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DDs uni choice aaaargh!

(67 Posts)
amumthatcares Wed 09-Jan-13 12:28:43

Ok, I've posted about this previously so sorry to bore people but I really just need to get this off my chest and any comment would be welcome.

DD has offers from her two top uni choices (along with two others) - one is the top performing Uni both as a uni and for her subject and is relatively local to us (an hour), though she would have to live away and has a great student life. The other is a vibrant seaside city who's Uni has poor results for her subject. On visit days she was absolutely taken with the 'good' uni (you know that initial gut reaction) and cried with disappointment at the 'bad' uni. However, when on a girls holiday this year she met up with a group of lads from the seaside city who encouraged them to go and visit. She's been down there clubbing several times now (inc NYE) and has spent an absolute fortune (of her own money) in doing so. As far as she is concerned it is the be all and end all of places. DH and I both know that if she chooses to go here it will be for all the wrong reasons (given her disappointment at the visit), her primary one being the clubbing scene. She doesn't take into account that the times she has been there already she has had plenty of money to enjoy herself. It will be vastly different when she is a student. Also the campus is a train/bus ride away from the city, with no student bar and very little social activity. She seems to think she will have the recources (somehow) to party like she has been doing. We know that if she goes there she will regret it when she realises that she has very little to do for 5 or 6 nights a week. I know a lot of people will say (as has already been said to me) that she is an adult, it's her choice, we have to let her get on with it. Whilst I agree with that in principle, DH and I do not want her to spend 3 years and accrue almost £50,000 of debt just to party and go clubbing. It pains me to say it, but if that were the case I'd rather she left school, moved down there and got a job. The other thing is, we will be helping her financially, so what level of input does that give us (without it sounding like blackmail)?

amumthatcares Thu 10-Jan-13 09:21:21

hully I'm with Bling too wink

GirlsonFilm Thu 10-Jan-13 09:26:30

senua I didn't say whether it was right or wrong, merely that it was the company policy. There were 3000+ applicants for less than 5 positions each year so the bar was incredibly high.

Also, as I stated it was in a previous life so perhaps I didn't agree with it.

I would think either Leicester or Brighton could be good.
Don't forget that it's good she wants to go to Uni and is likely to be able to.
I just don't think it's worth falling out over - important to keep a sense of perspective.
And, possibly unfortunately wink, it does really have to be her choice - though certainly I'll be talking everything through and sharing my opinions fully when my DC's are choosing Uni or making important life choices !
I did notice somewhere though you said that knowing your DD she's bound to make the wrong choice ?! Now, that's an interesting thing you've said ? Maybe you need to trust and believe in her a bit more if you can to help her do her best with whichever option is taken ?

senua Thu 10-Jan-13 09:36:27

I hear you girls. I hope that you recruited some total plonkers just before you left!

Maybe, just as a place, I'm feeling I might prefer to spend 3 years in Brighton compared to Leicester ? I like the sea ! But some decent veggie curry places in Leicester I know (as it's quite near us so I've found myself in Leicester on the odd day) - could be good for some fun, cheap student nights out ?

takeaway2 Thu 10-Jan-13 10:43:50

what is the subject that she's studying? Brighton isn't all that badly ranked amongst the ex-poly's I don't think...?

Ponders Thu 10-Jan-13 11:02:32

I was a bit stunned at we only looked at applicants from the top two universities in the subject we were recruiting for as well

top TWO??? I have been looking at league tables for various subjects over the last few years & the rankings change yearly - what was 1st or 2nd last year might be 5th or 6th (or lower) this year. That was a very short-sighted approach (presumably done for ease of admin hmm)

OP, my DD had a offer from a very desirable university for her course (they only offered to about 1 in 20) but instead went for one much nearer home - still a good university, just not for her course - so that she would be able to see her boyfriend regularly.

She dumped him after a couple of weeks & spent the rest of her course regretting her choice, because the dept was so badly organised & she hated the course structure. Luckily she's in a field where she'll always be able to get work, but she still wishes she'd gone to the other one, & always will sad

amillionyears Thu 10-Jan-13 11:11:04

I can only think of 2 more things.
Yes, I was going to suggest you show her this thread.
Is it really that bad if she blows a gasket as it is so important a decision to her life.
Thinking about it from her pov and going by how you describe her, especially as she seems to be near enough the leader of her peers, I can see how Brighton might be more appealing than Leicester.
What would happen if she changes her mind after 1 year, so she would only have the one year of debt? Would she be able to go to Leicester after that and start again? In other words some sort of compromise. And this all supposes that Brighton is indeed bad for her course baring in mind Brighton is somewhat untested, course wise.
Dont know, just musing.

The other option is one I did with one of my DDs.
She was somewhat coasting with her GCSEs. I couldnt see her changing her behaviour anytime soon.
So I got her one day to tell me the grades she thought she would get if she coasted. And those if she put a good effort in.
Another day or later, I asked her to come to me and I had written the coasting grades on a piece of paper, handed it to her, and told her to imagine it was results day with her friends. How did she feel?
A few minutes later I gave her the piece of paper with her grades if she had put in the effort. How did she feel now on results day?
It did the trick, and she never looked back. She and I still remember it.
Might something like that would work for your DD?

Sympathique Thu 10-Jan-13 12:10:09

Parents aren't gravy trains - and most definitely not champagne trains. You go to university to learn, not to party. Of course you shouldn't go somewhere you think you would be miserable, but that doesn't seem to be the OP's DD's problem. If she is serious about wanting to go to university it should be course content, course content, course content - not to discount everything that's been said above about institution reputation and graduate employability. If she isn't seriously looking at what she's going to get out of the course she shouldn't be going. Eighteen is very young. A year or two might make all the difference.

Whatever age you are, if someone funds you, they have some say in how their money is spent. In my field they tell me exactly how to spend it in very detailed budgets. Again, maturing is called for until she understands that.

OP, it looks as though you aren't going to change her mind, but you've worried enough and certainly shouldn't be thinking of handing out your hard-earned money for her to party. If she goes to Brighton it's to work hard, and party when work allows and only then.

But to be devil's advocate for a sec, are you absolutely firm on your information about both places? Even if a course is 'new', Brighton might teach it well. She'd still be going for the wrong reasons but it might turn out OK. (Not every employer is as daft as to look at graduates of only the top two courses, so discount that worry). And 'top' courses don't suit everyone, & though there's usually a good deal of angst in deciding not to take them if offered it's sometimes the best decision. I daresay you have done your homework, but best be sure.

Sympathique Thu 10-Jan-13 12:15:27

2nd para: that looks a bit dictatorial on re-reading. It wasn't meant to come out as harsh, but I'm willing to face the flame throwers! I don't suggest DCs do only what we choose, but that we don't have to fund antics we thoroughly disapprove of. One of my DCs had a change of heart and I thought she was throwing a lot away and heading for uncertainty, but I kept mum as she'd thought and talked about it a lot (!!!), her reasons were serious - and it's her life.

Startail Thu 10-Jan-13 12:42:58

DH did his post grad studies at a University right on the edge of town with next to no near by services.

It was a total pita, he got very fit cycling between there and his rented house. This was also a dive as, rented accommodation is far scarcer in a nice small "city".

I went to a big city RG uni. loads of buses out to our flats and into town.
Train near by.
Bars on campus and cheap pubs on the street outside.

Other universities and collages in the town so night clubs, bowling ally cinemas etc all did cheap nights.

Down to earth, slightly scruffy city so lots of rented accommodation, fast food joints and cheap shops.

I'm of the very last generation who got a grant. So I didn't work in term, but given the no. Of bars, small restaurants and fast food places it's the sort of city where you ought to be able to. Very good transport into the night too.

(I was very lucky, I come from a tourist area and so had a job Easter and Summer back home).

amumthatcares Thu 10-Jan-13 13:24:47

Thanks again for the coming comments. I agree with all the comments about the course content/quality and prospects. . I also agree that DD may flourish at Brighton and do well. But I just wish she would make the decision for that reason. She is a peer leader and I know first and foremost on her mind is the appeal of the nightlife.

DH & I had initially agreed on an amount we thought we might comfortably be able to afford to help her financially, knowing that this would be enough for her to have a bit of a social life. However, we have now come to the agreement that during our impending 'adult' converstation, we will tell her that DH work isn't as busy (he's self employed) and that we can only commit to an amount we are confident in sustaining. This will only be enough to take the edge off starvation being penniless and certainly not enough to fund her clubbing. So, if she insists on going where the party is, to party, she will have to get a job to fund it herself. If she chooses the good uni DH's work will have picked up enough to help her a little more wink. If she chooses the bad uni and in time, proves that she is working hard, we will help her out more then.

larrygrylls Thu 10-Jan-13 14:01:54


I am just not sure why you feel the need to fabricate reasons for not funding your daughter's expensive lifestyle, especially when she is clearly overly attached to it.

There is only one reason to choose/go to uni, to work hard at a subject you enjoy both for pure academic pleasure and to give you benefits which last for life career-wise. Of course, a corollarly is fantastic lifelong friendships and a lot of fun while you are there, but it seems wholly wrong to choose a university on the basis of the social life, especially one way beyond the means of the vast majority of the students.

There seems to be a (very modern) idea that a parent OUGHT to provide large quantities of dough to support their adult children through uni. I appreciate things are much harder than when I received a government grant and had to pay no fees. On the other hand, I still worked every holiday in whatever job I could get and my social life was the (subsidised) college bar, the odd student night at the one terrible disco and friends' rooms. I think that your daughter needs to understand that you are doing her a huge favour subsidising her uni life and the quid pro quo for this is that she chooses her uni in a considered manner and also takes her course seriously once she gets there. Why can't you have the above conversation with her rather than dissembling?

Fair enough, but I'm not sure I'd go as far as offering different levels of financial support based on her choice. It is meant to be her choice ? She might feel a bit bribed and if she did go to Leicester and it didn't work out so well she might blame you more ? I'd just put my case/ opinions fully and strongly and maybe say that the level of support you can afford wouldn't cover much socialising/ partying so for that she may need to think about getting a job whilst there.

Will be interesting to see what others think of your plan for the big convo !
Good luck to you all with everything smile

takeaway2 Thu 10-Jan-13 14:17:59

FWIW I agree with larry. You go to uni to learn more about a subject you supposedly like/love and would ideally have an eventual career after that in that same area or related. Especially if you are funded by others (e.g. parents), you need to be 'responsible' towards your funders. If one receives a scholarship, the scholarship board usually dictates which group of unis you can choose from, and what sort of subjects/topics they wish to fund. In return you get your tuition fees paid, a stipend towards living expenses and possibly a job after graduation.

I think 'choice' is a very emotive word. On the one hand, yes she's the one studying it, the one who's going to be living there. But if she's self-funded, fair enough. If she's not, then she'll need to consider what her funders' choice/preference is.

amumthatcares Thu 10-Jan-13 14:49:56

I think you misunderstood what I was saying. We have no intentions of offering different levels of support, purely for the reason that she would view it as bribery/blackmail and we totally agree that should not be the basis of her decision. She will get the agreed amount no matter which one she chooses. If she chooses Leicester we will probably increase it a little sooner because we know she is there for the right reasons. However, I refuse to fund a passion for clubbing and once she has proved that she is not in Brighton just to party and piss our money up the wall waste money, we will up it for her there too - to the same amount. Larry I agree she did waste an obscene amount of money on one trip she had down there, but it was money she had worked hard for and saved. I think it is rather unfair to brand her as 'clearly overly attached to it'. TBH she was pretty gutted she had spent so much herself. What and how she spends her own money whilst she has it to spend is her choice. When she is a student and doesn't have it, it will be a very different story and one she will learn and she knows she will have to get a job, that doesn't frighten her, she has held her current, first job down for 13 months.

That sounds much better - it's just as you said you don't want her to feel heavily bribed into something do you ? I guess we have to start letting them make some of their own decisions at some point and I know I will find that hard too (a few years off the big ones just yet - but we have a GCSE options evening tonight ! - DD pretty settled on her choices actually)

My DNeice has been at Uni a couple of years and chose somewhere that would have a good social life (so, a big city) She seems to be enjoying/ doing well with her course too though smile

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