University admission bods - can you help please?

(10 Posts)
Markingthehours Tue 16-Oct-12 19:59:55

My DD has started sixth form and feels she is struggling with work loads. I've seem her stress levels go up a lot which is particularly worrying as she is normally so laid back and coped very well with exams earlier this year.

DDs suggestion is that she should do 3 A levels and an As over 3 years instead of the normal 2 in order to achieve better grades.

Can anyone advise if unis would frown on this? Would they expect better grades if they were extended over 3 years?

Lilymaid Tue 16-Oct-12 20:04:43

I'm not an admissions tutor, but know from experience that the first term of 6th Form can be very hard as the level of work goes up considerably from GCSE to AS so many Y12s find it tough going.
I also have a DS who retook some of his modules in his gap year between school and university to improve his grades - that isn't uncommon.

Markingthehours Tue 16-Oct-12 20:06:25

thanks lily. Has your DS been offered a place yet? Did the retakes get treated any differently on his application?

Adversecamber Tue 16-Oct-12 20:14:52

I used to work in admissions and though I didn't have a final say so I could make a recommendation. I worked closely with lots of the academic staff.

They were only interested in the final grade, if the requirement of a course is AAB then that is what they would want her to have predicted and to achieve.

WorriedBetty Tue 16-Oct-12 20:20:56

I used to work in admissions and its not a bad idea - if she gets over the required grades in most unis save oxbridge then she is in - they won't dither over time taken. The way to look at it is this - if she gets all As, then she has proved she has all that knowledge and can demonstrate it, that is all. They don't really care if she is a genius and can do it with a photographic memory or not, only that she has the knowledge and demonstrate it.

The arguments against are cost and perhaps something about learning to schedule work. Age at intake won't be much of an issue, ages vary at year starts even more now due to costs and gap years etc.

creamteas Tue 16-Oct-12 20:23:40

There are any number of reasons whilst sixth form might last for 3 years rather than 2. Whilst this will probably make a difference to the most competitive courses (eg medicine/Oxbridge), it won't for all universities/courses. I would not rule people out on this basis, nor require higher grades.

But it is more usual to retake year 12 or 13, rather than plan for 3 years initially I would think. Is it the level of work that is an issue, or is it that she is taking the wrong subjects? It is not unusual for A* GCSE students to find AS difficult in some areas.

Overall I would say that it is probably too early to tell, and perhaps she could defer making this decision to nearer the end of year 12? What does the school/college say?

Markingthehours Tue 16-Oct-12 20:35:33

Thanks so much for your responses, that's very helpful.

Worried, I too have some reservations about DD learning to organising herself/workload and think she should give it a bit longer.

Creamteas, I/DD haven't yet spoken to college, but the reviews they did last week did throw up some concerns about work outstanding, which has now, admittedly, been submitted by DD.

I thought I'd heard something a couple of weeks ago about not allowing GCSE pupils to retake module exams and wondered if this had filtered through to uni admission policy.

boomting Tue 16-Oct-12 21:33:34

Some (i.e. the more competitive ones) universities will frown upon taking three years over A Levels, and will raise the offer by a grade or so.

However, AAB over three years is a lot better than BBC over two years.

I'd suggest carrying on with this year as planned, and then reassessing based on AS grades - she may just be struggling with the initial 'jump' from GCSE to AS, which tends to resolve itself.

kellestar Tue 23-Oct-12 12:06:40

agree with boomting I worked as admissions officer for a Uni that wasn't bothered if they took an extra year to do A-Levels. However we are local to a more competitive Uni [a good friend works there] and they have a more strict criteria and would reject someone on that basis.

Agree that you should re-assess as the end of this year when her AS levels are in. She may need more support to organise herself a bit better. The step from GCSE to AS levels is quite big, they also don't get as much help on managing their time efficiently, they also get some free time that they may not all use wisely. After Christmas they often seem to have a breakthrough and can manage their time more efficiently and cope with the pressure.

SlowlorisIncognito Tue 23-Oct-12 21:52:22

Hi, I'm currently involved in university admissions and would say this could be an issue for some of the very top universities. However, the more common way to do this is to have failed your first year, and retaken the entire year, so it may be more to do with frowning on retakes. Ultimately, however, university admissions are a competitive process, and if your DD was up against a lot of top candidates she might miss out.

Have you considered the possibility of dropping an AS level early? 4 AS levels are not a requirement for getting into university, and having 3 strong A levels would compensate for this.

I think the main issue, however, could be one of logistics with the Sixth Form, as if she is only doing 2 AS this year, and AS and 1 A2 next year and 2 A2s next year, she may not count as being in full time education. I may be completely wrong about this, however.

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