Which uni?

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iainpeden
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Which uni?

Post by iainpeden »

This is a question for the younger (than me) members of our forum or for the parents of youngsters currently at uni.

My daughter is starting to consider which (if any) uni she will be applying for, for a September 2014 start. Her preferred subject is geography - possibly with some economics and/ or history as options. Her current favourite is Dundee - "only" 400 miles or so away from home. As a guide to the type of place we're looking at, I'm taking her to Oxford Brookes at the weekend and Keele in a couple of weeks.

I'd be grateful for advice on people's advice or thoughts on the whole uni experience at different colleges - pastoral support (she is my baby after all), quality of tuition - what the beer is like for when I visit her etc.
Thanks
Iain
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MarkL
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Re: Which uni?

Post by MarkL »

Hi Iain.

My daughter has just completed her last year (now awaiting results) at The University of Birmingham (that's the Selly Oak one of the three in Brum). She studied history and has had a wonderful time there. For me it's a mere ninety miles away but enough to give the separation that helps create independence and a fantastic place to visit when you do go. Highly recommended.

Mark.
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Mictheslik
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Re: Which uni?

Post by Mictheslik »

In all honesty, the courses will be pretty much the same wherever you go....so she should really think about location and other things she wants to get involved in.

1.
Does she want to live in a city or on a specially built campus? City is better for nightlife, culture, mixing with locals etc. Campus is better if you like lie ins :P But you're also closer to the library and department. I personally couldn't cope with a campus style university as I enjoy wandering around the city and enjoying the benefits of public spaces and attractions.

2.
Does she want to be as far away from home as possible, or within easy reach (it sounds like the former!) I'm now a 3 hour train journey from home so don't go back often, but that's fine by me. For some people it's quite difficult.

3.
Once 1 and 2 are decided you can put together a shortlist of universities that meet the basic location needs. These can then be further narrowed down by looking at facilities (both within and outside the university), specific course points, entry requirements etc.

4.
Once there's a shortlist of 5-10 go to some open days (though don't go if you've already visited the town....I found open days most useful to see what various cities were like)

5.
Narrow it down to 5 and apply on UCAS :)

http://unistats.direct.gov.uk/ may be helpful...you can create shortlists which then allow you to compare student satisfaction etc.

Hope that helps....it's vaguely what my thought process was when I chose 3 years ago. Couldn't have found a better place for me in the end.

.mic (just finished BEng at University of Liiverpool, about to start an MEng)

PS....Scotland's a good bet for the wallet (I assume it's still cheaper than England) and Dundee is near Leuchars!
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uk-ian
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Re: Which uni?

Post by uk-ian »

Mictheslik wrote:In all honesty, the courses will be pretty much the same wherever you go....


With the greatest of respect, that is utter tosh. :facepalm:
There is a world of difference between an excellent course at a great University and the rest.

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andrew653
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Re: Which uni?

Post by andrew653 »

Iv'e just finished a degree in Geography and can most definitely recommend it, especially if she is the type of person who likes to spend a lot of time outdoors, I must have spent around 30-40% of my time on fieldwork and great if you like to travel too, iv'e had the opportunity to travel to most parts of Britain as well as Spain, Greece and Mexico.

Iv'e spent a lot of time on fieldwork with students from other University's and have been taught by various lecturers from different places, so I know with geography at least that there are very few differences between University's in terms of what is taught, and as Mic said above the course is pretty much the same no matter what university you go too, I studied at LJMU in Liverpool but was taught by lecturers from the University of Liverpool, Edinburgh, Cranfield and St.Andrews, because Geography is quite a broad subject most university's will try and teach a similar curriculum so that they can share tutors that have particular expertise in certain modules.

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tommo999
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Re: Which uni?

Post by tommo999 »

Like Andrew653, I have also just finished a Geography degree albeit at Queen Mary Uni in London; I'll reiterate that must courses offer similar content just with minor modifications year-to-year.

I must say I find living in London very convenient with good transport links both within the city and inter-city. It's more expensive than Dundee I'm sure but the student loan was rasied accordingly. But as eluded to earlier it is definitely a good idea to visit as many open days as possible just to get a feel for the place - I was impressed with whole feel of Keele's campus but what put me off was the fact that it was so far from home and I didn't like Newcastle-Under-Lyme or Stoke as places.

Another thing to consider is grade boundaries. I'm not sure how it works now with UCAS but some unis being harder to get into than others in that they set higher grade boundaries for entry, for example Portsmouth Uni required BBB at A-level while Queen Mary required ABB. Leicester, which my sister has applied to for history, requires AAB. That is however assuming your daughter doesn't get in through clearing, which is how my girlfriend got into her uni.

Best of luck to your daughter, wherever she chooses (if any) she will have a cracking time! :smile:

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Mictheslik
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Re: Which uni?

Post by Mictheslik »

uk-ian wrote:
Mictheslik wrote:In all honesty, the courses will be pretty much the same wherever you go....

There is a world of difference between an excellent course at a great University and the rest.


Maybe so, but the actual content will be very very similar, as the above two posters have confirmed in this specific subject. This is also the case in many engineering degrees. Of course the quality of teaching will vary, so maybe I should have elaborated that it also depends on the band of universities you're targeting. For example, a geography degree at any Russell group university will be very similar to a geography degree at another. Not really tosh then, as most people will be considering universities that are considered to be of a similar standard.

.mic
Last edited by Mictheslik on Wed 05 Jun 2013, 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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tommo999
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Re: Which uni?

Post by tommo999 »

There is a world of difference between an excellent course at a great University and the rest.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11810930

This is probably best avoided then :grin:

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MarkL
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Re: Which uni?

Post by MarkL »

tommo999 wrote:I was impressed with whole feel of Keele's campus


My son has just finished his first year at Keele and he absolutely loves it ! I understand your views on the surrounding area BUT the impression I get is Uni satisfaction is better judged by the friends you make (as well as the standard of the education, of course :smile: ). He set off yesterday with 13 friends from Keele on a jaunt around Europe, not a bit jealous :smile:
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Macc
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Re: Which uni?

Post by Macc »

What I've found so far after completing my first year is that uni is what you make of it. I was set on Edinburgh and luckily my destined course was there anyway! However, if you set out with a 'I want to go there, meet people, have a great time, gain a good degree and enjoy the experiences' then it's hard to go wrong.

If she puts a lot of effort into it, which I'm sure she will, then she will have made one of the best choices of her life.

University has made such an impact to me that after a year I pretty much consider Edinburgh home now.

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Monty
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Re: Which uni?

Post by Monty »

As others have said you really need to find a university in a location that she is comfortable living in on a day to day basis (yes you need a good social scene, but she needs to be happy with the other aspects of life in that location as you don't spend the whole time partying!). As I am studying Marine Biology I was rather limited in the universities that offered such a course, but out of the dozen or so that offered it the course content covered pretty much the same areas, with some offering more opportunities than others (again as others have said it is the quality of teaching not the content that differs dramatically). For me it really came down to visiting each university, the one that gave me the best first impression was the one I chose. As a side note, if there are a couple of universities she can't decide between, make sure you check to see where each university stands in general as well as in terms of the specific subject.

Best of luck

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iainpeden
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Re: Which uni?

Post by iainpeden »

Many thanks for all the replies and advice.
Iain
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Brevet Cable
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Re: Which uni?

Post by Brevet Cable »

Monty wrote: as you don't spend the whole time partying!
Nope......in Cardiff they only do so from Wednesday night to Saturday night !! :lol:
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DonBonzo
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Re: Which uni?

Post by DonBonzo »

As the chosen subject is Geography, it might be worth asking each prospective college/uni about non-core subject related activities (i'm thinking here about holiday timed field trips, work experience etc). Prospective employers (and I'm assuming she's planning on working post-graduation, and not looking for an academic career) look just as closely at extra curricular activity as a marker of suitability for employment as pure academic success.

This guide might help, but as you'll see fairly quickly it's pretty elitist.
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Ian G
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Re: Which uni?

Post by Ian G »

I would recommend going to a University that isn't too near home i.e. staying in uni accommodation. Students need to learn some independence and have a bit of freedom away from the rules/guidance of parents! I studied in Bangor which was perfect for my course of Environmental Science as we had many excellent locations for field trips in all the areas that we needed to cover (geology, botany, coastal processes, etc), something that you wouldn't get in London, for example.
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pbeardmore
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Re: Which uni?

Post by pbeardmore »

So much depends on what you want. I was very young even for an 18 year old and I hated my first year as I was very home sick but I grew used to it. Forcing me to grow up and cut the apron strings was of equal value to all the academic stuff I learnt. Many students live at home (many for financial reasons) but they must miss out on the "growing up" side of things.
I would also if you can try to meet the actual lecturers and look at the work they are doing. Yes the material is the same but a good lecturer will make all the differernce and there are many out there just coasting,
it is a big decision and deserves lots of research,
best of luck
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Weather Watcher
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Re: Which uni?

Post by Weather Watcher »

We will all have personal experiences or opinions but perhaps looking at some other sources of information would be more useful

http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/

http://unistats.direct.gov.uk/

There are other sites - and it is up to your daughter to decide which features of a particular university or course are most important to her.
I would be looking at success that graduates from a particular course have in finding quality employment, but that's just me.
Take time and research lots. At open days ask lots of questions and see how the staff relate to their existing students - can be very informative.

Good luck.

David

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