Bad A levels, Good Degree?

What happens if you have got less than you were hoping for from your A levels or Advanced level study course.

Ann Starkie from AS Careers has this advice for those that didn’t get the grades they needed for their degree of choice and what to do next.

What would your first piece of advice be to anyone wishing to do a degree but who received disappointing A-level results?

Ok, the first thing I would have to say if you have received disappointing A-level results and not got what you were expected, the first thing is NOT TO PANIC!.

Take a little bit of time… You see what most people do; is jump on the phone to ‘Clearing’ at UCAS or to immediate think they must go and find a place at university on any sort of degree without really thinking it all through – with a calm head on. Time to take some thinking space; they need to ask themselves if they still really want to go to University? Do they want to do the same subject? And what is it that they actually want? So the 1st thing is not to panic and to take some time to consider that there are lots of other options and choices of degree to consider.

How severely do poor A-levels affect your choice of degree?

It depends on the requirements of the degree, so for certain degrees there will be very strict requirements like Medicine, which will require you to have certain grades in certain subjects. For other degrees, they may be far less strict, both in what subjects you’ve taken and what grades they require. So it does depend on the degree, but what I would say is there is always options regardless of what the subject are and what the grades are – there is always a course or something you can go on and do in your subject of choice.

And what would be the best way of finding out those options? Visiting the University or UCAS website?

Yes, obviously if got rejected by your university of choice, or you are worried – you should contact that university and relevant school directly. You can contact UCAS, who have excellent advisors on the end of their phone that can talk you through other degree options. You should also contact your high school or college that you attended, as often they have advisors – post exam results on hand to give you advice directly and may also know you as an individual and help you with making decisions that are in the right direction and suitable for furthering your education.

What should your priorities be when choosing a degree?

This, in my view is quite an easy one; it should be what they are passionate about the subject and that they really, really want to do it. And that must come from something that they feel they truly want to do. It must not be about ‘I’m going to get a career in doing X or I’m going to earn this amount as a lawyer for example’. I think it’s got to come from the individual – ‘Are they actually interested in this subject? Do they care about it? Do they want to really care about it for a minimum of 3 years and work hard at it? And if the answer to those questions is Yes to the subject that they are interested in studying at university – then they’ll make a good choice.

Is there a time when doing a degree is not the right thing?

Yes, a degree is not for everyone. Some people learn better in a non- academic environment, and university life is not for everyone. And there is no reason why you can’t go and have a career without going on to university.
There are many vocational qualifications available now, where you can take an apprenticeship whilst working in the job, so there is lots of other options. Apprenticeships exist out there so you can learn and work at the same time, very often this suits people who learn practically and it may suit people also that don’t want to go to university because they are worry about the financial side or worried that they won’t keep up academically so this really good option for those individuals.

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