Don’t write off academic slow-starters
Despite getting a C, a D and a fail in my three comprehensive school A-levels in 1980, I gained a good degree and a PhD in mathematics.
Despite getting a C, a D and a fail in my three comprehensive school A-levels in 1980, I gained a good degree and a PhD in mathematics (Concern over university places given for C and D grades at A-level, 13 December). Since then, I have had a satisfying career in industry and academia, living the high life in various places in Europe and China along the way. In 2014 I was the overall winner of a Space Oscar, the Copernicus Masters prize, which has led to the creation of a successful technical startup company in my home town of Nottingham, which keeps me off the streets, I guess.
My reason for poor A-level results? I was a normal working-class 18-year-old with more hormonal imbalances, distractions and self-doubt than you could shake a stick at. I cannot thank Leicester University enough for offering me a place back then, as it did everything it said on the tin and really changed my life. To any university that is “mindful” of accepting candidates with lower grades, I offer nothing but raspberries.
Dr Andy Sowter
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