My daughter is knee-deep in prospectuses for varying universities, she has re-drafted her personal statement several times over, and is trying to make the decision as to which 5 institutions to put down on the all important UCAS form.
Course aside, they all look pretty similar – with their state of the art sports centres (which I doubt she will ever see the inside of) and their promise of exciting clubs and social activities. And even the courses have little to pick between really, as she wants to be a teacher they mostly cover very similar ground, so how does she go about choosing the right university?
Well, if it was up to me I would be choosing the one that was closest, as I am already tearful at the thought of her moving out this time next year without adding in the idea of her being at the other end of the country. Of course it isn’t up to me and I am determined not to interfere, other than as a sounding board.
She has done all the usual things – checked the rankings in The Guardian league tables, looked at the varying entry requirements to make sure she includes one with lower points just in case of disaster, decided she wants to go to a city as she is ready to spread her wings after growing up in a small town, and checked the post-graduate employment rates. We have also listened to advice from those who have been here before, it hadn’t occurred to us for example that degrees involving work experience placements (which teaching includes a LOT of) often lead to finding your first job in the same area, as you already have contacts there. Definitely worth bearing in mind that wherever she goes, she may well be living there for longer than just the duration of her course.
Cost is a consideration, sadly she won’t be able to rely on much from the bank of Mum and (step) Dad – with two young boys at home still spare cash is in limited supply. She has written off London on this basis and looking at the accommodation costs is definitely going to be a factor. What we need to do now is get a feel for the places themselves – Is the campus nice? Is there a supply of part-time jobs in the area? What is off-campus accommodation like – in price, availability and quality? What is the city like?
Some of the places she is considering neither of us have ever even been to for the day, so it is time for us to commence our Grand University Open Day Tour in order to give her the final information to made her decision. We will be on a whistle-stop tour of the country in October taking in Manchester, Bristol, Sheffield and hopefully Brighton too. I can’t do them all with her, the boys need Mum at home some weekends, but am looking forward to spending some quality time with her as well as helping her investigate places that could well be her new home next year.
Do you have any tips for us? What questions should we be asking? How did you/your children make the final decisions?
Love Miss Cisco XXX