University AS Levels and why Year 12 matters

Coaching Parents for 14 years I have seen something happen again and again. Their child sits their exams, they get to the end of Year 11 and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. The exams are over, they are in the sixth form or college and everyone can relax for a while.

Like Comment

Your parenting job is done… wrong!

In my mind, your parenting job is just beginning. Your job is to ensure your child leaves school prepared for the world socially, mentally, intellectually and personally and the next year at school, year 12, is crucial. It isn’t the time for you to back off and leave them to it and hope it all ends up OK. Most think they have a year to just roll along with it, that they have plenty of time to plan university… wrong again!

Here are a few things you should know.

  • Universities offer places on predicted grades, which are likely to be based on your child’s performance so far in year 12. If their predicted grades are really different from the current grades they will get suspicious. Obviously the final say comes from the A-Level results, but if your child’s predicted results do not meet the criteria for the particular course, they are unlikely to even look at the application, so you had better know what the levels are and your child had better be showing willing. They used to use AS results as indicators, but since they are no longer taken, predicted/current grades are all they have to go on.
  • Most University Open Days are June/July/September/October and they all tend to be on the same days, so you may need to visit some universities two years earlier. For example, Bronte (my eldest) started University in 2015; the first open day we attended was in September 2013, then October 2013, then June and July 2014. We had to do this to get them all in.
  • Your child can apply for University places from the September before they are going to go until the following January. Oxford, Cambridge and other courses like medicine and veterinary have October close dates. Some universities will make offers a few weeks after getting their first applications, so you could be well ahead of the game and your child could have offers while others are still doing visits and panicking. Doing it early and being ready for the application process as soon as it opens leaves your child to concentrate on getting the A Levels grades to get in. So for September 2018 entry you can apply from September 2017 – Jan 2017. I’m not sure about you, but I didn’t want my child trying to work this out while studying for A Levels. If you get ahead of the game you will be looking around universities just at the end of Year 12, where things are less panicked rather than year 13 when things are much more stressful.
  • Some courses and some universities want to see certain things on your child’s personal statement; perhaps a certain placement, work experience or mode of study. Some require things like pieces of creative writing if shortlisted on application. The sooner you know this the better; the longer you have to prepare and get together what you need and make sure your child is prepared. For example, in one of Bronte’s courses she was required to write a script; we knew nothing about script writing, but we had a whole year to learn.

So have I convinced you yet that Year 12 isn’t as easy as it first appears?

Want some more support? Join my Facebook Group.

Sarah Newton

Author, Speaker and Youth Coach

Sarah Newton has shared her innovative wisdom with millions who have tuned into her TV and Radio shows, followed her writing and listened to her unconventional talks. She has been described as a catalyst, daring all she meets to break out from social norms and follow their own path. She has worked in youth empowerment for over 30 years, first as a police officer and then eventually running her own business, via a stint at Disney World in Florida. Sarah has a no-nonsense, down-to-earth approach to solving most youth-associated problems, based on tactics that work, not rhetoric out of a book. She often is the only one in the room to stand by her viewpoint and tends to think the opposite from everyone else. Star of ITV’s “My Teen’s A Nightmare, I’m Moving Out” and author of “Help! My Teenager is an Alien – the everyday situation guide for parents”, Sarah has just teamed up with her daughter to write a novel to help girls with their body image issues, she has also written for The Guardian, The Huffington Post and the Daily Mail. Sarah also sits on the UK board of the Arbonne Charitable Foundation and is an ambassador for Girls Out Loud.