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Is it worth even going to a 'bad' university?(29 Posts)
This isn't me being snobby. It's genuinely very far down on the tables. DD is very keen to go to university, to do Ecology. She has been rejected from 3... has an offer for 1 and waiting for another. Her predictions do fall short for most universities. I've tried the whole "do you think university is right for you" but she isn't really having any of it. Is it worth getting a degree from a "bad" uni?
Loving a subject is a good reason. Experiance and fun is a good reason. Expecting a positive ecominic return is unlikely
Having a great time is likely, which in itself can encourage maturation.
Although to expect greatly improved graduate prospects/financial return is not likely. So in the traditional sense of going to university to join a profession etc, it is certainly not worth it, and will add more to the national debt. But, to your daughter it could make her life a lot nicer for the next few years.
Who knows what happens at the end
Honestly, unless you want to get into business or politics or law or something else where prestige actually matters, not really. And even then without a lot of luck or the right connections you will struggle in those industries anyway despite all the Oxford firsts in the world so you might as well take your chances somewhere that suits you. Something like ecology? Experience will matter more than qualifications so go to the university which offers the best industry experience.
I think it depends entirely on the subject. A lot of more vocational degrees were always the domain of polytechnics anyway. I know lots of architects for example, and it doesn’t seem to matter career-wise whether they went to a former poly or RG.
What sort of career is your DD aiming for? Has she talked to people who work in the area, and found out where they studied?
Something like ecology? Experience will matter more than qualifications so go to the university which offers the best industry experience.
If it’s a young person then the grade they achieve upon graduation matters more than the university or even the course. I have employed ecology grads with a 1st as trainee investment analysts. It she’s a mature student then going to the best university possible AND the grade matters more than the course.
Agreeing about the experience. Voluntary work alongside her degree would be a must for a course that will attract a lot of people with a romanticised idea of where the degree could lead them. Working with a local wildlife Trust would make a bigger difference to her prospects than simply studying at a more prestigious university.
When I was a graduate student at Oxford one of my colleagues had her first degree from the equivalent of a "bad University". She had done very well there and was probably a better student than I was, although I'd gone to a Russell group University.
And lots of Unis have specialist areas where they might be the best regardless of their general reputation.
How refreshing. I agree with all the answers above, but wasn't what I was expecting from reading a lot of MN threads
* the grade they achieve upon graduation matters more than the university or even the course.*
Maybe that's true for some employers/fields, but I can't believe it's the rule. Especially with some universities (but not all) indulging in significant grade inflation.
Depends on the subject too - some universities have poor general reputations but are shit-hot for specific subjects.
A former colleague got a 2:2 in her subject from the local shit uni (I feel like I can say that having very stupidly gone there for a postgrad qualification and experienced it for myself) and now teaches it. It's not a shortage subject either! So it doesn't always matter if you have other skills and experience to offer alongside your degree. If you're relying on your degree on its own the university matters much more.
As a sixth form tutor, I saw many students off to university.
My experience is that the factor that had the least bearing on their success and happiness, while at university or subsequently, was the university’s position in the league tables.
* some universities have poor general reputations but are shit-hot for specific subjects.*
And some with good general reputations have a few middling courses.
Depending on where you live, for a subject like ecology/conservation management there may be courses at FE colleges which may have local links and be worth looking into as an alternative. We have a rurally based FE college near us which holds open days which are a fun family day out, seems to offer a lot of useful courses (some at degree level) ... if I had to advise a kid hereabouts with lacklustre a level predictions I'd certainly encourage them to at least consider this sort of place.
I think the problem for OrangeCube’s DD is that she has already been rejected from 3 universities and doesn’t have great predicted grades. Therefore the university that has offered presumably isn’t the best.
If she wants to work in this field, then what links with employers are on offer? How many grads go into grad level employment? What does she want to do? She possibly won’t pay back much of her loan on current salary levels and it therefore comes down to whether she likes the university and the course. I assume she has one university yet to reply. It could be a waste of money but if all goes well she could get the job of her dreams. It’s just a bigger gamble than at a top university.
DS1 got ceap A level grades, went to a "crap" uni, got a 2.2.
However he grew up in that time away from home and came back far more mature.
Even with his 2.2 from a crap uni he got onto a graduate scheme and 3 1/2years after leaving is a high earner in a sector not directly related to his degree subject!
There are different routes for everyone and if she wants to go to uni then I would encourage her to do so. However as others have said work experience and internships during holidays are worthh their weight in gold not that DS1 did any!
Unfortunately many grad schemes won’t look at a 2:2 so options might be very limited. Well done your DS though.
I know I was surprised at how many do though including Civil Service ones. It dpes just show there are routes out there if you can find them.
Also the £12billion student tuition loans debt of whichever 45% will never be replayed will imo cause government to revisit the current fairly generous repayment terms ( no repayment until you earn £25,000 and written off after 30 years) and even low earners may in future be expected to repay their entire loans
The current scheme is fairly generous although everyone complains about it. I think the Auger Report is showing a light on what’s worth doing and what isn’t.
Many people will only pay a fraction back. Parents who have children and work part time for example. If we want an expanded university sector, someone has to pay for it. Contrary to current beliefs, it’s not all of the students! I think they might lower the interest rate but extend the loan period. The 2 year degree might help too but I have my doubts about the best universities offering them. Buckingham has for 40 years but it’s not taken off elsewhere.
Op , I wonder if it is worth your dd applying once she has her grades in hand and taking a year out to work on an ecological project. She may secure a "better" place with practical experience and be more focussed. Presumably most of those she applied to were above her predicted grades. Alternatively she tries Adjustment in August if her grades are above the firmed offer and meet the typical offer for others. If the one she has an offer from seems weak what criteria are you looking at - low student satisfaction, low employability, high drop out rate? I suspect there will start to be a backlash against some of the lower rated unis , applications lower, funding may be cut and courses withdrawn.
Having had vague professional connections with ecologists, I think she could also usefully look at apprenticeship or entry level roles with Natural England, ecological consultancy or wildlife trusts - industry experience is really important to get started, and she may be able to train alongside as well as build her network. A couple of years' practical experience will help her hugely if she wants to go on to the full degree later too - universities with higher entry requirements might waive them for a candidate with practical experience.
I have a goddaughter with an ecology degree from an FE type establishment, happily teaching biology.
Only if you are studying a shit subject too. So media etc would be a massive waste of money.
If she is genuinely interested in ecology then she will be fine.