How near is too near?(35 Posts)
I've always been of the opinion that you should "go away" for uni - so far that it's not convenient to pop home for a weekend mid-term.
However we have just moved (massive move) and ds1 (yr12) is showing a real partiality to Cambridge, for a variety of mostly very valid reasons, and he does have the aptitude and GCSE grades to potentially get in.
But it's only 20 miles away from our new house - takes 40-60 mins by car (that's Cambridge traffic for you), or 20 mins by train.
Is this too close?
I had a DF who's parents lived just across the road (ok perhaps a mile as the crow flies) from my university (our hall was a bit further away).
He had an army scholarship, quite deliberately, to have enough money not to live at home.
Long ago, in the days of grants, you didn't get much if your home address was near enough to live there.
Fine to have an ideal or an opinion but ridiculous to stick to it if it isn't for the best.
IMO, as a general rule, far enough away that you can't pop home every weekend (it really does stop people settling in), but close enough that you can go home for the odd weekend. That generally puts you 1-5 hours away from home by your chosen transport method and depending on how inclined they are to visit home.
That said, I do know a few people who went to uni in their hometown (not Cambridge), lived in halls, moved into shared houses, rarely went home, and generally lived a life that was indistinguishable from those from other parts of the country.
Ds is at university 20 miles from home. I can do the round trip in under an hour. It was simply the best university for the course he wanted to do. This was his first term and he came home twice for 24hours each time. At the beginning of term we visited twice to delivery a) his bike b) a printer. Being close to home has been a complete non-issue. If it is the best course at the best university for your son then go for it.
Another one with DS in Cambridge and only living just over 20 miles away. He says that some students commute daily from London! Getting him to come home would be nice - he has things he wants to go to and we can't collect him until Saturday. Fear not, there is far too much going on for them to want to come home. And the traffic is too dire for me to want to travel in. In fact the best collection time is probably midnight.
DD1 went to Uni in the city we lived in. She still went into halls as that what she wanted to do, Her halls were only 20 minutes walk away from us but she didn't pop home every five minutes. She did say she didn't get homesick like a lot of her friends as she knew we were near and could pop home if she needed to.
Two of my son's choices are less than 15mins by Boris Bike. Choices were made very much on strength of departments. He would be delighted to get a place at either, and we have not discussed the implications in terms of living arrangements.
My assumption is that he would have first year in hall, and perhaps return home for the second year, using the money saved to help finance a Masters degree somewhere more exotic. This is partly because he is quite independent already and we don't see much of him. He studies in his bedroom and goes out with friends and is happy to cook his own food (well, pasta..) if he misses a family meal. But equally if he met a group of friends he wanted to share with, he might do this. University libraries are open late and there will be a lot going on so living centrally, albeit at home, should not affect his social life. The bigger danger as someone has suggested is that he continues to base his social life around current school friends and does not take full advantage of what university has to offer.
There is a University Hall of Residence opposite our house, who offer a really competitive course that DD would be delighted to get a place on. It's a couple of years away but think we would in those circumstances put out feet down, and insist she lived at home. We would be getting the washing anyway.
I think it's ridiculous to reject a very good university on the grounds of it "being too close".
The "student experience" is changing a lot with the rising expense of higher education, and many students are chosing to commute to university in order to save money on accomadation (especially in London) and avoid getting into extra debt.
Ultimately, it's your children who have to live with their decision for three or more years of their life, not you, and I don't think anyone should veto university choices without a very good reason.
Cambridge is incredibly insular. Especially if you go to a "central" college (Kings, Queens, Catz etc) as you don't go anywhere further than 100m from your room.
I think Natsci alo has Saturday lectures so going home would not be natural anyway.
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