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CunningPlan

A Level Choices

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Sorry if this is inappropriate but I think there is much greater knowledge on this site than any other I know.

My son is looking at his A level options. He is moderately academic (more B than A at GCSE) but highly skilled in a particular sport.

His intention is to get a scholarship to a US university which his sporting achievement should achieve. The academics are a different matter and it would be worth having a back up plan.He will have to sit US SAT tests at some point.

He does not necessarily want to make a career out of his sport but would probably want something associated with it.

He is currently thinking of taking PE, Economics, Psychology and History.

Any views on this particular subject grouping? Will it close down too many options for him going forwards?

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Why not do Maths, Physics, and Chemistry, and pretend you are doing History at parties? It worked for me. :wacko:

Not sure about the PE option. The others are OK. I've never met a dud Historian.

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Sorry if this is inappropriate but I think there is much greater knowledge on this site than any other I know.

My son is looking at his A level options. He is moderately academic (more B than A at GCSE) but highly skilled in a particular sport.

His intention is to get a scholarship to a US university which his sporting achievement should achieve. The academics are a different matter and it would be worth having a back up plan.He will have to sit US SAT tests at some point.

He does not necessarily want to make a career out of his sport but would probably want something associated with it.

He is currently thinking of taking PE, Economics, Psychology and History.

Any views on this particular subject grouping? Will it close down too many options for him going forwards?

Once you do A-levels, GCSEs don't matter. Once you do a degree, A-levels don't matter. As long as it doesn't prevent him pursuing the degree of his choice I cannot imagine it making much difference after.

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I would have thought the sciences would enable adaptation to more options to order o stay within sport once the sport is no longer feasible, for example biomechanics, nutrition etc. So I would recommend the sciences

Biology, Maths, Chemstry or Physics

But I would recommend the sciences for most things where 'arts' are not a prerequisite, such as they would be for a career in ancient history, Art, or languages etc

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I would have thought the sciences would enable adaptation to more options to order o stay within sport once the sport is no longer feasible, for example biomechanics, nutrition etc. So I would recommend the sciences

Biology, Maths, Chemstry or Physics

But I would recommend the sciences for most things where 'arts' are not a prerequisite, such as they would be for a career in ancient history, Art, or languages etc

Would tend to agree - but he hates (and is fairly useless at) Physics and Chemistry. School insists he gets an A at GCSE to do maths and that is far from guaranteed. PE is actually fairly heavy on the Biology side.

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Would tend to agree - but he hates (and is fairly useless at) Physics and Chemistry. School insists he gets an A at GCSE to do maths and that is far from guaranteed. PE is actually fairly heavy on the Biology side.

Maths is good for you. It is only puzzles and patterns. I got an E at Biology at O level, because I thought penguins ate puke, and laid eggs on tall buildings. I was thinking of Gary, the gull!

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You need to find the easiest A-Levels that are actually worth sitting.

So if he's not got a chance of passing A-Level maths for example, then yep don't do it, but just make sure that it's replaced with a subject that he can get an A or a B in that won't be considered 'too lightweight' when it comes to applying for uni.

Does that make sense? It really all depends on what degrees he wants to apply for; will they look down on something like a PE or a History A Level regardless of grade?

I did the 'difficult' A-Levels, and in retrospect it was pointless. Should have done the easiest ones needed to get me to the next stepping stone i.e. degree level.

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Just do what most interests him or he'll just get disenchanted.

This is the key, don't do anything at A-level or above without having a keen interest in it. You need to read and if you aren't interested in the subject it will be dull dull dull.

PE, Economics, Psychology and History

Is he really interested in the above? I did Economics and Psychology at A-level many years ago and found them interesting.

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Just do what most interests him or he'll just get disenchanted.

Thanks - that aligns with my thinking but having not got beyond O Levels myself (through circumstance, not ability) I needed some confirmation that I wasn't giving duff advice.

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He's doing four - so can afford to do at least one for the pure enjoyment/interest of it. Personally, I think Economics or History are slightly off the wall choices for a sporting related career. I would consider replacing one of those with Biology. PE, Psychology and Biology would complement each other pretty well - and may actually make studying easier as there will likely be overlaps. Out of History and Economics - I'd probably stick with Economics as it'll help later with the maths/science involved in degree level study.

Bear in mind that at degree level, Biology comes with a lot of Chemistry/Statistics, Chemistry tends to resemble Physics, and Physics - Maths.

Also agree with the other advice. Study what he likes/is best at - and no-one will care once he's an undergraduate. Feel sorry for the lad. Far too young to be making these kind of choices, but it's not the end of the world if they turn out not to be right.

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I'm not an expert on A-levels, but a US university would view the combination of PE and Psychology as an underwhelming choice. The standard cliche on US campuses is that dumb jocks are all Psychology majors.

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Biology might be better than Psychology. A lot of US universities offer courses in sports medicine/physical therapy and a background in biology would be helpful if he wanted to study something like that.

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I think maths is probably the biggest delimiter. Either you can do maths or you can't, and the career paths open to you as a result of that change quite dramatically.

No maths typically means in the future a significant proportion of science/engineering jobs are shut off to you.

As regards the sport, as you say, even though your son might not become a pro, he might want to still be involved in the future. So think about what "still being involved" might be. Is that a manager/coach, so psychology is useful. Or would it be as say the manager of a golf course, in which case some business or management studies might be more appropriate. Business studies is probably more useful than economics.

I second the views that ultimately what a levels you do is less important. If for example he moves focus onto say the business of sport at a later stage, any higher level more specific qualifications are likely to be far more useful/career enhancing than stuff done at a level, and he will probably re-train when the time is appropriate. As someone else said, its probably best just to focus on stuff you like and get good results in that, rather than thinking about how taking the subject will shape the career.

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I'm not an expert on A-levels, but a US university would view the combination of PE and Psychology as an underwhelming choice. The standard cliche on US campuses is that dumb jocks are all Psychology majors.

Comms is the major of choice for jocks

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Languages are a good choice, except for Welsh, which is nice but useless. :unsure:

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Thanks - that aligns with my thinking but having not got beyond O Levels myself (through circumstance, not ability) I needed some confirmation that I wasn't giving duff advice.

I don't see the problem in ticking the right academic boxes, for what he wants to do in the most enjoyable and pain free way.

Without reading the thread, I could have safely predicted, a lot of the forum advice would be 'hard sciences like Maths, Physics and Chemistry or he'll never be able to become a Rocket Surgeon like me'.

The problem is, say he did those subjects and excelled, go to an interview, in his field, and the guy interviewing won't be impressed, he'll be intellectually intimidated. So best to just stick fairly closely to what most people, in the career he wants to pursue normally do, which I suspect, rarely includes A-level Maths.

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Not if you live in Wales, MrPin. Practically impossible to get any government or customer facing job without it here.

Ah ha! I went for a database job with the Welsh Government once. My Welsh mate thinks I was turned down for not being Welsh. :unsure:

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He is currently thinking of taking PE, Economics, Psychology and History.

Economics, moderately useful in the real world but if he wants to go any further than A-level he really does need A-level maths.

Psych - dunno about this one, I get the feeling this is one of the more air-headed courses out there studied by people who think it's going to give them some kind of massive insight but in reality teaches little. Might be seen as a black mark on a uni application.

History - fairly serious subject and could be useful but how well does it tie in with the other subjects?

Are the school not providing any advice?

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What about taxidermy and topiary?

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What about taxidermy and topiary?

No need. I've done a great job of trimming a stuffed badger into the shape of a teapot and I'm entirely self-taught.

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No need. I've done a great job of trimming a stuffed badger into the shape of a teapot and I'm entirely self-taught.

Are you sure you are not a chartered merkin trimmer?

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SELECT * FROM T WHERE SURNAME = "JONES" ...

That would fill pages. Honestly there was a tick box saying "Are you Welsh". I'm not, but I live in sight of it. Not good enough apparently.

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