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Which university for computer science (without FM)?

I'm currently in year 12 and I'm taking A-levels in computer science, maths and physics. I also have done an EPQ titled "how does bias impact AI?".

This summer I'm planning on sitting AS further maths and then dropping it. I hated my A-Level class and it was incredibly fast paced and not very supportive at all, which has led to a painful year of me watching YouTube videos to teach the content to myself. That said once I've taught myself a topic I'm perfectly capable of doing it.

Regular maths and CS I should be able to get A*s, physics hopefully an A.

I'm aware that this rules out me going to Oxbridge/Imperial, however I was wondering which Russel Group universities I would still be able to study at. For example, I'm considering Edinburgh and Bath.

It's insane how competitive CS is compared with nearly every other degree course, I have some decent extra and super curricular, but I know that's worthless if they won't even look at my personal statement due to not having FM.

If anyone can share their experiences and what offers they know people receive at some of the universities for computer science that would be really helpful. Also would be good if you have any personal statement advice or general tips for the admissions process.

I'm attending a decent state sixth form (not a grammar school), and have attended state schools all my life, if that makes any difference. Also have all 8s and 9s at GCSE.

Thanks!
Reply 1
Imperial actually say FM preferred but not required and I know a friend's son who got an offer for Imperial (entry 2024) and he doesn't study FM. UCL also doesn't require FM (said friend's son also got an offer for UCL). Would definitely apply to those 2.
Reply 2
Original post by Square-Childhood
I'm currently in year 12 and I'm taking A-levels in computer science, maths and physics. I also have done an EPQ titled "how does bias impact AI?".
This summer I'm planning on sitting AS further maths and then dropping it. I hated my A-Level class and it was incredibly fast paced and not very supportive at all, which has led to a painful year of me watching YouTube videos to teach the content to myself. That said once I've taught myself a topic I'm perfectly capable of doing it.
Regular maths and CS I should be able to get A*s, physics hopefully an A.
I'm aware that this rules out me going to Oxbridge/Imperial, however I was wondering which Russel Group universities I would still be able to study at. For example, I'm considering Edinburgh and Bath.
It's insane how competitive CS is compared with nearly every other degree course, I have some decent extra and super curricular, but I know that's worthless if they won't even look at my personal statement due to not having FM.
If anyone can share their experiences and what offers they know people receive at some of the universities for computer science that would be really helpful. Also would be good if you have any personal statement advice or general tips for the admissions process.
I'm attending a decent state sixth form (not a grammar school), and have attended state schools all my life, if that makes any difference. Also have all 8s and 9s at GCSE.
Thanks!

You'll have a good chance at basically all of the other universities (note that Bath is not in the Russell Group, but is still very very good - they had to reject a lot of able candidates for CS this year). Apart from the unis you've listed, not having FM isn't a massive barrier to CS and you can still get into top universities without it.
Hi if you're considering Bath then I would recommend continuing FM plus doing their pathways to Bath course. I say this because I'm predicted 3 x A*'s in comp sci, maths and physics and did a Cyber EPQ in Quantum computing and encryption, plus do a lot of my own programming, have done work experience in comp sci and am contextual and still didn't get in. I think Edinburgh might actually be even more difficult (but that's only based on what I've read not any experience). I did get into Southampton, Exeter and Surrey (my insurance but I'd highly recommend it as I really liked the lecturers on visit days). Bristol gives contextual to a long list of state schools so that's worth checking out.
As you say Comp sci is super competitive. Have you considered degree apprenticeships at all? Also very competitive but something to consider as you have good grades, a relevant EPQ and extras.
Original post by AriTem
Imperial actually say FM preferred but not required and I know a friend's son who got an offer for Imperial (entry 2024) and he doesn't study FM. UCL also doesn't require FM (said friend's son also got an offer for UCL). Would definitely apply to those 2.

That's interesting, I thought that they were only saying that though for people whose schools don't offer FM. Do you know which offer grades he received - was there an entrance exam or interview tied to it as well?
Original post by Jakson123
Hi if you're considering Bath then I would recommend continuing FM plus doing their pathways to Bath course. I say this because I'm predicted 3 x A*'s in comp sci, maths and physics and did a Cyber EPQ in Quantum computing and encryption, plus do a lot of my own programming, have done work experience in comp sci and am contextual and still didn't get in. I think Edinburgh might actually be even more difficult (but that's only based on what I've read not any experience). I did get into Southampton, Exeter and Surrey (my insurance but I'd highly recommend it as I really liked the lecturers on visit days). Bristol gives contextual to a long list of state schools so that's worth checking out.
As you say Comp sci is super competitive. Have you considered degree apprenticeships at all? Also very competitive but something to consider as you have good grades, a relevant EPQ and extras.
Crazy that you didn't get into bath with those grades and the EPQ but useful to know, I assume they're only going to get more selective as well. Thanks for the other university recommendations too!

I have considered degree apprenticeships but I think overall I'd rather go to university for the experience, I think it's still regarded more highly by a lot of employers. I'd be more likely to consider one if it was from a higher rank university but a lot seem to be from MMU or similar where I'm above their entry requirements by a decent way in terms of their regular degrees.
Original post by Square-Childhood
Crazy that you didn't get into bath with those grades and the EPQ but useful to know, I assume they're only going to get more selective as well. Thanks for the other university recommendations too!
I have considered degree apprenticeships but I think overall I'd rather go to university for the experience, I think it's still regarded more highly by a lot of employers. I'd be more likely to consider one if it was from a higher rank university but a lot seem to be from MMU or similar where I'm above their entry requirements by a decent way in terms of their regular degrees.

Fair enough, university is the sort of experience you'll probably never get to have again. There are some companies that use Exeter uni though for degree apprenticeships, JPMorgan for example.
Reply 7
Original post by Square-Childhood
That's interesting, I thought that they were only saying that though for people whose schools don't offer FM. Do you know which offer grades he received - was there an entrance exam or interview tied to it as well?

3A*s (Maths/Physics/CS) don't know about any other exams as I didn't really ask about that but definitely without the FM as we were talking about our kids and I mentioned my daughter was going to do A level FM and he asked why.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Jakson123
Fair enough, university is the sort of experience you'll probably never get to have again. There are some companies that use Exeter uni though for degree apprenticeships, JPMorgan for example.

I wasn't aware of that, I'll look into them - thanks again!
Original post by AriTem
3A*s (Maths/Physics/CS) don't know about any other exams as I didn't really ask about that but definitely without the FM as we were talking about our kids and I mentioned my daughter was going to do A level FM and he asked why.

Great, thanks for the advice (and well done to them!).
Original post by Square-Childhood
I wasn't aware of that, I'll look into them - thanks again!

If you do consider it and want something a little less competitive than JP (over 2000 applicants for tech this year) then Renishaw and Rowe IT are others I've come across that do their apprenticeships with Exeter.
Original post by Square-Childhood
I'm currently in year 12 and I'm taking A-levels in computer science, maths and physics. I also have done an EPQ titled "how does bias impact AI?".
This summer I'm planning on sitting AS further maths and then dropping it. I hated my A-Level class and it was incredibly fast paced and not very supportive at all, which has led to a painful year of me watching YouTube videos to teach the content to myself. That said once I've taught myself a topic I'm perfectly capable of doing it.
Regular maths and CS I should be able to get A*s, physics hopefully an A.
I'm aware that this rules out me going to Oxbridge/Imperial, however I was wondering which Russel Group universities I would still be able to study at. For example, I'm considering Edinburgh and Bath.
It's insane how competitive CS is compared with nearly every other degree course, I have some decent extra and super curricular, but I know that's worthless if they won't even look at my personal statement due to not having FM.
If anyone can share their experiences and what offers they know people receive at some of the universities for computer science that would be really helpful. Also would be good if you have any personal statement advice or general tips for the admissions process.
I'm attending a decent state sixth form (not a grammar school), and have attended state schools all my life, if that makes any difference. Also have all 8s and 9s at GCSE.
Thanks!

Comp sci is incredibly competitive. Imperial have all their admissions statistics on their website. A lot of these "FM preferred" unis I would personally avoid as the competition is so high. I would recommend University of Sheffield as a solid choice, but feel free to go for a more ambitious choice.
Original post by Square-Childhood
I'm currently in year 12 and I'm taking A-levels in computer science, maths and physics. I also have done an EPQ titled "how does bias impact AI?".
This summer I'm planning on sitting AS further maths and then dropping it. I hated my A-Level class and it was incredibly fast paced and not very supportive at all, which has led to a painful year of me watching YouTube videos to teach the content to myself. That said once I've taught myself a topic I'm perfectly capable of doing it.
Regular maths and CS I should be able to get A*s, physics hopefully an A.
I'm aware that this rules out me going to Oxbridge/Imperial, however I was wondering which Russel Group universities I would still be able to study at. For example, I'm considering Edinburgh and Bath.
It's insane how competitive CS is compared with nearly every other degree course, I have some decent extra and super curricular, but I know that's worthless if they won't even look at my personal statement due to not having FM.
If anyone can share their experiences and what offers they know people receive at some of the universities for computer science that would be really helpful. Also would be good if you have any personal statement advice or general tips for the admissions process.
I'm attending a decent state sixth form (not a grammar school), and have attended state schools all my life, if that makes any difference. Also have all 8s and 9s at GCSE.
Thanks!

Hello @Square-Childhood,

First of all, congratulations on your hard work so far!

If you are wondering whether how different institutions would view your grades and other experience, then I would recommend contacting their admissions departments to ask them questions as they will have the most accurate insight into what they require.

You might find our computer science study guide helpful too - https://bit.ly/3TrrFLd. This explores how to prepare for a computer science degree, career prospects, salary expectations and more 😊 I think it would be a helpful read, regardless of which institution they decide to go with!

I hope that this helps. Good luck!

Thanks, Becky
Very similar thread here, and I've written a reply there that will probably be helpful for you too.
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7470417&p=99406924&page=1#post99406924

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