Students are unintentionally narrowing their university choices because of the subjects they’re choosing to study at A-level or equivalent, new Which? University research reveals.
More than a third of university applicants (36%) wished they’d thought more about what might help get them into university when choosing A-levels, or would have chosen different A-level subjects for the degree subject they’re applying for, our survey of 799 applicants aged 19 and under found.
A-level subject choices
A quarter of applicants surveyed (23%) said that they weren’t aware when choosing their A-levels that some universities have views on ideal combinations or have ones which are ‘non-preferred’.
One in five applicants said that they found their university options were limited or some universities didn’t accept some of the A-levels they took.
Last month, Which? University revealed students’ top motives for going to university.
Making A-level choices
If you or your child is making A-level choices, here are some top tips to help ensure you don’t limit your university options later down the line:
- Choose a mix of ‘facilitating subjects’: if you’re unsure about what you want to study at uni yet, you can keep your options open by selecting the most commonly asked-for subjects in university entry requirements, known as ‘facilitating subjects’. These are the sciences, English, maths, languages, history and geography.
- Check university websites: if you’ve got an idea of the subject you want to study, review the entry requirements for a handful of different university courses. Do they mention any essential or useful subjects? Some university websites will also specify ‘non-preferred’ A-level subjects and combinations.
- Pick subjects you enjoy: while it’s important to factor in universities’ views when making your choices, you have to be prepared to study these subjects for the next two years – so above all, make sure they’re subjects you enjoy. Many unis and courses will consider you whatever you choose.