When you are fifteen and sixteen and in the process of taking your GCSEs, and even the years before that when you are considering what subjects to choose, the prospect of applying to and attending university is one that feels a million miles away. However, even if you don’t have a solid plan for either your career or the rest of your higher education, these choices that you make when you are only fourteen can have a big impact on what happens when the time comes to choose which university you would like to attend and what subject you would like to obtain a degree in. The situation can be extremely confusing and overwhelming for a young person making big decisions, so here are a few things to consider when it comes to GCSE choices and future university prospects.
Maths And English Are Non Negotiable
In terms of across the board requirements for university places, pretty much the only two subjects that are non negotiable are maths and English. This does not pose any type of significant choice problem simply because of the fact that both of these subjects are still compulsory and therefore all students have no choice but to take them for GCSE. Taking them is one thing, but passing them is another, and it may be the case that you will find yourself retaking one or both of these exams because all universities have a minimum pass rate requirement for both.
Specific Courses Require Specific GCSEs
Some students who have already decided that they want to obtain a specific degree at university need to be aware that most universities go all the way back to GCSE choices and grades when filtering through applications. For example, if you are applying to study a foreign language course at university, you are going to have to have studied your chosen language at both GCSE and A Level in order to be considered for a place.
Alternatively, if you are still undecided about what you want to study at university, but still know that obtaining a degree is something that is going to be a part of your future, then there is a list of GCSE subjects that are considered to be solid base subjects for opening you up to a number of different degree courses across numerous institutions all over the country. These include things like English, history, geography, French, Spanish and even subjects like music and drama because they display that you have a level of technical talent and skill that could be applied to a range of different degrees.
The Science Conundrum
Depending on what type of curriculum your schools operates to, you will be required to take one, two or all three science disciplines as compulsory subjects. These subjects are physics, chemistry and biology. If you aspire to obtain a degree in nursing at university, then you you may be required to have chemistry or biology GCSE but not necessarily a physics degree. However, if you have and take up the option of only studying a single science subject at GCSE, then this could well affect your prospects of being able to study science at the higher A Level difficulty.
We recommend that in order to keep your options as broad as possible when it comes to the area of science and all of the degree choices that could be affected by the presence or absence of science GCSEs, the best course of action to take is to opt for a double award or triple award if your school offers it. This where you either double up two different subject branches or include all three.
It is also worth nothing that some universities do not accept BTED Applied Science First Certificates as an alternative to the double and triple science GCSEs, so this might be something to consider when planning ahead.
Can You Study A Degree Without Having The GCSE?
In some cases, yes, simply because there are no GCSE equivalents to some courses. Things like law, for example, are not offered at such a young level, but instead places are granted through studying GCSE topics that fit the law mould like business studies, maths, English and even history.
Other degrees that don’t necessarily need a named GCSE as a requirement are things like media studies, economics, psychology and religious studies.
Ultimately, it serves your best interests to choose GCSE subjects that genuinely interest you, because it is more than likely that your future university degree will have something to do with your original interests.