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university for ds

(60 Posts)
redsky Tue 01-Mar-05 17:51:27

we have started looking at universities and courses for ds 17. We live in Surrey. Ds would like to study Russian and History at uni. Question is - how far away is practicable? Do they have to clear their room in halls at the end of each term? Ds is considering Leeds, Sheffield, or even Scotland but I don't fancy either him or us having to drive for over 4 hours each way. Part of me says he is old enough and sensible enough to decide himself and part of me says he doesn't have a clue what life is like outside his boarding school and he may find uni quite tough and wish he was nearer to home. Any thoughts please????

bundle Tue 01-Mar-05 17:55:15

i decided my own course, university and did all my own washing from 18. i never let on to my parents that i was overdrawn and paid it all off by working hard after i'd graduated and lived like a pauper. i'm quite shocked when parents phone me up about their children/friends wanting to do work experience where i work (quite a sought-after job) because surely they should have the get-up-and-go to do it themselves. sorry if i sound a bit abrupt, but life is about making mistakes and getting on with it.

Yorkiegirl Tue 01-Mar-05 17:57:01

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Bellie Tue 01-Mar-05 17:59:13

Depends on a number of things really - some halls will let you keep your things in halls during holidays whilst others don't especially if they are 'let' to members of the public to get some money for the Uni (e.g. durham do this).
Whilst I take your point about being close(ish) to home sometimes events take over in life. I chose my Uni so I was only an hour away from home and then my dad got transfered and they ended up being 5 hours away!
The main reason for chosing a Uni should be based on the course and the lifestyle that will work for your ds best - e.g campus or not etc

ScummyMummy Tue 01-Mar-05 18:00:02

Does he have special needs, redsky? I've forgotten. Unless he's specially vulnerable surely it's up to him where he applies?

happymerryberries Tue 01-Mar-05 18:00:12

I have worked in Edinburgh and St Andrews universities and they are both very good

Cod Tue 01-Mar-05 18:00:46

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bundle Tue 01-Mar-05 18:02:13

now i've had my rant: what about cardiff? (nearly went to brum myself cod, but the poly - showing my age...)

Cod Tue 01-Mar-05 18:03:12

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bundle Tue 01-Mar-05 18:07:27

history good at royal holloway (egham i think) but not sure if it's just teh political stuff. not good on mod langs though, i read english

redsky Tue 01-Mar-05 18:18:58

thanks for the quick replies! Ok - more help please - I would prefer catered halls for him but ds enjoys cooking but then again self catering EVERY day is a pretty onerous task when you are studying as well - then again he will be nearly 2 years older than he is now and he'll have to self cater at some point. If he was self catering could I order groceries on line and get them delivered to him?? Or is that a bit OTT?

YG- Is Leeds campus near or in the city - or some way out? Ds says he wants to be in a city.
Leeds seems to be very strong on humanities - is that correct?

Where else would you recommend for humanities?

At Open Days do you get to meet tutors or just students? What tips has anyone got for getting the most out of Open Days - I have visions of ds and I wandering around aimlessly.

Loads of help needed - as you can see.

Cod Tue 01-Mar-05 18:21:27

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Yorkiegirl Tue 01-Mar-05 18:22:01

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Yorkiegirl Tue 01-Mar-05 18:22:30

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snafu Tue 01-Mar-05 18:24:58

Redsky, can't offer any advice about Leeds but tbh yes, ordering groceries for your ds is OTT, imo! Part of going to uni (a big part) is about gaining independence - let him buy his own food. He could go into catered halls in the first year but after that he'd have to do it himself anyway, as you say. When I left home I had barely boiled an egg myself, let alone worked a washing machine . But I learnt because I had to - and it was fun! Plus, I was at a uni 5 hours drive away from my family - after never having been away from them for more than a couple of days at a time - I had a fabulous time!

jangly Tue 01-Mar-05 18:30:01

I bet he insists on making the choice himself - quite rightly IMO! Most students, in my experience, go into catered halls for the first year, and then somewhere more independent in the second year. Ordering his groceries for him is ott - let him find the nearest Safeway with the rest of them.

redsky Tue 01-Mar-05 18:35:50

Ahh SM - clever you! Difficult to say bout SN - never diagnosed - BUT - as a child he was definitely Autistic but with appropriate teaching in mainstream school he seems to have outgrown most of his difficulties. He IS quirky - very absorbed in subjects he likes (french, german, russian, history) but I am worried about how he will cope in the less structured environment of university. Academically I think he will love it - and perhaps find friends who are equally passionate about their studies - but I'm more worried about him socially. For example he is at a co-ed school and I know he is popular and have seen a girl give him a peck on the cheek to say goodbye once, but I think he is very shy socially. His peers seem to like him because he comes across as thoughtful, unexcitable and principled - or you could say he is quiet cos he doesn't know what to say and stubborn cos once he has come to a decision about something he WILL not change. Sorry for rambling!

roisin Tue 01-Mar-05 18:36:43

Redsky, I don't know what boarding school your ds is at, but I expect in the sixth form he will have a degree of independence and responsibility for himself. If most of their students are going on to University, I'm sure they will be preparing them for that step in various ways.

I guess it's natural to worry. But my parents allowed (made) me take responsibility for my own university course and accommodation choices, budgetting, diet, etc., etc., and it was a fantastic experience for me.

Some of my peers at university did go home every weekend ... it was more unusual then than it is now ... but IMO they consequently didn't get as much out of the "university experience".

Ds1 looked round Magdalen College, Oxford when he was 3, and ever since has announced that's where he's going! Maybe we should start subtly working on alternatives with him now, as I don't think we'll be able to afford Oxford in 12 yrs time the way it's going

vict17 Tue 01-Mar-05 18:40:29

I think if you are shy it is better to live in halls of residence. That way you have to talk to people when you're having breakfast, tea etc and there are organised events like theme nights, karake etc. If it is a selfcatering hall you also have to mingle to a certain extent because of shared kitchens. If you opt for a house share you don't meet as many people. Joining societies etc is essential. You buying his food is OTT and will make his peers a bit wary perahps. Hope this helps

redsky Tue 01-Mar-05 18:43:19

Ok - got the message - groceries OTT. I kind of thought so but it would be a nice mumsy thing to do woudn't it??? NO? Ok ok I've got to let him grow up - dh would definitely agree with you lot.

As for choice of uni - I think it is probably fair to say that ds will decide himself and he'll ignore whatever i say anyway. But I'd like to help him consider some of the issues that he may not have thought of. Is that OK?

tamum Tue 01-Mar-05 18:43:47

redsky, I hate to sound harsh, and I'm sure I will feel just like you in 8 years time, but my top tip for getting the most out of Open Days is let him go on his own. I don't know if things have changed now, but when I was a student it was absolutely not the done thing to have a parent in tow, and I can't help feeling that it would really inhibit him.

I also think deciding about academic strengths, course flexibility, campus or non-campus things is more important then location, although I can see the disadvantages for you if he goes to Scotland!

vict17 Tue 01-Mar-05 18:44:32

yes that's fine my mum and dad helped me choose and drove me to interviews sometimes too!!

Bellie Tue 01-Mar-05 18:46:46

Agree with tamum about the open days - what my parents did was turn up with me - and then let me go off on my own. I am sure that they then had a good look round themselves but didn't embarress me and probably got to know all they wanted to

jangly Tue 01-Mar-05 18:51:59

You can try redsky!

BadHair Tue 01-Mar-05 18:55:27

Agree with Yorkiegirl - Leeds, Leeds, Leeds, Leeds, Leeds, Leeds!!

I was really shy at school - never joined in and never lifted my head above the parapet for fear of being shot down by the overbearing "in" crowd that existed in my year. I just blossomed when I got to university. I really grew up and learned how to make friends and look after myself. And I had the time of my life doing it.

I chose my own course, I chose where I wanted to study, I went on the open days and to interviews by myself so that I could make up my own mind. My folks wanted me to go to Oxford or Cambridge but I chose not to and I don't regret it for an instant.

For what its worth - stand back and let him get on with it. If he doesn't like the place he chooses he can always come home and reapply to another college closer.

But if he's in college-owned halls or flats he would have to clear his stuff out at the end of term as they use them for conferences.

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