Choosing the right A Levels can be a huge dilemma, especially for those who are not sure what they want to study at university and beyond. Even if students think they know the direction they want to head in, choosing appropriate A Levels is still a difficult choice.
Whichever situation students find themselves in, it is important for them to remember that it will be okay!
Over the next six weeks, the Year 11 students at Doha College will choose what they will study at A Level. There will be plenty of opportunities for them to discuss their next move with teachers, the school's Careers Advisor and their parents. These discussions are vital for all students.
University entry requirements differ according to the course and the country to which students are applying, but most UK universities require a minimum of three A Levels. As the students head into Year 12, we advise them to pick four subjects to study at A Level. The top universities state that students will not be disadvantaged should students only take three A Levels; indeed, it is better to excel at three subjects than to take on more subjects than you can handle and get worse results because of it. The step up from GCSE to A Level is immensely challenging, and students need to remember this if thinking they can continue with four into Year 13.
It is also important to remember that global universities are looking for far more than just academic success. They expect students to demonstrate their suitability for the course in terms of other essential transferrable skills, such as communication, teamwork, presentation skills and leadership. Many courses, such as Medicine, require students to have gained an insight into their chosen profession. Therefore work experience is also important. A "well rounded" student who will fully participate in the community of the university is a much more attractive applicant than a purely academic student. Therefore it is important that students have sufficient time to also pursue relevant extra-curricular activities.
With regards to selecting their A Levels, students at Doha College are encouraged to keep a number of paths open and, with 25 subjects on offer, there are plenty to choose from! Whilst being fairly focused with A Level choices is necessary for some university courses, where there are specific subject requirements, it is better to demonstrate a wider breadth of knowledge and skills by picking complementary but different fields. Selecting courses that are too similar can be more restrictive when looking at university applications.
In order to help the students with their choices, Doha College have introduced three new subjects for September 2017: Environmental Science, Sociology and Travel & Tourism.
Environmental Science has been introduced as an alternative to the A Level sciences. It is a subject that is a worthwhile choice for students who are particularly interested in studying Biology, Geography or Environmental Science at university, or who are considering a career in ecology, countryside management, wildlife conservation, marine biology and planning.
Sociology offers students the opportunity to develop the essential knowledge and understanding of central aspects of sociological thought and methods. It is as seen as a very good facilitating subject; i.e. it sits well with a number of different subjects, for example; Sociology / Geography / History / Psychology or Sociology / Media / Business / Economics or Sociology / English Language / Biology / P.E.
Travel & Tourism encourages learners to appreciate the scale and importance of the travel and tourism industry and recognise the positive and negative impacts the industry may have on people, environments and economies. This diverse course covers a variety of skills which can support options related to business, customer relations, marketing and travel.
Our final, key pieces of advice, are as follows:
- Certain university courses will look for specific A Levels. It is important to check individual course requirements
- Taking certain A Levels will open up more university course options
- A Levels are a lot tougher than GCSEs. Therefore, be prepared for a big jump in the level of difficulty when you transition from GCSE to AS Level. You'll also see differences in the way you're taught and in what is expected of you
- Pick the subjects you enjoy and that you are good at!
- Have a back up plan. What subjects will you choose if you do not achieve the required grades?
- Make use of resources available within the school, such as Kudos, and speak to the Careers Team if you have any questions
- With a wide variety of subjects to choose from, our students have an exciting few weeks ahead of them. Please see the links below for further reference.