There is much discussion about whether certain subjects are ‘preferred’ over others and will give you a better chance of gaining a university place. The Russell Group of 24 leading Universities published a booklet called Informed choices in 2011 and recently updated it in Dec 2013. This is their guide to making choices post 16 education.
The Informed choices booklet lists ‘facilitating subjects’. These are those subjects required by universities more often than others. They tend to be more academically rigorous. However a number of members within the higher education community, including the Arts Council, Design Council, Crafts Council and Sector Skills Councils are critical of the list of facilitating subjects. The later may be correct and absolutely right to defend their subject areas, however they are not doing the recruiting!
The Informed Choices booklet states:
“Although they may not be specified as required subjects, many successful applicants to many courses do have advanced level qualifications in at least two of the facilitating subjects”
“If you decide not to choose one or more of the facilitating subjects at advanced level, many degrees at competitive universities will not be open to you”.
This advice is particularly applicable to those students who are perhaps undecided about what degree course they wish to pursue and need to keep their options open.
A number of leading universities either specify the subjects they prefer or provide a list of those that are not preferred. Examples are listed below.
Unless you feel strongly about non-preferred subjects, or they are in the area that you wish to further your studies, you should consider limiting your choice to one of these. Certainly you should not take more than one of them if you are aiming for a competitive course at a leading university. Many universities are not particularly explicit in this area. However students with 3 or 4 ‘facilitating’ subjects will no doubt be looked on more favourably in comparison with students offering non preferred subjects if the competition for admission is very tight.