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Architecture universities?

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    I've just finished a foundation degree in architecture at Central Saint Martins and I loved it. I'm not sure if the BA course is anything like the foundation was, though. I'm struggling to choose a university that might suit me; I'd prefer to experience another university rather than stay at CSM but despite some research I haven't been able to find much information. I don't mind the technical side of architecture but I think I prefer an 'arty' course. I have unconditional offers from the following:

    The University of Nottingham
    Oxford Brookes University
    Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design
    The University of Brighton

    I have just been to an AA (Architectural Association, School of Architecture) interview and I feel I may make this my first choice (however, it's outside of UCAS) so I need help deciding which UCAS universities to pick in case I don't make the cut for the AA scholarship (which I doubt I will).
    If someone knows a little inside knowledge about the AA that might influence my decision, please also share it.

    Why did you apply to (or what do you know about) any of the above universities?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you! :-)
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    All of those are good unis, Nottingham I suppose is the most rated, I urge you visit the campuses and wander the areas, you'll find one will just appeal to you more than the others because of your sense of the place, or what city you prefer. Don't overthink it, but take responsibility for the decision.
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    Bartlett?
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    I am currently studying at Nottingham, out of the five you mentioned I only applied here.

    I also took a foundation year but at Ravensbourne and if CSM is anything like it, I guess it is because the course is marked by UAL, then it basically follows a similar pattern but obviously with more detail and more criteria to fill.

    I chose Nottingham because I liked that their course didn't veer towards being extremely arty or technical, that it had a strong focus on environmental design, the course reputation, the university's reputation, the international links it has (with campuses in Malaysia and China) and the studios (which at the time of accepting I thought were great, now not so much).

    The campus is definitely very pretty, the best out of the ones I chose, but it didn't factor highly in my decision. One thing that I do not like is the size of the year group, there are simply too many people for the spaces we are allocated.

    The course itself is, in my opinion, a good mix of art and technicality though does lean slightly towards practicality rather than the fanciful designs some courses prefer.
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    (Original post by chenman27)
    I am currently studying at Nottingham, out of the five you mentioned I only applied here.

    I also took a foundation year but at Ravensbourne and if CSM is anything like it, I guess it is because the course is marked by UAL, then it basically follows a similar pattern but obviously with more detail and more criteria to fill.

    I chose Nottingham because I liked that their course didn't veer towards being extremely arty or technical, that it had a strong focus on environmental design, the course reputation, the university's reputation, the international links it has (with campuses in Malaysia and China) and the studios (which at the time of accepting I thought were great, now not so much).

    The campus is definitely very pretty, the best out of the ones I chose, but it didn't factor highly in my decision. One thing that I do not like is the size of the year group, there are simply too many people for the spaces we are allocated.

    The course itself is, in my opinion, a good mix of art and technicality though does lean slightly towards practicality rather than the fanciful designs some courses prefer.
    Ah, brilliant, thanks for replying :-D

    Why do you think the studios aren't so great now? Is it mostly to do with the size of the group, now that you realise how many people are studying Architecture there, or do you have any other issues with it?

    Did you find it annoying or suppressing in any way, having also done a creative foundation year, that Nottingham leans towards practicality?

    I also wonder if, having accepted the offer from Nottingham, I'm required to stay there for the "6 years" it states online; surely I should be able to move universities for RIBA Part II, or is this definitely a 6-year contract?

    Are there many 'engineery' elements to the Architecture degree at Nottingham?

    Sorry for the bombardment, hopefully you can reply!
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    (Original post by GormlessWonder)
    All of those are good unis, Nottingham I suppose is the most rated, I urge you visit the campuses and wander the areas, you'll find one will just appeal to you more than the others because of your sense of the place, or what city you prefer. Don't overthink it, but take responsibility for the decision.
    Thanks, I've visited the universities and I like all of equally, if I'm honest! They each have redeeming features of their own. My general impression is that Nottingham has a better overall reputation than Oxford Brookes, but O.B.'s Architecture course is supposed to be incredible. I'm visiting O.B. again this Friday (perhaps it will influence my final decision) but I can't ignore other factors, such as how expensive each city (in terms of rent for next year) is, and Oxford rivals London on those terms :-(
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    (Original post by xBillyBrownx)
    Bartlett?
    Haha, I know the reputation is amazing but unfortuately for me, after having visited it, I didn't like it much: the work spaces seemed cramped and dull and the tutors were not very friendly. Part of me (and my family) wishes I'd just get over it and apply for the reputation but I think I could be just as happy in the other universities I'd applied to.
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    (Original post by SanCloud)
    Ah, brilliant, thanks for replying :-D

    Why do you think the studios aren't so great now? Is it mostly to do with the size of the group, now that you realise how many people are studying Architecture there, or do you have any other issues with it?

    Did you find it annoying or suppressing in any way, having also done a creative foundation year, that Nottingham leans towards practicality?

    I also wonder if, having accepted the offer from Nottingham, I'm required to stay there for the "6 years" it states online; surely I should be able to move universities for RIBA Part II, or is this definitely a 6-year contract?

    Are there many 'engineery' elements to the Architecture degree at Nottingham?

    Sorry for the bombardment, hopefully you can reply!

    Well the size is definitely a problem, three years fit into one studio space so we don't have our own work areas and even when it's only first years I have much more space working in my room. Another, albeit smaller, problem is that it's freezing in winter but boiling in summer.

    I didn't find it annoying or suppressing but I found that quite a few times I was encouraged to follow the "house style" of Nottingham so much so that I feel when I look around studio loads of people have similar designs.

    You don't need to stay there for six years, I don't know why Nottingham puts it as a six year course because ultimately it works out the same way as other universities. I think if you get a 2:2 or higher you are automatically accepted into Part 2 but obviously you don't have to come back and they do say a lot of their students move around especially to London.

    Not that much engineering in my opinion, but we have two more technical modules; Environmental Sciences and Tectonics which we are expected to implement into our designs. We have another module called Integrated Design in Architecture which is more arty.

    Don't worry, I like helping people, it's a quick distraction from work!
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    (Original post by chenman27)
    Well the size is definitely a problem, three years fit into one studio space so we don't have our own work areas and even when it's only first years I have much more space working in my room. Another, albeit smaller, problem is that it's freezing in winter but boiling in summer.

    I didn't find it annoying or suppressing but I found that quite a few times I was encouraged to follow the "house style" of Nottingham so much so that I feel when I look around studio loads of people have similar designs.

    You don't need to stay there for six years, I don't know why Nottingham puts it as a six year course because ultimately it works out the same way as other universities. I think if you get a 2:2 or higher you are automatically accepted into Part 2 but obviously you don't have to come back and they do say a lot of their students move around especially to London.

    Not that much engineering in my opinion, but we have two more technical modules; Environmental Sciences and Tectonics which we are expected to implement into our designs. We have another module called Integrated Design in Architecture which is more arty.

    Don't worry, I like helping people, it's a quick distraction from work!
    Aww, nooo! I thought studio space would be in abundance there, it was one of my main reasons for going! What about libraries? Are we permitted to practice a little model-making there or none whatsoever? (Might seem like an obvious 'no' but the library at my Sixth Form did, so long as we cleared everything up afterwards, so I'll ask anyway.)
    I don't mind freezing as long as my room is well heated (the rooms in halls are, right?)

    Hmm, so I heard that first years don't use any machines in their model-making process (health and safety or something), how much of this is true?
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    (Original post by SanCloud)
    Aww, nooo! I thought studio space would be in abundance there, it was one of my main reasons for going! What about libraries? Are we permitted to practice a little model-making there or none whatsoever? (Might seem like an obvious 'no' but the library at my Sixth Form did, so long as we cleared everything up afterwards, so I'll ask anyway.)
    I don't mind freezing as long as my room is well heated (the rooms in halls are, right?)

    Hmm, so I heard that first years don't use any machines in their model-making process (health and safety or something), how much of this is true?
    Well it really depends when you go into studio but a lot of the times it's packed, it would be great if we get our own working area but because third years make their own little fortresses first years get less and less space. I'm not sure if we're allowed to work in the library, never tried it but I'm sure in the group study zones it would be fine but definitely not in the quiet areas.

    Yes the rooms in halls are heated. Well I haven't used any machines, but I never heard about it being a health and safety issue. I think you're allowed to use whatever you want but you need to get inducted before you can use them on your own. In fact I remember being encouraged to use the departments new machines like 3d printing. Lasercutting is quite popular here, they are always fully booked.
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    (Original post by chenman27)
    Well it really depends when you go into studio but a lot of the times it's packed, it would be great if we get our own working area but because third years make their own little fortresses first years get less and less space. I'm not sure if we're allowed to work in the library, never tried it but I'm sure in the group study zones it would be fine but definitely not in the quiet areas.

    Yes the rooms in halls are heated. Well I haven't used any machines, but I never heard about it being a health and safety issue. I think you're allowed to use whatever you want but you need to get inducted before you can use them on your own. In fact I remember being encouraged to use the departments new machines like 3d printing. Lasercutting is quite popular here, they are always fully booked.
    May I ask if you're honestly happy about being at Nottingham, do you have any regrets? And I also figure that once embarking on the course you become a little more exposed to the reputation of other unis in the field of Architecture (you tend to hear more about it), so have you heard anything about Brookes and what are your feelings towards Nottingham as a university (in which to study Architecture) - how does the 'world of Architecture' view the University of Nottingham?
    Would you recommend halls or Opal for first year students?
    Can it sometimes be difficult to find inspiration at Nottingham? (I mean, the city doesn't seem particularly exciting - perhaps because I'm used to London). D:
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    hey! i have offers from csm and the aa too (and cambridge), so i know the struggle. i think i'm going to choose the aa (first year), or if i don't get a scholarship and cannot afford it, then i'll stick to csm.
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    (Original post by SanCloud)
    May I ask if you're honestly happy about being at Nottingham, do you have any regrets? And I also figure that once embarking on the course you become a little more exposed to the reputation of other unis in the field of Architecture (you tend to hear more about it), so have you heard anything about Brookes and what are your feelings towards Nottingham as a university (in which to study Architecture) - how does the 'world of Architecture' view the University of Nottingham?
    Would you recommend halls or Opal for first year students?
    Can it sometimes be difficult to find inspiration at Nottingham? (I mean, the city doesn't seem particularly exciting - perhaps because I'm used to London). D:
    I am generally happy being at Nottingham, if you're simply asking this in terms of my views on the course then I think it's great. Of course I will always ask myself what ifs, I do prefer London and the buzz around it but I had no choice because Bartlett rejected me. Besides London I don't think I would have preferred any city over any other. The only regret I have was not applying a year earlier but that is no way related to the pros or cons of Nottingham.

    To be frank I have not heard anything about Brookes since joining this course, the name that always pops up is Bartlett but I knew that Brookes had a good reputation before I applied to Nottingham the only reason I did not give it a second look was because I wanted to be in a university that had a good reputation besides only for my course because if I decide not to continue with architecture I still have a respectable uni under my CV.

    Our tutors love to boast that their supposedly among the Top 6 in the UK, have always found that amusing. I honestly don't doubt it but I do not feel we receive as much attention as say Bath, Bartlett, Sheffield, AA etc etc do though we do perform strongly in environmental aspects. However I think the university is good at preparing students for working as an architect hence we have a good reputation with firms.

    I would recommend halls for first year. In my opinion it's more sociable, it's easier, more accessible etc etc. You can just roll out of bed and get to studio or lectures within 10 minutes generally. Whilst Opal have better rooms than most halls I don't like the area and I have friends who've felt incredibly isolated living there because people don't interact as much supposedly.

    You can never compare London to Nottingham but I don't find it difficult to get inspired, me also being a Londoner.

    If I had your choice I would chose Nottingham but you should just go with your heart.
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    (Original post by chenman27)
    I am generally happy being at Nottingham, if you're simply asking this in terms of my views on the course then I think it's great. Of course I will always ask myself what ifs, I do prefer London and the buzz around it but I had no choice because Bartlett rejected me. Besides London I don't think I would have preferred any city over any other. The only regret I have was not applying a year earlier but that is no way related to the pros or cons of Nottingham.

    To be frank I have not heard anything about Brookes since joining this course, the name that always pops up is Bartlett but I knew that Brookes had a good reputation before I applied to Nottingham the only reason I did not give it a second look was because I wanted to be in a university that had a good reputation besides only for my course because if I decide not to continue with architecture I still have a respectable uni under my CV.

    Our tutors love to boast that their supposedly among the Top 6 in the UK, have always found that amusing. I honestly don't doubt it but I do not feel we receive as much attention as say Bath, Bartlett, Sheffield, AA etc etc do though we do perform strongly in environmental aspects. However I think the university is good at preparing students for working as an architect hence we have a good reputation with firms.

    I would recommend halls for first year. In my opinion it's more sociable, it's easier, more accessible etc etc. You can just roll out of bed and get to studio or lectures within 10 minutes generally. Whilst Opal have better rooms than most halls I don't like the area and I have friends who've felt incredibly isolated living there because people don't interact as much supposedly.

    You can never compare London to Nottingham but I don't find it difficult to get inspired, me also being a Londoner.

    If I had your choice I would chose Nottingham but you should just go with your heart.
    Ah, I see. I had regrets at first about doing a foundation year too but to be honest, I hadn't heard about some of the reputations of a few Architecture unis (I certainly wouldn't have considered Nottingham) so I'll stick to that so I don't feel bad for 'having wasted a year', which is how I had felt earlier.

    I suppose so, I think employers (particularly outsiders that don't know much about Architecture) may look down at a Brookes applicant, purely because the uni itself isn't so great for the majority of it's subjects. I'm now back from having visited Oxford Brookes and I think Nottingham is the safer (and better) place to go. I'll firm Nottingham tomorrow! :-D The only 1-ups Brookes had over Nottingham: nicer city and closer to London but I know that in my future career I can't always pick where I'll be placed and wherever I end up may not be so pretty.

    Yes, I went for a UoN Architecture open day last year and they fed me the 'top 6' thing too, though the professor looked uneasy when delivering the information.
    Oh jheeze, really? For some reason I was under the impression that the 'Opal community' was a vast and friendly one and it does seem within a reasonable distance from the University Park campus. Meh, I'll probably end up applying for halls anyway.

    Thanks so much for your help, thank you, thank you, thank you!
    I'm not sure you're into anime/manga/games and things but since I learn you're a Londoner I'll put it out there: there's an expo twice a year at the Excel centre, it's called MCM and it's great if that's 'your thing' at all. :-)
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    (Original post by msas1)
    hey! i have offers from csm and the aa too (and cambridge), so i know the struggle. i think i'm going to choose the aa (first year), or if i don't get a scholarship and cannot afford it, then i'll stick to csm.
    Hey! That's exactly what I was going to do but I didn't think the CSM course was that great, unfortunately! :-(
    Cambridge too? Why is Cambridge being ignored? I know their course is not the best for Architecture (apparently), but I know loads of people that would go simply for the overall reputation of the university, so it's interesting that you say that :-P
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    (Original post by SanCloud)
    Hey! That's exactly what I was going to do but I didn't think the CSM course was that great, unfortunately! :-(
    Cambridge too? Why is Cambridge being ignored? I know their course is not the best for Architecture (apparently), but I know loads of people that would go simply for the overall reputation of the university, so it's interesting that you say that :-P
    i just thought that the overall reputation is less important than the reputation within the trade. besides, their course is a bit more theoretical, than what i want. have you heard back from the aa yet?

    why didn't you like the csm course?
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    (Original post by SanCloud)
    Ah, I see. I had regrets at first about doing a foundation year too but to be honest, I hadn't heard about some of the reputations of a few Architecture unis (I certainly wouldn't have considered Nottingham) so I'll stick to that so I don't feel bad for 'having wasted a year', which is how I had felt earlier.

    I suppose so, I think employers (particularly outsiders that don't know much about Architecture) may look down at a Brookes applicant, purely because the uni itself isn't so great for the majority of it's subjects. I'm now back from having visited Oxford Brookes and I think Nottingham is the safer (and better) place to go. I'll firm Nottingham tomorrow! :-D The only 1-ups Brookes had over Nottingham: nicer city and closer to London but I know that in my future career I can't always pick where I'll be placed and wherever I end up may not be so pretty.

    Yes, I went for a UoN Architecture open day last year and they fed me the 'top 6' thing too, though the professor looked uneasy when delivering the information.
    Oh jheeze, really? For some reason I was under the impression that the 'Opal community' was a vast and friendly one and it does seem within a reasonable distance from the University Park campus. Meh, I'll probably end up applying for halls anyway.

    Thanks so much for your help, thank you, thank you, thank you!
    I'm not sure you're into anime/manga/games and things but since I learn you're a Londoner I'll put it out there: there's an expo twice a year at the Excel centre, it's called MCM and it's great if that's 'your thing' at all. :-)
    It's good that you're happy with doing foundation, it is a good stepping stone from secondary education to further education I must admit. Congratulations on choosing Nottingham by the way, might see you there next year.

    The professor you're talking about is probably David Short, our course director, he did seem pretty jittery when I had that talk a long time ago.

    Well maybe it's because one of my friends staying there is living in a studio so her neighbours never come out. It only takes about 30 minutes to walk for me, there are buses but they don't run on weekends to uni park so I don't think it's that convenient.

    Oh I've heard of that, I used to know someone who was massively into it and cosplay. Yeah sounds cool but haven't really touched anime/manga or games since starting first year but thanks for telling me anyway.
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    (Original post by msas1)
    i just thought that the overall reputation is less important than the reputation within the trade. besides, their course is a bit more theoretical, than what i want. have you heard back from the aa yet?

    why didn't you like the csm course?
    Great reason :-) Well, I'd done a foundation year at CSM this year and so I'd spent some time at their building at Kings Cross too (entry permitted to foundation students), speaking to some of the BA students also. The building itself is great, the atmosphere is awesome but I think the course itself lacks a little. It's completely 'arty' (though maybe that's what you'd prefer) - personally, I'd like a little science or in-depth understanding. I also know that the student satisfaction for the Architecture course is very low (around 45%) and because it is a new course at CSM, it isn't as well-developed as the architecture other universities offer. Yes, CSM may hold world recognition in art, product design and fashion, but definitely not in architecture. Mind you, it certainly is developing, I'd seen an advertisement in an AR magazine for their summer courses but I'm not prepared to wait for it to grow into a decent course, I'd rather embark upon something that I know will deliver right now, today. :-)

    Nope, I haven't, have you? I wouldn't worry if you haven't either, my friend last year had waited a month or longer and they eventually offered her a place. She'd been convinced her interview had been a total failure and yet... :-P I'm not sure I'd like to go to the AA, I've been thinking about it for a while now. I've recently been told that they also expect a £6k deposit (which they return in the 5th year - it's supposed to convince people to stay until the diploma) but I don't have that money on hand. I worry about the costs if I were to attend, nothing there is cheap, they're so ridiculous with money. :-\ So I'm massively put off them at the moment. If I get a scholarship in the end, I'd really have to think a while before accepting it. Btw, SFE only give £6k/year in tuition fees for partially private institutions (I'm not sure whether the AA is wholly private; it's not, right?) But yeah. I hope you've thought about all these things regarding the AA too!

    One thing I will say about CSM: you will be happy there. It's just about the quality of the teaching - it's slightly below other unis, I'd say. But it's not terrible. My UCAS deadline passed just 4 minutes ago, when is yours?
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    (Original post by chenman27)
    It's good that you're happy with doing foundation, it is a good stepping stone from secondary education to further education I must admit. Congratulations on choosing Nottingham by the way, might see you there next year.

    The professor you're talking about is probably David Short, our course director, he did seem pretty jittery when I had that talk a long time ago.

    Well maybe it's because one of my friends staying there is living in a studio so her neighbours never come out. It only takes about 30 minutes to walk for me, there are buses but they don't run on weekends to uni park so I don't think it's that convenient.

    Oh I've heard of that, I used to know someone who was massively into it and cosplay. Yeah sounds cool but haven't really touched anime/manga or games since starting first year but thanks for telling me anyway.
    Haha, well, since I've made Notts by first choice, I pretty much HAVE to go there now (I already have the grades). :-)
    Oh! I just assumed they ran into the uni park all week! Oops! Oh well, I'll manage, ha!
    I know, I haven't touched any for ages either but now that I'm technically 'free' (my foundation has finished), I think I'm gonna go ahead and have a massive catch up, spoil myself. :-) Sucks that everyone else is still at uni and not free! D:
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    (Original post by SanCloud)
    Great reason :-) Well, I'd done a foundation year at CSM this year and so I'd spent some time at their building at Kings Cross too (entry permitted to foundation students), speaking to some of the BA students also. The building itself is great, the atmosphere is awesome but I think the course itself lacks a little. It's completely 'arty' (though maybe that's what you'd prefer) - personally, I'd like a little science or in-depth understanding. I also know that the student satisfaction for the Architecture course is very low (around 45%) and because it is a new course at CSM, it isn't as well-developed as the architecture other universities offer. Yes, CSM may hold world recognition in art, product design and fashion, but definitely not in architecture. Mind you, it certainly is developing, I'd seen an advertisement in an AR magazine for their summer courses but I'm not prepared to wait for it to grow into a decent course, I'd rather embark upon something that I know will deliver right now, today. :-)

    Nope, I haven't, have you? I wouldn't worry if you haven't either, my friend last year had waited a month or longer and they eventually offered her a place. She'd been convinced her interview had been a total failure and yet... :-P I'm not sure I'd like to go to the AA, I've been thinking about it for a while now. I've recently been told that they also expect a £6k deposit (which they return in the 5th year - it's supposed to convince people to stay until the diploma) but I don't have that money on hand. I worry about the costs if I were to attend, nothing there is cheap, they're so ridiculous with money. :-\ So I'm massively put off them at the moment. If I get a scholarship in the end, I'd really have to think a while before accepting it. Btw, SFE only give £6k/year in tuition fees for partially private institutions (I'm not sure whether the AA is wholly private; it's not, right?) But yeah. I hope you've thought about all these things regarding the AA too!

    One thing I will say about CSM: you will be happy there. It's just about the quality of the teaching - it's slightly below other unis, I'd say. But it's not terrible. My UCAS deadline passed just 4 minutes ago, when is yours?
    yep, i have an unconditional offer for first year from the aa. and my interview was complete disaster too. yeah, the financial issues at the aa are a major put off, but i talked to some people who were there on scholarship, and they said it wasn't that bad. i'm not particularly poor, but coming from eastern europe it would be impossible to pay all that money, so now all my hope is in their eastern european scholarship (andrew szmidlia bequest). i indicated both in my application and at the interview, that there's virtually no way of my studying there without their financial aid, so i guess they wouldn't have accepted me unconditionally if they didn't consider me for a scholarship (the admissions panel supported my application). fingers crossed now. normally i wouldn't want a school this bad, but their approach to architecture, and the teaching is amazing!
    i guess i would be happy at csm too, and i could still go to a different school for part 2.
    today was my ucas deadline too, i declined cambridge, and firmed csm. i don't have insurance, because csm's condition being really easy it wouldn't have made sense, besides if in the end i could go to the aa, it will be easier to decline only one school keep me updated!

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