At this stage in your school career you may not have thought about what degree you want to pursue, let alone your future career, but this is the time to plan ahead and think about your A-level options.
For some careers, the choice is pre-ordained. If you want to study medicine, you will need good science A-levels, for others, choosing a spread of subjects may leave your options more flexible. Sometimes the choice can be seemingly a little obscure; an Arts degree may require an A-level that demonstrates good essay writing capability.
Although time consuming, now is a good time to research which University and course you might wish to attend and look in detail at the specific entry criteria.
Many of the UK’s most prestigious universities belong to ‘The Russell Group’ which provides a guide, called Informed Choices, offering guidance on the entry requirements for a variety of degrees. Students wanting to apply for one of these universities are advised to study at least 2 subjects from the ‘Facilitating Subjects’ list.
BTEC offers an alternative to A-levels. These tend to be vocational, less academic, courses so may not be acceptable to all Universities. Some might ask for additional qualifications such as A-level mathematics to demonstrate sufficient academic background to be able to pursue a university degree. Where a BTEC is accepted, there may be a requirement that is more directly pertinent to the degree proposed. If BTEC is your preferred pathway then it is even more important to research your options carefully.
The International Baccalaureate offers another, more academic option for those who are bright but want to keep their options open.
Sometimes overlooked is that your A-level choices should reflect your abilities. That is balanced by the need to study subjects that actually interest you as well as ones you have an ability in, don’t be pushed into studying subjects you don’t feel comfortable about or enjoy. For instance, unless you specifically want to do a maths based degree then don’t feel under pressure to study A-level mathematics.
In terms of sources of advice, the first point of contact is of course your school, but sometimes you may not be confident with the quality or independence of that advice. You are a potential customer so can contact the university direct and speak to the admissions staff, having first of course checked their website for answers. Many universities have an online database of frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Whatever your final pathway choice MariAl Associates are here to help you make your dreams a reality.