What's Edinburgh like?

(40 Posts)
tabithahumphreys Fri 13-May-16 11:59:07

Hello all,
DS has got an offer from the University of Edinburgh and barring an academic disaster next month, he looks to be going there. Now I know Edinburgh has a decent reputation, but I must admit my concern.

I've heard the extra year fosters quite a laissez-faire attitude amongst the students. Many of them come from London and I'd love DS to broaden his horizons a bit. DS really is Oxbridge material according to the school so I was worried that this might be a step down for him. What have you heard about Edinburgh? Any particularly good or bad experiences from there?

Thank you very much

OP’s posts: |
FoggyBottom Fri 13-May-16 13:18:36

Edinburgh a step down? Hardly! [Shock]

It's one of the best universities in the UK. And world leading in mist areas. You're fortunate your DS is considered "Edinburgh material" frankly.

The 4 year system means that in some degree areas, they don't start the Honours level of their degree in earnest until the 3rd year. But it's a student's choice (ie your son's) to approach his studies this way.

I know that students slacking off in this way irritates my colleagues.

FoggyBottom Fri 13-May-16 16:07:37

"most areas" - although there is that old Scottish mist ...

jeanne16 Fri 13-May-16 17:58:36

I believe the 1st year is a massive party year for the English students as it covers quite a lot of material that is done at A level, as opposed to the Scottish Highers. My DDs friends who went to Edinburgh consequently had a wonderful time. Still, it is a good uni so your DC will come out with a degree that is well regarded.

AddToBasket Fri 13-May-16 18:04:11

I've heard it's dreadful. Full of twats who 'should have' got into Oxbridge with rather ghastly parents.

BertrandRussell Fri 13-May-16 18:09:50

My dd's just finishing her second year. No evidence of a "party" for English students or it being a "step down"

What subject does he want to study?

BertrandRussell Fri 13-May-16 18:11:15

"I've heard it's dreadful. Full of twats who 'should have' got into Oxbridge with rather ghastly parents."

I think you might be thinking of St Andrews grin

St Andrews graduate here!


Squarepegina Fri 13-May-16 18:38:18

Both our children studied at Edinburgh. Both worked hard and both gained a high and well respected degree. Because of degree choice one was with almost exclusively Scottish students, the other predominantly English students.

It is a fallacy that first year is a party and that Scottish students are way behind their A level compatriots. Most Scottish students study advanced highers before going on to uni.

As students our children loved it although most love the uni they end up in. As parents we were impressed at teaching, accommodation, uni ethos and the city itself is small enough to feel safe but very cosmopolitan in its mix of staff and students from all the world.

A caveat; If your child has the same condescending attitude as your post reveals I'd be concerned that your DS wouldn't get the full breadth of benefit a university education can give by being open minded.

SingingSands Fri 13-May-16 18:41:22

"I've heard the extra year fosters quite a laissez-faire attitude amongst the students."

Don't be ridiculous! Did you just make this up?

AddToBasket Fri 13-May-16 18:44:13

Haha, Bertrand! I went to Edinburgh

bookishandblondish Fri 13-May-16 18:53:52

On the Oxbridge work ethic note - I once told my very clever - genius level mate who got a double first at Cambridge - that I'd had eight hours contact time a week at Goldsmiths college for my entire degree. He paled at that and said he wouldn't have achieved what I did (2:1) without the intensive 1:1 tutoring. And he is a proper genius.

Oxbridge is highly intensive - but also provides a lot of academic support. Edinburgh provides a different academic experience - I would say it's very dependent upon the student themselves. In my eight hour contact time a week degree, there were students who did the bare minimum, but also students who did 50+ hour weeks. Most did in between. I suspect that is true for every university in this country.

ScottishProf Fri 13-May-16 20:49:21

Depends a lot on the subject. In the ones I know best, first year is beyond A level in weeks and the best students will come out of a four (or five) year degree with a breadth (especially) and depth (to a lesser extent) that frankly far exceeds what students in England do in a year less. However, Edinburgh's big, and there's not much real small group teaching in many courses, and it's not that easy to fail (harder than at Oxford or Cambridge, for sure). So someone content to bump along the bottom might come out without a brilliant education. For someone prepared to put in the work, the opportunities are outstanding. Not that I'm biased, or anything...

HocusWireless Sat 14-May-16 21:10:12

DS really is Oxbridge material according to the school so I was worried that this might be a step down for him - Did he apply to Oxbridge? - amongst Ds's friends honestly never heard Edinburgh "a step down" - but take better advice from those who know better esp. re subject.

whatwouldrondo Sun 15-May-16 06:45:11

DS really is Oxbridge material So are thousands, maybe tens of thousands of DCs, most of the 4 to 9 applicants per place at Oxbridge colleges will be Oxbridge material, and then there are the many that don't apply in the first place. Oxbridge admissions tutors will freely admit they have many applicants of Oxbridge standard, their challenge is to pick the ones likely to make the most of the opportunity. All those students who are Oxbridge material but don't get in, miss their offers or don't apply in the first place can be found at other good unversities like Edinburgh, along with often even brighter and harder working overseas students. Some of course perceive it is a step down and have a chip on their shoulder for the rest of their lives and as a result are a bit of a PITA. Others get on with rising to and enjoying the level of challenge they will get on any highly ranked course ar a highly ranked university be it Edinburgh, Bath, UCL, Warwick, Bristol, York etc. etc. etc.

Peebles1 Sun 15-May-16 08:42:11

I was really proud of my DS when he got into Edinburgh till I read it's a 'step down'!! But then again, he wasn't Oxbridge material grin

BertrandRussell Sun 15-May-16 08:44:29

If he's Oxbridge material and considers Edinburgh a step down he should go to Oxford or Cambridge. Problem sorted. What's that you say? Didn't get a place?

Stopyourhavering Sun 15-May-16 08:52:33

Edinburgh is a first class Uni,- World Class in many subjects and a gorgeous city to boot
my dd is off there in September to do a post grad....can't wait to go visit the city .... Lots of culture...have you heard of The Festival and The Fringe?
Dd also did an MA at Scottish Uni and had a whale of a time in her 4 yrs there-she'd done A levels so slotted into Uni life very quickly and easily
Plenty of people go to Edinburgh who could have gone to Oxbridge too btwwink

Fadingmemory Sun 15-May-16 18:32:35

Deep sigh... If Edinburgh is not good enough and he cannot get into Oxbridge you could always stump up a fortune and send him to Harvard or Yale. Assuming, that is, that he couldn't get a scholarship...

FoggyBottom Sun 15-May-16 18:38:59

I'm guessing that maybe for the OP and her DH and their family, university is a new experience, so I suppose it's understandable that she doesn't really know anything about universities in general, or Edinburgh in particular.

weebarra Sun 15-May-16 18:52:38

I went there, albeit 20 years ago. I did a joint honours degree, and really enjoyed the extra subject in my first year (Classical Literature). I also spent a summer at an Ivy League college in the US, paid for.
I did a mix of an arts and social science subject and there was a real mix of students. I was a state school pupil from Glasgow, but there were lots who'd been to public school too.
It's a great city to be a student in - I've never left it!

EddieStobbart Sun 15-May-16 19:02:05

I did my degree there 20 years ago and think am going to do a masters there this year. My degree was a soc sci and covered totally different areas to those I'd studied before. This might be different for science subjects but I can't see why you would necessarily be covering the same material in first year for soc sci/arts subjects and then you have to put the same work in regardless of the extra year.
I did subjects I'd never studied before as outside courses (economics and social history) so no going over old ground there.

Edinburgh's great. So many people I went to uni with are still there/have gone back to live - including me and DH...

EddieStobbart Sun 15-May-16 19:05:59

My DB did his degree at Edinburgh, his PhD at Oxford and is now a professor at a RG university. Edinburgh doesn't have to hold you back wink

cdtaylornats Sun 15-May-16 22:57:17

Edinburgh has one of the worlds leading research institutes in Artificial Intelligence and has had for 40 years.

JessieMcJessie Sun 15-May-16 22:59:57

Sorry- he's "Oxbridge material" but didn't get into Oxford or Cambridge? So in fact not Oxbridge material at all then...

whatwouldrondo Mon 16-May-16 03:17:33

Jessie Both Oxford and Cambridge have pools of pupils they deem of Oxbridge standard but who didn't get into their chosen college and then don't get picked up by other colleges. Not getting a place doesn't mean you are not "Oxford material", it just means you lost out in what is effectively a lottery of those bright enough to do well at Oxbridge, actually a lottery you can swing with strategic applications for particular colleges / subjects.

However what it means is that other top universities are packed with students who are Oxbridge material and OP's son, Oxbridge material or not, is unlikely to be able to claim to be a step up from his fellow students, in fact he might get a bit of a shock at how much brighter and hard working some of them will be. grin

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