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Exeter University Penryn Campus(62 Posts)
My dd has visited some universities prior to applying (for English) in the autumn but is struggling to see herself at the majority we have seen eg. Bristol, Nottingham, Sussex, UCL. Her aspirational choice is Oxford but she's realistic about her chances there! She really liked Royal Holloway too: she's drawn to smaller, more traditional establishments ..... but they must have an orchestra! She initially dismissed Durham because of the 7 hour journey from home but is now seriously considering it because of the collegiate system. She has also mentioned Exeter Uni Penryn Campus at Falmouth .... any knowledge of this place? Would the English course there be as excellent as Exeter? She's a quiet, conscientious girl who felt overwhelmed at the large, busy unis and I'm not sure what to advise ............
Thanks in advance.
The main campus in Exeter is also fairly small and compact, and it's an excellent English department (I've been there for conferences, and know some academics there). I think they're trying to raise the status of the Falmouth campus, but check the difference in A levels required. But I'd assume you get an Exeter degree.
These are good questions to ask at an Open Day.
I know the main Exeter campus have a good orchestra/music scene but not sure if that would be the case at Penryn.
I have a couple of friends with dc at Penryn and they all love it there but I suspect it might be a bit Marmite.
The Student Union website does say that there is an orchestra and choir at Penryn but, I'm sure, not to the same standard as Exeter.
The Open Day at Exeter was great in my eyes but not for my dd. It was too big, too 'confident', too ....... I think emailing the English dept there is a really good idea though to enquire about Penryn.
Durham is a wonderful place for those with strong musical talents as extra curricular interests. Amazing orchestra! And the Collegiate system helps enormously for those a little overwhelmed by the size of some campuses.
Thanks GG56. I think you're quite right and that the set-up there would be more suited to our dd's personality.
Are the entry requirements the same at Falmouth as they are at Exeter? The only people I know who have looked at Falmouth would not have been Bristol, Exeter, Durham standard. Royal Holloway probably asks for lower grades too.
Bristol has excellent halls that are not too big, eg Wills, and the university area is fairly compact. It does not feel big. I think some universities on a campus are more like big boarding schools.Exeter is very popular with independent and grammar school pupils but many universities have large numbers of confident people - Oxbridge most of all!
I would also ask her what she wants to do besides being on a smallish campus. Cities have excellent concert halls for example so they provide a more rounded cultural experience for someone keen on music. Falmouth and Egham will not have so much on offer locally. Something else to consider is who is around at weekend. Royal Holloway can be quiet I have heard.
If she is not studying music, there can be issues getting into orchestras etc. The music students take precedence. Do check if the orchestras really are for all students. You cannot assume the orchestras will have vacancies for her instrument.
Lots of really relevant points here, Bojorojo, many thanks. Exeter Uni has a separate campus in Cornwall - not Falmouth Uni - which has about 4,000ish students. The grades to get in are slightly lower ie ABB as opposed to AAB.
Exeter Uni does not have a music degree course so the musicians there are all keen 'amateurs' as opposed to full-time musicians. We got the impression from their Open Day that it was very inclusive and that grade 8+ violin would be more than acceptable! It's quite possible that the orchestra on the Penryn Campus might not be so suitable .........
I agree with the whole cultural experience bit. Royal Holloway, for example, isn't at the centre of things in Egham!
doglover your DD sounds bright. Continuing on the same theme as bojoro she should think about what she would like to become by age 21 rather than imagining her 17 year old self fitting into something more akin to school with potential limitations.
It sounds as though she would like academic challenge (if she is dreaming of Oxbridge), older buildings, a university where non music students can join a sufficiently good ensembles plus an easier framework to make friends She must also like green spaces from these potential choices. Distance from home is a problem otherwise Durham and St Andrews would be good options.
She should consider putting down the main Exeter English course as an option and then choose one of the others you mention as insurance. With my DCs I have found that even a few months can make a difference in making a decision. All she needs to decide on in the next couple of months are 5 options, most of which should give her the opportunity of post offer visits for final decisions. She should also think about accumulating experiences away from home that would make her more comfortable and confident about finding like minded friends when she does start university without having to be part of a party scene. BTW based simply on scale of location Cambridge would be a more obvious choice for her so she must be drawn to Oxford for other reasons such as the course, distance from home or familiarity?
Agree with bojorojo: dn went to Royal Holloway and she said most people went home at weekends. I think she chose it because it had the nicest architecture for the level of university, if you see what I mean.
Ds sounds similar to OP's dd. Durham is on his list but the distance... a) he's my baaaaaby!! and b) cost of getting backwards and forwards. I won't be motoring up with a bundle of clean pants.
It was too big, too 'confident'
What your DD is now is not what she will become. I think it's a pity not to encourage her to aim for the best. And English on the Exeter city campus is one of the best.
Also, it's an excellent learning & maturing experience to have to deal with a new, bigger place than she might be used to.
This is why I love MN!
Your various replies have really challenged me and I'll be showing them to dd this evening.
I'm so grateful to you all for putting a different spin on what we thought ....... Thanks SOOOOO much!
I would also think carefully about what she can study on an English course. My DDs friends who are English graduates loved their courses and chose wisely. If she is bright, then why not look at the top 10 - 15 courses and see where they are and whether living at that location is possible and/or desirable. Also, the best courses will be AAA or even more! There are very many English graduates in the UK, so going for the best possible university always helps regarding a job! Sadly my DDs friend with a degree in English from Cambridge is the one with the biggest employment problems. It is not necessarily an easy life for English graduates so you need to be in the best position to get a job.
I would not choose on the basis of a university orchestra either. DD had grade 8 in musical theatre and grade 8 in ABRSM singing but could not get into the undergraduate choir. Grade 8 does not necessarily secure anything unless there is a vacancy in your instrument. However, there may not be a problem and it varies year on year but it is wise to be aware of the pitfalls. Go to some more open days and ask lots of questions.
If thinking of Durham, make sure you do an open day. Dd ( who sounds similar ) had it firmly in her mind as her second choice but we did an open day and it really wasn't for her, for various reasons. It's possibly not how you might imagine from the way schools plug it.
What are the "various reasons", as a matter of interest, muddiboots? Forewarned is forearmed - you need to hear all the bad things about a place as well as the good!
Ds would be in accordance with doglover's dd about Sussex. He detested Brighton and couldn't wait to get back in the car. Hipster he ain't. He's got a downer on Bristol because half the family's been there and although I'm telling him not to be so silly, one particular cousin has really put him off with her endless bragging.
My DD also instinctively disliked Durham but I know 2 of my friends DCs that love it!
We went on open days to both Exeter, and Exeter Falmouth. I didn't like either. Ds is at Royal Holloway and loves it...and he doesn't go home at weekends as we live near Brussels, so it's a bit far! He had offers from all three, but fell in love with RHUL. I don't think it is that quiet at the weekend from what ds says! He starts his third year in September, and plans to stay on for his MA.
A friends lass is doing a BA in Art at Falmouth, and they live near us in Brussels. It is a schlep down to Falmouth, and I say that as someone who goes to the west country regularly as my Mum is there, as is my house. The A303 is a PITA at times, and there is no motorway past Exeter...it's the A30 or the A38 thereafter.
I thought Exeter proper was too full of itself, and Exeter Penryn didn't seem anything out of the ordinary, and the organisation on the open day wasn't brilliant.
Ds has found RHUL very welcoming and sociable, and he dips in and out as he chooses. He is reading History and not English.
This www.royalholloway.ac.uk/arts/home.aspx shows some of what they do, and there seems to be a student led opera group, and there have been some concerts there that I would have liked to go to as well.
7 hours to Durham is not much really. When I went to uni, few students went home except at the end of holidays, it was at least 5 hours for most students. I never saw that as a disadvantage not going home at weekends. It was 7 hours for me to get home.
I'm hoping Canada for nos 3 and 4, because tuition is about 3k for possible unis there (they speak French, pay as home students). That would be travel time around 10 hours so likely to come home 2 times a year max from there. I will urge my kids to consider, they have no problem being without me so I don't think it would be hard to persuade them. In fact I'd be happier with them going to Canada than Falmouth and there is no way I will be a mum's taxi that distance.
Is Falmouth particularly near home?
Durham is currently top of Guardian and Complete University guide for English, it would be crazy not to consider it because of distance. In addition, it offers much in terms of music for those who wish to continue for pleasure. It seems a no brainer.
Life You could car share to Falmouth with our mutual acquaintance!!
I would be happier with Falmouth than Canada, as I could get to ds in a crisis, as could Mum or other relatives, but Cornwall is home in the UK.
My DD largely rejected Durham because she did not get the college she wanted. She was given a college near the park and ride and definitely wanted to be in the city. She would not have enjoyed being so far away from the other colleges. It would have been fine on all other counts but if you set your heart on one aspect of university life and get the total opposite, then it makes a difference to how you think your experience will pan out. For her, university was never about the fine details of the course. It didn't need to be because she never really intended to use her degree for work and had no preconceived ideas and requirements. Although, given the work she will be doing, there may be a change of opinion on using her degree!
Durham is a relatively compact city centre and obviously is a brilliant university. No one goes home much from Bristol, Durham, Exeter or Edinburgh or St Andrews etc so distance is only an issue at the beginning and end of term.
Rhoda - Your DS is probably objecting to his cousin's personality and that is not reflective of Bristol students in general. What does his cousin find to boast about? I can't think of anything at Bristol that would be worthy of such annoying behaviour. He should have a look for himself as you suggest.
Rhodabull, she didn't like the fact that although it's collegiate, the colleges are not really central to the town, unlike Oxford or Cambridge . She didn't like the fact that college applications are basically a lottery, so you could end up at a college you didn't like. A lot of the colleges had at least some proportion of shared rooms, which she was worried about. A lot of the colleges seemed really run down and scruffy, like they needed a lot of money spent on a refurb. I'm sure it's great in many ways and yes academically the courses have a great reputation but it wasn't for us, and she had categorically thought it would be.
Hmmph, I agree that's a problem about colleges: on the website they show the nice old bits and then to find yourself in a 60s monstrosity having to use park and ride would be a let-down.
That's interesting about the course, bojorojo. I think it does matter, because I know I found my university degree dull (and taught uninspiringly) in the extreme. I do agree, however, that the advice trotted out about putting course above place is ridiculous and peddled by people with an axe to grind.
Whilst I think applicants should pay attention to course and structure, I think it's daft to place too much emphasis on particular options/modules or the academics offering them.
Neither might be available when you get there!