Offers are in, so how to decide?

(78 Posts)
homebythesea Sat 13-Feb-16 11:19:21

As my DS embarks on a round of offer holder days, I think the decision making us getting more difficult not easier! So I wondered how your DC's are going about the job of choosing!

It seems to me there are various factors playing on DS's mind (in no particular order)

Achievability of offer (obvs) but more subtly, will striving to meet the offer create so much stress the results will suffer?

Course content/reputation

University reputation/prestige

Accommodation choice/standard

How far away from home

Are friends going there too

Anything else we should be confusing ourselves with taking into account?

hellsbells99 Sat 13-Feb-16 11:23:51

We are in the same situation.
Also looking at:
employment statistics
Placement year (if relevant)
Cost of housing
Type of city etc.
For insurance choice - is accommodation guaranteed in 1st year?

circular Sat 13-Feb-16 13:40:13

Did this last year. Hopefully you will find (at least first choice) becomes clearer after offer day. Talk to current students as well as lecturers.

As well as distance, look at train/coach costs and times and ease of journey, if that's how (if) they plan weekends home.

Local travel costs for getting in and out of town.

How likely too keep place if they drop a grade if that is a possibility.

Is it a campus that empties out at w/e's - and if so, is that an issue?

hellsbells99 Sat 13-Feb-16 14:14:37

We also did this last year Circular and are back here again with number 2. She doesn't 'do' decisions smile

ssd Sat 13-Feb-16 14:19:22

once they get all their offers in, do they do a visit again to make sure the course they have chosen is the right one?

circular Sat 13-Feb-16 15:04:02

ssd most have 'applicant' or 'offer holder' days. Some that interview may use that as an applicant day, so nothing further once they get the offer.

circular Sat 13-Feb-16 15:07:23

hellsbells - Don't envy you there. Glad of our age gap at times like this. Theoretically, DD1 could do 'the rounds' with DD2 (yr8).

homebythesea Sat 13-Feb-16 15:57:11

Yes employment stats v important- they were very much stressed at the original open days! He's on his way back from an offer day as I type- not sure he will have spoken to many students or asked the right questions!! Let's see....

bojorojo Sat 13-Feb-16 18:11:52

I think employment stats are a bit misleading because it really depends on the ability of the student to be employable and often this is nothing to do with the course or university. It has far more to do with desire and making a conscious effort to be employable. Employment is not just about what course is studied and where. Although employers will want to differentiate between candidates regarding employability, a degree with X content (unless vocational) will not be important. Is anyone ever asked about the minutiae of their degree when going through a selection procedure? The degree, university and other factors such as the desire of students to get a job and make themselves employable will ensure success. I think some universities/courses attract more of these students than others.

I do think some employers like certain universities and definitely certain subjects. Therefore shortlist the ones where people get jobs in the field you may want. Employment means different things to different people. Nursing degrees get about 100% employment rates for example. Oxbridge degrees rarely get that percentage!

How far away from home and how many friends are going (?) are perhaps less important. Planning on coming home all the time is not a good thing! Cost of living might need to be discounted for the right university too. However, some students flourish in larger cities and would hate being stuck on a campus miles from civilisation, especially if everyone goes home! Students must put this decision fairly high up because a lovely course will not compensate for hating a campus or a city when you crave open countryside. I would add sport facilities into the mix. I also think most universities have decent accommodation and only the most picky student chooses a university based on accommodation quality. Popular and often the best universities do not often guarantee accommodation to insurance offers.

Lastly, it is a university full of people like you? Will your DC feel at home and find like minded people? If they gel with others on post offer days (although the ones we went to were not well attended) then they will probably fit in. Although, of course, loads of them won't actually turn up in Septemer as they have chosen somewhere else to firm!

2rebecca Sat 13-Feb-16 18:23:55

Did this 2 years ago. The reputation of the course at that particular uni. the way the course is structured/ how practical it is etc, how much he fancied living in that city, how good the sports clubs for his sporting/ hobby interests are.
He'd largely decided an order before the offers came in though. He also knew people at the uni he wanted doing the course he'd applied for as well which made assessing the course easier. Distance from home was fairly irrelevant to him. Employment stats are important but so few students bother to fill in the surveys a few per cent here and there makes no difference.

MyFriendsCallMeOh Sat 13-Feb-16 18:32:10

Employment stats can be important and should be looked at. I work for a university that has consistently high graduate employment levels, top of the leagues in the last 2 years. Our main reason for this is the fact that nearly all our students do a work placement as part of their course (not only vocational and practical courses like nursing and pharmacy but also engineering, accounting, law, journalism etc). A relatively high proportion of our students are invited back by their placement employer after graduation because they have proved themselves in the workplace and spent a year learning how to act and work in a business environment. It's a win-win situation. Myself, I went to a different uni in the 90s, did 3 paid work placements overseas and was offered a job by one of the employers on graduation. I had no stress about graduate job applications during my finals (unlike many of my classmates) and it was the start of a great career. Do look at employment potential and placement options!

bojorojo Sat 13-Feb-16 18:51:25

So employment is down to placements at companies who are recruiting. Of course lots of universities do not offer placements and that includes a lot of the top ones. Placements probably don't happen much for History, English, Philosophy etc. Therefore how these students gain employment is really important if you choose one of these subjects at a traditional university. Not everyone can do a subject with a placement in industry.

MyFriendsCallMeOh Sat 13-Feb-16 18:56:04

Employment is partially down to placements. Yes, there are courses without placements or without obvious vocational career paths, just as some students will go to college to improve their career prospects and some will go to pursue their passion. I'm just saying that if you have the choice of a course with a placement and a similar course without a placement, a placement can improve career prospects on graduation.

EricNorthmanSucks Sat 13-Feb-16 19:06:13

I'd be less worried about employment stats ( as produced by the universities) than I would the reputation of the university generally.

Is it well regarded ( even if undeservedly) ? Are students moving on easily to post grad? Are they getting the sorts of jobs you want?

After that, I would look at course ( but don't get too het up about micro modules). Seventeen year olds get terribly focused on relatively small differences in curricula.

Them it's where you want to live. Do you like the place? Is it offering you what you fancy? Is the accommodation okay ( students spend a lot of time at 'home' more so than sixth formers )? Is there other stuff on offer that suits you?

And sadly, a consideration that should not exist, but does; can you afford it? How much is accommodation? How much will travel costs home be? What is likelihood of getting some work if you need to top up your loan/ parental contribution?

senua Sat 13-Feb-16 19:12:27

Anything else we should be confusing ourselves with taking into account?

If he is spectacularly good/bad at exams/coursework, has he considered the Universities' methods of assessment - mostly exam?, mostly coursework?, is there the flexibility to design-his-own-degree to suit his preferred assessment style?

homebythesea Sat 13-Feb-16 23:54:59

senua I desperately hope he's not spectacularly bad at exams at this stage of the game!

On employment it was interesting to see amongst the bumph he returned with today that one of the compulsory modules in both first and second years is "employability skills" (RG geography). Shows a focus at least.

He came back raving about somewhere that initially was a bit of an afterthought......

eatyourveg Sun 14-Feb-16 10:31:54

ds also had written exams versus other assessment methods on his list to consider as well as placement opportunities. Offer day yesterday and he firmed before leaving the campus.

TalkinPeace Sun 14-Feb-16 16:17:22

DD is still waiting on her 5th offer - she's had the other 4 in the bag since well before Christmas.

Exeter were her first choice but she is so unimpressed by the fact that they are too rude to make their mind up that they have slipped down the list.

We will wait for their offer to come in and then probably reject it, with an email to tell them to be more polite in future.

senua Sun 14-Feb-16 16:52:51

I don't blame your DD for being unimpressed TP. We had a similar feeling: if they can't treat you nicely at the stage where they should be wooing you, then what will they be like further down the line?

EricNorthmanSucks Sun 14-Feb-16 16:59:40

Aw that's a shame; I have a soft spot for Exeter.

Have they given any indication why they're taking so long? If they're not running any pre tests and there are no interviews it seems a bit protracted.

mummymeister Sun 14-Feb-16 17:11:06

some unis - Exeter and Bath in particular have been overwhelmed by applicants this year I think. the traditional top 10 ones like Birmingham, durham etc seem a bit cocky and up themselves to some students so they are turning to ones lower down the lists.

certainly this is the vibe that I have got from the various student room type forums.

I would suggest you give Exeter a ring talkinpeace as its likely that they just need a nudge to get the offer out to you.

My DC is basing the choice on the league tables, what people are saying on student forums but mostly on a gut feeling.

I think you can just read too much into the independent ranking stuff. all 4 with viable offers are in the top 20 so dc is going for the top choice which is ranked in the top 5 for the course and reserve is in the top 20.

I honestly think it is as much about gut feeling as anything else. things like sports facilities and distance to home haven't really come in to it for us.

TalkinPeace Sun 14-Feb-16 17:42:45

We have contacted Exeter - phone and email
They have no reason - other than "that course is not sending out offers yet" - which we know is hogwash as others at her college for variants of that course have their offers.
I'm very, very unimpressed.
DD loved it when she visited but their actions have spoken very loudly.
If only they had the manners to make their minds up in a timely manner.

NiceCardigan Sun 14-Feb-16 17:42:50

I think there does come a point when you have done all the comparisons and have to just rely on gut feeling. All three DCs have been very happy with their choices (UEA, Bath and Durham). They chose them because they felt it would be somewhere they would like to live and they would enjoy the course.

I agree with the poster who said employability is partly down to the student themselves. Both DD1 and DD2 have graduated and getting a job is more about having a clear idea of what you want to do and having the matching skills and not necessarily about the course or university. DS wants to be a writer so not sure university will help with that at all!

mummymeister Sun 14-Feb-16 17:57:59

Talkinpeace not trying to be an apologist for them but they do have some time to go yet before they have to make a decision. I think its just that some unis are very very quick off the mark. dc had 3 in the week after she sent in her form and in October and her last one didn't arrive until last week.

bojorojo Sun 14-Feb-16 18:16:30

It is only mid Feb!!! Honestly lots of offers are not sent out until March. Get a grip! My DD never heard from one university by 30 April. Decided they were not worth the effort and were advertising that her course was still taking applicants. She bailed out. Now that's what I call rude after she travelled a long way for the interview - in mid February. Feb is not rude, it is just a university taking care. Birmingham is not as sought after as Exeter!

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