DAUGHTER CHOOSING THE WRONG UNI?(15 Posts)
I'm new to this site and don't want to come across as a 'control freak' mother ;) My daughter is in her second year 6th form and is on target to get A*'s, A's and at worst B A level results. She has know for about 3 years what she wants to study at Uni and has never deviated. The leading uni for her subject is highly rated in the uni league table and she will have the marks to get in. Having visited it in July, she was more than happy to put it as her first choice. Since then she has been on an all girl holiday abroad and met some lads from a very buzzing seaside town. This uni is rated in the 80's on the uni table and in the 80's for the subject she wants to study. We are going to visit it next week and she is going down in the October half term with a girlfriend to meet up with the lads. However, she is already now adamant that this is the uni she wants to go to and it's all based on meeting these lads. As far as she's concerned it is not open to discussion. I realise it is her decision to make but is there anything I can do as I am banging my head against a brick wall, helplessly watching her making this choice for the wrong reasons? Also, we will be contributing financially to her 3 years at uni, so should our opinion count for something?
Back in 1975 I chose the 5 unis that were farthest from my home, and then having had a holiday romance I accepted the offer from the one in the town where he lived. Thankfully it was what is now Russell Group but wasn't then especially prestigious or recognised for my subject. When I got to uni I met up with my gorgeous holiday romance and he was very very short and very very thick, and didn't have even a passing resemblence to Roger Daltry, who he had become in my daydreams! His home town wasn't half as exciting as they made out either, and made me appreciate my own having been so snotty about it (embracing the whole "I gotta get out of this place" and " boys here are so uncool" cool).I never saw him again. If I'd visited him at half term I might have known that. Maybe she'll see sense. Based on my experience these lads probably looked better in the sun and talked up their home town, seeing him and the home town in the dreer of winter might be enough! Coming up against the reality of the uni and course in comparison to the original course might do the same.
However parenting is about negotiation and having shown willing by taking her to look and then discussing it based on what you have seen (the course might even prove particularly aligned to your daughter's interests or strong in one area of the factors that determine the league tables that matter most to you e.g employment record, but look carefully at the drop out rate) it is perfectly reasonable that you have a negotiating position and bottom line. I have already made it clear to DD2 that we are prepared to invest in her uni education but that it has to be a good investment and if she doesn't get the grades to get on a course that we both agree is worthwhile, she is on her own, though obviously not totally. In any case you do learn quite a lot from visiting these unis, for DD1 we actually discounted a uni that was near the top of the table for her subject because it was quite clear the course structure was shambolic. I would line up a few more trips to the best unis she could get into just to widen the chances of her "falling in love" with somewhere else
Mind you in the end I got a good degree and a bunch of friends who have stuck together through thick and thin, and both have helped me have a successful career and happy life.....
Are you aware that your daughter will be putting down five universities on her application and they do not have to rank them in order of preference any more, nor do the universities know what other universities they have applied to? It is normal to apply to 1 or 2 aspirational choices and to have an insurance. Putting down your daughter's choice isn't going to affect her chances of getting offers from other universities. It gives you quite a few months of negotiation, and cooling off, before you get to the point where your daughter actually accepts an offer.
I have already made it clear to DD2 that we are prepared to invest in her uni education but that it has to be a good investment and if she doesn't get the grades to get on a course that we both agree is worthwhile, she is on her own, though obviously not totally.
I have made a similar point. I looked into the course mooted at a univeristy with grade requirements well below what my DC would be predicted to achieve, but which had friends there. I talked about contact hours, frequency of tutorials and essays etc and said that Dad and I would not be prepared to contribute a great deal to a course which seemed to offer less value for money.
She can put five universities on her UCAS application and she does not have to put them in order of choice. Once she gets offers she can choose one firm one and an insurance one in case she doesn't get in to her firm one. I would talk to your daughter and give her advice but then leave it up to her. She might have changed her mind by the time she does have to choose.
We have always said to our DDs that we would support them through Uni whatever course they choose to do and which ever Uni they want to go to. Going to Uni is a lot more than just the academic side. Both DD1 and DD2 grew up a lot through their Uni years and they also learnt to budget. We didn't pay for everything just helped with rent. We will do the same for DD3 if she chooses to go to Uni. I don't understand parents who say they will only support their DCs if they think it's a worthwhile course. Young people need t. do something they want to do otherwise they'll end up not working on their course and resenting their parents.
You know the answer to this one already - the final choice is hers and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Best you visit with an open mind and try to get her to talk through with you what she likes/ dislikes about particular universities or the course structure.
Having said that, my DS2 was adamant that he preferred uni S over uni B. We sat down and discussed which points he thought were better at S and we explained why we thought B was better for him. He did actually change his mind in the end but that was purely on the fact that the campus for B was compact and the Halls were near the lecture rooms; while Halls at S involved a bus ride. You may find something similar. Or you may find that the one she now prefers is actually more related to what she wants to do.
As others have said there is no preference order on the UCAS form so she won't need to make her final decision until she gets her offers.
Instead of looking at the ratings of the university have you looked at the % employed in the chosen field on graduation (if you can get the figures). If there is a massive difference then maybe that might sway your DD, if there isn't a difference maybe you need to worry less.
Ideal that you're visiting it. Try to find the worst possible bits to show to her while adopting a positive air. The more the merrier. As Copthall says, these seaside places can look very dreary on a damp October day. I'm sure that the reality is that she won't end up socialising with the indigenous crowd in any event - even without the university not being all that, this extra dimension is likely to go pear-shaped. I'd have thought it would be best to seem quite relaxed about her putting it down as a choice, but then to start to use whatever tactics you think best to dissuade her. If she were my DD I probably wouldn't sit back and take the 'she's an adult' line particularly. Ultimately, if she looks as though she's going to press the 'firm' button on Track, I'd swing in properly with a decent argument about why it's a rubbish idea. Might as well say it how it is, or it could turn out to be an expensive mistake which risks ultimately making her unhappy.
Wow, thank you all for your really great comments. Tbh, I never realised they don't have to list their choices in order of preference. Every Uni we have visited has said '...and if you put us down as first choice...' so I assumed you did. Apart from the official league tables the better uni does have better student score, better employment % in the chosen field, etc., I have thrown every statistic I can at her but I think she left her reasoning in Ibiza! I'm more frustrated that she seems to be making her mind up without even seeing it - that doesn't seem to be coming into the equation. In fact I think she left her brain in Ibiza! I most definately get the 'I am an adult and this is my decision' line. I can only hope she isn't so taken when we get there and as a few of you have said...lets hope when she visits with her girlfriend it is gale force winds and torrential rain, not to mention dark evenings!!
If its the university that I'm thinking of my friends niece did a similar thing - she applied because she knew people there and they said it was such a fabulous party town for students. Her predicted grades were A*AA and they didn't make her an offer presumably because she was so far off their normal entry requirements.
By "first choice" the unis mean they want you to accept their offer as your conditional firm as opposed to your conditional insurance. You can only hold 2 offers come the summer and have to have rejected 3 assuming you get offers from all 5 unis
< sigh > This is why the idea of a "market" in HE, and the "customers" (ie fairly immature young high school students) making rational decisions based on evidence is such a crock.
OTOH, whichever university she goes to, if she's clever enough, motivated enough, she'll do well in life. We get where we need to be, but maybe not by the route we expected
clichés for free here
But what does she want to do after her undergraduate years? If she thinks she might want to go on to Masters or PhD study at some point (I knew at 14 that this was what I wanted to do so went to the best university in the country) then it would stand her in good stead to go to the university that is seen as the best in her field.
Also, is the university she now prefers for
stupid non-academic treasons a big one with lots of facilities, a good student union, good cafés, bars, nice accommodation? If the originally preferred university has all these things, plus lots of student social/extra-curricular activities (eg excellent sports facilities, drama societies, good student newspaper, student radio, student TV station), then these are attractions she needs to have pointed out to her.
But I despair of young women who choose university because of the boys. One of my grandmothers was one of the first female graduates from Oxford and struggled to get there & get her degree. I should think she is revolving in her grave, if she could hear about choices young women make today, without realising the incredible opportunities they have.
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