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    Thread: University advice needed

    1. #1
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      University advice needed

      So this is a personal thread targeted mainly at people who have been to university or have a little more experience in life than I have. As some of you might know, today was A-level results day in the UK and I'm a little bit let down, but not surprised, at the results I have achieved. The subjects I studied were Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, in which I got a C, E, and another E respectively (I also did an extended project qualification and got an A in that but it's only worth points). Now I'm faced with quite a difficult decision: I have the opportunity to study my subject of choice (Biology) with a foundation year at a university in the city I was going to study in. However, my A-level results are severely lacking to say I was given targets of 3 As and my university of choice offered me a place for AAB. This was mostly down to a lack of interest and effort after picking my subjects. I was thinking of maybe going to another college to retake my Biology at second year level (I got an A in the first year), and pick up two new subjects to study alongside it. That will mean I won't be going to university until I'm 20 but apparently having good A level results and a degree from a prestigious university is better for the world of work than bad results and a degree from a relatively unknown university. I'm leaning more towards college to be honest as I'd probably take English language or literature and psychology. I was an idiot for taking science and maths based subjects when I got the highest result in the school 2 years consecutively in my English GCSEs for language and literature, and I had more of an interest in psychology than bio, chem and phys. I feel like I've made a mistake and I need to correct it rather than pushing forward with what I've got and hoping for the best. I'm really not sure what I should do, so if any of you have any experience in terms of employability or have been to universities and think you might have some advice, I would appreciate it so much right now as I feel like I can't talk to my friends about it because few of them are in the same boat and those who are are too busy frantically searching for clearing spaces. I should probably trust my gut feeling and go back to a college to do my a levels.
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      I failed my first year year of college, so, I had to delay going to university, and I can tell you, there's no shame in it. You don't need to reach university by a certain age. I'm nearly 20 and about to start my first year of university, myself, so, don't worry. What I think is most important is to do what you want to do. If you enjoy English and Psychology, then take them. I wouldn't take them just because you're good at it, though. Make sure its a genuine interest. I would reccomend researching a bit of psychology in your own time, to make sure it is definately what you want to do (some schools do offer it for GCSE, but they're few and far between).

      I took English lang and lit A levels and came out with a C overall and I'd say its one of the best courses I took because (rather surprisingly in today's education) it actually encourages new ideas. So long as you can back up a point, no matter how outlandish it may seem, you'll get a mark for it.

      Ultimately, I'd go with your gut feeling, retake college and make sure you're doing something you want to do. Finally, don't focus too much on employability within your chosen subjects. My uncle holds a degree, yet works in a supermarket, and he's happy with his life.
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      This is a tricky thing to answer precisely if you are not british, but I would like to offer this very general piece of advice.

      It's been my experience, during my 49 years of life, that the most succesful people you meet, as far as work is concerned, are those who truly like the work they do for a living. Therefore, I would advocate going for an education that naturally leads towards types of work, that you would be happy to undertake.

      This also means that aptitude tends to go hand in hand with interest, and what you are already talented at is likely to be something that you would also enjoy in the future.

      But, and this is both an annoying point and an important one: most young people have rather little idea of what professionals of a particular education do for a living. I, for example, really thought that I would want to become a professor one day. Once I got into university research and found out what professors actually spend their time on, I no longer had any desire for a professorship.

      I hope someone with relevant experience from Britain can offer you some more specific advice.
      So ... is this the real universe, or is it just a preliminary study?

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      As the others have already said, it ultimately comes down to your decision, which I in your position would make based on gut feeling. But that is just me. I feel quite sensitive at times to the subtle messages of the world, dreams or whatever. So If you are not sure about that yourself, then do take some more time. Clear your head a bit. Talk to more people, like you are doing here. Though you probably need to make the decision in a given time, just make sure it is ultimately what you want. Think long term. Even though we can change our minds and goals it's perfectly fine to do so. So even if you end up changing goals again, it's okay.

      I am just about to enter my last year at university in the UK and I have various friends who delayed going into university so it's not problem. I still see these friends and the fact that they are not specifically in the same position as me is not a problem. Especially because no one will ever be in your position exactly. It shows that we are all working towards our own future and that's what matters imo. Even when we don't know what we are doing. I'd say few people actually know what they are doing. And life always throws us a curveball

      In my course specifically, the majority of people doing it are older than me and most of whom have already gone to universities before and some whom have even changed their paths completely after realizing what they truly wanted.

      We are all where we are meant to be.
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      The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

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      I'm not British, but based on what you said, you seem to be conflicted between several choices - the hard sciences (biology) or social sciences (psychology) or the humanities (literature). There is a lot of great advice in this thread, but ultimately, you need to follow your heart.

      Although age 20 is a late start, you will only be a year or two older than your peers. There are people still finishing university in their 30s!

      Speaking as someone who has finished his university education (in a different country), I wish that I took my time and studied a subject that I was more passionate about. Anyway, I'm just sharing my mistakes with you to give you some insight. Though you can listen to parents, mentors and friends, it is up to you to find out what you really want and make your own choices, which will likely involve making tough compromises. Good luck with your decision.
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      Thank you all for the replies, it's really helped me to come to a decision because this is obviously something that takes a long time to figure out. I've decided that although I have other interests and I'm not interested in the entirity of Biology, I will direct my course towards ecology and conservation biology with the odd neuroscience unit and animal behaviour units here and there. I think this is something I want to do, I think I would end up applying for biology again if I'm honest after repeating my a levels so the way I see it perhaps it's better to be on a foundation year before entering the course than repeating 2 years at a college. Besides, I'm still going to be in my city of choice with the largest student population in Europe so I think I will be happy with making this decision. I had to remember that the reason I initially decided I wanted to go to university wasn't even because of employability but a genuine interest in learning and desiring the university experience and living in a huge city. It's strange how we sometimes lose sight of our goals.

      Thank you again, sincerely

      P.S, I have a confirmed place at the university now and I went out to celebrate last night
      Last edited by Raen; 08-14-2015 at 02:36 PM.
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      Good to hear and glad to be of help.

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      That's awesome to hear! I am sure you will enjoy it very much. All the best for you OP!
      "One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving."

      The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

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