There's nothing worse than choosing the wrong career

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Post by Guest »

For all parents of A-level students (Year 12 and Year 13) - I hope this post will help you. If you're like me, you've probably been overwhelmed and anxious, helping your children choose the right university course, taking them to the open days, losing sleep over their personal statements, making mistakes and missing opportunities...

For example, we didn't know that there are summer schools and other programmes run by universities until it was too late to apply (attending these programmes can lower entry requirements by up to 2 grades in some cases!) We missed those opportunities. Then, after attending an open day for a course in Psychology (and in the middle of writing her personal statement), my daughter suddenly decided she likes to study the subject but wouldn't want to work in any of the jobs that the university mentioned in their presentation. A sudden shift meant researching new courses in completely different categories, missing a number of opportunities to visit universities on the open days, and writing a personal statement from scratch.

The last 3 months were the hardest ones but we got there in the end! My daughter received 4 offers and has withdrawn her 5th application altogether because her first choice (the University of York) not only made her an offer but also reduced the entry requirement by one grade after her interview.

I work in marketing so I helped her polish her personal statement and prepare for the interview.

I'd like to share a few tips and if you have any specific questions, write in the comments or message me.

If your child doesn't know what to study and they are younger than Year 13, I highly recommend completing a personality test (search Google for "Myers–Briggs 16 personalities test". There are plenty of free tests. Once you have the result, find the best and worst careers for that personality type. Research several sites and your child will have a long list of careers that are great for their personality.

(There's nothing worse than choosing the wrong career and I've done it myself when I was young, that's why I care about it so much). Any questions - feel free to ask.

If your child is younger than Year 13, research the universities and join their summer schools. Deadlines for some applications are in January and the one-week-long schools run between mid-July to mid-August. You'll realise how important it is when your children get their predicted A-level grades and you know which course they can apply for and where they are missing a grade... Summer school attendance can lower entry requirements for your child, just do it!
If your child is in Year 13 and they are still struggling with their personal statement, check all their previously written drafts.

When I asked my daughter to share a doc file and let me see what she wrote, she told me to read the latest version at the bottom of the page and ignore the rest. Surely, I did the opposite and read all 3-4 drafts, finding some real gems, beautiful and genuine, much better than things she said in the last version of her personal statement.

They can get carried away and focus on the character count instead of the message...

We sat down together and analysed line by line, deciding which words to use, and how to appeal to all 5 universities that she wanted to apply for. It worked! If after doing all this you're still struggling, let me know, and I'll do my best to help.

It's an amazing feeling and such relief when their UCAS application is finally submitted and they start getting offers, sometimes, as early as the next day!

Post by Amy »

Maybe also take the pressure off of them as well and make them realise that university isn't the be all and end all. It's ok at 18 not to know what you want to do

Post by Gemma »

Thank you so much!!! Year 12 son here and he has no clue where to start so this has given a focus and starting point. Thanks so much!
Jo ~

Post by Jo ~ »

For anyone with children in year 12, UCAS are looking to change the format of the personal statement next year, based around a number of statement questions instead, so it might be quite different.

Post by Debbie »

I'd also add, that universities are flexible, even once you've got to uni you can change courses. It is not the be all and end all, and you don't have to stick with something you don't like.
Jo ~

Post by Jo ~ »

When I was in year 13 20 years ago, my parents did 2 brilliant things:
  1. Told me to choose a degree based on what I enjoyed studying. Choosing a career can come later.
  2. Made me research and go to the open days on my own - on the basis that if I was moving to a new city, I’d need to be capable of getting there independently.
Brilliant advice

Post by Danielle »

Also perhaps, just encouraging them to do what they enjoy and not necessarily put so much pressure on an 18yr old to choose a career path for the rest of their lives at such a young age.
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