International Relations

(20 Posts)
SmithfamilyRobinson Thu 14-Mar-19 21:58:34

DS1 has 5 offers to study IR as follows:
AAB Leeds Uni
ABB Birmingham
ABB Sussex
BBB (CCC if firmed) Essex
So quite a spread! I think truthfully Leeds was the best experience at both open day and applicant day. He liked Birmingham a lot more on the applicant day. We can probably rule out Sussex.
What grades will he get? I'd put money on ABB but he is having a wobble over his A levels - studying English Literature, History and Politics. He is getting As for English but not every paper and a mix of Bs and Cs for the other 2 papers (working on exam technique and handwriting blush ).
He was dead keen to do a language as well but didn't study one at GCSE confused and Birmingham do not offer this as an extra or elective although other unis offer a range of entry points.
Essex consistently scores highly in league tables and was uni of the year last year. Not the most lovely town to go to but the campus is OK.
He doesn't seem to be much of a party animal.
I have some anecdotal evidence that Leeds would drop a grade if he didn't make their offer.
UEA would be a good fit, although not as high in the league tables as the others.
Would any kind souls out there have any more info to share about any of these unis and I know some people may have hung on to Clearing data for these unis for IR too?
Anyone have any thoughts (long term poster but have name changed in case need to show thread to DS smile

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Thu 14-Mar-19 23:03:35

I would consider Leeds or Birmingham above the others. I don’t think Essex is particularly highly regarded these days and its an isolated campus. I would worry about employment with any course offering CCC because other competitors for jobs will have better A levels and it makes Essex look desperate.

Doing any language to a decent level will be a real struggle if he wasn’t interested enough to do a GCSE in MFL.

MarchingFrogs Thu 14-Mar-19 23:46:49

Could he choose a Languages for All module in his Widening Horizons 'slot'?

MarchingFrogs Thu 14-Mar-19 23:47:35 Birmingham, I mean...

SmithfamilyRobinson Fri 15-Mar-19 07:53:59

Thanks for your thoughts.

I didn't attend the applicant day for Birmingham and DS told me that a language (perhaps on the level he was hoping to start at) was only available via a lottery. I think he is delusional having studied languages at a higher level but there you go!
Naturally I too was drawn to the Russell Group options and DS has certainly considered employability post degree - good for Birmingham.

Working in a cultural heritage organisation with aims to be more diverse, I do not see an offer of CCC as being 'desperate'. Essex is known for its excellence in Politics and draws from a diverse pool of engaged students but noted that it may not have the cachet of the others - but in the new World order I wonder if this will really matters anymore?

Personally I found Essex and Birmingham very unlovely... selfishly I was thinking of visits to see him and Leeds, Sussex and UEA all have more weekend away appeal!

OP’s posts: |
SmithfamilyRobinson Fri 15-Mar-19 07:56:17

Sorry also meant to mention as a concerned parent about the amount of pressure vs expectation and I can see the appeal of choosing a lower offer.

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ReggieWoo Fri 15-Mar-19 08:00:09

Leeds were very clear with my DS that if he firmed them, they would accept a dropped grade or two and said BBB would likely be ok, should he not get his AAB offer.

He went elsewhere in the end but knows others who went to Leeds with dropped grades last year.


CBear99 Fri 15-Mar-19 22:31:08

My DS Is currently in his second year studying IR at Birmingham. Absolutely loves the course and the uni - lots of variety and choice and some really interesting modules including Russian politics, US Politics and Middle East politics through film. His house mate studying History is very jealous of some of his options! He chose extra modules including Philosophy and Economics in year 1 though you can't do this in year 2. Only slight issue is lack of contact hours though this is standard I think. He's doing the study abroad option and has just heard he's got a place at the University of British Columbia near Vancouver next year starting this August. So all in all a great uni and a great course!

wizzywig Fri 15-Mar-19 22:33:25

Go to keele and choose a language as a subsidiary. I did that

BubblesBuddy Fri 15-Mar-19 22:57:20

It depends what job your DS wants and who else is applying. CCC is a low level of entry which means the course isn’t sought after. That’s why they are lowering the grade: to attract students. It’s great your workplace doesn’t care much about A level grades or university and if he wants to work with you, or in a similar organisation, then I guess it won’t matter. However in the highly competitive grad employment employment world, it does. So he needs to think about employability and what he wants out of this.

Going to Canada sounds like a great option and I think studying abroad should be considered vital for all IR students!

Isitmybathtimeyet Sat 16-Mar-19 07:36:49

Working in a related field, I would say most people who work in an internal relations focused job have masters, so in a sense the choice of first university is less important if that's the aim. Obviously not so if it's just general marketability at the end of undergrad.

Nettleskeins Sat 16-Mar-19 09:25:57

I know someone whose son went to Essex (but that was English and Creative Writing) and didn't like the place much (and left after a year)despite specially selecting it for its course. I know anecdotally that Sussex accepts lower grades than ABB for lots of courses even if the entrance requirements say ABB and that Sussex is a lovely campus/near London/great atmosphere. I know also anecdotally that Birmingham makes so many unconditional offers that they are unlikely to take lower grades for the conditional offers and insurance offers.

Nettleskeins Sat 16-Mar-19 09:28:47

In your position I would suggest putting Birmingham first and UEA or Sussex insurance not Essex.

bsc Sat 16-Mar-19 09:30:34

My friends DD finished the bham course 18mo ago- she absolutely loved it! I'm fairly sure the option to study a language was available through the university, even though not necessarily through the course.

bsc Sat 16-Mar-19 09:31:40

And at bham, there would be absolutely no problem finding a "language exchange" partner, as there are so many international students.

CBear99 Sat 16-Mar-19 10:27:39

Also through the study abroad option you can choose some pretty interesting places if languages are your thing (sure it's the same at other unis) so some of DS's friends are going to Hong Kong, Tokyo, mainland China, Singapore, Netherlands, Paris and even Jamaica.
When he started the course in 2017 Bham made it clear at the Applicant day they wouldn't accept any 'near misses' but I don't know if that's changed since. It was the push he needed at the time to get cracking and try to get the grades as he really wanted to go there.

BubblesBuddy Sat 16-Mar-19 12:05:04

If a young person has not studied a language at GCSE I don’t think languages is their thing! Nothing wrong with trying but it could be difficult from such a low starting point. Others with languages might get chosen first.

SmithfamilyRobinson Sat 16-Mar-19 19:07:42

Thank you to everyone for sharing your direct experience of either Birmingham or IR. flowers
My family sneer at me for noodling around on Mumsnet hmm - a big 3 cheers for MN for some helpful comments!
I think he is leaning towards Birmingham/Essex.
Birmingham alumni - what accommodation did your DC opt for in Y1? I spoke to a young person who is just finishing her first year and she is in Tennis Courts - saying it is party central. He is looking at non catered.

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MarchingFrogs Sat 16-Mar-19 19:26:51

DS1 was in Jarratt Hall, put as first preference for its proximity to his department and most other 'useful bits' of the campus. He has susequently lived in various roads in Selly Oak, the furthest being about a 20 minute walk from the library.

CBear99 Sat 16-Mar-19 19:39:15

DS was in Chamberlain last year. Very expensive though rooms were nice. Meal plan as he thought it would be a good idea - but wouldn't recommend it. Very expensive option - food not brilliant and not enough of it for a teenage boy so ended up cooking for himself anyway. Cost us an absolute fortune. Vale good overall for first year but if did it again would self cater. Friend currently in Maple Bank and really likes it. Mason was also pretty good. Now in Selly Oak. Plenty of accommodation there.

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