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Posted on 17th August 2011

Choose Wisely

Decisions; we have to make thousands of decisions every single day. Some are relatively small, such as ‘what to have for lunch’ (although for me this is actually quite vital); others will have a major impact on our futures. Students today have to make many crucial decisions, one of the most crucial being which subjects to study at A Level. The subjects you choose will play a large part in determining which degree courses you are eligible for, and hence what profession you may go into when you graduate.

When I chose my subjects (English, History, Italian and Theatre Studies) I was ruling out becoming a vet, doctor, mathematician, engineer and so on. Although I was also opening up lots of opportunities. Having traditional essay subjects and a modern language would be very useful indeed for a number of future paths, and doing Theatre Studies, which is in effect an inter-disciplinary subject, allowed me to combine a number of skills and express my creativity.

With university places becoming harder and harder to attain, your choice of A Levels is more important than ever. Mary Curnock Cook, the head of Ucas, has recently said that she thinks it’s a “tragedy” that some students find their ambitions thwarted by poor advice from teachers. Many teachers encourage their pupils to study ‘soft’ subjects in order to increase their chances of gaining higher marks. And yet, these subjects will not help them after the A Level results come in.

Recent research revealed that pupils at comprehensive schools are only about half as likely to opt for the most academic subjects (such as maths, sciences, languages and history) compared to pupils at independent schools. Comprehensive pupils are also seven times more likely to take media studies, which is not highly esteemed among university admissions tutors.

In the autumn, for the first time ever, Ucas will publish a list of the subjects studied by successful candidates for each university course. This should help pupils to decide which subjects to take before realising it’s too late to do medicine because they haven’t studied two sciences.

Oxford University released details of the subjects that their students had taken at A Level at the data revealed that out of the 8,026 students who were offered places at Oxford between 2008 and 2010 only 16 took media studies and just two took environmental studies, whereas 4961 took maths.

If you have just sat your GCSEs and you are in a quandary about which subjects to continue with in the autumn, why not look at a university prospectus or two and see if any degree courses take your fancy. If you know where you are going, it is easier to make decisions about how to get there. You can also give Enjoy Education a call and we can give you advice about which subjects would be preferable.

Dates for the diary

July 2014
11+ Kickstart Summer

14 July 2014
11+ Practice Exam

Every Monday in August
Summer Fizz Course

27-28 August 2014
11+ Back to School Booster

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