Not all subjects are equal. No, top universities discriminate against certain subjects

For many years Cambridge University has never recognised Business Studies as one of the subjects on which to base their offer of a place for admission into that prestigious institution. You can find information on various websites on the list of subjects that are preferred by the top universities in the country.

My list of good A-level subjects

My own recommendations of A-level subjects are as follows and I will do more than just suggest, but in fact insist that any young person picks a minimum of two out of these subjects.

English Literature or English Language

I would say that the fact that you are passionate about studying Computer Science does not mean that an A-level in Computing or Computer Science is a better option for you than A-level Maths or Physics. Because you want to work in the media does not meant that Media Studies improves your chances of a prestigious job more than English does. Loving Biology so much that you will one day do a PhD in Biology requires you to have absolute mastery of Chemistry. At post sixteen and also at undergraduate level, you will not be able to make much progress in Biology unless you are good at Chemistry; strong mathematical knowledge and skills will certainly help you to be a top Biologist.

It is fine if you like all these subjects but a good grade in Computing with Maths not included as one of your subjects will not get you a place at the very top universities. If you love Computing or Computer Science – fine do it but also do A-level Maths as well – unless you are not aiming for the very top academic institutions such as Imperial College, UCL or Cambridge.

If you study a combination that includes mainly subjects such as Business Studies, Media Studies, Art, Sociology, Psychology, Photography and Spanish or similar subjects, you are highly likely to be rejected buy Russell Group universities and perhaps the red brick ones also.

There is no harm in mediocrity as long as that is what you want

I must stress that my recommendations above are aimed at those who are striving to be above average – those who want to be a little more than mediocre. Depending on the student’s ability it is o.k. for you to do the subjects that you enjoy the most and to study at any university that will take you – irrespective of their reputation among employers and so on, as long as you are aware of the likely consequences. There is a place in society for those people who like to study for the sake of it and also those people who will choose a certain university because they want to hang around with the same friends they’ve been with since early childhood.

A success oriented approach to making key decisions means different things to different people. It should not all be about getting an A or B grade, what is important is for a child to achieve to their full potential. As long as they do all they should do in order to obtain the highest that they are capable of, we as parents should commend and encourage them. We should reassure them of our love and affection and encourage them to be more optimistic about the future that lies ahead.

It is our duty as parents to find information about important matters and help to guide our young person at key points in their life when they are taking vital steps. Our ability to influence our children can have a serious impact on their future.

Please do comment after reading this as your comments are highly appreciated.

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