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Offers, firm and insurance

(89 Posts)
Isthiscorrect Fri 28-Feb-14 08:01:33

Ok I'm a little bit confused and need help to understand this.
Ds has 5 offers, very fortunate I know. Realistically he applied to one prestigious (not Oxbridge) uni not expecting to get accepted. However he did get accepted. The problem is because it's so respected everyone (not me and dh) expects him to automatically put that as his first choice. The issue, as we understand it from the uni website, student room etc, is it seems this uni doesn't offer the uni experience in the way most other unis do. Since before he even completed his UCAS he always wanted to go to uni B. But now he is swayed, partly by the opportunities uni A will offer and partly by the name on his CV.

The real problem though is uni B who gave him a lower offer than all the others, who all gave the same offer. So he has to put uni B as his insurance, which means, I think, the other uni will be his firm. However he is expected to achieve higher than even his firm. So if he does his best he doesn't get to go to the uni he wants?

I'm not sure I've explained this clearly but I really am struggling to articulate and feel I may have overlooked something obvious?

Isthiscorrect Sun 06-Apr-14 12:10:15

Thank you everyone. Apologies for being so tardy in my response. Ds still has to firm but is waiting until after the holidays, he is off to offer holders day at both unis. Incidentally uni B have now given him an unconditional so we are no further on at this moment. I am unable to help except to say we support him in his choice wherever he wants to go. I suspect uni A will win out because he is so driven and recognises the opportunities he will have from there.

Good luck to all DC and wineto all DP.

legallady Wed 05-Mar-14 22:28:45

Thanks Fussy. I'm really trying to get DD to focus on what she wants out of this degree and so far all she has decided is that she wants a mixture of literature, modern culture (particularly film) but really doesn't want much very old history (e.g.medieval.) English literature is probably her strongest subject so I think she is reasonably confident of being able to cope with the literature aspects but doesn't want literature to completely dominate the course. I'm sure she'll come to some conclusions soon .....

fussychica Wed 05-Mar-14 18:23:32

legallady DS does MFL - agree with Educatingme re some courses being very literature biased. DS didn't want that at all so steered away from places offering this and picked somewhere focusing on the practical. His modules include business (but not science) and he has taken a TEFL based module which set him up well for his year abroad.

Just to say year abroad options don't necessarily mean university study. DS had no interest in this and decided on gaining work experience via a three month internship with a language school followed by a British Council placement in a boarding school (in two different countries). His best friend has been on an extended high level language course and is now working for a marketing company on his YA.

venturabay Wed 05-Mar-14 00:01:59

I've been struggling with a malfunctioning computer for days Educatingme, so was hammering out posts illiterately before things froze. But the point I attempted to make way back, badly, was simply about the difference in price between a fourth year integrated science masters and a £15k/ £26k law 'bridge'. Obviously the latter is just totally out of reach for the vast majority without funding, which is seriously scarce. Sorry for the dilatory response smile

Educatingme Tue 04-Mar-14 18:54:40

Can't trust these peers of the realm, eh? Shame, that would have been interesting.

Educatingme Tue 04-Mar-14 18:50:49

There really are two quite distinct types of MFL courses. Though even the really trad ones are less trad than when I did mine back in 1980, when we did medieval French and German and liked it, followed by all the classic works of literature in both languages. There is a lot of reading long books in the original language at Oxford, I don't know about Durham.

Is she good at literature? Or is she more interested in speaking the language in a commercial setting? Does Southampton do science and business language modules? Does Durham have a good year abroad programme? Take a look on Unistats to see what people do afterwards.

Look very carefully at what people do in their year abroad. Anything that sends you on some crappy course for brits abroad is to be avoided, you want an actual job with actual foreign people taking foreign at you all day long. IMHO grin

Shootingatpigeons Tue 04-Mar-14 18:29:00

Totally agree Unexpected Graduate recruitment has diversified a lot, even the big players who still do operate graduate recruitment schemes, may be identifying those with potential as early as Year 12 for sponsorship, or recruiting graduates years after they finish and have built up their CVs. There still are a few careers in which names matter, some law firms etc., interestingly after a swing towards a leveller playing field in the 70s that seemed to harden back to a few names but now a couple of law firms are trying to be uni blind.

However it is about personal qualities and what is on your CV which is why some of us were saying not to discount Uni A, not so much because it has a name, but because of the opportunities he will get to develop his interest in politics, and improve his prospects of a career in it.

legallady Tue 04-Mar-14 18:28:09

Thanks Educatingme that's really helpful. The higher ranked uni is Durham. I think some of the modules at Southampton may be of more interest - the Durham course may be a little "traditional" for her tastes and very focused on literature. She still has a fair amount of mulling over to do I think.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Tue 04-Mar-14 17:47:11

Ah I am obviously wrong! I went to a Westminster Briefing last week where a very knowledgeable member of the House of Lords quoted that statistic.... I took it at face value - I did mean private sector employment though.

The point I tried to make (badly) is that universities used to be recruitment centres for big corporates. The big corperates are smaller and fewer now. Graduates need to think about what SMEs want in terms of skill sets - not just big companies.

Educatingme Tue 04-Mar-14 17:05:56

legallady Masters are usually of two kinds: the bridge to the doctorate, or the professional training. The growth in taught masters came about because of compliance with the European way of teaching degrees, known as the Bologna process. It used to be the case that an "honours degree" allowed you to do a doctorate straught away; thats why its called honours. But under Bologna, you cant; you have to have this masters stage inbetween.

But alongside that, came the growth of dual purpose masters years, designed for those who maybe didn't want to go onto the full doctorate. And now, that has overtaken the traditional masters degree, and is more common. Lots of Unis now offer masters degrees who have hardly any Dphil students. As a result, a lot of jobs expect masters degrees because all the european students have them, and that's affecting the jobs market.

Languages courses are usually four years anyway because of the year abroad. Southampton has essentially "badged" their normal UG degree as a masters. I wouldn't say that this would necessarily give better employment prospects. It's not the kind of masters that people mean. MFL is in any case a very sellable degree (says she with a MFL degree from Oxford). In her shoes I would go with the higher ranked University. Do you feel able to share what her "higher ranked" Uni is?

legallady Tue 04-Mar-14 16:50:50

The advice above about doing an integrated undergraduate masters is interesting. It makes perfect sense for a science student who is hoping to progress to a PhD. What is the view for humanities students? Dd (if she gets the grades) has the chance to do a masters in modern languages in 4 years at Southampton. A BA in modern languages generally takes four years. Would it be worth her while to go for the masters rather than a conventional BA from a "higher ranked" university? I know she really needs to choose the place and the course which suits her the most, but all else being equal, would the masters give her better employment prospects? So many things to consider....

Shootingatpigeons Tue 04-Mar-14 15:22:52

dyslexic linking

Anyway as you were, Uni A better for career prospects...........

Shootingatpigeons Tue 04-Mar-14 15:21:32

Employees! And being Dyslexic I am usually good at deciphering the unconventional if not the conventional.

From here perhaps,d.ZGU But 96% of businesses (many of which may not be actively operating) being SMEs employing 0-9 people does not equate to 95% of people working in them, in fact I think the latter statistic is pretty much impossible if the former statistic is true. All things being equal if 96% of businesses did actually employ on average 9 people (they don't) then for 95% of employees to be employed in them the rest would have to employ an average of 45 hmm.

In fact SMEs account for 99.9% of businesses in the UK but 47% of private sector employment. []

That is before you skew that for businesses who employ a high proportion of graduates.

But like educating would like to hear differently?

Educatingme Tue 04-Mar-14 15:03:45

not sure- the argument I think was that smaller companies dont care where you went to Uni so, given most jobs are with smaller companies, why bother with Uni A for the sake of it?

Shootingatpigeons Tue 04-Mar-14 14:53:12

Might be me being dim, assumed the 10 e'ees bit was a typo / predictive text / autocorrect ? Can't work out what it is a typo etc. of though......

The rest I got.

Educatingme Tue 04-Mar-14 14:51:26

It does look a bit odd - for a start, about 6m people work in the UK public sector. There are 26m working people in the UK, so 23% of them are public sector workers.

The there's the fact that we ought to be looking at graduate employment- excluding the unskilled caring professions which skew the numbers both ways (lots of small business but also lots of public sector).

if you look at ONS data, the nearest dataset would be the monthly "vacancies by size of business report" which as at December 2013 shows that 15% of all vacancies were in businesses employing 1-9 people; so 85% were in bigger businesses. 42% were in businesses employing over 2,500 staff and 60% in over 250 staff. I think the data excludes public sector, hard to tell.

Where's your data from, unexpected? or was it a typo- easily done, but I shall be disappointed if it was, as that does sound interesting smile

Educatingme Tue 04-Mar-14 14:34:33

being dim here shooting, you mean its a typo? but the rest of the argument suggests it isnt?

Shootingatpigeons Tue 04-Mar-14 14:18:32

Educating I assumed a mobile was involved?

Educatingme Tue 04-Mar-14 13:57:45

unexpected that is a really striking statistic 95% of people end up working for companies with 10 e'ees or less. Can you find the link to the data? I'd be very interested.

I think my advice relates more to this being politics, where Uni A has a strong reputation, and given the importance in politics of having a strong network.

Shootingatpigeons Tue 04-Mar-14 13:21:04

In this case though it is not just prestige, it is about the quality of the course, and the opportunities it would offer to get involved in the political scene of the capital city. No one has advised to go for the prestige, rather not to discount the opportunity because of preconceptions about student life in London, with qualification of the advice there might always be the chance of doing a Masters there if it is still his ambition to get involved in politics at the end of the student experience he is after elsewhere.

Of course if he is really wanting to get into politics then senuas advice to go to Oxford might be the most sound. We seem to have a lot of politicians who have followed that path and they are very openminded and with lots of experience of mixing with the rest of society hmm

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Tue 04-Mar-14 12:45:46

Re 'prestige' universities.

95% of people end up working for companies with 10 e'ees or less.

It's generally the McKinsey's and PWCs of this world who target certain universities for recruitment. And they're the companies that are shedding 1,000s of jobs.

The most important thing is to pick a uni that suits you, your interests and your aspirations. Not to fill someone else's idea of what's prestigious or not.

Shootingatpigeons Tue 04-Mar-14 12:37:21

Last para is DD2

Shootingatpigeons Tue 04-Mar-14 12:36:56

And DD1 enrolled on the BSc option rather than MSc because she wasn't clear where she was going to go. She is now, and was just last summer persuaded on to the MSc option by all the fees being waived, and an assured path to a funded PhD. However she is a Science student.

All I can say is that for good humanities masters that boost your employability the money is being found, and actually on my Masters they were disproportionately not from affluent backgrounds but had worked in high earning but not high level jobs that they could continue part time, shift work etc.

I discouraged my DD from a specialist degree and specialist uni because I am not convinced she will want to or be able to work in the rather narrow field she aspires to. She is a bit of a dreamer but with an iron will, proved by getting where she is already with moderate dyslexia and dyspraxia, so the possibility of a Masters at a specialist uni might be a path there but only if it is still what she wants and she has already built up her CV and worked through an apprenticeship. I think having to find the money to do it will be no bad thing in terms of making sure it is the right thing to do.

BeckAndCall Tue 04-Mar-14 10:04:54

Yes, educatingme its definitely the best option for her as her subject is fairly specific and the uni she's going to has the best range of specialist options available and she knows what she wants to do (ie doctorate in a very specific field).

DS was on a four year programme but decided at the end of year two that he wanted to move into a specialist sub area which wasn't offered at that uni and so opted for a BSc only. If he'd have decided earlier that this is what he wants to do, it wouldn't have made any difference as it's so specialised he couldn't have covered it in an UG masters anyway. So is not like I'm thinking 'if only he'd decided sooner' - it's very different.

Educatingme Tue 04-Mar-14 09:56:41

The OP seems to be busy, I am sure she will be back.

Encourage the youngest to do a four year course with an integral masters. That's what DS1 has done and he is in his fourth year now, and will start a fully funded doctorate next year.

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