University Challenge

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?


Probably best avoid this one....

Probably best avoid this one….


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



  1. September 23, 2014 / 10:00 am

    It must be such a difficult decision to make, so many choices and rankings to take into consideration. I hope she manages to find somewhere that she likes and you feel comfortable with too.
    Boo Roo and Tigger Too recently posted…Back to school health #GermieMy Profile

  2. September 23, 2014 / 11:03 am

    Such a tough decision, hope she manages to find somewhere she likes 🙂 I remember when i considered going to uni there was so many choices I didn’t know where to start!
    Kerry recently posted…HOUSE OF FRASER FLORAL PICNIC HAMPERMy Profile

  3. September 23, 2014 / 2:19 pm

    She sounds much more switched on than my laid back son. We are Brighton Open day – as he has booked 3. I have suggested he looks at the one closest to home – he can drive there from here lol.

    Best of luck to her in her decision.
    Pinkoddy recently posted…University with a DisabilityMy Profile

  4. September 23, 2014 / 2:41 pm

    Best of luck with everyone! It is a daunting subject – so many options, so many decisions. Just work your way through everything together to pick the perfect choice xx
    Viccy H recently posted…How to make a Minecraft Creeper Tutu!My Profile

  5. September 23, 2014 / 3:01 pm

    Hope you enjoy the open days – I think they’re so useful. So are really good league tables (I’m a fan of the Times Good Uni Guide, which is the oldest, but I’m biased as I used to run it online). Look at student satisfaction polls too – as well as where the grads end up. Good luck! Very exciting times.
    Sarah Ebner recently posted…A wonderful trip to Lake Wolfgang in Austria, part 2 (including Salzburg!)My Profile

  6. September 23, 2014 / 4:02 pm

    Oh good luck with it all! We are so far away from this stage with Baby, but I had everything planned and was off to Liverpool. Then met Hubby and changed to Reading at the last minute! x
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  7. September 23, 2014 / 6:23 pm

    enjoy the open days! I’m already dreading the day mine want to move away :*(
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  8. September 23, 2014 / 7:59 pm

    I’d advise her to go to the Uni open days and work out whether the other people looking round are the sorts she could be friends with. As a country girl from the back end of nowhere, I felt completely out of depth at my (very posh) Uni. I did find my feet eventually, but it took a lot of agony to get there….good luck to you all! x
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  9. September 24, 2014 / 8:48 am

    We did all this last year and dropped Number 1 son at his halls yesterday. He wanted to study English which didn’t narrow the choices down much! We did look at distance from home, far enough for his parents not to hassle him too much but close enough to get there in an emergency (and to be cheaper travel)
    We also found the talks at open day really useful as one Uni where the course sounded great in the prospectus sounded awful at the talk and from the info on the day. The one he chose as his 1st choice (and where he is now) felt perfect for him when we stepped onto the campus – he went back for the second open day too.
    Good luck!
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  10. September 24, 2014 / 8:51 am

    No tips, but good luck! Enjoy the experience and I hope it helps you both make a decision you’re happy with. X
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…Top of the leagueMy Profile

  11. September 24, 2014 / 8:30 pm

    Well I made my decision on what my horoscope in The Sun said that day. I’m guessing that might not be the best advice though 😉
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