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Insurance choice - Birmingham or Exeter?

(41 Posts)
Addley Sun 16-Apr-17 09:24:36

I'm dithering over UCAS choices! Studying English, starting this September/October. I'm on an Access course, part time, and know what my firm is going to be, but it's a high offer - all 45 credits at distinction (which is what I'm predicted, but still) - so need to think very carefully about my insurance as there a good chance I'll end up there. As I'm doing my Access course over two years, I already have 30 distinctions banked.

My offers from Birmingham and Exeter are:

Birmingham - 30 distinctions, 15 merits
Exeter - 12 distinctions, 21 merits, 12 passes.

I think I prefer Birmingham, but it's fairly marginal, and Exeter's offer is so tempting - you basically can't fail a module on Access as they'll let you resubmit until you pass, so Exeter is very nearly a sure thing (only need one more module at a merit or above and I'm in).

Birmingham has IMO a slightly more interesting-looking course, and has the advantages of being near a big city, and I like the campus. I've heard things I don't like about the student culture at Exeter, but ATEOTD that's gossip and as a mature student I likely wouldn't be so involved in all that stuff. The accommodation I saw at Exeter looked a bit grim, but I'm sure it's not all like that. And it's possible a smaller city might suit me better - I've never lived in a city. And Exeter has such a low offer…

I'm wibbling.

Does anyone have any experiences​ of either place or could give any opinions either way?

Addley Sun 16-Apr-17 09:54:33

And of course, it's much easier to get to Birmingham, from pretty much anywhere, than to Exeter.

MrsC2810 Sun 16-Apr-17 09:58:02

Not sure on the uni choices, but you can get to pretty much anywhere from Exeter. The main station (St Davids) connects to London, Birmingham etc.
The city itself is nice and easy to get around, I live here and I like it. The university has tons of student accommodation in and around the city, lots of students I know mainly house share.

Addley Sun 16-Apr-17 10:13:24

I'd likely be in university accommodation all three years, so the university accommodation is quite important to me.

The journey from where I live (southeast) to Birmingham is slightly shorter than to Exeter, both by car and by train (and for reasons I won't go into train travel is a big problem for me), but the distance to my other family is much shorter from Birmingham.

I do like the idea of a quieter, more compact city, but on the other hand, Birmingham sounds so exciting grin

Addley Sun 16-Apr-17 10:15:25

The journey wouldn't be enough to put me off Exeter entirely, though. I wouldn't be back and forth all term.

impostersyndrome Sun 16-Apr-17 14:12:57

How do the courses compare? Do you prefer the optional modules on one over the other? What about mode of assessment?

Addley Sun 16-Apr-17 15:34:10

This is one of the things that put me off Birmingham ever so slightly, assessment - they mention group presentations, and I hate group assessment and am not particularly keen on presentations. There's a possibility I might be able to be exempted from group assessment and presentation work, but that kind of accommodation cam always be awkward and I hate asking for special treatment. Exeter didn't mention group assessment at all, but i guess that's not a guarantee - lots of universities seem to mention presentations and group assessments angry I like the modules for both. I think I sightly prefer Birmingham's course, but really there's not a lot in it.

senua Sun 16-Apr-17 16:51:22

Library of Birmingham - "houses Britain’s most important Shakespeare collection, and one of the two most important Shakespeare collections in the world"
Midlands Arts Centre - 14th most-visited free attractions in England. "Specialising in contemporary work, we offer a busy programme of theatre, dance, independent cinema, music, spoken word, comedy, exhibitions and special events, as well as a wealth of practical classes in all aspects of creativity."
Royal Shakespeare Company - down the road in Stratford.
Birmingham Literature Festival - "is now in its 20th year. From a tiny series of events when it started, the festival is now 10-day book bonanza in October every year which takes over the city of Birmingham."

Catinthecorner Sun 16-Apr-17 18:02:37

Flip a coin, and go to the uni that wins the coin toss.

Are you happy or disappointed?

Addley Sun 16-Apr-17 21:56:46

The trouble with the coin flip trick for this one is that I already know I'm favouring Birmingham over Exeter, so the coin flip would make me happy if Birmingham and disappointed if Exeter. But there's the issue of Exeter's much lower offer - if I pick Birmingham and then fail to meet Birmingham's offer, I'll be gutted as I'll have to go through clearing and could end up anywhere. But if I pick Exeter and it turns out I would've met Birmingham's offer, I'll also be a bit upset, as I do slightly prefer Birmingham. But I'm not sure if I prefer Birmingham enough to risk going into clearing. <sigh>

Those sound amazing senua

greathat Sun 16-Apr-17 21:59:39

Go for Birmingham. Its fab. I bet if you didn't get what you needed you could get Exeter through clearing...

SpaghettiMeatballs Sun 16-Apr-17 22:05:55

I can't believe you are questioning this given you want to study English! The chance to study at The Shakespeare Institute only really comes with Birmingham.

SpaghettiMeatballs Sun 16-Apr-17 22:06:18

Also.... what greathat said!

titchy Sun 16-Apr-17 23:37:58

What's your firm choice?

Addley Mon 17-Apr-17 06:32:01

It's so hard to know what to pick just from university websites​ etc., but what I'm getting here is a strong lean towards Birmingham.

I didn't know Exeter used clearing… the idea of clearing freaks me out so much that I've had strong urges to play it extremely safe.

Addley Mon 17-Apr-17 07:48:21

Firm is Cambridge, not that I think it makes any difference to where to insure.

senua Mon 17-Apr-17 07:55:16

I'm tempted to resort to clichés - who dares wins and do it once and do it right.

who dares wins : you sound like you are bright so you should aim high. Don't let lack of confidence (women's biggest enemy) hold you back.
Do it once and do it right : try to make the right decision but don't do anything rash just for the sake of any decision. Do you have to go this year? - if needs be, you can always re-apply next year with grades-in-hand.

Believe in

Enelya Mon 17-Apr-17 08:04:24

Having already got 30 distinctions and being able to get an offer from Cambridge, I can't see any realistic possibility that you will miss the Birmingham offer unless you have saved all the options you hate to the end?

OhTheRoses Mon 17-Apr-17 08:12:56

I'd go Birmingham. Exeter offers dd AAA, we went and found the campus and City grim.

She's now in the unenviable position of ranking three offers at ABB. Looking at one today.

hahahaIdontgetit Mon 17-Apr-17 08:15:55

Birmingham, without a doubt.

trinitybleu Mon 17-Apr-17 08:23:52

In terms of cities I'd go Exeter every time and everyone I know who went there loved it and is aiming to return to the area.

But there's nothing wrong with Birmingham so go with your favourite course

senua Mon 17-Apr-17 09:03:59

Ah. Hadn't read the 07:48 reply before I posted. Have you heard of imposter syndrome, OP?

Addley Mon 17-Apr-17 09:21:09

Mmm, imposter syndrome. Possible. But there's no such thing as a sure thing! I have medical conditions/disabilities which, if they decide to pop up at exam time, will bugger my grades somewhat grin (unlikely, they're well-controlled, but it's something that lingers at the back of your mind IYSWIM).

Roses, that's awkward. Similar kind of thing going on with Access to HE; the vast majority of the places I considered have the same typical offer - 30 distinctions, 15 merits. It's a nuisance.

I think things are clarifying in my head a bit; I'm thinking more and more that Birmingham is the better choice even if it's a risk…

I have until 8th June to decide and will ask my tutors/lecturers what they think, too, but I cant expect them to be up on all the universities in the country grin

Enelya Mon 17-Apr-17 09:35:33

If you are worried about your health, would it reassure you to check what the procedures are for submitting a drs note if you are ill at exam time?

FlyAwayPeter Mon 17-Apr-17 10:00:35

I've taught at both universities (not in EngLit but in the Humanities - I'm a northerner so came back home in the end). Both excellent English courses - you will get a fantastic education whichever you choose.

One thing to say: the Shakespeare Institute is for postgrad students. You won't study there as an undergrad. You can go to use the library, but it will be at your own cost. But the main campus library is excellent.

It seems to me that then your choice comes down to your feeling about each campus and each city. If you don't live in a city currently, and have either physical disability or MH issues (I deduce that from what you say about train travel etc), then that needs to be part of your thinking.

Birmingham is the biggest city in the UK after London - it's a big often charmless place, although the university campus & the surrounds of south Brum are OK )(they'll tell you "more trees than Paris" etc). It's a very car oriented city so if you drive & can afford to keep a car, you'll be better off than relying on the buses.

Have you looked at the student accommodation at both places? It's a good 15 minute walk at least at Birmingham - I stayed there for a conference just last month, and remembered the walk from the Vale - the student village, to the campus.

At Exeter, the accommodation is mostly on campus, and closer, but students used to tell stories about the hills! Exeter is a much smaller city & very much closer to the sea & the countryside. There was a lot going on when I lived there (I commuted weekly from London), and the students seemed to have a pretty good life there. There are some very positive things about a small, student-oriented city.

But if you've tried the coin trick and you really want Birmingham, go for it. Otherwise, you'll always wonder ... And Exeter will always seem second-best.

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