O.K, I'm writing this because I wished someone had done the same for me when I was applying to University, and been honest about what its REALLY like at St Andrews. I am a Second year student at the University, and wanted to make a formal warning to people wanting to apply to this University, because I don't want others to be duped the way that I was and then arrive here and realise what a colossal mistake they have made.
O.K, academically, the university has a very strong reputation which in my opinion, isn't entirely justified; having been to a private school since the age of 12, I have actually been relatively unimpressed by some of the teaching standards here at St Andrews especially in the first two years which do not actually count towards the rest of the degree. So essentially, two out of the four years you'll spend here, unless you are actually studing medicine are a complete waste and count for nothing, and some of the tutors in the Arts honours degree are simply postgraduate students whose tutorial sessions are completely redundant and useless and essentially function as a means of checking that you've simply read the pointless articles and snippets set. The point is that St Andrews has a strong reputation primarily because it is an OLD university- the oldest in Scotland in fact, which is why its regarded so highly- so don't be fooled as I was into believe that it is truly anything special.
Now, to the most significant part of my article- the place itself is hopeless. Its like a tiny, picturesque little prison with no clubs, and a very limited amount of shops and NO SHOPPING CENTRE whatsoever. People really skim over that fact when talking about this place as if it doesn’t matter, but its important because it becomes maddening- even for people who claim to adore the place, the fact that the highstreet has basically very few shops is a drag, as is the standard and quality of the so-called 'nightlife'. As I stated there are NO CLUBS just tiny crowded pubs with embarrassingly little space that attempt to mould themselves into clubs, but have 'dancefloors' the size of a small bedroom and play awful music. Students BEHAVE as though they are enjoying themselves thoroughly, getting dressed up to stand around in grotty pubs and drink, but they’re either very sad or pretending, honestly, because there's never any space and ALL VENUES SHUT AT ONE O CLOCk in the morning. I'm not kidding. So people leave their little dorms at 11 to come back two hours later drunk and say they've had a great night. It’s very, very sad. If leaving the Union at 1 in the morning after spending your time in there listening to the same terrible music in a tiny box of a room sounds fun then perhaps not, but people behave as if they're SO excited for absolutely no reason at all because there is nothing to get excited about. I love going out, but going out here is not what i call going out because all you're doing is going to one of the pubs next to Tesco to the Union which are all five minutes away from each other because the place is so ridiculously, pathetically small.
It is a beautiful place if you like castles and rabbits, and there is a gorgeous beahc although its only really ‘usable’ for one moth over the two Semesters and the fact that it is as small as it is ruins things, because instead of being able as you should in a city or a larger town, to escape to the centre for an afternoon just to relax or go somewhere a little different with friends- here there is no 'centre' to escape to, and So little to do its incredibly claustrophobic.
The centre of town consists of three streets with tiny little shops and a few banks, like the bare minimum you would expect from an underdeveloped borough in London. There’s Dundee to go to which is 25 minutes away on a bus, but that in itself is actually a very dismal place with a few half decent shops although it does have a few clubs, which are the only saving grace of the place- I’ve been a few times and the clubs are actually good there which is a plus, but the cab fare to get there and back is 60 pounds- you know why? Because of the terrible transport system which means that there are no such thing as night buses here and so you HAVE to take a cab if going out to Dundee later than midnight- it’s things like that which bother me, because even ATTEMPTING to have fun is hard work here.
Its also very difficult to find decent work here because of the lack of opportunities because of the lack of shops, and the \university’s Career Centre is completely hopeless, and basically has no reason for existing, because all the vacancy details could just be sent by e-mail to students, but they refuse to do that and instaead obligate you to go there in person and look up a vacancy located in a single file, which yu then have to que for half and hour to get access to. I am NOT joking.
Most significantly, I have spoken to three people from London, two of whom are my friends and one who has now left because he hated the place so much, and they all say the same thing about it. I had to write this because since I came I have contemplated leaving several times, so if you’re from a decent, fun city, be prepared for the hugest disappointment of your life.
This is an excellent place for social climbers who live in Wellingtons and wear Ray Bans and tweed in December and actually consider drunkenly stumbling around in someone’s lounge or the crowded rooms in the Union until only 1 in the morning to be a fun night out. My experience here has illustrated the extent of people's capacity for self deception and delusion because sincerely, the place is pathetic. One of the most boring places I have ever lived, and a regretful and frustrating experience. If you want a real taste of University life, do not come to St Andrews- almost everyone I’ve spoken to since coming here has expressed that they dislike the place for the very same reasons I have stated here. Obviously, as I expect, people will disagree with me, but this needs to be said, because I have seen hints of others stating negative things about the place but no-one so far I have read has really given the place the dressing down it deserves.
Too long that my printer started to print off sheets o.0 how weird...
Edit: After reading through few lines, i get the idea that it has something to do with uni-corns,pink castles and king king?Err the whole thing is too long, can you kindly summarise it, Thanks.
EDIT 2: THIS IS THE MOST NEGGED POST OF MINE,I HATE YOU(THREAD)!!!!!!! <---
I have stayed for around a month in St Andrews, and I can confirm everything you've said about the place. The only thing I don't know about is the quality of teaching. But the place is tiny with nothing to do.
I was expecting some kind of explanation for why virtually everyone (english) seems to have been rejected off my course there, but alas. I am a 'bunnies and castles' kind of person, but I do like a night out, and i see your points. Maybe it's for the best.
Last edited by jjackson18624; 07-02-2010 at 20:40.
No idea about the uni.
As a place, who cares about the lack of shops? There's plenty for everything I need, certainly. And the beach is useable year round...
Also, if you think the clubs in Dundee are good, you're clearly quite confused.
Hmmm. You seem slightly snobbish - trying to assert that other students delude themselves when they "think" they're having fun. I can see where you're coming from though.
However, I think it would be kind of cool living in a studenty place where there isn't constant pressure to go out drinking every night - perhaps it would make people more creative with ideas of what to do. Also, I'm from a small town, so I don't really get bored.
I really appreciate that you wrote that. I actually decided not to apply there, because, coming from Milan, it would take just too much to arrive than, let's say, london where there are about 30 flights per day.
But now i see that I might have done the correct choice!
Although, if you feel that way, you could try to transfer out? just a thought!
the things you said about teaching standards... I'm at a slightly better university by ranking (and there are only like five/six so take a guess...) and IMO teaching is **** at most universities because the fees are so ridiculously low. Departments do their very best with retarded budgets. The only place it's decent (and even there this can be dubious) is Oxbridge because they can afford to lose money on every undergraduate home student by charging exorbitant amount for postgrads and international students as well as due to earnings from financial investments.
So basically this is a general warning about most universities, also a lot of clubs shut early when run by SUs so if you want a decent nightlife you really should be near a major city.
Also St Andrews has a ridiculously awesome amount of pubs in the vicinity doesn't it? So it can't all be that bad!
(Original post by foxo)
Absolutely everything you've mentioned would be evident after a ten second flick through the prospectus. In short: don't pick universities based on The Times University Rankings.