Bachelor Degrees Explained
Even when I was in the first year of uni I never fully understood how the grading system worked and what was considered a “good” or “bad” grade and it’s even more worrying when you don’t know what your overall mark split is between the years. Whether it’s 0% in first year, 30% in second and 70% in third, or 0% 40% 60%, or 33.3%, 33.3%, and 33.3% the split is an illusion to many. But even worse than this is not knowing what grade you should and shouldn’t be proud of. Years ago school’s worked with letters, now numbers. College A-levels are different from BTECS with Passes and Distinctions, and unis do something completely different altogether, but hopefully this article will help you understand the basics of this unique educational complication.
Although different depending on the university, there is a certain basic ideal you can apply. The First-Class Degree is the most valuable of degree classifications; this means, overall, you received 70% or more (15% of all degree candidates graduate with a First). An Upper Second-Class is 60% – 69% overall and a Lower Second-Class is 50% – 59%.
First-Class Degrees are achievable with very hard work and passion for your subject. Those who achieve this much desired classification are in the strongest position for employment, graduate programmes and acceptance to postgraduate study. A 2.2 is often the minimum grade required for most opportunities in employment and further education and so achieving below 50% is considered to be poor.
You may notice Honours or “Hons” are included in your degree. This refers to a variant of a standardised degree which contains a larger amount of material or a higher standard of study (which can often be accredited by an institution) rather than an “ordinary”, “general”, or “pass” bachelor’s degree. Of course the value of these degrees are entirely subjective to the role, the university, and the area of study. Receiving a Third in a Mathematics degree at an accredited and prestigious University such as Oxford may give you better opportunities than receiving a 2:1 from an online university however practical work experience in roles such as Marketing and Accounting are considered to be highly valuable and also some Universities (although less prestigious and smaller) are considered to be specialised in certain disciplines which makes choosing a university no small task.
In general you have to way up a number of factors, the opportunities the university and the surrounding areas offer, the usefulness of your own abilities to utilize these opportunities, and plans for the future after university. A good place to look for general information on what career paths you can take when you finish a degree is https://www.prospects.ac.uk/. They offer a handy quiz that can give you basic insights on how your characteristics and personality line up well with certain work responsibilities.
I myself at the beginning of college wanted to go into Computer Science, but after two years of studying the subject in the final month of deciding what university I wanted to go to I changed last minute from Computer Science at Kingston to Marketing & Media at Derby. I knew that Computer Science would pay more, and there are more job opportunities, however over that summer I thought really hard on what I really wanted to do with my life, and two years of a Computer Science A-level showed me I did not want to commit to that. It may be a cliche, but it is important to listen to your head, however your gut can be even more useful.