Three in ten UK university applicants regret the subjects they pursued at A level, according to recent data from a Which? University survey.

A poll of more than 1,000 UK-based students aged 19 or younger also found that four in ten students (41%) wished they had given their A level choices more in-depth thought, while 28 percent wished they had selected more relevant subjects for their chosen degree programme.

Only half (53%) of the respondents felt they were suitably informed regarding how their A level pathways would influence their choice of university or degree course, while almost a third (30%) felt the information they received through the A level selection process failed to consider how the decision would affect their future.

A-level subjects have considerable influence over university applications, with a large number of courses demanding specific qualifications, and some institutions failing to recognise certain disciplines. Despite this, less than half (41%) of survey participants were aware that most UK universities boast a list of A-level subjects they regard much less favourably than others.

According to the data, a fifth (18%) of UK university applicants claimed they could have selected A-levels that were much more relevant to their degree programme had they been better informed.

“Students know that choosing what to study at university is an important decision. However, our research shows that they are less clear about how earlier decisions could impact on the degree options available to them,” said Which? University’s Alex Neill.

Which? University, a free online resource to help prospective students through the decision-making process, has recently launched an A-level Explorer tool to give students an insight as to where different A-level subjects could lead them.

“While certain A-levels might suggest a particular degree path, our tool shows there are usually alternative options students can take. It’s important that students choose their A-levels with both degree courses and future careers in mind,” Neill notes.

The Explorer tool allows current GCSE students to sample different combinations of A-level subjects and see where similar subject combinations have led former GCSE candidates.

“Choosing [A-levels] can be quite a daunting and scary process,” says future Salford University student Dan French in a letter to his younger self. “From the start you’ve been told that your A-level choices will impact your university options. This is true, they really do. Your plan is to study architecture, so I know you’re going to pick you’re a-levels based on this.”

Dan thinks Which? University’s new Explorer tool “is great for GCSE students, especially for students who know they want to go to university but haven’t quite yet figured out what they want to study. It helps them see and understand all their possible options for the future.”

Your A-level choices really do have a massive impact on the course of your future –check out Which? University’s A-level advice section for help and advice when it comes to making your decision.

Image via Flickr.

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