and got offers from all 5 universities. it's not what subjects you take but your personal statement and ability to show passion for languages that matter! nothing will look 'weird' as long as you are taking french.

this is just my two cents, i hope it helps! obviously i am biased towards languages though.
Reply 4
Original post by emilyfordx
my question is, would doing french as an alevel and then taking it further and doing languages at uni be worth my time? it’s my favourite subject now (year 11) and the only one i have a real ‘passion’ for i suppose, i’m quite good at it, and i definitely want to take it at a higher level. however there are 2 issues:
1. my other option to take at alevel would be science (chemistry and physics), and obviously those would have much better career/money prospects. also i was always kind of set on doing stem subjects at alevel until a few months ago
2. i don’t know what alevels to take alongside french? i would be taking 4 because at my school you have to (unless you want to do the EPQ which i dont). i think i would do maths as a back up because it’s so versatile and i dont really mind it, but then would having french, two arts/humanities and then maths look really weird to a university? i’m thinking of doing french, english, politics and maths but is that just really weird??

hope someone can help
thank you

..or maybe something like French, English, Maths and Physics, to keep all doors open just in case you change mind again and want to go down the STEM route.
Original post by emilyfordx
my question is, would doing french as an alevel and then taking it further and doing languages at uni be worth my time? it’s my favourite subject now (year 11) and the only one i have a real ‘passion’ for i suppose, i’m quite good at it, and i definitely want to take it at a higher level. however there are 2 issues:
1. my other option to take at alevel would be science (chemistry and physics), and obviously those would have much better career/money prospects. also i was always kind of set on doing stem subjects at alevel until a few months ago
2. i don’t know what alevels to take alongside french? i would be taking 4 because at my school you have to (unless you want to do the EPQ which i dont). i think i would do maths as a back up because it’s so versatile and i dont really mind it, but then would having french, two arts/humanities and then maths look really weird to a university? i’m thinking of doing french, english, politics and maths but is that just really weird??

hope someone can help
thank you

if ur passionate about some subjects then definitely choose them, I was only passionate about 1 so then just chose 2 more which would be more beneficial to me in the future. This was especially difficult seeing as i didnt know where i wanted to work. If you do have an interest in which degree you want to do, some universities( not all but 3 of mine did) will state which qualifications they prefer you to have so that is always useful to check. I think its always useful to have done an alevel subject which then you later pursue a degree in, it just more useful to have a foundation of knowledge but its not the end of the world.
I knew someone who did Maths, Art, Business and spanish and she's gotten 4 offers so far. I think ur options are totally fine
Original post by emilyfordx
Hi thank you so much for your response, that was very insightful. However, i’ve heard that top unis will often want you to have a range of subjects in a similar area, or at least that it makes you more likely to get in. E.g having let’s say, physics art and business would be a bit of an odd combination and wouldn’t be great for a physics degree for example. Is that true? Thanks again :smile:


No, that's not true in general. Unless they specify certain subjects it's not an issue normally.

Note that in your example - that wouldn't be a suitable combination for a physics degree due to no A-level Maths, as physics degrees virtually all require both A-level Physics and A-level Maths. While it's true that for e.g. Oxbridge and Imperial, having A-level Further Maths would be extremely beneficial, for most other physics courses they wouldn't really matter as far as admissions are concerned usually.

Note that some "top" universities actually prefer a breadth of subjects, e.g. LSE which states those with a narrow range of subjects may be at a disadvantage. Although LSE is also one of a handful of universities (along with UCL) which have a published list of preferred and non-preferred subjects and for LSE from that example of A-levels, both art and business studies are "non-preferred" subjects and would put you at a disadvantage (although UCL doesn't consider business studies non-preferred - and at UCL for e.g. architecture or fine art, art would be a preferred if not required subject!).
Reply 7
Original post by kerberder
in the uk currently there's a large problem w graduates not having language skills/there not being enough modern languages graduates for companies, which makes having a languages degree highly desirable after graduation!

modern languages graduates can also have higher starting salaries than other graduates thanks to their employability through having a multitude of languages, and it's a degree which allows you to go into a variety of different fields with no restriction, unlike a STEM degree where you might be pigeon-holed into one field of study. if you are passionate about languages, then i vote you do it as a degree as there are a large number of unique positives to doing a languages degree which you might not find with stem.

as for getting into a languages degree, they don't mind what a levels you take as long as you are taking a language a-level. i took spanish, english literature and sociology and got offers from all 5 universities. it's not what subjects you take but your personal statement and ability to show passion for languages that matter! nothing will look 'weird' as long as you are taking french.

this is just my two cents, i hope it helps! obviously i am biased towards languages though.

wow thank you so much, that was really helpful especially with your first hand knowledge. great to know!
i’m glad to know that there is still many career options and perhaps even more varied than STEM would be - even though it’s my favourite of course good jobs are always nice.
thanks again!
Reply 8
Original post by lalexm
..or maybe something like French, English, Maths and Physics, to keep all doors open just in case you change mind again and want to go down the STEM route.

yeah i thought that too, and would probably make a lot of sense. but i think i know deep down i would prefer french, i was more asking to see if this was a dumb idea if i could do stem instead. i think if i did the options you gave as an example, id sort of give up on the physics. i’m more of an all or nothing type of person (which is why this decision is so hard!). but thank you for your idea! it’s all something to take into consideration
Reply 9
Original post by artful_lounger
No, that's not true in general. Unless they specify certain subjects it's not an issue normally.

Note that in your example - that wouldn't be a suitable combination for a physics degree due to no A-level Maths, as physics degrees virtually all require both A-level Physics and A-level Maths. While it's true that for e.g. Oxbridge and Imperial, having A-level Further Maths would be extremely beneficial, for most other physics courses they wouldn't really matter as far as admissions are concerned usually.

Note that some "top" universities actually prefer a breadth of subjects, e.g. LSE which states those with a narrow range of subjects may be at a disadvantage. Although LSE is also one of a handful of universities (along with UCL) which have a published list of preferred and non-preferred subjects and for LSE from that example of A-levels, both art and business studies are "non-preferred" subjects and would put you at a disadvantage (although UCL doesn't consider business studies non-preferred - and at UCL for e.g. architecture or fine art, art would be a preferred if not required subject!).

ahhh fantastic - finding out that they could prefer a breadth of subjects is really helpful, thank you! very reassuring too haha
Reply 10
Original post by TomokoRainMaker
if ur passionate about some subjects then definitely choose them, I was only passionate about 1 so then just chose 2 more which would be more beneficial to me in the future. This was especially difficult seeing as i didnt know where i wanted to work. If you do have an interest in which degree you want to do, some universities( not all but 3 of mine did) will state which qualifications they prefer you to have so that is always useful to check. I think its always useful to have done an alevel subject which then you later pursue a degree in, it just more useful to have a foundation of knowledge but its not the end of the world.
I knew someone who did Maths, Art, Business and spanish and she's gotten 4 offers so far. I think ur options are totally fine

yes true, i will 100% check what other subjects these unis recommend for languages, thank you! and great to know that someone with a more ‘varied’ set of options got so many offers, that really is great. tysm for your insight :smile:

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