Teachers trying to get DD to change her Uni choice

(56 Posts)
amumthatcares Thu 16-May-13 11:12:14

Some of you may recall my previous threads about the worry I had over DD's uni choice (between a very good one and a much poorer one). She needed ABB grades for both but in the end opted for the better one as her firm and the other as her insurance = very happy mummy grin

She re-sat her English Lang earlier in the year as she had got a C at AS. She managed to get it up to an A, which is some achievement and = very proud mummy grin.

Having upped this grade, a small group of teachers have pulled her to one side and are now telling her she should take a gap year and apply to one of the RG uni's next year, telling her the Uni she has firmed (16th in the new league tables) is not 'all that' in so many words - even thought it's the leading Uni for the subject she wants to do!! angry DD has decided to stick with her choice but I feel very cross about this. I think they are wrong to put down a perfectly good performing Uni or am I overreacting? I think it has more to do with their success than my DD's.

OP’s posts: |
LoveItLongTime Thu 16-May-13 11:14:31

What's the uni and the course?

LoveItLongTime Thu 16-May-13 11:16:48

My advice to students choosing uni is choose based on where you want to live for the next 3/4 years.

Cambridge might be a great uni but I would die inside having to live there, not being allowed to work or to live in a proper house. Durham might be a great uni but it's a billion miles from anywhere.

Where does she want to be?

amumthatcares Thu 16-May-13 11:21:44

The course is Criminology and she has chosen to do it at the University of Leicester (the only Uni to have a dedicated Criminology dept @ undergrad level) Ultimately, she would like to do criminal profiling - though I think that may be much easier said than done. She enjoys every aspect of the criminal system and is doing Sociology and Psychology A levels (predicted A's in both)

OP’s posts: |
LoveItLongTime Thu 16-May-13 11:56:51

Leicester is lots of fun smile

amumthatcares Thu 16-May-13 12:00:42

thank you LoveIt but it was difficult to get her to accept that as it was up against Brighton! lol. Have you studied/lived in Leiceste
r?

OP’s posts: |
SugarMiceInTheRain Thu 16-May-13 12:04:45

I think Leicester is becoming pretty highly regarded. I live just outside Leicester (DH works at the uni) and the students I know love it here. I think your DD should go with what she feels best.

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amumthatcares Thu 16-May-13 12:10:56

Thank you Sugar have to say, hubby and I (and DD if the truth be known), couldn't fault it. We thought it was a great Uni. She is happy to go there...I don't think she would feel at ease at the RG Uni's (prob thinking they are too posh/stuffy), we feel at Leicester she will feel more relaxed and at the same time attend a good level Uni smile

OP’s posts: |
MagratGarlik Thu 16-May-13 12:37:31

RG is not an indication of quality of the university, it is a grouping which was created for political/lobbying purposes. RG universities are all very research-led which equals less contact time for undergraduates and less interest in teaching.

With all due respect to teachers, most have never been in the university system other than as students themselves and are no better placed to advise on university quality than anyone else who has attended university.

Habbibu Thu 16-May-13 12:45:23

Oh, nonsense. Leicester is a good university, and a lot of the RG snobbery is massively uninformed. It is a self-selecting lobby group, for heaven's sake.

Habbibu Thu 16-May-13 12:46:22

Though in fairness, I'd say it's just as possible to get excellent teaching in RG universities as any other.

boomting Thu 16-May-13 14:54:35

Leicester is an excellent uni, and is part of the 1994 Group (small, research intensive unis) rather than the Russell Group (large, research intensive universities), but it's only a small step down in prestige (gahh, I hate that word) from an RG uni (and given her course choice, possibly a small step up). If you had said that she was going to Chichester or Bucks New or something, then my reaction would be entirely different.

The only thing I will object to is
"I don't think she would feel at ease at the RG Uni's (prob thinking they are too posh/stuffy)"
I'm at a RG uni, and I have plenty of friends from areas which they themselves class as "shitholes" (their words, not mine!), went to state schools, and generally come from families that aren't very well off. I'm not aware of them ever having had any problems with fitting in, and indeed there are people from lots of different socio-economic backgrounds within our friendship group (shock horror: even the privately educated can be nice and not stuffy!). Plenty of RG universities do a lot of outreach work to ensure that bright students from all backgrounds get into RG universities, and some are very successful at it. At the end of the day, people are people and I can think of very few people who would fall into the posh / stuffy category that you describe anyway.

I know you care about your daughter and want her to be happy, but the idea that she is being told that she wouldn't fit in somewhere because of her background, and that therefore some educational opportunities are closed off to her, fills me with horror. And it fills me with horror not only because of what uni she might go to, but because of the implications for her future career - if she was to (say) decide that she wanted to become a lawyer later on would you be telling her not to because you thought she might not fit in with lawyers from middle class backgrounds who she would be working with. Please - for her sake encourage her to believe that she can go anywhere, and do anything that she wants, regardless of her background.

creamteas Thu 16-May-13 18:06:43

This is the problem of the assumption that RG unis are superior. Many have good depts, but they are not automatically the best at everything.

Leicester uni is a world leader in criminology, and it is a good university all round. She would be best off sticking with her choice.

BeckAndCall Fri 17-May-13 07:14:15

To put the theachers point of view forward (probably) - criminology is not a 'subject' taught in many places. But all RG unis will do psychology and sociology and will be rated more highly for those - so your DD could easily do one of those 'straight'' academic subjects (with modules from the other) and come out with the same degree but with more options for the future.

Same argument applies to 'forensic science' where only a few teach it but the majority of the course is chemistry based which is taught in all the RG unis ( except Exeter...). And you then have all the career opportunities and are not tied to a 'fashionable for five minutes' subject.

If you daughter does achieve ABB, she will be very attractive to any university, given the funding scheme for universities.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 17-May-13 08:16:36

Loveitlongtime While I agree that a person should choose a uni based on where they fancy being, you are spreading misinformation about Cambridge. You can live in a proper house, at many (perhaps all) colleges. You can work.

MagratGarlik Fri 17-May-13 09:39:39

Picking up on the forensic science analogy - actually many of the 'forensic science' degrees are not worth the paper they are written on, BUT, analogous to this case, Strathclyde University (another well respected by non RG insitution) has run an undergraduate MChem degree in 'Forensic and Analytical chemistry' for donkey's years which is incredibly well regarded. Most chemistry degrees from RG universities are quite weak in analytical chemistry, tending to focus on organic chemistry. Graduates from Strathclyde's course (which allows students to gain MRSC status, unlike most 'forensic science' degrees, which only allow AMRSC status) often go into non-forensic roles which require good analytical chemists - something many straight chemistry degrees (including those from RG universities) are quite weak on.

A good degree course from a good institution should not simply be disregarded just because it is not at a RG institution.

LoveItLongTime Fri 17-May-13 11:16:17

Russians "All single undergraduates are expected to live in College-owned accommodation where possible" from www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/life/accommodation.html

"The University does not allow students to undertake paid work outside the University or a college while they are studying full-time, and you should not expect to accrue additional income in this way." from www.admin.cam.ac.uk/students/studentregistry/fees/funding/employment.html

Are you sure I'm 'spreading misinformation'?

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 17-May-13 11:23:25

A lot of college owned accommodation is 'proper houses'.

Lots of students work in the holidays. Terms only last 8 weeks. And many students pick up pin money by eg working in the college bar anyway. What you aren't allowed to do is hold down a full time job in term time, which seems fair.

Did you go to Cambridge? Do you know people there now?

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 17-May-13 11:25:58

Also - you realise the information you linked to was for graduate students, right?

LoveItLongTime Fri 17-May-13 11:41:19

What I meant by 'proper houses' was that you can choose them, based on your own criteria and tastes. Not if they are college owned.

The first of those links is not for graduates only: "All single undergraduates" Apols for the second, here's this instead: "The University takes the view that our students should not work during term-time" www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/finance/costs.html

And no, it doesn't mean full-time work. It means any non-college term-time work. That's not the same at all.

I didn't go to Cambridge, no. I did consider it, and went to see whether I might like it, but didn't apply, with the above in mind. (Not to mention my grades... grin )

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 17-May-13 11:46:46

Most universities don't go wild about students working during term time. That's not the same as banning it and it's not banned at Cambridge. I worked consistently throughout my time there.

You can, within limits (as in, the limits of what is available) choose where you live in Cambridge, in the same way as you can choose where you live in eg Exeter. Certainly the variety of possible accommodation in Cambridge is far greater than it is in Exeter. You are only allocated somewhere to live as a first year and even then if you don't like it you can often move.

It seems that having been misinformed yourself you are desperate to misinform other! Cambridge is no more and no less restrictive than anywhere else except for those colleges which make you eat a certain number of meals in college (but most of them don't do that).

SolomanDaisy Fri 17-May-13 11:54:11

Just to add to the corrections of Russians information, Durham is 10-15 minutes on the train from Newcastle. It's only a billion miles from anywhere if you think the only bit of England that matters is the south-east...

LoveItLongTime Fri 17-May-13 12:00:50

If you say so <shrugs>

BeckAndCall Fri 17-May-13 12:01:28

It wasn't Russians who said that about Durham, Soloman.

But you're right - it's distance is all relative to where you start from!

CinnabarRed Fri 17-May-13 12:06:14

It's only a billion miles from anywhere if you think the only bit of England that matters is the south-east...

You mean there's a part of the country that's outside the South East? confused

wink

FWIW, I studied an 'obscure' subject - Astronomy in my case - which was only offered (at least in my day) at UCL or St Andrews. My teachers tried to persuade me to switch to Physics because they thought that having a degree in an obscure subject wouldn't help my job prospects - but I didn't want to do Physics, I wanted to do Astronomy!

I'm glad I stuck to my guns. I loved my subject, and as a result studied hard and got a 1st. I didn't stay in the area, there aren't many jobs, but as a degree it was valued as highly as Physics by employers. In fact, it was also a useful opener at interviews.

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