liverpool, sheffield or manchester uni?

(41 Posts)
BerylThePeril44 Sun 06-Oct-13 19:44:41

Hi. Does anyone have any experience or advice on these universities? Been to open days and prefer Sheffield from a mothers point of view. Son liked Manchester...it did have a great buzz x

UptheChimney Sun 06-Oct-13 19:56:18

Well, it's your son who's looking at going to university, not you!

It's impossible to make that choice for someone else. There's heaps of advice on various threads here about things to help your DC (not you) make a decision.

Which degree? What subject? What's his preference for the style of student life he'd like? Campus university? Obviously he wants a big city. Be a sounding board for him, but really I'm not sure that "a mother's point of view" is the main thing here. What you could do is identify what you mean by that -- is it personal safety, costs, or whatever? and then discuss those points with him.

But IME of teaching the UGs if the university/degree course is chosen by parents rather than the student, it rarely ends well ...

SatinSandals Sun 06-Oct-13 20:02:12

I don't think that you are looking from a mother's point if view! Leave it to him. If he has been to the open days he must have the information he needs to make up his mind.

SatinSandals Sun 06-Oct-13 20:04:37

I think they need to leave parents at home if they are going to get over involved. We went, because it seems expected those days, but he asked the questions and made the decision.

UptheChimney Sun 06-Oct-13 20:08:16

SatinSandals it's really not expected by the universities. You're welcome of course, but most universities lay on stuff (that costs us scarce resources) because parents have increasingly demanded it over the last decade (it predates fees). Somehow, some parents see the ability to cater for parents as a reflection of how suitable the university will be for their DC.

I think I'd rather we spent the money catering (literally) to parents on stuff related to actually educating students, but there you go ...

SatinSandals Sun 06-Oct-13 20:25:09

It is expected now! When my eldest went it wasn't. 10 years on and everyone, more or less, had parents with them. We were sent coffee vouchers and there were special tours for parents and talks for parents. I don't think they should, but he would have felt a bit out of place on his own! I think it is here to stay and will probably get worse, as shown by OP.

SatinSandals Sun 06-Oct-13 20:28:03

My eldest visited Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. He went by train on his own from the south of England, they did then. I couldn't have gone anyway with 2 much younger children. Now you get whole families attending!

UptheChimney Sun 06-Oct-13 20:37:20

As I said, it's the parents themselves who've created that expectation. In my couple of decades working in universities, I noticed demands from parents that we cater specifically for them coming about 10 years ago. We now have to set up separate programmes for parents, and also on occasions it's quite awkward as we have to give candidates preference on seats in lectures & information sessions, bus tours, and the like. Some parents can be quite difficult when you ask them to step back to allow all the 6th formers in first.

Take it from a university person: it really isn't expected by us.

creamteas Sun 06-Oct-13 20:39:46

Now you get whole families attending!

Yes, but we really really don't actually want them too.

The tours and talks for parents are put on because parents started demanding them, not because universities thought it was a good idea.

Hulababy Sun 06-Oct-13 20:41:08

Parents went to Open Days at universities even when I was there - so that's now a good 20 odd years ago! It was usually in order to get there and back without it taking so long, and at a reduced cost to having to go via train or bus. It was that or the odd one arranged by the school itself, which tbh was very limited as to which ones.

I didn't really do any Open Days but lots of friends did, and even back in 1990/1 parents took their children to university open days. It is not a new thing!

BrianTheMole Sun 06-Oct-13 20:42:19

Sheffield <biased>. but its up to your son, he's got to live there. Manchester is supposed to be a great place for students, too busy for me, but everyones different.

SatinSandals Sun 06-Oct-13 20:55:34

I understand perfectly what you are saying, but you have no hope of turning the tide! I found it all very interesting and they did at least explain the finances very simply.

BerylThePeril44 Sun 06-Oct-13 20:58:25

Sorry...seemed to give impression I was forcing my opinion on him. I'm not! In fact, if it was up to me, he'd be going to our local, well respected uni and saving the 15 grand it would cost in hall feesfees. However he will make his own choice and we will support that...my 'mothers point of view' was about safety. Xxx

UptheChimney Sun 06-Oct-13 20:58:54

Oh I know, Satin and of course, it's a good way for parents to get to grips with the finances etc, but < sigh > I'd rather be spending the money on resources & services for the undergraduates.

And creamteas I sometimes wonder if I am your evil twin somewhere! grin

VivaLeThrustBadger Sun 06-Oct-13 21:01:58

I go to Sheffield and like it my brother goes to Manchester and likes it <helpful>. grin

SatinSandals Sun 06-Oct-13 21:03:37

I think it was much better when they went on their own, but since there is no chance of going back it was an interesting day out!
I wouldn't think there was much to choose between them for safety.

MissFenella Sun 06-Oct-13 21:13:26

what is he studying and is it Sheff Uni or Sheff Hallam?

VBisme Sun 06-Oct-13 21:18:43

I think we need to know which subjects, and I'm assuming your talking about the traditional universities in those cities rather than the new ones?

BerylThePeril44 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:29:33

Thanks for your interest. Its such a huge decision, and obviously we want to help him make the best one for him. Just want him to be happy and safe. Its sheff uni and other traditional unis. He wants to study history and politics. Any advice...on this matter...welcome xxx

VivaLeThrustBadger Sun 06-Oct-13 21:36:21

My brothers studying history at Manchester and has really enjoyed the course. He's managed not to get shot/killed/beaten up in three years. I think the student areas and bars are as safe as student areas/bars in any other city. They don't go to the "rough" areas.

UptheChimney Sun 06-Oct-13 21:39:49

He needs to think about how he likes to learn, and what areas he may want to focus on. And then he needs to match that against the information about the syllabus and teaching styles that he's given in talks at each university.

He REALLY needs to take note of that information, and look at Departmental websites.

What I find very frustrating is that we will give information about their curriculum, examination and assessment, availability of specialisations etc (I can bore for Britain on our syllabus, credit points etc) and then within a few weeks of the start of term, there'll always be one or two who complain & whinge and say "It wasn't what I was expecting."

VBisme Sun 06-Oct-13 21:43:35

For History I'd put Manchester above Sheffield, but I could be out of date on this.

Either city is brilliant for students, Sheffield is probably friendlier (I've lived in both cities).

I'm sure he'll be fine whichever he choses.

Viviennemary Sun 06-Oct-13 21:50:59

I agree it is up to the individual student and their preferences. If I was young again (wishes!) I think I'd choose Newcastle. Students seem to love it there.

Sheffield ranks above Manchester for Politics I think.

I know what you mean about the cities, OP - Sheffield is smaller & feels friendlier & safer. (The weather's much better there too grin)

BerylThePeril44 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:52:58

Thank you vbisme. That's what I thought...and he thinks that too. Sheffield is better for politics apparently. But Manchester definitely felt more vibrant...

BerylThePeril44 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:56:37

I'd love him to choose Newcastle too, viviennemary. Its our city... Respect his decision to spread his wings though,gulp xxx

Accommodation is nicer at Sheffield I think - DD2 had a new en suite room at Manchester a few years ago & DS2 started at Sheffield 2 years ago - his room was much bigger than hers & better equipped.

He really enjoys living in Sheffield.

Beryl, DS1 went to Newcastle, graduated last year but is still living there, he loves it smile

BerylThePeril44 Sun 06-Oct-13 22:12:34

Thank you nicestsmile. You've got experience of all three!!! Obviously, I'm biased about Newcastle, most of his friends are hoping to go there..sadly sign of times re: high costs. We've worked really hard all his life to save money for him..so he has options. I felt I never had as a young person. So he can go away and live 'full' student life. If I was 'overpowering' this wouldn't be the case.

Ilanthe Sun 06-Oct-13 22:13:07

I've been to both Manchester (ug) and Sheffield (pg). I went to the open days on my own, on the train wink though it was 17 years ago.

They are both fantastic cities, tbh. I prefer Manchester because it's bigger and grimier and settled here after uni.

From what I could tell, Sheffield has nicer halls and the 'sporty' clubs seem much more popular, Manchester had more variety of clubs for the musically and dramatically inclined.

Earthworms Sun 06-Oct-13 22:21:41

Manchester was bloody awesome,

Good uni, good city, great vibe.

I loved it

MissFenella Mon 07-Oct-13 23:57:34

sheff Uni is great for study for academia's sake. Given the subject - it would be my top choice.

To explain, if he was looking at engineering then Shef Hallam has the better 'into employment' reputation.

BeckAndCall Tue 08-Oct-13 07:28:11

I disagree with posters who are telling you to basically back off and let him make his own decision. Who knows your child better than anyone else? You do. So you would know if the big city culture of Manchester is what would suit him or the more campus-in-city feel of Sheffield. Of course it's his final decision but he's asking you for guidance so naturally you'd want to give it.

And I would not choose a uni based on league tables alone - they are someone else's idea of what's important - and all the tables are different. ( so choose wants important for you and look for that - for me it's the RAE and TQA - don't really care about entry grades etc)

As to comparisons between these three, I'd say they are all good and I wouldn't be unhappy if my kids went to any of them - the rest is down to choice

wordfactory Tue 08-Oct-13 10:04:25

I have to say that as an academic/teacher I can see that parents' involvement seems a pain...but...

I'll be honest, as a parent, I will go to open days with mine and have been with my niece.

Thnigs have changed in higher education. Pressure on funding means IMVHO that some universities are simply not delivering good or indeed any value for money. Some of the courses are cobbled together. Some of the facvilities are poor.

Young people (17yrs) will be hard pushed to see all this. They're far more interested in picking up on the vibe etc.

UptheChimney Tue 08-Oct-13 10:49:25

Young people (17yrs) will be hard pushed to see all this. They're far more interested in picking up on the vibe

Yes, that seems sometimes to be the case (viz. the thread sequence in here about the DD who wanted the "party university" and is now apparently breaking her mother's heart). But I'm not sure that all parents know how to determine value for money either. They seem focussed on contact hours, which is really not the point. They don't ask me the kinds of questions that indicate to me that they know what they're talking about from a parent's POV. I end up telling them what they should be looking for & asking about, such as the kinds of specialisations of different departments in my field nationally, assessment techniques, learning styles.

wordfactory Tue 08-Oct-13 11:06:53

I agree.

I htink many parents have no more idea what to look for than their offspring.

That said, I guess an adult can also spot practical issues that a young person may not.

LaVolcan Tue 08-Oct-13 21:50:03

My son went to Sheffield for his undergraduate degree and Manchester for his masters. He enjoyed both - so I am no help there.

SwedishEdith Wed 09-Oct-13 20:05:54

You've put Liverpool in your title but not mentioned what you thought about that?

BlackMogul Wed 09-Oct-13 23:39:37

I think Sheffield always scores well on student satisfaction. Personally I would put Bristol, Durham or Exeter above them. I never considered safety for my DCs! I assumed they had the skills to stay safe and this is no reason to choose any university in the UK. Have u ever heard a student say they did not feel safe at university?. Sounds like moving away from home is a good idea and the loan will be well worth it. Needs to make his own life and function without Mum around!

LaVolcan Thu 10-Oct-13 09:12:31

Which university you put first depends on your subject. My son studied engineering, and both Sheffield and Manchester had good departments for that.

Scarifying Thu 10-Oct-13 18:53:35

If would get him to really closely look at the actual course details - how it's assessed,contents, teaching style etc etc.

I LOVE SHEFFIELD grin

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