St Andrews

(997 Posts)
IthinkIsawahairbrushbackthere Wed 29-Jan-20 12:07:18

DD has received a very good offer from St Andrews. She loves the look of the course and is very keen to go there. Aside from the course she loves the idea of a small town, has no interest in nightlife as part of the "student experience" and loves the quirky traditions.

Does anyone have any experience of being there and the extra expenses that could be involved such as the extra cost of travel, formal dinners and the like?

We are a low income family in an economically deprived area. She is part of a very small 6th form - 12 in the Upper 6th. Her school is not in special measures but is holding on by the skin of its teeth! They are very keen for her to go to St Andrews but she is not going to be their responsibility!

We will support her as much as we possibly can but I am worried that it will be a lot more expensive than a less elite university.

Any thoughts?

OP’s posts: |
Michaelahpurple Wed 29-Jan-20 13:10:38

I don't think "elite ness" automatically means cost. Clearly there will be increased travel costs (assuming you aren't local!). Have a look at housing costs compared to those in her alternatives.

Apart from that I don't see why a more elite university should inherently be more expensive than any other.

Michaelahpurple Wed 29-Jan-20 13:11:13

Oh except surely it is four years rather than 3 in England?

Chemenger Wed 29-Jan-20 13:50:57

The cost in St Andrews comes from the fact that the town is very small so accommodation is very expensive, especially when they go in to private rented in second year onwards.

HugoSpritz Wed 29-Jan-20 14:24:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ClerkMaxwell Wed 29-Jan-20 14:30:47

I think StA are meant to mitigate costs to widen access (Scottish government fine otherwise). Get your DD to contact the uni to see what they can offer e.g. guaranteed place in cheaper halls, bursaries, 2nd year halls.

I have family in the town. Agree accomodation is expensive but some students live outside the town and commute in which saves money (Dundee is cheap, lively and has good bus links)

roses2 Wed 29-Jan-20 14:35:58

I don't have any advice of costs but if she does go she will be setup for life in her career if she has St Andrew's on her cv!

Fingers crossed you manage to work it out


MarchingFrogs Wed 29-Jan-20 16:57:17

she will be setup for life in her career if she has St Andrew's on her cv!

Verily, no need ever to demonstrate even moderate competence, employers will be falling over themselves to have you on the prestige of your alma mater alone.

Alittewornout Wed 29-Jan-20 17:19:48

St Andrews is a fab uni not just academically but they are very supportive of their students. The lovely ladies in the student support centre are so caring and informative maybe also contact them. I would second @ClerkMaxwell in her advice. My son study’s there and loves it. He has friends from all walks of life and all four corners of the globe. My Dd is anxiously waiting to hear back from them but as a Scottish student it will be a while and chances are slim. Well done to your Dd you must be so proud of her. All the young people I have met there through my son are just lovely and all are working hard whilst balancing a very active social life. As for “ formals” some are dress up formal but by that I mean the girls buy a nice dress from ASOS etc and swap with each other. There are more informal ones such as the wellie ball ie a nice short dress and a pair of wellies! All great fun!x

ClerkMaxwell Wed 29-Jan-20 17:26:24

I remember a previous thread years ago with good tips for cost cutting e.g. booking travel in advance, bus rather than train, bank accounts with travel discount cards, borrowing gowns or buying second hand (not compulsory anyway), shopping in Tesco or Aldi. My DSis was at StA in the late 80s and wouldn't have been seen dead at any of the "balls". Not sure StA has "formal" dinners like the Oxbridge colleges. I sat thru an accomodation talk with DD who has applied this year and vaguely remember some of the old halls having them but I thought they were rare and included in general catering cost but to be honest I didnt listen well enough.

Alittewornout Wed 29-Jan-20 18:08:32

There a bit of a mix ball wise and none are formal formal if you see what I mean?? Just some you dress up a bit more than others but not ott.
Yeah my lad does a main shop at Aldi and sometimes will go to m and S about 20 mins before it closes for the bargains!! Often gets meat and fish reduced to less than £1. Sticks them in the freezer. I used that trick at Christmas and got my turkey half price🤣

IthinkIsawahairbrushbackthere Wed 29-Jan-20 18:52:52

That's a relief. I would like to be able to take her to an applicant day but we have two close family weddings in the next few months and we will need to take her there with all her stuff if she goes.

Does your son have a gown?

She is currently applying for every scholarship she can find which could make a big difference.

We have had a look at accommodation costs and they are eye watering - particularly compared to Swansea which had originally been her first choice. I suppose as well that what she pays in accommodation she will save on travel for instance if she was somewhere like Bath Spa and living in the town.

Her other options have been from Swansea and Huddersfield. She had a reduced offer from Swansea because she completed a chemistry course there last year but it without that it was the same as St Andrews. But of course St Andrews is much higher in the league tables.

She is a seasoned bargain hunter when it comes to food so will happily shop at Tesco and hour before it closes to get the bargains anyway.

I'm definitely feeling more positive about it.

Thank you for the reassurance/good ideas.

OP’s posts: |
Alittewornout Wed 29-Jan-20 19:10:09

My son actually has his dads old gown from when he was a student there over 30 years ago! I am sure you can buy them second hand that’s what lots of his friends did. They are not compulsory so don’t feel any pressure. It’s such a lovely town and the east coast of Fife is beautiful. Good luck to your very clever girl I am sure she will do well wherever she chooses.

ThisIsBigMoon Wed 29-Jan-20 19:14:34

Another thing to consider is that dundee is not only close for accommodation but for part time jobs.

It is a gorgeous place if you don’t mind the cold wind!

IthinkIsawahairbrushbackthere Wed 29-Jan-20 22:42:36

Our part of the world - west coast - is known for its wet and windy weather but if she goes the snow will be a novelty for her!

We were looking at Offer Holder events and the date is the same day as her 18th birthday party - activities booked and older siblings all arranged time off etc to join us so there is no way we can get there but we have booked for our nearest day so we will be going to Cardiff for a mother/daughter adventure.

I think it is very sad that if you are from Scotland you are less likely to be offered a place. It would seem to be against the original principle of having a Scottish University. I really hope your daughter is successful @Alittewornout

OP’s posts: |
Alittewornout Thu 30-Jan-20 07:38:49

Thank you @IthinkIsawahairbrushbackthere keeping our 🤞. If you can’t make the open days you can book for talk and tour events Monday to Friday at the university.Think you need to book one 2 weeks in advance. Even though we know the uni well Dd is doing one in February, she can stay with her brother for the full on uni experience🤣 The talk and tours can be booked through the uni website.

dippycat7 Sat 01-Feb-20 13:19:45

My son has a widening access offer from St Andrews. (State school / deprived area) He’s very tempted - we went to the open day last year and are due to go to the applicant day in April. He cannot decide between St Andrews and Loughborough - he’s a sociable introvert / no interest in clubbing or drinking / loves sports. I am concerned about accommodation after the 1st year in St Andrews too but I believe some students live in Dundee to keep the costs down. I will ask more questions at the applicant day!

BubblesBuddy Sat 01-Feb-20 18:15:24

Swansea and Huddersfield are not really in the same league are they? Why such a wide spread? Huddersfield, in particular, is very different to St Andrews. What subject?

Your best bet is to get her to work in the holidays and in Dundee if she can. I hope she’s successful with scholarships. She would get the maximum loan would she? What can you top up if not? However given her other choices, I think you have to move heaven and earth to support her.

hollypocks Sun 02-Feb-20 00:31:57

I went to St Andrews after being at a northern comprehensive school. First in my family etc to go to uni and from a very modest background. It was a phenomenon experience, loved the studies, the city and the people I met. Even met my husband there! The reputation did serve me well too; had 4 graduate job offers and ended up on a management consultancy scheme. Trying to persuade DT1 to apply but he wants to stay in the South of England. Never regretted a single day at St A’s, it’s a unique place

Verily1 Sun 02-Feb-20 00:38:15

Marching- I didnt comment on this thread, why are you naming me?!

tenlittlecygnets Sun 02-Feb-20 00:46:08

I went to St As - a long time ago but I hope this is relevant. You can buy gowns second hand. You only need to wear gowns a few times for academic occasions.

There is no train station in St As - the closest is .. There are frequent buses from leuchars and Dundee to St As.

Formal dinners - I went to none.

There are plenty of places in town for students to get a job. - the golf museum, golf courses, pubs, restaurants, shops, theatres...

I did second year in halls - check if that is possible.

I’d really recommend St. Andrews as a lovely place to go to uni. Great reputation, good pastoral care, fabulous town and beaches. Close to Edinburgh etc. I made lovely friends there I am still in touch with 20 years later.

Hopefullysmart Sun 02-Feb-20 00:51:05

@Verily1 grin

BubblesBuddy Sun 02-Feb-20 08:11:43

dippycat7. I would encourage your DS to ask questions, not you. He’s the one thinking of going there. Let him make his choice free from money being a factor on the day if you can. You can speak privately to any university accommodation office to get a general feel of accommodation costs.

dippycat7 Sun 02-Feb-20 09:16:45

@BubblesBuddy - that was my intention. I want my son to feel happy with his decision made on the basis of how he feels about the uni/course etc etc. I will of course be discreet with financial enquiries.
He is very much looking forward to revisiting - visiting Loughborough first though - it could be a tough choice for him.

BubblesBuddy Sun 02-Feb-20 10:08:32

Yes, choices are tough. I have been to enough open days and offer days to see parents getting over invested! I am sure he will make the best decision for him.

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