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Entry requirements for Modern Languages

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    These seem to be really low (ABB - BBC) given Bristol's quality in other areas and standing in the league tables. Has the department got a bad reputation or something? I was thinking of applying for next year as I love the city and want to study French & Portuguese, but I was just wondering why the entry requirements are so low when compared to unis like Southampton (AAB).
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    This is probably way too late now to reply but in case anybody else stumbles upon this and reads it at a later date... no, no, no! The School of Modern Languages doesn't have a bad name! The French department, for example, has often featured in the top 5 as far as league tables go (not that I'm a big fan of such tables...)

    One could speculate as to the reasons for the entry requirements being low but beware of the danger of interpreting entry requirements as markers of quality!

    Bristol's language departments are heavily oversubscribed and competition is fierce. Even if they ask for grades between ABB and BBC, you will find that Bristol will tend to favour those who have shown academic flair and as such the vast majority of students will be straight A students ;-)
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    Actually, Bristol raised their stated entry requirement in November, after many applicants had already applied. For some French combinations, it changed from ABB - BBC with a minimum of B in French to AAB - BBC with a minimum of a B in French. If you check the Bristol offers already made, the vast majority have been AAB with an A required in French.
    It really would be helpful if the correct information was stated on their web pages to allow students to make appropriate choices. I'm sure these inflated offers have upset many students plans.
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    (Original post by Gwrhyr)
    This is probably way too late now to reply but in case anybody else stumbles upon this and reads it at a later date... no, no, no! The School of Modern Languages doesn't have a bad name! The French department, for example, has often featured in the top 5 as far as league tables go (not that I'm a big fan of such tables...)

    One could speculate as to the reasons for the entry requirements being low but beware of the danger of interpreting entry requirements as markers of quality!

    Bristol's language departments are heavily oversubscribed and competition is fierce. Even if they ask for grades between ABB and BBC, you will find that Bristol will tend to favour those who have shown academic flair and as such the vast majority of students will be straight A students ;-)
    Hey. Did you go to Bristol, out of interest? I'm planning to make it my Firm choice for Modern Languages, but I'm scared because I've been seeing a lot of negative stuff about the department here recently. =/
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    (Original post by Dusty12)
    Hey. Did you go to Bristol, out of interest? I'm planning to make it my Firm choice for Modern Languages, but I'm scared because I've been seeing a lot of negative stuff about the department here recently. =/
    P'nawn da! Yes, I did go to Bristol for my undergrad degree. What are you hoping to study at Bristol specifically? I can give you some honest opinions if you can give me further details about the course/language combo. Don't write it off quite yet... ;-)
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    (Original post by Gwrhyr)
    P'nawn da! Yes, I did go to Bristol for my undergrad degree. What are you hoping to study at Bristol specifically? I can give you some honest opinions if you can give me further details about the course/language combo. Don't write it off quite yet... ;-)
    Prynhawn da! I was tempted earlier to ask whether your username was Welsh-influenced.
    I have applied and received an offer for just French single honours. I later emailed them asking about doing German ab initio too, and I sent them a second PS as they requested. That was a while ago though, and they haven't replied(Grrrr!). I thought I'd wait until the Visit Day and mention it again when I'm there. I'm happy enough to do French by itself, but I'd prefer if they let me do German too.

    I'd love your honest opinion! It's still my absolute favourite despite all I've read, but I'm having slight doubts.
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    (Original post by Dusty12)
    Prynhawn da! I was tempted earlier to ask whether your username was Welsh-influenced.
    I have applied and received an offer for just French single honours. I later emailed them asking about doing German ab initio too, and I sent them a second PS as they requested. That was a while ago though, and they haven't replied(Grrrr!). I thought I'd wait until the Visit Day and mention it again when I'm there. I'm happy enough to do French by itself, but I'd prefer if they let me do German too.

    I'd love your honest opinion! It's still my absolute favourite despite all I've read, but I'm having slight doubts.
    I've sent you a private inbox message but I thought I'd repeat some of what I said to you in case anyone else happens to read this thread one day.

    Basically when it comes to choosing a uni it's all very personal and the opinions people give are purely those: opinion!
    Some people will have had bad experiences and will express that fervently. Others will have left uni with good memories and will express their love of a place.

    You know, generally speaking, in the UK we have so many excellent universities and you can't really go wrong.
    But you also know those universities which do have a good name and which, consequently, will look good on a CV when you're looking for a job.

    It all depends on the things which are important to you in your life.

    Think about

    1) The city. Research it. Do you like it? Have you visited before? Is it easy to reach (if you're planning on going home a lot)? Does it seem like a place which could keep you entertained for a few years?

    2) The course. Something I wish I'd done before starting university was to look at the optional units available. Visit the departments' websites and have a look at which optional modules you can pick if any. Look for a list of staff members and research their fields of interest.
    Some people really have no clue what they want to study specifically within the course but I really wanted to do linguistics, for example, a friend of mine was huge on history... Have a look to see whether each department offers the types of subjects you'd like to study.

    In my opinion Bristol is a top-notch university. It does have a good name and a lot of employers trust the Bristol "brand"!
    The French department is very large (especially for languages) and for some this could come across as being impersonal... However you will hopefully discover like I did that the tutors are hugely passionate academics who want to pass on their interests to a group of eager students. They are always approachable and will make every effort to make you feel comfortable.
    The admin can be slow or even inefficient at times but it really is nothing.
    If anything, it is good prep for when you'll go abroad to France (for at least half a year) and will encounter real inefficient administration!!!
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    I know the less prestigious unis often have lower entry requirements, but with Bristol I really don't think this is the case. It's probably just because the language courses really aren't that popular, in which case they don't need to give as high offers as, for example, English, which is an incredibly popular course (average offer AAA). Also, I doubt a uni as good as Bristol would allow any of their course areas to lack in quality, as they want to be seen as a good uni all round.

    I went to an applicant visit day yesterday and was really impressed. The professors and current students were all very friendly, and it is constantly stressed that Bristol is strongly based on research to give the best possible education. They seem to have plenty of socs and groups to join, one I remember included a fortnightly gathering at a pub, where students gathered and just spoke German all night, which is great considering how hard it can be to find someone to properly practice with. I'm sure they'll have something similar for French, and possibly also for Portuguese. I also loved the city, which is beautiful and said to often be sunny and warm (it certainly was yesterday!).

    The course I've applied for, German and Spanish, is apparently the rarest combination and the least popular course. I'm assuming this is the reason my offer is only BBB. Spanish and French is incredibly popular and they have to turn many people away every year - the average offer is AAB-ABB.

    I wouldn't let the entry requirements bother you. It is a highly acclaimed uni in a fantastic location (compared to where I live in Yorkshire anyway!), and is 14th on the league table for languages - http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...es-linguistics

    I'm not saying definitely go there, but don't rule it out until you've seen it for yourself
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    (Original post by helzz94)
    I know the less prestigious unis often have lower entry requirements, but with Bristol I really don't think this is the case. It's probably just because the language courses really aren't that popular, in which case they don't need to give as high offers as, for example, English, which is an incredibly popular course (average offer AAA). Also, I doubt a uni as good as Bristol would allow any of their course areas to lack in quality, as they want to be seen as a good uni all round.

    I went to an applicant visit day yesterday and was really impressed. The professors and current students were all very friendly, and it is constantly stressed that Bristol is strongly based on research to give the best possible education. They seem to have plenty of socs and groups to join, one I remember included a fortnightly gathering at a pub, where students gathered and just spoke German all night, which is great considering how hard it can be to find someone to properly practice with. I'm sure they'll have something similar for French, and possibly also for Portuguese. I also loved the city, which is beautiful and said to often be sunny and warm (it certainly was yesterday!).

    The course I've applied for, German and Spanish, is apparently the rarest combination and the least popular course. I'm assuming this is the reason my offer is only BBB. Spanish and French is incredibly popular and they have to turn many people away every year - the average offer is AAB-ABB.

    I wouldn't let the entry requirements bother you. It is a highly acclaimed uni in a fantastic location (compared to where I live in Yorkshire anyway!), and is 14th on the league table for languages - http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...es-linguistics

    I'm not saying definitely go there, but don't rule it out until you've seen it for yourself
    Ha, I was there yesterday as well.

    What you say is very true. And at an open day last summer, someone queried the comparatively low offers given, and the man explained that it certainly wasn't because the department was bad. It's quite difficult to get an offer in the first place.
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    (Original post by helzz94)
    I know the less prestigious unis often have lower entry requirements, but with Bristol I really don't think this is the case. It's probably just because the language courses really aren't that popular, in which case they don't need to give as high offers as, for example, English, which is an incredibly popular course (average offer AAA). Also, I doubt a uni as good as Bristol would allow any of their course areas to lack in quality, as they want to be seen as a good uni all round.

    I went to an applicant visit day yesterday and was really impressed. The professors and current students were all very friendly, and it is constantly stressed that Bristol is strongly based on research to give the best possible education. They seem to have plenty of socs and groups to join, one I remember included a fortnightly gathering at a pub, where students gathered and just spoke German all night, which is great considering how hard it can be to find someone to properly practice with. I'm sure they'll have something similar for French, and possibly also for Portuguese. I also loved the city, which is beautiful and said to often be sunny and warm (it certainly was yesterday!).

    The course I've applied for, German and Spanish, is apparently the rarest combination and the least popular course. I'm assuming this is the reason my offer is only BBB. Spanish and French is incredibly popular and they have to turn many people away every year - the average offer is AAB-ABB.

    I wouldn't let the entry requirements bother you. It is a highly acclaimed uni in a fantastic location (compared to where I live in Yorkshire anyway!), and is 14th on the league table for languages - http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...es-linguistics

    I'm not saying definitely go there, but don't rule it out until you've seen it for yourself
    My offer for German and Spanish is ABB! Are they allowed to give people different grade requirements for the same course?
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    (Original post by zizi8)
    My offer for German and Spanish is ABB! Are they allowed to give people different grade requirements for the same course?
    Really? That's so weird! I have no idea, I got mine quite late so maybe they started giving them out at ABB first and then lowered the entry requirements if not many people were applying. I know less people will have applied for uni altogether this year due to the rise in tuition fees.

    Might see you in Bristol then!
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    (Original post by helzz94)
    I went to an applicant visit day yesterday and was really impressed.
    (Original post by Dusty12)
    Ha, I was there yesterday as well.
    I was there too! Funny that we were sat in the same room without knowing. Anyway. After having some doubts about Bristol after what I'd read on here, the visit day put these worries at rest and I'm planning on firming
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    (Original post by hannahdlc)
    I was there too! Funny that we were sat in the same room without knowing. Anyway. After having some doubts about Bristol after what I'd read on here, the visit day put these worries at rest and I'm planning on firming
    On Open Days I always wondered how many people there were from TSR. :L

    Were either of you there about 10 minutes before the introduction in the Wills Memorial Building, when for no apparent reason the room went completely silent, then everyone realised nothing was happening and started talking again? I thought it was awkward but hilarious at the same time, but I felt stupid laughing cos I was sitting by myself.

    And I see you've applied to Durham too. Have you visited it, and why d'you prefer Bristol? I think I like Bristol more, but I haven't visited Durham (It's so far awaaay!) so I'm a bit hesitant.
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    (Original post by Dusty12)
    Were either of you there about 10 minutes before the introduction in the Wills Memorial Building, when for no apparent reason the room went completely silent, then everyone realised nothing was happening and started talking again? I thought it was awkward but hilarious at the same time, but I felt stupid laughing cos I was sitting by myself.
    Haha yes! I'm sure it happened more than once as well :') I felt like the only person who was sat on their own, everyone seemed to have parents with them, so I'm glad it wasn't just me
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    (Original post by Dusty12)
    On Open Days I always wondered how many people there were from TSR. :L

    Were either of you there about 10 minutes before the introduction in the Wills Memorial Building, when for no apparent reason the room went completely silent, then everyone realised nothing was happening and started talking again? I thought it was awkward but hilarious at the same time, but I felt stupid laughing cos I was sitting by myself.

    And I see you've applied to Durham too. Have you visited it, and why d'you prefer Bristol? I think I like Bristol more, but I haven't visited Durham (It's so far awaaay!) so I'm a bit hesitant.
    Shwmae! I don't normally post much but as I'm a final year modern languages student at Bristol, and also Welsh, I thought I would!

    I had to choose between Bristol and Durham too, and went for Bristol in the end. I definitely think I've made the right choice - I'm studying Russian and the department is absolutely fantastic. The lecturers are great and there's lots of individual support.

    I think the advantage that you'll get with Bristol over Durham is that you might get more of a well-rounded university experience. The city is amazing, nightlife is undoubtedly better etc. I don't think there's any difference in the two university's reputations. Bristol attracts the biggest and best graduate employers so there's nothing to worry about where that's concerned.

    If you've got any other questions about Bristol I'll be happy to answer them!
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    (Original post by myfyriwr)
    Shwmae! I don't normally post much but as I'm a final year modern languages student at Bristol, and also Welsh, I thought I would!

    I had to choose between Bristol and Durham too, and went for Bristol in the end. I definitely think I've made the right choice - I'm studying Russian and the department is absolutely fantastic. The lecturers are great and there's lots of individual support.

    I think the advantage that you'll get with Bristol over Durham is that you might get more of a well-rounded university experience. The city is amazing, nightlife is undoubtedly better etc. I don't think there's any difference in the two university's reputations. Bristol attracts the biggest and best graduate employers so there's nothing to worry about where that's concerned.

    If you've got any other questions about Bristol I'll be happy to answer them!
    Shwmae!
    Thanks, it's reassuring to know that you think you made the right choice. I think Bristol would personally suit me better, but lots of people seem surprised that I don't prefer Durham, which is making me doubt myself.

    Diolch eto! I'll be sure to ask Gwrhyr and yourself if I have any questions about Bristol.

    (Original post by helzz94)
    Haha yes! I'm sure it happened more than once as well :') I felt like the only person who was sat on their own, everyone seemed to have parents with them, so I'm glad it wasn't just me
    I pretended to look at my phone until the talk started to avoid feeling awkward and alone.
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    (Original post by helzz94)
    Really? That's so weird! I have no idea, I got mine quite late so maybe they started giving them out at ABB first and then lowered the entry requirements if not many people were applying. I know less people will have applied for uni altogether this year due to the rise in tuition fees.

    Might see you in Bristol then!
    Ahhh yeah that's a good point actually , thanks and yes indeed!
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    (Original post by Dusty12)
    I think Bristol would personally suit me better, but lots of people seem surprised that I don't prefer Durham, which is making me doubt myself.
    (Original post by hannahdlc)
    After having some doubts about Bristol after what I'd read on here, the visit day put these worries at rest and I'm planning on firming
    I've noticed you both looked at the thread for first years in which everyone is slating Bristol; can I ask what it was about Bristol that made you stop worrying about the people who seem to really dislike the course?

    I was nearly in tears reading what some people had written because I was almost certain I was going there
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    (Original post by helzz94)
    I've noticed you both looked at the thread for first years in which everyone is slating Bristol; can I ask what it was about Bristol that made you stop worrying about the people who seem to really dislike the course?

    I was nearly in tears reading what some people had written because I was almost certain I was going there
    Okay, well firstly I liked Bristol when I saw it, and for all the people complaining about it here, there are other people who say that love it there.

    Also, when people criticise the course, you have to remember that it's in the context of their own experience. What someone else hates, I might like.
    For example:
    Someone said they hadn't used the Multimedia Centre much in their time there. Well that's their own fault!
    The staff are very critical? Well that's a good thing in terms of learning, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time.
    The course is too easy and slow? Great, easy 1.1 degree! With languages you never stop learning anyway, so you can keep pushing yourself regardless of what the lectures are like.
    Not enough focus on speaking skills? Well find some natives on Erasmus schemes and get chatting!
    Not much contact hours? Oh well, I learn better by myself anyway.

    Basically, I find that most complaints are things that either apply to all universities, or aren't things that particularly bother me. You'll find bad reviews of every single uni online, so better not let them influence you too much.
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    I think you could all benefit from some advice from a current student!

    You are the one responsible for making the choice about which university to attend. Okay, so x amount of people might hate course y, but there's likely a reason for this. (Which the previous poster summed up very nicely).

    Take EVERYTHING with a pinch of salt. Sites such as these can be really useful resources, but just because a few people hate their course at this university, doesn't mean you will too.

    The reason I wanted so desperately to study Spanish at Bristol was because of the ample opportunity to learn about Latin American history, politics, culture and literature, something which I felt was missing from other universities' courses. Of course, because I had done my research, I knew that in my 2nd and 4th year I'd be able to take such modules. SO: if you have a particular interest or desire, make sure you check that it is offered by your university. Obviously, modules change year-to-year based on staffing, but at Bristol, for example, there are at least 4 members of staff in the HiPLA department specialising in Latin America, and not all 4 of them will be on research leave at once!

    I was completely dumbfounded when a friend of mine started complaining about having to choose literature/history/culture modules. "But I'm studying for a degree in LANGUAGES!" Well yes, you are. But if you'd checked the website first, you'd realise that 3-5 of your modules each year are literature/history/culture options. Moral of the story: DO YOUR RESEARCH! And also, why the hell study for a degree in a language if you don't want to enrich your knowledge/passion by learning more about the countries in which your chosen language is spoken?

    I have loved my experience at Bristol. There are some things I dislike, but there are things you'll like and dislike everywhere. I'm glad I came here: I have found the staff to be enthusiastic, supportive and encouraging. I have enjoyed learning about Latin America, to the extent that I am currently in Colombia on my year abroad and hoping to take the MPhil in Latin American Studies at Cambridge when I graduate.

    All of that said, there is only so much you can know (or think you know) about university before you actually start. It's not a life and death matter, but the most important factor in getting the most out of your university experience, is that you enjoy your course. If you can't decide between Durham and Bristol, look at the course description on both websites. Compare them. Which sounds most enjoyable? Go for that one. "Oh no, Durham is much further away than Bristol!" Yes, but you won't go home that often anyway.

    The Multimedia centre is great, by the way. But again, surprised that so many of my friends don't use it. It's a fantastic resource, so if you go to Bristol, use it! It's especially handy when you've got a couple of hours between lectures - you can head there and do some reading, homework etc, or stick a Spanish film on or watch the Spanish news on the satellite TVs. I recommend you do stuff like that! It's great listening practice without it feeling like work.

    That's probably enough from me now. Any questions, feel free to PM me.
    Suerte!

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