Sorry - another which uni thread? Ds is driving me mad with his indecision

(28 Posts)
basildonbond Thu 16-Apr-15 08:14:37

He has offers from King's for war studies and Exeter for history and international relations

The grades required are similar (equivalent of AAA for kings and AAB for Exeter) both of which are slightly below his predicted grades but he wouldn't have to slip by much to miss!

He prefers the course at kings but the main issue is that we're in London and he probably wouldn't get a place in halls and given his general immaturity and lack of organisation I suspect he'd end up living at home

Exeter is a 4 year course with a year's study abroad

Any words of wisdom which will help sway him one way or the other would be very gratefully received smile

OP’s posts: |
senua Thu 16-Apr-15 08:22:35

I think that half the point of going away to University is the going away bit, going outside the little bubble that is home, the local stamping ground and existing friendship groups.

It may seem strange, given that Londoners talk about the diversity of the capital, but my DC have found that the most insular students tend to be Londoners who never seem to venture beyond the M25.

Eastpoint Thu 16-Apr-15 08:27:27

My friend's son is doing the War Studies degree and really enjoying it. I'm pretty sure he lived at home for the first year but has now moved out. If he accepted now could be start looking for halls straight away & then as a last resort use some of the private halls (I am a year behind you so don't know)?

Molio Thu 16-Apr-15 08:52:08

The War Studies course is very well respected but I'm with senua - if it's pretty near even stevens, I'd be encouraging my DS to go away, for his own sake.

Needmoresleep Thu 16-Apr-15 08:57:27

Senua is right. So it really depends on what you D'S wants from University.

My (anecdotal) experience is that London kids, whether state or private, often choose to stay in London. It's known, there is a fear that they may not enjoy a small town or campus, lots of good courses on offer and for many it's the cheapest option. Kids from outside London similarly avoid London.

DS is in London. He says he is having a different, very international, experience from his peers. Not better, not worse, but different. The course is great and, as is war studies at King's. But all about priorities. Course or a chance to get away from home. If the latter Exeter would be perfect. I can understand why it is a difficult choice.

DS managed to get a place in hall. Well worth trying to do this. It looks as if he has a flat for his second year, but useful to have the fall back of coming home.

UptheChimney Thu 16-Apr-15 19:11:18

but my DC have found that the most insular students tend to be Londoners who never seem to venture beyond the M25
Have to laugh at Senua's comment! << off topic >> I also find (adult) Londoner friends to be quite insular -- they expect me to travel to them, because getting a train to out here in the country is apparently so far! grin They talk about travelling a long way & they're so tired. But me coming to London? THey expect me to do it all the time! what is that about?

Just to say OP that again, this is a situation where there isn't a wrong choice. The year abroad thing might be worth considering very seriously, in my view. That would really get him spreading his wings! At my place, we find that students need -- or develop -- really good maturity in their year abroad (it's not compulsory -- only about 2 of them do it each year as part of a 3 year degree). It's an excellent learning experience -- structured, so not just back-packing around.

ragged Thu 16-Apr-15 19:20:25

The Exeter vs. UEA thread has a lot of comments about history with IR, might want to take a look.


Bluestocking Thu 16-Apr-15 19:24:52

How does he feel about the prospect of studying abroad? It's becoming a more conspicuously well-regarded CV booster. I would expect him to have the option of studying abroad as part of the War Studies course too but this might be the deciding factor?

Molio Thu 16-Apr-15 22:54:43

I thought it was more of a marketing ploy Bluestocking <<cynic emoticon>>.

Bluestocking Fri 17-Apr-15 19:22:32

Sorry, Molio, I'm not sure I follow. Do you mean the possibility of a year abroad is a marketing ploy by universities?

basildonbond Fri 17-Apr-15 19:35:19

We've all been going through the pros and cons and think he's finally decided on Exeter - being away from home and the year abroad have clinched it I think ...

He could go abroad for a year with King's as well but they don't all go plus it's in the second year and he would only have been there for a few months before having to organise it - knowing ds I suspect it wouldn't happen.... With Exeter they all go for the third year. It will be more expensive (sigh) but that extra year will help him mature a lot (I hope)

thanks for the input

OP’s posts: |
Millymollymama Sun 19-Apr-15 15:52:22

Is the year abroad not covered by an Erasmus grant. Obviously travel out there is not covered and varies as to destination, but my DDs 3rd year abroad for MFL did not cost us more.

DianeLockhart Sun 19-Apr-15 15:58:54

I'd go for exeter for the year abroad and chance to move away and spread his wings a bit. London will always be there if he wants to move back after university so if I were him I'd want to try something different for a while. Just my opinion though and obviously both universities are great.

Poisonwoodlife Sun 19-Apr-15 21:08:34

Another Londoner with a DD1at a London uni and now a DD2 t a non London uni for comparison. My London DD lived out right through her course, halls first year and salubrious flats hmm in slightly iffy areas the rest of the time. I think Kings students tend to end up Sarth of the river in Clapham, Wandsworth and similar. I know King's is known for not giving places in hall to students with a home inside the M25 but every student DD knows who went there ended up with a place in halls, although in some cases the University of London shared halls. They actually enjoyed the chance to be with students from the other unis.

I would say that DD's London social life was a little different to the one my DD is having outside London. It is much more on a plate for you and the student body is more homogenous but that is something my DD actually finds a bit frustrating, she misses the diversity of London. My DD in London made fewer though more diverse friends and had a more diverse social life but now many of them have graduated it is apparent they are very close friendships that are clearly going to endure, not least because they are all working in London.

Quite frankly I would go with the preferred course as I think the experience of uni will be different but not be worse for being in London. My older DD is just about to head off post Masters for a working yearabroad,
before starting PhD so there are more ways of skinning that cat as well!!!

Molio Sun 19-Apr-15 22:18:26

So much depends on the individual though Poison. Your accounts of your two DDs characterise them as incredibly decisive, mature and organised so the considerations may be different for OP's DS. The fact that your DD is going abroad in her fifth year is not necessarily relevant to a DS who may need a bit of maturing and independence right now. I'd also add that some parts of the UK other than London have merit too, though you wouldn't always know it from reading posts of London based MNers....

Needmoresleep Sun 19-Apr-15 22:53:44


Poisonwoodlife Mon 20-Apr-15 05:23:16

Molio I at no point made any value judgement about whether London is better or worse than any other university destination, just making the point that it is undeniably different. When my DD first started to seriously focus on a London course I had exactly the same reservations as Basildon but they were not realised either for my DD or any other DCs we know, who all ended up in halls if they wanted to be in halls, and had an independent university experience, so I would not include that consideration in the decision making process. I obviously do think other parts of the UK have merit since I fully supported both DDs in looking at unis outside London, and one of them is at one.

If you are so familiar with my accounts then you will know that my DD is Dyslexic and Dyspraxic so she really struggles with organisation as well as having sensory issues etc. and that was a major consideration in choice of university, your remark is therefore a little wide of the mark as well as unnecessarily personal and unpleasant

I do hope this is not another thread I have to leave because of this sort of commenting. I am no Word Factory or Talkin . Pick on them if you want a fight.

Molio Mon 20-Apr-15 08:16:34

Apologies Poison I have absolutely no recollection that your DD had any problems with dyslexia or dyspraxia which is obviously critical to her but I'm not sure why that's relevant to this particular DS, whose mother says isn't very mature or organized right now. Anyhow, obviously I was thinking about this DS. I usually remember things about various DC, but not that about your DD, sorry. But my point was purely about the DS, because that's what the thread is about, so I can't see why you would of thought it was a reference to your DD's difficulties, really I can't (especially since it wasn't, and wouldn't have been).

The point about Londoncentricity is perfectly valid. It does sometimes seem that other parts of the UK are dismissed as being second rate, whereas in fact to my mind they often have different but equal merits.

I won't always let clear and often intemperate attacks go by, and don't feel any need to apologize. However I do ignore barbed comments often. It's a one-way thing, not issuing from me. I'm conscious of it's genesis, obviously.

Molio Mon 20-Apr-15 08:24:07

Oh I can see reading back that I used the word organized. But I meant exactly that, and at face value - your accounts of your DDs make them both sound just what I said; if I'd remembered the issues with dyslexia and dyspraxia then accomplished would have been a better word. On the other hand perhaps my impression of both your DDs, from your accounts, suggests just how much your DD has achieved, against obvious odds.

Needmoresleep Mon 20-Apr-15 10:25:27

Molio, I get your concerns about Londoncentricity, though would suggest that there is a least one regular poster who has a very negative view on studying in London for 'anecdote rather than data' reasons and at least some of time my aim is to challenge incorrect assertions.

This time though we have a London based OP who says 'the main issue is that we are in London'. I assume she welcomes input from other London based mums with DC studying in London. And the message that London is big enough to provide an independent student experience, but that experience will be different from elsewhere, seems reasonable.

It is probably inevitable that there are a number of threads about London. Some will be from posters living abroad, as the chance to live in London can be a major part of studying in the UK. Some will be from posters trying to get their heads round issues that defeat many adults (where to live, transport, money, potential isolation). And then others like OP.

OP has asked a reasonable question. And it is a difficult decision. Our poor DS will have lived his whole life within walking distance. Even the hospital where he was born is just up the road. An invitation from Chimney might well be considered 'too far'. grin Our preference, as suggested by others up thread, is that he should take a gap year at the end of his degree, perhaps a Masters, but not necessarily. The issue is that any first job is likely to be in London as well.

AmazingDisgrace Mon 20-Apr-15 11:21:07

I have nothing to add other than one of my former Uni lecturers is now at Kings and teaches on that course I think. He is certainly a member of the War Studies department. He was fab and I might have had the teensiest of crushes on him at the time. blush

Molio Mon 20-Apr-15 11:32:25

Yes I'm sure you're the best group to answer the question. For my part I've always been dead keen that the DC avoid London for as long as possible, for all the reasons you mention, but particularly because of concerns about cost and a fragmented social life. Two applied anyhow, one to UCL and the other to Imperial, in both cases because they liked the course and because they're fairly tolerant of large cities. I think it's very likely to be easier for those already in London on both those counts, particularly the social count, especially for private school kids. Most of my DC will end up in London after graduating anyhow, that's the nature of things, but life has changed by that point.

Poisonwoodlife Mon 20-Apr-15 14:18:47

And apologies from me as well Molio, I am not good in the morning and took the worst possible interpretation of the wording of your post, assuming you would have seen that my DD is dyslexic /Dyspraxic. It is something something I am open about because it does add another layer of challenge, and complexity, to parenting, and decisions like these. However Basildon was not asking or sharing advice on the issues of dealing with exasperatingly chaotic DCs here, you are right. It was on the issue of a London DC going to a London uni. Happy to answer questions on the experience of both wink

alreadytaken Tue 21-Apr-15 07:31:57

London is a city university, Exeter a campus based university, student life can be quite a different experience. I was talking to a London based student last week who was thinking of trying to transfer out of London having struggled a bit to make friends. It is also very expensive to live in London if you dont live at home. For those reasons i discouraged my own child from applying to London, although they did so anyway.

It's rather different for someone already in London and the year out will make them grow up anyway. I'd opt either for Exeter or if he stays in London a hall, private if necessary, to give the necessary break from home.

As for being homogenous Exeter has 25% foreign students.

basildonbond Tue 21-Apr-15 08:32:42

Thanks for all the advice - he's definitely made his decision now and has plumped for Exeter (good thing he's not doing geography as he was very hazy about which county it's in!).

He's very bright but extremely disorganised and immature for his age - has always been a couple of years behind his peers emotionally - and I think will find a campus uni easier to cope with.

Now comes the joy of prodding him into getting his accommodation application in on time hmm

OP’s posts: |

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