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Aberystwyth

(136 Posts)
Piggywaspushed Sat 26-Jan-19 08:10:14

Has anyone got recent experience of Aberystwyth Uni? DS has a conditional place there for International Politics. I do know that Aber has a very good reputation in this area.
DS is a funny old fish and utterly demotivated ... but he does like the sound of the modules. He has a lowered (contextual ) offer of BBC already. he sits a scholarship exam next week and if he does OK, that could drop to CCD.

So far, so good. However, we live 200 miles away , and it isn't the easiest place to get to. DGPs live in Wales , but in the Valleys , so not all that near. DH thinks it is too far away and is steering DS towards Lincoln, Hull or NTU.

Because of distance, we haven't even visited most unis : most we have visited DS hasn't then applied to!

I have never lived near home. My DF is 400 miles away, my DM thousands! I live 500 miles from where I grew up and went to uni 200 miles away from where I lived. But DS is so unlike me, I wonder if he was swapped at birth!

I have all the info about league tables and so on, so don't need that kind of info. My concerns about Aberystwyth are more about the place, and how out of place someone from a boring town a hundred miles from the sea, somewhere in the east of England, might feel there!

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Twickerhun Sat 26-Jan-19 08:15:18

It’s a lovely university town, lots of fun. Great course. Much better than Lincoln (I actually have studied at both and that course at Aber but a billion years ago). Yes it a pain to get to but it’s a beautiful drive that you won’t be doing too often.

Piggywaspushed Sat 26-Jan-19 08:27:16

Thanks twicker. I did make the point that we wouldn't make the drive much!

I have been there once, quite a long time ago. All I remember is that it was cold and there's a funicular!

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LooseAtTheSeams Sat 26-Jan-19 08:44:51

Piggy I was a student there decades ago but have visited for a conference much more recently! It is still a lovely town and very much geared to students. I went there for a particular course and because of a very sunny open day! (The sea views are superb!)
The distance thing was definitely a downside - my family were in Essex and once I'd got there for the term, that was it. I did sometimes go home during reading week, though, so that is an option. There is a fantastic arts centre that is part of the main campus and worth a look if you decide to visit.

jojo895 Sat 26-Jan-19 08:53:05

I studied at Aberystwyth, although I graduated 8 years ago now! My family lived in Reading and travelling was a pain, but I loved my time there and the university and my course were fantastic. The town was very much geared for students and living next to the sea was a huge bonus, BBQs on the beach were a regular event! I did struggle with the distance but I still managed to go home for the odd long weekend in between holidays when my lectures allowed. I really did love it there despite the distance from home.

ZigZagZombie Sat 26-Jan-19 08:57:53

I went to Aber 25 years ago. It is fairly geographically isolated, but the major benefit to that was that people didn't disappear at weekends and there were always things going on at the weekend so you'd never find yourself knocking around halls on your own.

This was all pre-internet shopping days of course, but very few of my contemporaries were in debt because there simply wasn't anywhere to spend your money except the pubs. grin I remember the collective horror as we head about a girl who'd gone to Manchester and blown 2k in one term on shopping & clothes.

My gran lived in Cardiff and there used to be a daily coach went down through the valleys - think it took about 3 hours in all but was all easy enough.

LooseAtTheSeams Sat 26-Jan-19 09:23:27

Oh yes, Summer term and the beach - happy memories!

popolvuh Sat 26-Jan-19 10:06:31

Hi op
I attended aber two years ago admittedly as a masters student but I lived in halls etc. Like anywhere it has its ups and downs but most people there seemed to love it. The town is very geared towards students as they are a large part of the population and as pp said something is always going on. The isolation is significant though I was older and had a car meaning despite a long drive I could go home easily and take trips etc but I was in the minority with having a car even among post grads. A lot of my friends did have to plan carefully and get multiple trains/buses home. If your son is in anyway a home bird who will struggle not easily being able to pop home then unless he can drive it’s probably not the place for him. The same goes for if he’s into big city life, there are many many pubs and bars etc but shopping is limited as are restaurant choices etc. If he enjoys the countryside and is happy for most social activities being centred around university then he’ll be fine. That aside though I really enjoyed it, winter was cold and miserably wet but the summer term of endless beach bbqs more than made up for it. One thing I would suggest you look into is the current structure of the university, it was in pretty big financial trouble and that was reflected in terms of staff cuts, lecture hours etc although I wasn’t in the politics department so may be an entirely different story there. Please feel free to DM any specific questions you have or ask away here.

RockyRoadster Sat 26-Jan-19 10:40:34

DD is in her final year there, but not studying the course your DS is looking at. She has thoroughly enjoyed her time there and found it a friendly and supportive place.

She didn't want a big city experience so hasn't minded the lack of big clubs and shops. It is about 3 hours from home by train so she doesn't tend to come home during termtime but does occasionally travel to see friends at other universities.

Bayleyf Sat 26-Jan-19 10:45:11

I work in a political job, and recruit a lot.

We look very favourably at Aber graduates because the course is so good and the grads tend to be really engaged and interested.

You'd be lucky to make a shortlist from the other unis on your list.

BestIsWest Sat 26-Jan-19 10:57:10

Hi Piggy I think I posted before on another thread - my DD and her DP went there (DD graduated in 2014) and my niece is there at the moment.

All of them adored their time there. It is true that it’s a long way from anywhere. We only live 60 miles away but it’s the best part of a two hour drive even for us but DD’s DP lived on the east coast so had an even longer journey. They both came home at least once a term.

However, the town is properly geared up for students and I was impressed whenever I visited. DM me if you want to know any more.

BestIsWest Sat 26-Jan-19 10:58:08

Forgot to add that one of the ppl in my post studied InterPol there.

MarchingFrogs Sat 26-Jan-19 11:07:43

If they ever make another series, he might find himself work as an extra
www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03sgfbz

Frazzled2207 Sat 26-Jan-19 11:17:10

If he is alright with being a significant distance away from home then I would encourage. Don't know much about the uni but it's a nice place with a lovely atmosphere for students. Being a bit isolated all is right, far less people will disappear at weekends (which they did a lot when I was at uni in a big city with good transport links). Being a bit of a trek from home might be the making of him.

Piggywaspushed Sat 26-Jan-19 11:27:39

Thanks everyone : that is really helpful and food for thought. He is neither a home bird (in that he isn't very affectionate!) nor a city slicker (he has barely ever shopped and doesn't go out!)and quite an intorvert : which to me are all reasons to go somewhere more small scale and homely. I can see why he liked NTU but I think of it as a party uni! Also, Aber has catered halls and he really cannot cook....

Tbh, he won't get in unless he gets the scholarship offer. But I think at Aber his (retired) GPs would actually travel up to see him a fair amount and he'd like that.

bayley thanks for your insider info on politics. I thought this , too, and keep telling DH this! His other one to choose from is Portsmouth. I dod think Hull had a good reputation for politics? It's his favourite at the moment : although I have no idea why!

He is very down on himself and I do keep telling him he should be realy pleased he already has a reduced offer from as good a uni as Aber.

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Piggywaspushed Sat 26-Jan-19 11:28:56

I agree frazzled : I think he needs to learn to stand on his own feet . I actively discouraged any very local uni for that reason.

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norbert23 Sat 26-Jan-19 11:35:59

I absolutely loved it, it's a good place to grow up and find your feet and being far away from home is quite exciting and liberating. Also not very expensive and you can walk most places. There's a great atmosphere there and I am still very close to the friends I made while I was there. Nothing like a beach bbq!

LoniceraJaponica Sat 26-Jan-19 11:36:14

I loved Hinterland MarchingFrogs

BestIsWest Sat 26-Jan-19 11:38:04

DD (and DNeice) had a revised (lower) offer from Aber after the offer holders day - they were taken off for a friendly chat with a member of staff. Don’t know if they still do this? Are you going to visit?

Piggywaspushed Sat 26-Jan-19 12:00:30

Maybe Best : we'll see what happens with these entrance exams first . Unfortunately, the Offer Holder day doesn't fall in the half term weekend, which would be easiest!

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Lou0390 Sat 26-Jan-19 12:03:15

I studied history at Aber 10 years ago and loved it. Wonderful education, plenty to do and lots of various clubs to join. A few close friends did Inter Pol and have done very well for themselves. Best of luck!

popolvuh Sat 26-Jan-19 12:16:32

I used to work assiting open and offer days and as far as I’m aware (finishing sept 2017) offer holders are taken off for a chat at the offer holder days. I would really encourage going to it even if it misses a day of school and if I remember correctly financial help for trains hotels etc for people coming far was readily available. There was also a lot of unconditional offers made in my department after these chats although they weren’t advertised as interviews and no offers would be increased/withdrawn on the back of them. That aside it’s a good day to get a feel of the place

LooseAtTheSeams Sat 26-Jan-19 12:29:29

The accommodation is very good - lots of catered options. Aber made a big effort to improve the student experience some years back and it's worth actually seeing what's on offer. Obviously the department is great.
I love Hinterland but as far as I recall, the only bit of the uni you see in it is the Old College, not the far larger modern buildings!

Piggywaspushed Sat 26-Jan-19 12:54:54

Yes, they do pay travel expenses : my issue is, as DH and I are both teachers, we can' take a day off work, hence wishing it was half term!

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maryso Sat 26-Jan-19 13:34:24

No direct experience of Aberysthwyth as a place, apart from being aware its quite lovely and has stuff like the Welsh National Library, cute steam railway, and always seems to have the kind of places and things you find in old places but is small and manageable on a human scale.

I do know of at least one family whose family business will always include international politics who send to Aber. Without a doubt they would not consider Lincoln, Hull or NTU - of which I know even less, so I have no opinion. They have also sent to LSE whose charms are very different from Aber's. I would say that if the Aber course is what your son wants, you can't really go wrong.

I've been told (and have not checked) that Aber geography and anything agricultural, animal science are also heavily underestimated. Maybe it's the location (which is mostly to do with modern preferences) however I can see its location has helped it to hold on to a lot of its charm as well as fall back in the modern university race. With GPs in Wales, coaches to/from the larger Welsh cities may help, however you may find GPs may actually prefer to take mini-holidays at Aber than have DS trek out to them?

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