Durham Uni - PS and which college to pick?

(42 Posts)
christmaschristmaschristmas Thu 18-Oct-18 14:21:23

DD wants to apply for Durham for IR.

Have seen on the website you can submit a different personal statement. Has anyone done this? Her PS is quite academic and I don't know if Durham wants more personal information.

Also colleges - DD wants to be catered (which unfortunately rules out St Mary's) and wants somewhere where people are keen to party and socialise but are not too 'rah'. Oh, and she needs an en-suite for health reasons.

TIA X (how stressful is this UCAS business!)

OP’s posts: |
MissMarplesKnitting Thu 18-Oct-18 14:23:58

I was a Collingwood kid and loved my three years. Hill colleges are considered less 'rah' and back in the late 90's this was the case.

It's also not too far to town, unlike some of the new colleges.

Also loved Cuths when I was there. I think I'd have enjoyed it there.

IsabelleSE19 Thu 18-Oct-18 14:27:42

I was Aidan's - certainly fits with the social aspect of what you're looking for, and not too many rahs (there were a good few though!). I had an en suite in my first year but also had to share the room. First years couldn't get a single en suite, but it was possible for second or third years. This was in the 90s though! I was fine with sharing though.

janinlondon Thu 18-Oct-18 14:48:26

Marys is catered?

ifonly4 Thu 18-Oct-18 15:49:34

OP, sorry can't help you with colleges, but will follow your thread with interest as DD has decided to apply there with a second personal statement as her current one isn't generic at all to their course.

She's already phoned them, and been honest as she doesn't want to waste her time especially as we know two course she's applying to require a second PS and an essay.

christmaschristmaschristmas Thu 18-Oct-18 16:35:14

Thank you @janinlondon

It's so difficult choosing the colleges.

OP’s posts: |
MrsWobble3 Thu 18-Oct-18 16:47:11

Just a word of warning but none of the applicants in my daughters year or my nephews year got the college they initially applied to so don't get too fixated on that. Your Durham experience is likely to be excellent in any college so you don't want your dd starting off feeling disappointed.


MissMarplesKnitting Thu 18-Oct-18 16:49:11

I think Mary's is catered too.

Collingwood vused to be known as the 'hotel on the Hill'. Food was pretty good. Had en suite rooms in year 1 whilst living in. Moved out into house in years 2 & 3.

christmaschristmaschristmas Thu 18-Oct-18 20:07:33

Thank you MrsWobble3 - that actually takes some of the pressure off finding the 'perfect' fit college.

OP’s posts: |
janinlondon Fri 19-Oct-18 09:36:08

CCC - Wobble3 is right, the college thing is actually a lottery, but you do still have to make a choice. If your DD needs a catered single ensuite room, that will cut your choices down considerably. This table may help (its designed for postgrads but it gives you the key info).
Then you can concentrate on the ones that are suitable to visit (it is overwhelming to try to see them all on open days). And then if, like mine, you inspect them all and at the end of the day you walk up to have a look at Castle and she says "No - this is where I must be" all your work will be in vain!! Hahaha.

janinlondon Fri 19-Oct-18 09:39:56

Oh I knew there was one for undergrads, but couldnt find it. Sorry - this is it. www.dur.ac.uk/experience/colleges/ug/table/

BubblesBuddy Sat 20-Oct-18 08:57:35

DD wanted Castle for the choir but didn’t get it. It’s very oversubscribed. A non musical school friend did get it and DD wasn’t impressed. It’s a lottery.

MarchingFrogs Sat 20-Oct-18 11:00:35

Presumably if the the en suite is an established need, rather than a preference, there should be more of a requirement for the university to honour a request for particular accommodation? Assuming, that is, that they are made aware in the first place.

I'm sure that it would not apply to the OP's DD, but I have to say that I get exasperated by the annual procession (on various sites) of posts along the lines of I/ My DC was allocated accommodation X, which is totally unsuitable for my / their <very specific needs> which of course they didn't mention in their application - alluding to something that no sane accommodation officer would have ignored, had they only known about it in the first place...

jeanne16 Sat 20-Oct-18 13:12:18

My DS applied to Durham and didn’t fill in the additional Personal Statement, and was offered a place. The advice is unless you feel the need to say something very different, then don’t. They really don’t need another version of your PS (which by all accounts, none of the unis read anyway!).

BubblesBuddy Sat 20-Oct-18 13:53:34

Ah, but some do Jeanne16. The advice re personal statements isn’t always correct on here and plenty of prospective students at Durham will have applied to Oxbridge as well so Durham will get excellent personal statements to read! Some universities now make it clear what the ps means to them in the overall evaluation of the student and what weighting it is given in relation to
GCSE and A level results. Whether it’s worth doing another one is only really worthwhile if the Durham course is very different from the others.

CornflakeMum Sat 20-Oct-18 15:14:42

Very few in my son's year got their first choice college either, so as MrsWobble says, don't stress about it too much. For DS the bigger issue was sharing rooms. He applied to a college which had no shared rooms and was allocated one which was 80% shared for first years. In the end decided not to accept it!

Answeringwhyquestionssince2002 Sun 21-Oct-18 23:20:50

My dd started studying at Durham three weeks ago. She is at St Marys, and likes it v much (it's fully catered).

She submitted an alternative Ps for Durham, as the course she was applying for there was slightly different to the others on her UCAS form. It was quite straightforward in the end - there is an option on the online application form to submit alternative PS, it checks it for word limit the same as the others, then confirms that it has been sent. She got an email fm Durham shortly after, confirming it had been received. I think once an alternative one has been submitted they can't see the original one, but might be wrong about that.

Don't know much about the other colleges, dd was keen on Marys from the start and was lucky enough to get her first choice. It's one of the larger and more popular colleges, vast majority of rooms are single, there seems to be a good vibe there. I'm hearing nothing but good about it so far anyway!

janinlondon Mon 22-Oct-18 15:24:53

DD is a Castle fresher. It was her dream and she loves it. She is actually in the castle itself - lots are allocated buildings nearby. Her personal statement was very definitely aimed at the specific academic dept in Durham - she fed back aims based on the open day talks there. They definitely read it.

Coleoptera Tue 23-Oct-18 11:24:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CornflakeMum Tue 23-Oct-18 12:40:07

Coleoptera - the problem is that the student doesn't know whether they are going to be sharing a room until after they have accepted the place, I believe? DS rejected Durham as his firm choice in favour of another university because he was allocated to a college which was 80% shared for first years. He also didn't feel sufficiently enthused about the course at Durham vs other unis. Perhaps if he's been blown away by the course he might have rethought it, but as it was, in the balance he didn't think it was worth it.

It does seem strange that in this era, where the student is the 'customer' and is often taking out huge loans for fees/accommodation, that they commit to paying perhaps £6000 to accommodation in advance of actually knowing what their room will be like/ if they will be sharing! When you think how long people spend searching reviews etc for a few night in a hotel etc and yet students are required to just blindly enter into the accommodation contract. Durham does seem to be one of the worst in this respect though and seems to have a certain arrogance that students should just be grateful to be there.

goodbyestranger Tue 23-Oct-18 13:12:11

Coleoptera why would the stats matter, if they exist (which I can't think for a moment they do). I also doubt they lose 'many'.

DD1 shared in her first year in Oxford (old college, originally male only). But then her room was fab and on the front quad - that was the deal. But just a warning, the DT may not be immune if they get their Oxbridge offer either, depending on college.

CornflakeMum Tue 23-Oct-18 13:54:58

A friend of my son's has just gone to Durham and is in one of the Bailey colleges. He's having problems as he is quite a studious, quiet soul but is sharing a room with a self-proclaimed 'party animal' who is routinely coming back to their room drunk at 2am/3 am. There are apparently a lot of this boy's old school friends at Durham too, and at least 3 or 4 in the same college and their room has become party central. I think my son's friend has already been to see the college tutors asking if there's anyone he can swap with sad

janinlondon Tue 23-Oct-18 14:07:30

DD is sharing. When we looked initially she said no way could she share, but she decided that her priority was Durham first, and nowhere else came close. She has a great room mate (they were in contact on facebook the second their allocation came through), they share an enormous room in the castle (two fireplaces), with an ensuite bathroom. They all know its likely you will share in first year. And yes, you do have to accept your offer before accommodation is allocated. I haven't heard of anyone giving up their offer because they have to share a room. I would think it is extremely rare. You have to have made those sorts of decisions before you apply really.

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Tue 23-Oct-18 14:13:46

Some colleges are more popular than others. There are stats for this year on the website which show the percentage chances of getting into a college: look under Colleges Office/Allocations

CornflakeMum Tue 23-Oct-18 14:28:15

jan - well, you couldn't give up your offer really, could you, because you'd actually be giving up your university place? As I say, though, after receiving offers my son decided to firm a different uni over Durham and the risk of shared accommodation was one of the things which swayed his decision.
I can't imagine they have any stats for it unless they ask students why they didn't choose Durham. But they can fill their places many times over, so I don't suppose they care. My friend says that so many of the students have come from grotty boarding school dorms etc that they are used to sharing and slightly shabby accommodation!

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