Southampton/ Leeds/Bristol/Bath/ Loughborough recent views and experiences?

(64 Posts)
Lara53 Sat 27-Jun-20 08:05:36


DS1 is applying to uni to start in 2021. These are the Unis he is interested in. Obviously we can’t attend Open Days so looking for any recent input on accommodation, campus, area etc

OP’s posts: |
YinuCeatleAyru Sat 27-Jun-20 08:14:47

what subject?

Southampton Bath and Loughborough all have a very similar ambience. nice, friendly, contained campuses. strong community vibe
Bristol and Leeds have a different feel. more urban, less open space. taking their partying way more seriously (pre lockdown)

MarchingFrogs Sat 27-Jun-20 08:57:00

Personally, I'd have said that Leeds actually felt more 'contained', i.e. within a fairly small area, everything you see is university, so to speak (and quite densely packed), than Southampton, even though it is very close to the city centre. I have visited three of those (Bristol, Southampton and Leeds) with offspring looking at universities and were I the one intending to go there, would have been happy with any of them for their setting, but then, much as I like the countryside, I do like having 'city' facilities easily available. Bristol is definitely a 'city' university.( DS1 is starting an MSc there in the autumn and 'his' department is a building on a main road).

Accommodation-wise, Southampton has plenty of accommodation within walking distance of campus, both blocks of flats for first years and private landlord lets in the surrounding area. Leeds also has lots of first year accommodation on and just outside campus, but some also a distance away. Bristol has accommodation both in the city and a couple of miles away at Stoke Bishop (no idea what else there is in Stoke Bishop, the normal geographical location, but the 'student village' seemed to have one very small general store - but ?most of the accommodation there is catered. Certainly, it has been intimated on here that not wanting a catered hall with no space to congregate for partying is a sign of not being serious about one's studies, but I'm not sure how much the students themselves adhere to that one).

PurBal Sat 27-Jun-20 09:12:22

I think Bristol Uni and UWE have different vibes too so depends which one you mean. I know people who loved, and loathed, the ones you mentioned...

Piggywaspushed Sat 27-Jun-20 09:13:53

Bath is obviously a glorious city and the uni is on a good campus. Very very sporty. As is Loughborough. Is your DS into sport? Both attract elite sportspeople.

Bath uni is at the top of a HUGE hill, which is not much fun after a night out/with shopping.

Eve Sat 27-Jun-20 09:19:58

DS1 is at Loughborough and thriving. He’s not into sport in a big way, (does a bit of climbing for fun ) and it’s not an impact on him, plenty of other activities.

The town is quiet though, not a lot of nightlife, they will go to Nottingham for a night out.

DS does engineering, good employer connections, lots of career support & DS needs additional support for dyslexia which has been excellent.

BillieEilish Sat 27-Jun-20 09:30:05

I adored Southampton but was a while ago! Stayed in lovely halls near campus the first year.

Goddaughter is at Bristol and loves it.

Depends on subject though... Oceanography...Southampton no1 uni
Sports based... Loughborough
Arts, both Southampton and Bristol

Is Bath a RG uni?

I wouldn't opt for Leeds personally. All the others are great. Some more academic than others though.


Piggywaspushed Sat 27-Jun-20 09:45:15

Bath is not RG . It ahs an excellent reputation and appears near the top of league tables for lots of subjects. RG is not be all and end all.

Why not Leeds billie ? It is a very fine university. They all are, to be fair.

NotDonna Sat 27-Jun-20 09:46:26

@BillieEilish I wouldn't opt for Leeds personally. All the others are great. Some more academic than others though.
Just wondering why not Leeds? And your thoughts re some being more academic than others? Not being goats; seriously interested!

NotDonna Sat 27-Jun-20 09:47:00

Goady not goats 🙄

NotDonna Sat 27-Jun-20 09:49:51

Neither Loughborough or Bath are RG but are not all great universities are. We need to be careful with that RG badge.

NotDonna Sat 27-Jun-20 09:52:11

Where did that ‘are’ come from making my sentence unfathomable! I’m saying the same as piggy who I cross posted with.

BillieEilish Sat 27-Jun-20 10:05:43

Oh take no notice of me! I went when RG was the be all and end all! Now I realise it is a big marker of a good uni, but not the only thing, of course. We do need to be careful of that.

Leeds I just don't fancy. I think Birmingham has a much greater reputation, if heading up North, but I was sticking nearer my family I suppose. It is purely subjective opinion. Also depends on where OP lives.

Also I never knew anyone who went to Leeds so have no idea.

Bath though, as my Goddaughter's opinion is fairly relevant (as has just got into uni this year), was never considered 'academic' enough. In my day too... don't know why. Probably the RG thing.

It really depends on subject. I'm really interested in this too because it'll be my DD in a few years.

UntamedWisteria Sat 27-Jun-20 10:11:34

Leeds is very popular among my DS's cohort - he is hoping to go there in September as are many of his friends.

It's academically strong (his offer is 3As) and has a reputation for partying, I'm told.

Piggywaspushed Sat 27-Jun-20 10:13:39

Bath has a superb reputation for economics, finance, business type subjects. And sport, obviously.

Piggywaspushed Sat 27-Jun-20 10:19:29

Just looked up league tables (UG).

Overall rankings have quite a few non RG in top 15 (Lancaster, Loughborough, Bath).

This is all pinch of salt territory but of your list OP, we have:
Southampton 17th
Bristol 14th
Leeds 16th
Bath 9th
Loughborough 6th

So, all solidly top 20. It is worth looking at subject tables , though, where there will be distinct variations. Bath definitely does not offer the range of subjects that, say, Bristol , Leeds or Southampton do.

Piggywaspushed Sat 27-Jun-20 10:22:50

Meant to say I don't know anything about the accommodation in nay of these but I heard that Bath accommodation is a bit in need of TLC. That may well be true of many universities which have not perhaps very recently invested and expanded in this area.

DidgeDoolittle Sat 27-Jun-20 10:26:07

One of my sons went to Leeds and one went to Bristol.
The one at Bristol loved it. The one at Leeds had a good time but said he wouldn't go there if choosing now. He'd apply to Bristol.

My0My Sat 27-Jun-20 10:32:45

Bath isn’t the best for a subject like MFL where Bristol would be a lot better, as an example. All these universities are fine but depends on the subjects. So look at what the subject is and then see if any are very high up and if others are mid div.

Employers take views on university too. Again it’s a subject thing and what job you actually want as a post grad. We know successful recent grads from all these universities and personal attributes matter a lot. Not just where you went and what you studied.

My0My Sat 27-Jun-20 10:33:48

Re subjects: I meant look in the subject tables! They can be revealing.

My0My Sat 27-Jun-20 10:34:49

Also Loughborough has a very different vibe to Bristol and Leeds. Bath and Loughborough are more self contained in my view.

Piggywaspushed Sat 27-Jun-20 10:42:41

I don't think Bath even does MFL does it?

Piggywaspushed Sat 27-Jun-20 10:44:27

Oh no, apologies it does. It definitely used to have very limited provision in some subjects.

My0My Sat 27-Jun-20 10:53:33

Yes. It does. So that’s what I mean about checking out the quality of the subject. Bath would be fine for adding a MFL unit to a business degree but not great for MFL provision as an academic subject with numerous challenging units.

Piggywaspushed Sat 27-Jun-20 11:00:50

High entry requirement though! AAB.

But, Spanish (say) and business would be a great choice for Bath as it is top 3 for business.

Still : off topic as OP wanted to know more about accommodation, campus etc I think .

This is the difficulty at the moment with only virtual Open Days : it's really hard to get a feel for the place.

Mind you, when we went to real ones, my DS was almost entirely influenced by whether it rained or not,and what the town itself looked like. The accommodation did put him off at a couple of places and I think it does matter of you can get to see some of that, especially the cheaper stuff if cost is a factor. The shiny new stuff at some unis is very expensive.

Some of the private provides unis use for accommodation in the less campus based/ traditional unis have treated students really shoddily during the coronavirus situation.

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