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Which uni to have as insurance choice?

(65 Posts)
doglover Sat 11-Feb-17 17:30:57

Our DD is getting overly anxious about pressing the UCAS button to select her two potential universities (for English lit)....... Here is her dilemma:

Oxford (AAA) will be her Firm choice.
Firm will be either Bristol (AAB contextual offer) or Royal Holloway (AAB + A in EPQ)

She should be OK to achieve Oxford's offer but is really getting her knickers in a twist between the other 2 unis!

She has visited RH twice and loved it. It wouldn't be everyone's choice but she could see herself studying there. She's not seen Bristol yet - applicant day on 22nd Feb - but is very unsure about the poor student satisfaction rates for her subject and possible accommodation issues if it is her insurance choice. However, because it is such a well-regarded uni, she feels that it would be a better 2nd choice than RH ........

Gulp. Neither my DH or I went to university so we're not quite sure how to advise her. Does the rating of a uni carry so much weight? My heart says go with RH .....

homebythesea Sat 11-Feb-17 17:35:44

Bristol would be a more exciting place to live than Egham! If that's important to her then that might be a consideration. Why does she have to press the button before going to the Bristol offer day? Has she looked at TSR etc for student views on the course? I'm a bit sceptical about those student satisfaction surveys because those with gripes (reasonable or spurious) are far more likely to participate than those who are perfectly happy.

Chaotica Sat 11-Feb-17 17:38:50

Wait to see until she visits Bristol?

Allthebestnamesareused Sat 11-Feb-17 17:49:20

Quite often people who go to uni in London or on the outskirts commute to uni and there may not be a campus life as such. It may be better for her socially to go to Bristol which would offer that.

Dh went to uni in London and had a social life based around the rugby team he played for there rather than other students on his course or at uni.

doglover Sat 11-Feb-17 17:49:49

I agree with waiting until she sees Bristol. She then has more information to help make up her mind. I also appreciate that satisfaction surveys can be dangerous to give too much attention to but there does seem to be a bit of an issue with English at Bristol. If anyone knows of somebody studying English there, it would be great to hear from them.

Preschoolprimadonna Sat 11-Feb-17 17:54:42

I did English at Bristol. It may hand changed but there were 3 hours contact per week, no exams, no blind marking (so tutors had an opinion of you often before marking your essay - which ultimately gives you a degree class) and some dodgy teaching.

The Times ranks the course as one of the highest tariffs with lowest satisfaction from students. There are only about 60 places for English which makes it more competitive than it deserves to be for the quality of the education.

Very upper class uni with a lot of people going home at the weekend to visit their ponies. Nice city though.

bojorojo Sat 11-Feb-17 19:05:20

Bristol every time! It is a more favoured university by employers. Student satisfaction can be dodgy. Depends who fills in the questionnaire and so few do it is a load of rubbish really. Totally depends on the options you take as well. Some people don't like the lecturers and choose the wrong options, or don't choose in time, and then complain.

Employers like Bristol because you have to be self-motivated to do the work there. No hand holding or spoon feeding. You can check contact hours but if she has got into Oxford doing a lot of work without handholding won't be a problem.

As a city university has far more going on than Egham and has given your DD a great offer. Also RH empties out at the weekend. Will she be happy with this? Bristol does not. Bris students union not great and she probably won't get any choice of hall if she has to go on insurance. That applies to lots of insurance students though. It is a sought after university.

A number of DDs friends studied English at Bris. No problems reported.

boys3 Sat 11-Feb-17 19:17:46

Definitely worth going to the Bristol offer day first I would think.

What were her other two choices? Have they been discounted as their offers same / higher than the one from Oxford?

doglover Sat 11-Feb-17 19:33:28

Many thanks for your views.

Her other offers were A*AA from Exeter and ABB from Swansea. Neither are now in contention.

VirgilsStaff Sat 11-Feb-17 21:41:01

Either Bristol or RH will give her an excellent education. Really, there's little at stake in either in terms of the academic quality & standard of staff & teaching, in both places' English departments.

So it's really about which place in which she can see herself studying for 3 years.

senua Sat 11-Feb-17 21:41:24

there does seem to be a bit of an issue with English at Bristol.

So why was it on her UCAS list in the first place? What has changed since to change her mind?

VirgilsStaff Sat 11-Feb-17 21:43:12

It is a more favoured university by employers.

A huge generalisation. Take with a pinch of salt.

doglover Sat 11-Feb-17 22:02:57

I understand your comment Senua about her uni selection! She was really stuck for a 5th choice and felt she should put down a high-achieving establishment; she didn't give it sufficient thought. To be honest, she'd always dreamt of going to Oxford but genuinely didn't expect to ever be offered a place - it was always going to be RH! When she was offered a place, it kind of threw everything up in the air - in a lovely way, of course! - so she's sweating over the final choice.

I agree that waiting to visit Bristol is definitely the way to go.

scaryteacher Sat 11-Feb-17 23:05:09

Bojo RHUL does not empty out at the weekends, or so ds, who is currently in his third year there tells me. I think he just might know, don't you?

MabelWotsits Sat 11-Feb-17 23:15:47

DN said almost all her friends leave RH at weekends and have since the beginning.

She is happy there but it isn't a party uni like Bristol. She picked it for the course. I'm certain she will have looked at employability too, which must be ok.

She's 3rd year now and lives in Egham, which isn't very lively.

ArriettyClock1 Sat 11-Feb-17 23:21:03

Really important, I think, to ask students at open days, what they do at weekends.

My ds did not want to be somewhere that empties out at weekends.

quietlycrazy Sun 12-Feb-17 09:16:16

I asked DD, also at RHUL, who confirms that RHUL does NOT empty out at weekends. She loves it, and is very happy with her social life there. She goes to London sometimes to see friends, but not frequently and rarely overnight. But she's not into clubbing. I've heard from friends' DC that Bristol is much more of a party scene, if that's important.

It all depends what your DC wants from her university experience. Different places suit different people. The English department at RHUL is excellent, and if she wants to go on in academia it has a super reputation.

Preschoolprimadonna Sun 12-Feb-17 11:42:38

Having done English at Bristol, I would agree with most of this. If you want to go into academia, Royal Holloway would definitely be a better option. The course at Bristol was bordering on poor.

If you want to go into industry however, I believe Bristol has the better reputation with employers.

Preschoolprimadonna Sun 12-Feb-17 11:49:16

I did English at Bristol, and would agree with most of this.

If you want to go into academia, I would definitely say Royal Holloway is the better option, as the course at Bristol was bordering on poor. However this is going back 15 years or so.

However, if she does want to go into industry, as a recruiter, I would say that Bristol has the better reputation with employers. Partly this is because it is just hard to get into, as the entry requirements are high, because the place numbers are severely limited for English.

Bristol is also full of Oxbridge rejects! Of which I may be one.

bojorojo Sun 12-Feb-17 12:40:02

Emptying out must be a subjective view then! Depends on your circle of friends I guess. However, one thing is for certain, Bristol does not empty out!

When doing an arts subject like English where employers have a huge number of English graduates to choose from, the university with the more kudos amongst employers tends to win out. So few English graduates stay in academia it is a slightly odd way to choose a course, unless you know you want that type of employment. If you are looking to branch away from academia, then look at the typical destinations of people on the course.

In the overall scheme of things, I also doubt any course at Bristol is poor! How can it be? Lecturers change, content changes and students have differing opinions. It varies from year to year. This view is a massive over-generalisation. Some students always want a course at certain universities and Bristol tends to be in this category. It is popular. There is a reason for that!

LordRothermereBlackshirtCunt Sun 12-Feb-17 12:45:32

For English, I would definitely rate RH over Bristol (I'm an academic in a related humanities subject).

doglover Sun 12-Feb-17 13:46:52

Our DD is not really a 'party person' and is aware that Bristol has a lively social scene. She does know, however, that she'd find like-minded friends in such a large setting so isn't unduly worried about fitting in. she liked the 'feel' of RH; partly because everyone was so friendly and keen to talk about their subjects and the place with such pride. She loves her music and would definitely be looking to join a symphony orchestra/chamber ensemble and a choir - both RH and Bristol have strong music departments that she could hopefully get involved with.

BertrandRussell Sun 12-Feb-17 13:52:14

Isn't an insurance supposed to be in case things go really badly wrong and to give an alternative to taking a year out?

doglover Sun 12-Feb-17 14:27:43

Yes, BR, of course it is. But things can go wrong. Our DD is at a 'disadvantaged' inner city sixth form college which has supported her Oxbridge application brilliantly but which does have some teaching and staffing issues. With the best will in the world, she is not getting the high-quality experience that many other Y12 / Y13 students are receiving. She's worked damned hard to achieve 5 offers and a conditional Oxford place ..... but it isn't a done deal. She SHOULD be fine and wants to do her best wherever she eventually goes.

BertrandRussell Sun 12-Feb-17 14:36:58

No- I understand that. That's why it seems to me to be a bit risky to have an insurance that is so very close to the firm. What will happen if something really catastrophic happens? Oxford must really want her with an offer like that for English by the way! grin

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