Do universities favor college students with four A-amounts?

When I was 17 years old, I engaged in a battle with the director of my sixth form. Possessing carried out effectively in my AS-ranges, I wanted to continue with all 4 subjects to A2. He refused to permit it.

“You only need three to get into university,” he insisted. “Any more is going to be as well significantly perform for you. Your grades will endure.”

In the end I was in a position to carry on with 4 regardless, but the episode resurfaces in my mind each time a new academic year comes close to.

In spite of the staggering inflation of tuition costs, more 18-yr-olds went to university this 12 months than ever prior to. And with AS-amounts soon to be gone, it could become increasingly hard to stand out from the swathe of other properly-competent applicants. But is trying to keep four A-amounts the solution?

How significantly do universities genuinely value an additional complete A-Degree?

Whilst taking an further A-degree provides considerably in terms of individual improvement, added learning and breadth of subject information, it is debatable whether it has value in purely academic terms. No university explicitly calls for college students to continue all subjects into the 2nd yr.

Dunstan Hadley, a representative of the esteemed Russell Group of 24 leading Uk universities, explains that every single university has its very own admissions approach and there is no set formula for successfully gaining a location.

What’s most important, he says, is that students meet the entry needs – which is ordinarily 3 A-ranges.

He stressed that universities overview applications as a sum of their elements, taking private statement, references and related expertise into consideration. Admissions tutors are also aware that college students do not constantly have the opportunity to review 4 A-amounts.

Rather than requiring prospective undergraduates to hold an additional topic at A2 degree, some universities in the Russell Group have as an alternative opted to introduce the A* grade into their conditional gives in order to appeal to the very very best college students.

When is it better to get 3?

Dr Malcolm Fairburn, of King’s University London’s physics department, explained that the preferences of admissions tutors can alter year-on-year.

“Every division has a distinct philosophy, shaped by the attitudes of the admissions tutor, as well as statistics from preceding many years,” he says. “At the moment at KCL, we only concentrate on the very first three A-amounts. The fourth A-degree would only turn out to be related if it was a borderline case.”

He stresses that if someone was struggling to make the necessary grades – in this situation, AAA – then they may be far better concentrating on just three A-levels.

“If the pupil is a borderline case and they are doing four A-ranges, they most likely ought to have dropped 1 at AS-level to get greater marks in the 1st three,” he says.

Claire Mulley, media relations officer at the University of Durham, agrees that an additional A-degree may not lead admissions tutors to regard an applicant far more hugely. “Applicants are not automatically considered to be more powerful due to the fact they have taken more than 3 A-ranges,” she says.

Is it ever worth taking four?

Some admissions tutors approve of taking 4 A-ranges since it can cultivate a student’s possible.

Dr Alice Taylor is admissions tutor and lecturer in medieval background at King’s College London, the place a normal offer you to review historical past is 3 A grades at A-level.

“We really don’t favour four above three,” she told me of the admissions procedure. “Our offer is three A-amounts – but if a student has 4, that is wonderful, and gives them a bit much more breathing room when it comes to attaining the provide in query.”

Four A-levels is not a requirement for entry to Cambridge, says Adam Patel, a fourth-year languages student at Cambridge University who took 4 A-levels. However, Patel says that employers like it. “I really do not think obtaining four created any variation to my application,” he says.

“I chose to do maths as my fourth A-level, mostly because I located that it didn’t call for much revision outside of the classroom. So rather than have so numerous free periods, it seemed silly not to consider and get an further qualification – it wasn’t a large burden on my time.”

Although it may not have produced a enormous distinction to his academic existence prior to university, Adam is now noticing constructive responses from prospective employers as he nears the finish of his degree.

“I can truthfully say it is produced no big difference at Cambridge contemplating I’m studying languages, but now that I’m applying for jobs it absolutely shows yet another side to me that staff like.”

Whilst additional A-levels can be a great way of demonstrating time management and broad interests, in the end the basic consensus seems to be that going above and past the necessary 3 A-levels is not essential to get into university – and may ultimately place necessary subjects at danger.

If gaining a area at a prestigious university is your priority, it is possibly much more useful to target on achieving the 3 prime grades they want – due to the fact that is a necessity you can not stay away from.

  • Did you study three or four A-amounts? What do you feel is the best variety of A-ranges to consider?

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