Worried about music at Westminster university

(38 Posts)
Mombat Tue 03-Sep-19 16:33:22

My daughter is about to start at Westminster Uni doing music and I've just discovered the uni stat figures of 32% satisfaction. Reading through has made my heart sink especially when I looked at other music courses - 83% satisfaction at Salford! We are not a rich family and sending her to uni has been a dream but I am so worried she'll be wasting her time. I don't know what to do. Can she give up her place or will she get charged? We only looked because one of my husband's friends went on the course 20 years ago and it made him. It just looks like it's been downhill ever since. I'm kicking myself for not taking more of an interest, but I've been unwell for the past year and not really been able to support my girl.

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Pushpull Tue 03-Sep-19 16:36:44

Some of that stat might be because people had higher expectations. Salford and Westminster are v different places, so the student experience would be totally different.

How does your dd feel about it. If she is happy and looking forward to it then that's the main thing, its normal to have a uni wobble I think.

A lot of enjoyment is in her hands, encourage her to get involved in the whole experience and go from there

PhonicTheHedgehog Tue 03-Sep-19 16:40:06

London unis may have lower student satisfaction ratings simply because they aren’t campus based.

MarchingFrogs Tue 03-Sep-19 17:12:24

So the young person who will be attending the university looked at various courses online, visited the universities which offer the course she wants that she most liked the look of, then applied, got offers and from those that offered, ranked the one she felt best suited her needs as her Firm and the next closest (in those terms) as her Insurance?

Or she just picked the place that another person went to and enjoyed many years ago...?

As a previous poster said, London institutions often score quite low for student satisfaction - are specific elements of the rest considered poor? e.g. hardly anyone agrees with the statement, 'Lecturers are good at explaining' or whatever?

Richymondo Tue 03-Sep-19 17:25:01

I think a student satisfaction score of 32% would really worry me - especially if it's combined with other low scores. Have you had a look at all the feedback? Westminster used to be a great place for pop music - it may even have been one of the first unis to offer the course - and the students went onto great jobs. Now, not so much. Time moves on and the tutors now appear to be less of the innovating passionate types and more of the "used to play sessions for an almost famous 80s band" hack variety. It might be worth calling the uni and asking what the score is with late withdrawals (without giving your daughter's name).

Mombat Tue 03-Sep-19 17:33:19

She liked the look of several courses, but chose Westminster. I don't think it's just a wobble, she plays in band who were playing at a festival and she got talking to someone in another band who's just graduated. She told her she regretted going to Westminster. She said some of the tutors are crap and they don't really care that much about the students unless they think they're going to be famous and then they're all over them. I blame myself, I just haven't been across this as much as I should have. Now she's home and stressing over the comments online. It's so expensive and I don't know if it's worth the money.She really needs to get a job at the end of it.

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helpmum2003 Tue 03-Sep-19 17:40:43

I understand your concerns. Three things occurred to me:

1) she doesn't have to go now. She could take a year out and re-assess.

2) You say she needs to get a job on graduating. What sort of job do you mean? If it's in performing I doubt a degree is required. If not necessarily in performing then maybe part of future research could be looking at graduate destinations.

3)Does she have good enough grades to be accepted elsewhere? Maybe a degree course is not the best path. There's a lot of graduates in non graduate jobs.


helpmum2003 Tue 03-Sep-19 17:41:20

And good luck!!

yulet Tue 03-Sep-19 17:46:04

Yeah, I think it's quite a gamble to go for a course in such a niche area when it has low satisfaction rates.

What are her grades like? Clearing is still unofficially open at some universities in some courses (I have friends who work for them).

Mombat Tue 03-Sep-19 18:13:23

HelpMum and Yulet thank you both so much. She will need a job to pay for the degree so I get your point about performing arts. I will talk to her about taking a year out, and maybe phoning round to see if there are any spaces on other courses. Thank you all for being so kind to me. I've been worrying myself sick. Richymondo I have googled the tutors since you posted and some of them are indeed 80s hasbeens (or never beens in some cases). They don't compare very well to tutors on other courses. This is not something my then 17 year old thought about last year.

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TheMaestro Tue 03-Sep-19 18:22:26

Is she looking to be a performer? In her band? Are the rest of the band going there too?

Is she looking at production?

It's difficult to give advice without knowing what it is she's looking for.

Mombat Tue 03-Sep-19 19:44:46

She wants to work in the music business, although she will always want to play music in some way. If she was all about the band I doubt she'd bother with higher education.

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Nettleskeins Tue 03-Sep-19 20:54:08

Ds1 is at Oxford Brookes doing music. He loves it. His grades at A level were C in Music C in Eng Lit and a D* in Sports Science, also grade 8 in Singing.
It is hard work, he only came out with a 2:2 after this year, so I would say it is demanding and well taught, he is having to up his game, research and concentration wise. He loves the social life (quite shy) the dancing, and is in several choirs (part of the course requirement to perform)
I would say there is a lot more he could get out of the course if he worked harder, certainly it is not the course's fault...The course is very well structured semi vocational in its aims, and there is a year in industry if you want it, which costs £1000 instead of the £9000; you can pursue that anywhere, at home or abroad or stay in Oxford (obvs then accommodation costs for that year) There is also a year abroad instead of a year working if you want that. or just a 3 year course.

Ds also liked the look of Hull, Surrey, Cardiff and Glasgow, but picked OB as near home and it wasn't so difficult grade wise as Cardiff and Surrey.

Nettleskeins Tue 03-Sep-19 21:04:34

He also picked it because he really liked the course and the university campus/city scene and OB had been recommended to us by students past and current.

I know someone who went to Westminster for Film school and that was very good, but tbh I don't know anyone who has chosen if for music and it certainly wasn't recommended to us by anyone. Hull Keele and Cardiff were what came up when he did his asking around..Surrey seemed v academic (too academic and scientific, although he liked it very much) and Sussex was more a music technological approach (someone he met at OB audition, told him this)

Nettleskeins Tue 03-Sep-19 21:20:31

It is quite interesting reading the league table for music. I think there are too many variables for it to mean that much, but it is noticeable that she has picked something right at the bottom and London is a very expensive place to study, accommodation wise unless you live there already. I'm sure as another poster has said part of the dissatisfaction will have come from people feeling that a move to London should have equalled superlative teaching, which is why most of the unis in London seem to have come low down, apart from West London, and ds would never have chosen that as a young person setting out - no teacher ever suggested it to him, which says a lot..whereas Royal Holloway or RCM or Guildhall...reputation precedes them

phenomenalcat Tue 03-Sep-19 21:31:59

Oh my goodness, yes it is right at the bottom. I'm a bit far removed from the process but this website seems to show places left in clearing
My nephew has just got a music degree from Huddersfield and loved it there. Would be much cheaper living expenses too 😊
Good luck - I hope she gets sorted x

BubblesBuddy Tue 03-Sep-19 23:19:41

I’m not sure if this would be available, but what about trading upwards? Are her results good enough to get into somewhere better? Start looking at better courses and see where there are spaces and start being proactive regarding trading up.

It’s fairly well known music grads struggle. Even ones from Conservatoires. It’s a very difficult industry to get a job in. It’s even more difficult to make any money. DD knows a couple: one became a barrister (Oxford) and the other plays in a band but has a girlfriend who is making it! Musically and in fashion magazines. Does a music degree make any difference to getting a job in the music business? Not sure it does.

Mombat Wed 04-Sep-19 11:04:33

Nettleskins she picked London because we live here so she can live at home and its cheaper. Uni is financially stretching for us as a family but we wanted her to have her chance. I hadn't thought about trading up so thank you Bubbles. We are going to spend today looking at the options.

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Xenia Wed 04-Sep-19 11:15:39

I would withdraw. Westminster is one of the worst UK univesrities with the lowest entry requirments so is bottom of the pile really. Sorry to be so brutal. We know people who read music at places like Oxford and Bristol and it can be a very good course but in those places you woudl be amongst exceptional students with high exam results as you would at the music colleges like the Royal Academy of Music. What are her A level grades and music grade 8 grades as that will probably determine what calibre of place she can get into?

I think Bubbles is right about trading up. As she could live at home in London try places like King's College London - www.kcl.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/music-bmus

TheMaestro Wed 04-Sep-19 11:23:14

City University was quite highly rated as a music department cough cough years ago.

Drabarni Wed 04-Sep-19 11:29:42

Salford is excellent for lots of courses, it's a lot cheaper than down south and even has it's own pint pot pub, up the road.
They do a lot of activities, loads of groups to join, it's very diverse.

Drabarni Wed 04-Sep-19 11:32:45

The music conservatoires have very low entrance, not saying yours was low results, btw.
It's 3 GCSE's old A-C and 2 A levels A-E
Grade 8 practical, they prefer grade 5 theory, as well.
It turns out musicians not academics, there's a difference.
Manchester do a joint course with the RNCM but they look for higher grades for entry.

titchy Wed 04-Sep-19 11:37:12

Xenia you muppet she's not looking at classical or a BMus...

Several points:

She won't be charged anything unless she enrols and stays for at least two weeks.

U. West London better for music than Westminster which is poor to be frank (UWL has London College Music).

Salford and Huddersfield prob even better (and cheap to live) or Surrey for Sound engineerin - so check those.

As she's left looking for alternatives so late, a year out is far better than a panic decision - working and/or portfolio building.

Appreciate finances but if you can find a way of enabling her to look at the whole U.K. that will help - is she entitled to full maintenance? A year working might help, and plenty of summer jobs in London.

titchy Wed 04-Sep-19 11:38:35

BIMM in Ealing might be worth a look too. Don't know about reputation as fairly new.

TheMaestro Wed 04-Sep-19 12:27:22

No chance of getting on the Tonmeister course at Surrey (music recording). The places for that will have been wrapped up ages ago.

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