Leeds or Nottingham, particularly Nottingham campus

(37 Posts)
mrsrhodgilbert Tue 24-Feb-15 13:24:02

Dd is trying to decide between these two for September. We have done initial open days and more recently offer days for both. She absolutely loved the Notts campus last September and was very excited to receive an unconditional offer. She also likes Leeds, particularly the apparent friendliness of the dept and the very small tutor group sizes.

However, when we visited Nottingham for the offer day a couple of Saturdays ago she was quite alarmed by the complete lack of people around. It would not be an exaggeration to say that apart from the groups like us having guided tours and some activity on the sports pitches the campus was deserted. It's a huge and beautiful campus, there must be a few thousand students living on it but there was no sign of life, the students union building was mostly shut up. We were there nearly all day, it didn't get any busier.

It would be a 3-4 hour train journey for her to get home and she is now worried about being very lonely and miserable at weekends. The girl showing us round did suggest that a lot of people go home. She has compared courses, living costs, travel, distance from the city centre. All the other usual things you think about but can't quite get her head around how somewhere can appear to be so empty. Any views from those with dc there would be very welcome.

OP’s posts: |
Poisonwoodlife Tue 24-Feb-15 14:17:43

Last week was reading week at many universities when there are no lectures, and many students would go home on that first Saturday of reading week. Also these days weekends are often the quiet time of the week for students, fewer activities, nightlife is expensive (student nights are during the week). It's a chance to get on with reading and their work.

Lilymaid Tue 24-Feb-15 14:31:13

Both my DSs have been at Nottingham University. DS2 is a postgraduate there at the moment. Weekends do tend to be quieter on any university campus (especially weekends right in the middle of term when students are more likely to go away). We were on the campus 2 weekends ago on Sunday afternoon and it was very quiet - though the library seemed quite full and there were people around playing/going to or from sports activities.
She would almost certainly be in halls of residence in the 1st year and there will always be plenty of people around at the weekend. Don't forget that most 2nd and 3rd years live off campus (vast numbers in Lenton) and that they would be unlikely to be on campus at the weekend except for library/sports/events.
I'm sure exactly the same can be said for Leeds University.

Lilymaid Tue 24-Feb-15 14:32:10

Both my DSs have been at Nottingham University. DS2 is a postgraduate there at the moment. Weekends do tend to be quieter on any university campus (especially weekends right in the middle of term when students are more likely to go away). We were on the campus 2 weekends ago on Sunday afternoon and it was very quiet - though the library seemed quite full and there were people around playing/going to or from sports activities.
She would almost certainly be in halls of residence in the 1st year and there will always be plenty of people around at the weekend. Don't forget that most 2nd and 3rd years live off campus (vast numbers in Lenton) and that they would be unlikely to be on campus at the weekend except for library/sports/events.
I'm sure exactly the same can be said for Leeds University.

Lilymaid Tue 24-Feb-15 14:35:21

Hi Mrsrhod - I didn't realise it was you posting! I know why you have a particular concern, but from my DSs' experience, you shouldn't be too worried. Also remember that at Nottingham most students in the 1st year are in catered halls where they meet loads of people in hall (i.e. not in student flats). I can remember back (just about) to my own student days and weekends were quieter than weekdays, but most of my friends were around most weekends and we had a very active social life ....

GotToBeInItToWinIt Tue 24-Feb-15 14:36:34

Was it reading week?

In my experience all university campuses are quite on weekend daytimes. Students are either visiting home, sleeping off hangovers or off at sporting events. Mine was absolutely dead!

GotToBeInItToWinIt Tue 24-Feb-15 14:36:48

*quiet

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LurcioAgain Tue 24-Feb-15 14:40:48

It's only a problem if it's a campus university in the sense of say, Warwick. With Leeds (long time there as postgrad/junior lecturer) yes, the campus will be dead at the weekends, but that's because it's not really a "campus" as such, simply a collection of university buildings, and the students will be elsewhere doing their thing in the city centre/sports pitches round the edge of town/out climbing on the gritstone edges out in the countryside (my particular thing). I don't know Nottingham, but IIRC from friends who went there, it's similar - a city centre "campus" where people are doing things in the actual city itself rather than where their lectures are held.

Bowlersarm Tue 24-Feb-15 14:46:29

My ds is at uni about 4 hours away, and is finding weekends hard as its so quiet at weekends. I can't comment on Nottingham itself, but I would err on the side of caution with distance from home.

cartoonsaveme Tue 24-Feb-15 14:56:53

I went to uni there. Campus feels quiet at weekends as the 2 and 3 years all live off campus mainly. They will be out and about in the areas they live.Those in catered halls stay indoor socialising in their own bars in hall. Or they are in town or doing sports and things. Or in the library and maybe ten percent gone home? The union is quiet at weekends as most first years social life is literally within the hall walls at weekend. First years mainly live in halls with 200-300 friends on tap. Nightlife is cheaper midweek so lots do study more at weekends - does that help?

cartoonsaveme Tue 24-Feb-15 15:00:41

It would also have been quite cold outside so the vast majority would be staying indoors with all their mates - watching TV, sleeping etc The halls do tend to be the social hub and definately not the union

mrsrhodgilbert Tue 24-Feb-15 15:03:58

I did wonder if it was reading week, but as I was specifically asking the student showing us around about how quiet it was surely she would have said?

Hi lily, sorry I forgot you had knowledge of Notts. we must have been there the same weekend.

I'm just wondering if an awful lot more students go home regularly than in my day 30 years ago. Certainly I personally know of students who have retained weekend jobs in their home town and so come home to do them.

We are much more familiar with Leeds and although there is accommodation on site it's not a campus as such and she would live elsewhere. We actually drove right by it last Saturday and there were loads of students around. It's easy walking to the city centre too.

I understand that teaching staff and 2nd and 3rd years wouldn't be on campus at weekends, but it was earily quiet. We went into one of the halls and it was empty, even the communal areas.

I'm trying hard not to influence her either way but she is asking for help and advice so any information is welcome.

OP’s posts: |
Lilymaid Tue 24-Feb-15 15:04:51

Apart from Nottingham we've been at Oxford and Cambridge over the last two weekends. Very few curtains pulled open before mid-afternoon at weekends!

mrsrhodgilbert Tue 24-Feb-15 15:08:32

Thanks cartoon, she absolutely loved the look of the catered hall we saw last September and liked the idea of being part of a small community with its own bar, refectory etc. However after visiting when students were there but not about she is a bit spooked. Were they all hiding in the bushes!

OP’s posts: |
5446 Tue 24-Feb-15 15:16:19

I was at Leeds up until three years ago and campus was always busy, even at weekends. I lived on campus in first year and there was lots going on.

What I love about Leeds is that everything is pretty close together. It's a 10 min walk from the city centre to the campus and then another 10-20 mins to areas where most students live.

The only time I felt it genuinely got quiet was holidays. Most of the time there is a great buzz around.

mrsrhodgilbert Tue 24-Feb-15 15:33:31

Thanks 5446, I definitely think there is quite a buzz at Leeds and its a much more compact city, at least as far as the student bits go. She could be home within an hour door to door, as opposed to four hours, if necessary. It's a really tough decision, both are excellent and one is unconditional. Off to our last ever parents evening now, maybe the teachers comments will focus her mind on probable results.

OP’s posts: |
5446 Tue 24-Feb-15 17:32:29

Best of luck to you and her. It's a tough decision but I think one that comes down to your gut.

For me, I had family in the area but I can remember walking round thinking 'I can really see myself living here'. I've only had that twice in my life and spent 4 years in both places.

A lot of restaurants, shops etc seem to open their second location (after London) in Leeds, lots of my friends easily got part-time jobs and the second-year on accommodation is not too badly priced.

Hope tonight goes well!

Eustasiavye Tue 24-Feb-15 18:46:55

Hi I have spent the day in Leeds today with dd.

There was a mum there whose dd is at Nottingham and she says she loves it!

I think if she likes both universities then maybe the unconditional offer would sway it.

Good luck in whatever she decides.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 24-Feb-15 18:53:54

I graduated from nottingham Uni six years ago. I'm was a mature student and never lived on campus and never set foot in the SU building in my life. However the younger students on my course never complained of being lonely. There always seemed to be stuff going on, nights out, sports society events, etc.

AliceInSandwichLand Tue 24-Feb-15 21:35:09

My dd is a second year at Nottingham and was away seeing a friend last weekend, because it was reading week. She found campus really active and busy when she was in halls last year, but as others have said, never goes there at weekends now and generally works more at weekends than midweek. She has had as much social life and stuff to do as anyone could want and has had a wonderful time there so far in spite of having been worried before actually going there. I think your daughter should go wherever she feels will suit her. Nottingham would be fine if that's what she fancies!

bereal7 Tue 24-Feb-15 23:33:22

Woo Leeds all the way fwink

It's great and it literally feels like 90% of the population are students. Like said above, its near to everything, has a great nightlife if their into that and is well respected.

mrsrhodgilbert Wed 25-Feb-15 08:53:32

Thank you all. Her teachers say she is well on course to get the three As she needs for Leeds and Nottingham, although the latter would be unconditional if she makes it her firm choice. I know there has been a discussion on here about unconditional offers, in this instance it is making the decision more difficult, not easier.

I almost wish we could go back to Nottingham to see it on another weekend, it does sound like it might have been reading week. But that's not going to happen. I'm sure either place will offer a fantastic experience, I think she is now looking at convenience and distance from home as the deciding factor, rightly or wrongly. But it's great to see people had/have such good times at both places.

OP’s posts: |
bermudashorts Wed 25-Feb-15 11:19:36

DC is in catered halls at Nottingham. On a Saturday and Sunday brunch is served from, I think, about 11.30am - loads of students sleep in until then so that might be why you didn't see many out on campus.

Of DCs group of friends there is usually one or two who are out for all or part of Sat or Sun (sometimes the whole weekend) with a club or society.

DC has found catered halls to be a very friendly environment and has made lots of friends. Don't be put off because the campus was quiet.

cartoonsaveme Wed 25-Feb-15 12:55:30

There are loads of student review web sites and stuff don't forget. Look there for insights too. Is the course exactly the same? For me the course at Notts was also exactly what I wanted in terms of modules etc Either are great choices grin

MillyMollyMama Wed 25-Feb-15 16:26:02

Don't choose a university because it is easier to get home. Most people at Leeds and Nottingham won't be going home. They are also not likely to be rushing about to lectures at the weekend. Neither of these universities are "campus" in the literal meaning of the word, and students might have been catching up on work, in the library and socialising with friends. Or in bed! Early in Feb is usually reading week though!

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