This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
St Andrews, Edinburgh, Durham - anyone have knowledge(80 Posts)
Does anyone have a DC at these unis or have any knowledge of them? if so, I'd appreciated any honest positives and negatives.
DD has had a change of heart over where to apply for uni. At this stage, it's impossible to get her to open days for St Andrews and Edinburgh, however, hoping to get her booked onto an tour around each in summer hols and an overnight stay in each area, so at least she's seen something of the area. Durham have an open day late October which we can attend, but she won't have much time to consider other options if that gets written off.
St Andrews is very isolated and like a giant boarding school (or Hogwarts)
I loved it (went there many
many moons ago ) although I was ready to leave by the time I graduated (took 6 years: one year in France and one extra year changing course to do my MA in joint Economics/French rather than joint French/Russian but I was 17 when I went ), but ds hated it when he went to an Open Day there in October (I couldn't disagree with his arguments) even though it was probably the best course for what he's wanting to do (International Relations).
He's off to Aberdeen instead in September (He has an unconditional), which he felt was the best cross between an old/ancient University campus and a city university, as well as a good course (and not his home Uni )
The Open Days - or even just visiting - can make a big difference. He only went to the Aberdeen Open Day under duress but loved it
I was at St Andrews (20 years ago 😔) I hated it. I was from a comp though, and in first year I lived with (among others) a guy who went to Eton. Didn't find much common ground.
It's quite insular. I wish I'd gone to Durham which was my second choice.
I also changed course, from physics - what was I thinking! - to English but I didn't have to do an extra year, thank God. Did extra credits in third and fourth year though.
Saga - I went there 40 years ago (this October) I was not only from a comprehensive, but also went direct from 5th year . I think the residence I went to helped (I was in the Atholl). Still have many of the friends I made there (who come to think of it, almost all went to state schools themselves ).
But I agree: it is insular.
I went to Durham 20+ years ago and loved it. The college set up suited me very well (lived in halls in yr 1 and 3) and I liked the mix of small town on the doorstep and Newcastle a train ride away.
Open days are a big plus if you can manage it, I agree. I went to Durham and I just knew it was 'home'. It was a 5 hr journey from my actual home, much to my Mum's horror. I still miss it. Going there was the best decision for me. Living in college accommodation made me feel very safe and as I was a very shy kid, that was very important for me. Ah,if only we could do it all again with hindsight! Maybe my kids will go.
Another ex-palatinate. Durham was fantastic, my course in particular rated best in the country over Oxford and Cambridge at the time. Loved the college system and the course.
I don't know if it still holds true for Durham, but you can basically pick your college according to private (The 'Bailey' colleges) or State (the Hill colleges). I of course, didn't realise this somehow and was very lucky to end up in a hill college with people similar to me. This may not be the case anymore, I'm very out of date with my info!
^ private school attendance vs. State school, I mean. Sorry, it's late!
So so out of date, * toit.* I was at Durham 15ish years ago, Bailey college, and had a very diverse group of friends.
Please don't suggest people limit their uni options in any way because of schooling!!
I grew up in Edinburgh and went to Durham (left 10 years ago). They are both absolutely fantastic places to be students. Does Edinburgh/Scotland still do 4 year courses though? Which presumably can get expensive... and Edinburgh had a whacky term structure last time I looked (semesters not trimesters).
I imagine Durham can feel a bit small after a while - though there’s always Newcastle down the road. (I did a languages degree so had some time away after 2 years which made it fresh again.) I loved that you had the collegiate system but none of the pressure of Oxbridge.
I did hear a rumour that you can no longer directly apply to a college - you apply for your subject and are auto allocated a college - could be wrong but I hope they do go in this direction, as this should iron out any remaining old school nepotism.
I believe that the Scottish Unis only charge for the 3 years (but am not absolutely sure as it's not something that impacts me
or rather ds as we're in Scotland).
You do have to budget for the cost of extra year of living costs though. Some subjects allow you to go direct into 2nd year from
good A Levels/Advanced Highers, but personally I wouldn't recommend it as you miss out on learning the new "independent" way of working required at Uni.
OK peony, I did say I didn't know if it was still the same! I wasn't suggesting they limit their options, just something that it might be worth investigating that's all.
The different colleges vaguely suited different types of people when I was there, they all had quite different feels to them. * shuffles off *
My daughter is about to go into her second year at St Andrews. She loves it. She's from a state school background and has loads of friends from all different backgrounds and from many different countries.
No, it's not got masses of clubs if that's your thing, but there is a vibrant social life and clubbing is relatively easily accessible in Dundee for the price of a shared taxi home. In one sense yes it is isolated but in reality it's pretty well connected with Leuchars being a short bus ride away (station on the East Coast mainline) and Edinburgh being about an hour away on the bus.
St Andrews definitely do ask for fees for all four years unless you apply to do direct entry into the second year which you can in some STEM subjects. I believe some don't (Dundee?).
I know Edinburgh have an open day towards the end of September as I am planning on taking my son.
Toit99 makes a good point with collegiate colleges all having their different feels, which is why just visiting a university, even if it is in the holidays, can be a useful way to check places out.
I do agree with peony33 not to target a college because of the background of its students. There’s enough division in life without self-enforcing that. It’s healthy to rub shoulders with the other. Breaks down barriers, fosters understanding, you might even become friends.
My son is currently halfway through a 4 year Masters degree at Durham. He, like many at Durham, is an Oxbridge reject but has said that he has no regrets that he ended up at Durham. If you want to know anything specific from a current student you can ask me and I will ask him.
I would put them in the order of
Both for jobs and preference (although might depend if you are in England or Scotland - the English do not always want to the cost of 4 year degrees in Scotland).
My son last year put in his mental order of preference Durham above Edinburgh and had offers from both (but went to Bristol). he says though he would have had a much better time at Edinburgh than Durham (although I am not sure how much you enjoy going out should really be your main thing)
And yes, you cannot choose your college at Durham although you can state your preference with regard to more formal/less formal, self catering/catered etc. My son says he doesn't know anyone who got their first choice of college though, but again, he has no regrets. He has the classic allegiance to his college and thinks he is in the best one, even though it didn't feature anywhere on his list of preferences! I take that as a good sign that the collegiate system works.
DS is a state schooler. He has made friends with people from a range of backgrounds. Mostly state school I think, or traditional grammar, but one of his friends is from Eton.
I went to St Andrews, my dd has just graduated from Edinburgh.
I would never recommend St Andrews. Edinburgh is a fantastic town and the university has supported my dd through some very difficult times but it has a poor and falling student satisfaction rate.
What does your dd want to study?
One DD went to Edinburgh and one to Durham. Both very happy, good tuition, great social life, marvellous places to live. Both rejected unconditional offers from St Andrews, as the town is very small, private accommodation scarce and expensive if you’re not in hall, and there’s not much there (one tiny cinema, one theatre, damn all night life except pubs.)
If you’re outgoing and like the buzz of a big city with fab culture, Edinburgh is a no brainer. If you’re a quiet studious introvert who wants a peaceful village atmosphere, St Andrews might be ok. If you want a middle way, go to beautiful historic Durham, with a wild party city (Newcastle) just 15 mins away on the train!
I went to Edinburgh last century and DD is there noe. She’s loving it.
What do you want to know?
Also, are you sure about the October open day at Durham? It is usually held a couple of weeks before term starts. A quick Google suggests it is 21st-22nd September this year, unless I have the wrong end of the stick.
Why would the opinion of strangers in their 40s be of any relevance?