My situation is a bit complicated as I am planning on applying to university in psychology for 2010 entry as a mature student (I am 24 now). However I have already been to university before but due to mental health problems had to pull out and tried a couple more times but as I hadn't properly recovered, ended up failing again in the second year.
Now however, I am reasonably confident that I will be able to manage a psychology degree as I have obviously learned about some aspects of it during my own problems, and I have also moderated at some mental health sites, and also for the past year I lived independently abroad, and managed that with no problems.
I took 4 A-levels and got BBCC, as well as a C in General Studies, although the grades are in French, German, History and English Language. I have taken 12 GCSEs, 1 A*, 8 A, 2 B and 1 C. I have a C in Maths and AA in science. This makes me uncertain about which universities to consider applying to. I want to go to the best I can. At the moment I think I would like to aim at being a psychologist, and have a list of universities drawn up, including Bangor, Aston, Birmingham, Newcastle, etc. Is it likely that I would be given at a place at a university which has a higher entrance requirement than BBC?
I am also considering re-taking my Maths GCSE this year to improve my grade to a B at least, and studying A-level biology (both AS and A2 in one year if possible, or just AS) ... would this really be of any help? By the time I got the results, I would have applied and got the answers from the universities anyway ... though it might help me on the course. I believe that in both my GCSEs and A-levels I underperformed.
A) I'd definitely retake the maths, and being seen to want to improve your skills will look good
B) Newcastle's out I'm afraid - they want you to have two science A levels.
C) The lack of science A levels is going to make it a bit harder for you, I have to say; doing A level biology would be a great idea. And if you can work really hard at it and get a really good grade it'll look really good, and that you're on the right track.
D) Unfortunately I doubt there's much point applying to higher than BBC unless you're confident you can get an A in Biology. It's such a competitive subject that there's hundreds too many people who have the right grades, let alone lower ones.
E) In your application, emphasise your interest in the sciences (they bloody love this) and that you're constantly trying to improve your education blah blah.
Sorry if this is a bit blunt; PM me if you need any help - I work closely with the Psych admissions officer at York uni so I know what he thinks about a lot of things!
I can't really think of much else to add to Melana's post, other than possibly try contacting the admissions department and having a chat with them.
As a mature student, things will be a little different. Less emphasis on academics, more emphasis on experience. However, again, get in touch with the universities and see what they want off you.
Yeah, really good advice from Melana there, get in touch with admissions tutors of the courses you're interested in to get advice from the horse's mouth, as each department will have its own little idiosyncracies with regards admissions, particularly when it comes to mature student applications.
Due to the slightly different situation of being a mature student and potentially being able to sell yourself on experience, its possibly worth e-mailing the admissions tutors of courses asking for slightly above BBC. But certainly email them to see what their thoughts would be, rather than just applying straight off, as different places will probably react slightly differently to the Maths GCSE and lack of science A-levels.