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Uni advice please....

(99 Posts)
Besta Fri 31-Oct-14 18:49:07

Dd1 has viewed several universities to study History and has decided on one that she wants to make her firm choice.
She is predicted AAA and her teachers are saying she might even exceed that. The university she wants to go to is an ex poly with a points offer. She likes the feel of it, the course content (we attended the open day with her and it did feel fab and the tutors were outstanding and "world renowned"/leaders in their research area)
Having not been university educated, how is this viewed with regard to employability in the future? Or viewed generally? Is she making a mistake not going to a RG uni, especially as this is a course that is available at all RG unis.

skylark2 Fri 31-Oct-14 19:54:20

"the tutors were outstanding and "world renowned"/leaders in their research area"

Who told you this?

It might be true. It's rather less likely to be as true as you'd like if they are the ones who told you. Does "leaders" mean in the top five, or the top hundred, for instance? Or are they in a research area which only consists of five people anyway?

Yes, she will be making a mistake if she does a course which is available at highly ranked universities at a university which isn't. She needs to consider what it is about this course that isn't available at more highly regarded ones.

That said, my DD hasn't gone to an RG university when she could have - but that's because there are real, tangible things that the uni she's gone to offers that none of the RG universities she could have got into do.

MillyMollyMama Fri 31-Oct-14 20:31:45

I honestly think with History you must try for the best universities. The top 10 should be in reach and there is a real risk to going somewhere less prestigious. As you rightly say, nearly all universities offer History. Employers have many History graduates looking for jobs. What does she want to do afterwards? Employers will like History Graduates from the best universities and wonder why your DD did not go to one when she could have applied and been successful. She will be up against people from more highly regarded universities for this subject so she is putting herself in a less good position.

Who suggested an ex Poly anyway? They do have great courses, by the way, but History is unlikely to be one of them. Aim high is my suggestion and put this course as the insurance choice because, presumably, they are not asking for AAA or better.

BerylThePeril44 Fri 31-Oct-14 20:36:16

Have a look at uni of sheffield. My son is studying history there and absolutely loving it!

MillyMollyMama Fri 31-Oct-14 20:41:52

If your DD is doing a firm offer, where else has she applied? Surely someone should have said Exeter, York, Sheffield, Nottingham, Bristol, Kings and UCL, Warwick, Edinburgh, etc. All highly regarded for History.

Cumberlover76 Fri 31-Oct-14 20:44:28

Try the Uni Stats website. All universities have to provide certain information, like student satisfaction, employment, cost of living etc so you can compare across institutions and courses. Useful to get some ideas and then research further.

joanofarchitrave Fri 31-Oct-14 20:50:05

What is the library provision like? I'm writing here from experience in the Middle Ages (1988) when of course nothing was online, but even so for History you need written resources in some form.

Is the library open 24 hours a day and/or is there a specialist history library or history librarian (not a general social sciences librarian)? On my course there were 3 major libraries, they weren't open 24 hours but all allowed you to borrow.

How is the teaching done, is it mostly lectures, class-type groups or seminars? On my course it was a mixture of single-figure groups and small seminars, plus lectures.

How often will she be asked to present her work and how often will she be doing some form of assessed work? For example, if the teaching is seminar-based, how many times a term would she be presenting?

Did she speak to any postgraduates in the department, and why did they choose that university for their postgraduate work?

I presume that you've both had a look at this which could be helpful? I certainly don't think that it's RG or nothing, and if she is personally committed to this course, she stands a good chance of doing well. IMO History is very largely about how much work you do; the teaching and facilities are there to make sure that you can do the best work that you are capable of. So if she is in the right mental space, she should do very well.

almapudden Fri 31-Oct-14 20:50:24

Is it Brooke's? Their history course is genuinely excel. If not, I would go RG: Manchester, Durham, Bristol etc.

Besta Fri 31-Oct-14 21:16:37

Thanks everyone. Useful things to put to her and encourage her to think about what she's doing rather than go blindly on.

She wants to teach, if that makes any difference? Her form tutor (a bit useless IMO but what do I know?) reckons a degree is a degree wherever it's from and her History teacher has recommended this uni as the course is excellent.

I dunno. Obviously she needs to be comfortable and happy but I do wonder if she's doing herself a disservice.

Seriouslyffs Fri 31-Oct-14 21:58:26

Bloody hell! Her form tutor couldn't be more wrong. Is the course very local? I can't think of any other reason an AAA+ student would do history at an ex poly.
Where else is she applying for?

Seriouslyffs Fri 31-Oct-14 22:04:44

You say she wants to make it her firm choice- what offers has she had?
If all this is all pre offer you can hold fire a little, see what comes in, maybe encourage her to attend some post offer open days and then decide. Unless they're offering her an unconditional now there's really no rush. But do tell her to not listen to her form tutor. hmm

SauvignonBlanche Fri 31-Oct-14 22:10:45

DS wants to do History but he's looking at ABC, if he was capable of getting AAA, we'd be looking at different places.

Mrsgrumble Fri 31-Oct-14 22:14:31

No way would should she commit herself to an ex poly with an AAA predicted grade IMO.

antimatter Sat 01-Nov-14 02:11:43

What unis has she put on her application?

furryleopard Sat 01-Nov-14 03:13:29

I think whilst a RG uni is preferable, she should also take into account the uni/location and if she can be happy there for 3 years. I went to Liverpool because I wanted a city location with lots of nightlife, my best friend from college went to York and when I went to visit her it seemed tiny - I was horrified by the lack of places to go out drinking for example but she felt drowned in Liverpool when she visited me.

Having said all that, if capable has your daughter considered Oxbridge?

Want2bSupermum Sat 01-Nov-14 03:13:47

I think for a course like history the library provision is key. Like the poster said up top, ask questions around the resources like books in the library and frequency of tutorials. Also your DD should be considering what she wants to do career wise. If she isn't sure she should hold out for a RG course not expoly.

When I was looking at different places I turned down Manchester for the sole reason that my sister was there and I didn't want to be in the same town as her. I went to Birmingham instead and while the course was higher ranked, the Manchester course was far better for me. Truth be told when big companies are looking to recruit they tend to stick with RG or better with a 2:1+. Do look at the distribution of classifications and I strongly suggest your DD picks electives strategically to help her get the best classification possible. Had I known that brum only awarded 25% of the course with a 2:1 with no one getting a 1st I would have gone to Manchester. When you ask for the distribution make sure it is for the course your DD will be studying. Those doing joint degrees often skew the results as most of the time the student has spoken the language at home from birth!

mathanxiety Sat 01-Nov-14 03:38:42

I agree with Seriouslyffs, her form tutor is as wrong as wrong could be. I also agree 100% with MrsGrumble.

LoopyLoopyLoopy Sat 01-Nov-14 04:17:40

Definite no here. The prestige of the uni is probably the most important thing.

lljkk Sat 01-Nov-14 08:44:26

Please say which ex-poly is her preferred Uni and what is supposed to be specifically attractive about that course. MN's love affair with RG Unis makes my teeth itch, but I think it depends exactly which ex-poly you mean.

Seriouslyffs Sat 01-Nov-14 09:13:00

I'm no fan of RG, I think it's a marketing ploy.
However if there are teachers suggesting 'it's the degree not the university' (I woke up cross about that!) some sort of quality control/ advice service is definitely needed.

Besta Sat 01-Nov-14 09:37:28

Don't want to say where we are as it's about dd and I don't want to out her.

She doesn't want to go away in the first year but wants to do a year away in the 2nd, which is where this ex Poly does stand out and offers an exchange that no other uni in our area offers.

There are four unis (two RG uni) within easy reach of us. This IS a respected ex poly however.
I haven't looked at the stats properly as this is all pre offer - I'm trying v hard not to be a helicopter parent and let her make her own decisions (especially as she's not going away - entirely her decision).

Really interesting food for thought, thank you. It's confirmed what I thought about the choice. At the end of the day though, I want to be supportive of her choice.

Hakluyt Sat 01-Nov-14 09:43:19

Obviously you want to be supportive of her choice, but her tutor couldn't be more wrong.

It really would be great if you could tell us which places she is thinking about- it won't out her, I promise- this is a big place.

Besta Sat 01-Nov-14 09:50:08

She's thinking about Northumbria v Newcastle. She can use the Newcastle library which is excellent.

Possibly part of the choice is doubt in her own abilities. She didn't get all her predicted As grades (but still good ones) as she didn't put the work in and it shook her up a bit.

smellylittleorange Sat 01-Nov-14 09:54:13

Lots of well regarded universities participate in the Erasmus Exchange scheme which would enable your dd to organise a year abroad herself. I work at an ex -poly..well it was not a poly as such but still... We do history and I would say unless your Dd had a passion for a particular specialism then library provision could be an issue. When she talks about teaching does she mean secondary or lecturing? I would also say is important to consider her needs ...no use going to a Russell group if she is going to be desperately unhappy with her location etc

smellylittleorange Sat 01-Nov-14 10:06:05

She can do Erasmus exchange with Newcastle...or perhaps even consider Durham ?

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