How near is too near?

(35 Posts)
inncogneetow Mon 16-Dec-13 16:52:12

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?

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Mon 16-Dec-13 16:53:31

Well, that depends. Your opinion is that he should move away. What is his opinion?

ChoudeBruxelles Mon 16-Dec-13 16:55:43

No. Go where the best place is to do what you want to study.

Think of the money you'd save if he lived at home

Theas18 Mon 16-Dec-13 16:58:17

As far as I'm concerned that's fine! It's not like he'll bump into all your friends all the time and Cambridge being Cambridge, it isn't going to be full of his peers from school- even the best schools get a small handful and they are in different colleges etc.

Sadly our local uni could have been perfect for DS but it's closer to home than his school...... and he would be highly likely to be on a course with several kids from his school, and even more girls from the school next door (it's a very mixed school and the asian girls almost all apply locally and live at home)

tinsletits Mon 16-Dec-13 17:02:35

Personally I have only applied to unis that are within a commuting distance to me. There again I have 5 kids. I think that they may miss me if I don't pop home iyswim. My point is that distance from home has rock all to do with uni applications. If any of my dc's ever apply to cambridge I will be over the moon. Even if I lived on the bloody campus!

BackforGood Mon 16-Dec-13 17:13:37

Of course it's not too close hmm
Surely he should be picking his University based on the one(s) he likes the 'feel' of when he looks round, and - importantly - what courses they offer.
I live in a big City with an excellent University and know several people whose dc have gone to University 'at home' as it were. Those who can afford it have gone into halls anyway, so it doesn't matter a jot if they are 5 miles away, 50 miles away or 250 miles away, they are not likely to be bumping in to their families at all.

bramblethecow Mon 16-Dec-13 17:22:23

DD considered every Uni in the country ad nauseam, and ended up at the one five miles up the road from us, because it offered a course that was perfect for her. She still lived in Halls in first year, and now lives in a student house in town, and it works fine. Yes, she's able to pop home more often than many students, but where's the harm in that?! She loves it and so do I, it's the best of both worlds imo.

LondonMother Mon 16-Dec-13 17:22:25

I don't think it would be a problem at all. The terms at Cambridge and Oxford are very short (8/9 weeks) but intense, so he'd be unlikely to be popping home all the time. I don't know what percentage of students live at home rather than in college accommodation, but I'd be surprised to learn that many go for this option. Leaving aside all the social stuff, my impression is that students make a lot of use of their college library as well as the university and faculty libraries, and the college libraries often have very long opening hours. Food and accommodation are both heavily subsidised so it is not as expensive to live in hall at Oxford/Cambridge as it is in most other places. They have excellent bursary funding too, for those who qualify on grounds of low income.

I'd go for it. Doing the right course for you is really important. There are some courses at Cambridge that are not offered at many other universities and some departments that are extremely well regarded nationally, so you can't just choose somewhere else because it is too close to home.

Cambridge residence requirements mean (I think) that he wouldn't be allowed to live at home anyway (I think you have to live within 10 miles of Cambridge).

When I was at Cambridge, I knew someone from Foxton. I think he saw his parents less frequently than another friend whose parents lived in Liverpool. Cambridge is so compact that many students don't get out any further than Homerton or Girton. You will know how often you go into the centre and might bump into him.

I think the main risk is that he may have school friends either not going to university or taking a gap year and he might be tempted not to fully engage in college life, spending too much time with them instead. That might not be a problem, but if they left for university the next year, it could leave him a bit isolated.

inncogneetow Mon 16-Dec-13 18:16:37

Thanks all.

Acinonyx Mon 16-Dec-13 21:01:22

As an undergrad you have to live within 3 miles (10 miles for postgrads) so he'll be in town anyway. Doesn't he like the other place then?

inncogneetow Mon 16-Dec-13 21:29:16

Dh studied at the other place! Ds1 seems quite interested in Natural Sciences, which is only an option at a small number of universities.

I did Natural Sciences - it's a great reason to apply to Cambridge and a brilliant course. I started as a Physical Nat Sci and ended up with a degree in Experimental Psychology, thanks to the flexibility of the course.

MillyMollyMama Tue 17-Dec-13 02:03:53

You cannot possibly apply to Cambridge and live at home!!! Apply to the best and, if he gets offered a place, live there. He needs to start thinking what course and where and weigh up the options for himself.

NigellasDealer Tue 17-Dec-13 02:11:25

so you do not want him to apply for Cambridge because you live close to there?
yeh right,.
more like you just wanted to let us all know about it.

BeckAndCall Tue 17-Dec-13 06:50:16

Wow, nigellasdealer that's harsh. This being the higher education board, we cover all these kind of questions on here. This is the place where we ask them. We ask all kinds of HE related things on here which you may think are banal or show offy- but that's what this section is for. I'm just hoping you don't discover the Oxbridge support thread as we'll all be in for a bashing.

OP, I don't think 20 mins by car is too close - especially as he'd have no choice about living in hall. Just be glad you can pop over to see him for lunch on occasion! Said with one with one DD 5 hours away.....

Acinonyx Tue 17-Dec-13 08:51:51

Frankly Nigella - so what? This is an anonymous board. And if she hadn't said it was Cambridge we might be suggesting going further away for the sake of it.

Shootingatpigeons Tue 17-Dec-13 10:41:46

DD ended up at a uni 10 miles away because it was the best course for her. We are in London so it is a bit hard to dismiss it's entire academia on the grounds of distance wink The only worry was that she would not get into halls as sometimes they rightly give priority to those outside the M25 but that didn't happen.

It is actually sometimes handy that she is a 30 min to 2 hour drive away (depending on trafficgrin ). She just had a crisis of illness in the middle of multiple deadlines and I could get emergency catering and TLC to her easily. However most of the time she might as well be 200 miles away!

Having said that just heard of a (London) student who returned to living at home after 3 days in halls, which I would be a bit hmm about...... I think it is important if they are going to get the most out of university, that they establish an independent existence and commit to uni life.

MadamNoo Tue 17-Dec-13 10:53:13

Almost all colleges require students to live in for at least 2 of 3 years. 2 of my sisters went while my parents were living in Cambridge: one completely ignored them and banned dm from the bank and supermarket she used, the other took home washing and went for Sunday lunch. he'll be able to choose how much to see you, but it won't necessarily be at all.

irregularegular Tue 17-Dec-13 11:01:03

I work at Oxford University and I know plenty of colleagues and other local friends have children studying at the University. In most cases they still barely see them - and I'm sure they all live in college.

I agree that, all things being equal, most students would rather move further away from their parents and it's generally a good thing. However, there are other more important factors to consider. And provided you step back he can still live just as independently as if he moved further away. More so than in cases where the parents can't seem to leave them alone!

almapudden Tue 17-Dec-13 12:57:50

I think it's a terrible idea for undergraduates to live at home! The best parts of the university experience happen in halls, spontaneously, with other students.

Anyway, as others have said, he'd have to live in at Cambridge anyway. And Natsci is a fantastic course to apply for.

NoComet Tue 17-Dec-13 13:05:17

I went to the one university on my list I could get home from.

It happened to be the one I liked best, but I lived getting home a couple of times a term. I'd have killed my awful childish flatmates, otherwise. (Not just my opinion, my two nice flat mates had both moved out by Christmas).

NoComet Tue 17-Dec-13 13:06:58

Cambridge NatSci is indeed brilliant

lambbone Tue 17-Dec-13 15:51:42

DSis lives 10 miles outside Cambridge. DNephew in his 2nd year of NatSci. Total non-issue, and very handy when his stuff needs lugging about. Living at home was never an option, and the lad is fully involved in the life of his college,having a normal university experience.

I envy my sister. My DD is at a university bloody miles away!

Educatingme Tue 17-Dec-13 15:57:23

Don't worry. It's perfectly normal for students to grow up in Cambridge, or Oxford, and go to Uni there. Student life being largely nocturnal, there's no danger it will feel old. They go to completely different places. I know a kid who grew up a hundred yards from the college he went to, and he begged his dad to deliver him by car so he looked the same as everyone else. He had a great time.

Certainly a terrible idea to live at home, though.

NoComet Tue 17-Dec-13 16:19:44

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.

Roisin Tue 17-Dec-13 19:11:44

Thanks all: very helpful.

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Tue 17-Dec-13 19:18:26

Fine to have an ideal or an opinion but ridiculous to stick to it if it isn't for the best.

rightsaidfrederick Tue 17-Dec-13 19:48:46

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.

ISingSoprano Tue 17-Dec-13 20:21:36

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.

madeofkent Wed 18-Dec-13 00:22:10

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.

mumeeee Wed 18-Dec-13 10:18:00

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.

Needmoresleep Wed 18-Dec-13 10:42:10

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.

SlowlorisIncognito Sun 29-Dec-13 17:42:50

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.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sun 12-Jan-14 08:21:05

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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