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UCL or Exeter for History

(40 Posts)
aibutohavethisusername Mon 16-Mar-20 21:35:38

DD has narrowed down her offers now. She needs to decide which to firm and which to insure.

UCL History
Exeter History And Ancient History

Any advice?

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BubblesBuddy Tue 17-Mar-20 08:13:22

I think this decision might well come down to where she wants to live because they are very different but both great options. Everyone I know who has gone to London, couldn’t wait to get there! Exeter is like a giant boarding school and a very safe choice.

As I have said before, check the requirements for Latin/Greek for the Ancient History part of the course at Exeter. A friend of DD really struggled with this and left the course.

Obviously UCL London is a global university and students spread out geographically quite a lot in yr 2 onwards. So many students have to be prepared to travel a bit into university and, if on a tight budget, this could further out than they might wish. However job opportunities should be good if needed.

I cannot say which is best and I do think personality and where your DD wants to live comes into this. Where would she feel more settled and at home? If she is very ambitious, UCL might be better but that might be outweighed by the “safer” environment of Exeter and the location away from London in Devon. Lots to think about and I probably haven’t been helpful at all!

aibutohavethisusername Tue 17-Mar-20 08:44:24

Very helpful.

We live about 30 minutes from London railway terminal so not too far. I think she really is itching to get there like you say.

She is v ambitious. Applied for Oxford and was rejected after interview.

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Moominmammacat Tue 17-Mar-20 08:48:41

Both strong courses, depends on where she would like to live. My shy, nervous DS thrived as a post grad at UCL in spite of my reservations. Exeter is indeed a giant boarding school.

Fantasiaa Tue 17-Mar-20 09:05:36

UCL has a greater reputation than Exeter although both are top universities.
It’s going to come down to why sort of lifestyle she wants.

BubblesBuddy Tue 17-Mar-20 10:49:02

Would she live at home to go to UCL? I think that dilutes the university experience. So is that the safe choice for her? It sounds as if she knows London so would know what to expect but living in halls would help her make friends and mix. I also think it helps students mature in readiness for employment.

Exeter, as a self contained campus, has a very different feel which I assume she knows because she visited.

aibutohavethisusername Tue 17-Mar-20 11:18:44

BubblesBuddy she would live in halls as the commute would be so costly anyway.

She hasn’t visited Exeter. Is the only one I e haven’t seen. Offer holder’s day on Saturday has obviously been cancelled.

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Needmoresleep Tue 17-Mar-20 12:36:44

Bubbles, UCL offers guaranteed accommodation to all first year. And then it is not unknown, for some students to actually prefer to live at home. A lot of the UCL social life, societies etc, will happen on campus, so social life really need not be "diluted" as long as you are prepared to make an effort.

From memory your daughter had been at boarding school. Perhaps her problems stemmed from the contrast between a ready made, and single sex, social life and London. And the fact she was at fashion college rather than a multi-faculty University like UCL. OP should be reassured that many many students have a great time at places like UCL, and the scope to return to live at home in second or third years, can be useful in terms of saving money.

Crawley65 Tue 17-Mar-20 12:41:06

Does UCL definitely offer to first year students who live in Greater London already? You said half an hour so must be fairly close to central London.

BubblesBuddy Tue 17-Mar-20 12:41:25

Ah! In that case she presumably knows it’s on a hill just outside what most people think of as the city. It’s very self contained but still accessible. It is like a huge boarding school and indeed many ex boarders like it for that reason. DDs friends have found it to be a bit of a bubble but that’s precisely why some students love it.

If DD knows and likes London she will be very at home in that environment. Exeter is more geographically cut off and inevitably feels smaller. Clearly what you want on a day to day basis is available very locally. Students don’t have to travel elsewhere except to visit family and friends. Cultural activities are inevitably limited when compared to London.

It’s a great shame she could not visit and meet teaching staff. That might have helped with the decision but I still think the decisions are really about global city vs small “rural” city, what interests her about the courses and employment prospects.

aibutohavethisusername Tue 17-Mar-20 13:24:01

Crawley65 We are in the South East. 30 mins on the train to Paddington.

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aibutohavethisusername Tue 17-Mar-20 13:25:12

DD has written down all the modules at both that appeal. Some of the UCL ones are through the other London unis though. Not sure how easy it would be to get onto those.

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Needmoresleep Tue 17-Mar-20 13:45:57

It’s on the website

“First year guarantee

All full-time single first year undergraduate students who chose UCL as their firm choice and have submitted their application by 31st May (year of study), and have not previously lived in London whilst studying at a Higher Education Institution (University), will be offered a place in UCL accommodation.“

Same applies to LSE and Imperial, and perhaps others. DS lived 20 minutes walk from his University and still got a place in halls.

BubblesBuddy Tue 17-Mar-20 14:28:09

I have not based anything on what my DD did in London as I didn’t think it was relevant. I also asked if the DD was staying at home because lots of London students do. The DD doesn’t want to stay at home so hopefully that’s ok re accommodation. At no time have a mentioned my DD and what difference does it make that she boarded? I simply don’t get why this is relevant in this debate. Other than to stick the knife in snd give it another twist.

OP: I tried to answer your questions honestly. I fail to see what I have said that reflected anything about my DD who was at UAL. I am fully aware it wasn’t UCL for history!

aibutohavethisusername Tue 17-Mar-20 14:52:03

It’s ok Bubbles I understand.

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BubblesBuddy Tue 17-Mar-20 17:47:16

Thank you. It’s appreciated.

errorofjudgement Wed 18-Mar-20 07:06:17

I thought this sounded familiar and realised you posted a similar thread last month that I commented on grin
At that time your DD was firmly fixed on UCL as her firm, is she now having second thoughts?

aibutohavethisusername Wed 18-Mar-20 08:21:07

errorofjudgement DD is very keen on UCL, I’m really worried about costs. Plus the Open Day at Exeter has been cancelled.

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BubblesBuddy Wed 18-Mar-20 10:48:46

Do remember that she should be able to work in London if she needs to or can she do anything in the holidays? I don’t think Exeter is the cheapest place either. Have you been able to check out accommodation costs for UCL and travel/living costs if she lives further out in y2 onwards? What is the difference in cost between London and Exeter? Few students can afford to be really close to UCL in Y2 onwards but they can usually afford decent enough shared flats/houses not too far away on Northern line stops. I would start looking into this if you are concerned about costs.

I do think it’s important not to choose on costs if you can possibly avoid it. She should also consider what future career she might want and where she would be better placed to follow that career with work experience etc.

aibutohavethisusername Wed 18-Mar-20 11:16:12

Thanks Bubbles. DD works in a supermarket so may be able to transfer to a new role.
I’ve looked into the Y2 costs a little bit.

In the end it is down to her, like she said to me earlier she knows she will come out with a lot of debt.

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Needmoresleep Wed 18-Mar-20 12:02:08

Sorry, I have to disagree. Almost all DS' friends lived quite close to LSE in their second and third years. OK nothing as luxurious as those in other Universities expected: ex-council, small bedroom, no living room, but once you factored in the fact you could walk to University in 10 minutes and that you could study in the library - open 24 hours, and there was not an issue.

Rent hikes elsewhere, particularly Bristol, but perhaps Exeter, have been substantial. The introduction of HMO legislation, more people living somewhere nice and only commuting occasionally, University expansion, have meant less of a differential.

I started posting on this board about six years ago, as I could not understand why people were not supporting studying at world class Universities in London. I appreciate that MN has a significant Oxbridge focus, but in many subjects the quality of a UCL education will be just as good. And indeed the name recognition outside the UK, just as strong. That first thread was about Imperial and it later transpired that posters did not have DC at Imperial nor indeed had DC who were studying STEM.

It really is horses for courses. Those who love UCL really love it. One of DD's friends dropped out of a humanities subject at Bristol, which seems to be University du jour on MN though I am not completely sure why, in order to transfer to UCL. A friends DD dropped out of Exeter and transferred to RHC. We also know people who moved in the opposite direction: Imperial to Bristol and so on.

I am sure I will never convince some people that London is a good place to study, and indeed it is not for everyone. But I can do my best to try and dispel myths.

1. UCL guarantees accommodation to first year.
2. Students do manage to live nearby, and certainly for some, social life is not dismal. Being a student in London is a unique experience, very different from working there. There is lots to do and lots is free. nd from what I hear, the UCL campus is lively with lots of societies.

aibutohavethisusername Wed 18-Mar-20 12:26:40

Thanks needmoresleep.

I haven’t been to UCL to visit myself but DD has and absolutely loved it. She went to an open day and then to a seminar for Classics. Although she ultimately applied for History rather than Classics.

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Needmoresleep Wed 18-Mar-20 13:10:32

Somewhere there is a chart with average earnings per graduate per subject per University. My expectation is that UCL performs better than Exeter for most subjects, to the extent that any additional financial outlay would be judged a sensible financial decision. But only if that is where you want to study.

UCL is lovely. A historic central campus right in the heart of Bloomsbury, and close to central University of London facilities.

UCL is good on bursaries if you are likely to qualify. And good P/T jobs are relatively easy to find.

BubblesBuddy Wed 18-Mar-20 15:45:47

It really should not be thought of as debt and you have to discount that. It’s really a graduate tax but most with a good highly paid job would still rather have that job and pay the tax and earn more than £25,000 and not pay the tax. If DD wasn’t earning much and/or wanted to be a SAHM at any stage, then the tax is nothing if earnings are under £25,000. It’s still best to get the best degree for her ambitions.

aibutohavethisusername Wed 18-Mar-20 21:52:08

No idea what to do now shock

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