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University disappointment

(28 Posts)

DS18 in week 3 of uni (don't really want to say where yet) studying environmental science has just got his full timetable. Course was described as 12-12 hours lectures + up to 15 practical per week. His time table for first semester avarages 5 lectures per week ie 5 hours + 4 hours practical.
He is very disappointed.
Is this how unis really run? Have nothing to compare it with. Would be very grateful for any help/advice, since this course was started with very high hopes and is being financed with difficulty.

gingeroots Wed 05-Oct-11 20:12:03

I think this is the norm - very little " contact " time .

Do you speak from experience, Gingeroots?

DownbytheRiverside Wed 05-Oct-11 20:14:38

DD has 4 lectures and 4 seminars linked to the lectures. Mondays and Wednesdays off. The difference between a fail and a first is the amount of independent study.

DownbytheRiverside, do you mind me asking what year your dd is, and if she is studying science or arts?

DownbytheRiverside Wed 05-Oct-11 20:18:35

Pm'd you.

An0therName Wed 05-Oct-11 20:19:33

sounds a bit low for a science subject- however it might higher in other semesters/years - do they have tutorials as well
could he have a work with one the tutors - 1st year/his personal one to find out?
and I found personally that going through the leature notes the same day with text book really paid off so at least he will have time to do that - plus the other things like socialisng and there should be some interesting clubs and societies to join?

wompoopigeon Wed 05-Oct-11 20:27:16

where exactly did the expectations come from? If the course was described as 12 hours lectures in writing (eg in the prospectus) then he should take the prospectus to his tutor and ask him to explain the discrepancy. There might be a valid reason eg more independent study in the first semester,so it averages out across the year. If the prospectus is bollocks then he has a very good reason to complain- the uni will have a complaints procedure and there is also the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for HE who are interested in false advertising (once the Uni has had a chance to answer the complaint).
I have to say 12 hours lecture plus 15 hours practical a week sounds heavy to me, considering I'd be expecting also at least 12 hours independent study a week. Uni isn't like school, it's not about contact hours in the same way.

vickibee Wed 05-Oct-11 20:29:59

IME science courses have alot more class time tha humanities where students are expected to do research, reading etc. I did a physics dgree and was in class p til 4 everyday except Weds when we had the afternoon off for sports.

wp pigeon the 12-15 hours was in the course description as given out by the science school.

My sister about a 25 years ago did 12- 15 hours + practicals 4 afternoons a week but that was a long time ago.

Thanks very much Downbytheriverside, I have pm'd you back with another question. Hope you don't mind.

crystalglasses Wed 05-Oct-11 20:39:13

This is par for the course in most universities bar Oxbridge, Durham and some other top of the league talbe places.
Maybe things will change for the better now they are charging £9000 pa.

grumplestilskin Wed 05-Oct-11 20:41:53

he may have field work weeks in later terms which are full on blocks of all day . That is common with environmental science and will bring the weekly average up. You need all the time in between these days to keep up with the reading and course work.

grumplestilskin Wed 05-Oct-11 20:43:00

and there's also things like PAL sessions etc which arent always on the time table at first

Is it really, Crystalglasses? We heard stories in the press but we did not know if they were true. At any rate I suppose we thought in first year they would be sort of set on their way.

My ignorance is awful.
What are PAL sessions?
Who would set coursework?

DS has suggested OU would be far cheaper. I don't know what to think of that. Yes, he is enjoying the social life, but left a perfectly good social life behind to go.

lollystix Wed 05-Oct-11 20:48:14

My course - history of art - at a redbrick Russell group uni was just 6 hours lectures a week plus about 3 hours tutorials. I did spend most days in the library around this though doing extra reading for essays. Although it seemed a pisstake on the face of it, it really wasn't.

grumplestilskin Wed 05-Oct-11 20:49:43

peer assisted learning, small formal study groups facilitated by 2nd or 3rd years. Might not be set up yet

but the field work is the main one, usually it happens in term 2 and is full days

grumplestilskin Wed 05-Oct-11 20:51:31

the un-taught hours really aren't free time! it'll soon catch up on him if he's not using it for prep and reading and study groups and course work. The term goes REALLY FAST then you often have a bunch of submission dates at once in dec/jan

littleducks Wed 05-Oct-11 20:54:31

I am a little surprised, I did geology and was in 9/10 till 4 4 days a week with only Wednesday afternoons off as another poster said. We had lots of field trips though....will he being going away for weeks at a time later in the year? We were often still up working at 9/10pm with lecturers (I was exhausted).

I am doing an nhs course now and am in 3 full days a week, with placement on the fourth day (9-5) now.

grumplestilskin Wed 05-Oct-11 20:56:26

then if he's doing all that and still un-challenged, one of the big advantages of physically going to university is the OTHER oportunities (for a fraction of the cost to do these things otherwise) which make well rounded employable graduates:

most unis offer language courses for free to all students
subsidised sports and hobbies and opportunities to get on comittees
getting involved with uni media stations
the union
work experience/lab experience/field work experience

Thank you all very much. I am passing on the advice. We are all working in the dark here, so the more I hear the better.

An0therName Wed 05-Oct-11 21:35:26

also three weeks is a typical time to have a wobble about anything - so it might be to do with that

Wondered if you have seen this re finances

grumplestilskin Wed 05-Oct-11 21:51:18

do encourage him to be involved as much as possible in everything available. There's probably a marine conservation society or similar in the clubs and socs list, and if not, start one! SCUBA club also good for environmental science and soooo much cheaper than taking it up afterwards (and unis not near the cost often do it and have weekends away)

all the grads I know who have dream jobs did more than just their course at uni. The env sci ones in fab jobs were all in the SCUBA club too and most were on the committee as well as being reps etc

I did and wish I did even more! I've even been grilled at an interview about why I didn't do particular extras at uni (even though I did do quite a lot like student rep etc)

ellisbell Thu 06-Oct-11 08:41:04

He could see this as his opportunity to earn some cash before the course becomes more demanding.

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