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Students choosing A-levels in career specific subjects are less attractive to elite universities, new study suggests

Meanwhile, Oxford advises law applicants that whilst it accepts all A-level subjects with the exception of General Studies, candidates should demonstrate that they are are “appropriately numerate”, and for those wishing to study abroad, they should possess a qualification in a modern language.

This is echoed by the study’s conclusions, which found that students taking A-level law, for example, were more likely to attend a lower-ranked university than those who studied subjects on the list.

“A student who aspires to a career in a professional services firm might easily think that taking an A-level in law, accounting or business would be helpful in achieving that goal,” Ms Dilnot adds.

“But it may be that choosing these subjects is actually unhelpful in high status university admission.

“Students may be unconcerned about the ranking of university they attend. But given that 42 per cent of those reading law have law A-level…the results described here are likely to be counter-intuitive for these students.”

“So an apparently sensible subject choice for students wishing to prepare for a professional career may, in fact, put them at a disadvantage.”

Commenting on the study, Jessica Cole, head of policy at the Russell Group, said that it was of “vital” importance” that students were given the correct information and advice when making choices at A-level.

“Choosing facilitating subjects allows students to keep their options open, meaning they have a wider choice of degree courses,” she added.

“Our advice is that if students don’t know what they want to study at university then it’s a really good rule of thumb that taking two facilitating subjects will keep a wide range of degree courses open.

“Students who aren’t sure which subjects they need to take for a specific course should be able find information in university prospectuses, or they can speak to the university directly who will be able to help them.”

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