Choosing my 5 universities Watch

Ecaudate
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#1
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I want to study French and ab initio Spanish at university and I've made a shortlist of:

Bristol
Cambridge
Durham
Edinburgh
Liverpool
Newcastle
Nottingham
St. Andrews

I definitely want to apply to Cambridge, Edinburgh and Bristol but then I have no idea which other two I should pick. Does anyone know anything about the quality of the courses at Durham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham or St. Andrews? Anything else I should consider in my decision making between these eight?
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Folie
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I think I'm right in saying that the St. Andrews course is 5 years rather than 4 (check the website, as it was about a year ago now I was looking). That was what put me off I think, you might not see it as an issue though. I think Scottish universities are also different in that you study more subjects to begin with, might be something for you to look into.

I'm going to Durham in October, results permitting, English and French - so I don't know a lot about the Spanish department, but I think the French course looks good and seems to have a good reputation generally. From what I remember, there seemed to be lots of literature modules to choose from, if that interests you (I assume it does if you're applying to Cambridge). They also had some translation and interpreting modules, which I think is unusual at undergrad. Plus they offer some politics and language related ones too.

Nottingham is my insurance, so I don't quite remember as much about what's in the modules, but I seem to remember they had quite a big range, being a large department. Less literature possibly than Durham, although there is the option to do some if you're interested. On a side note, the campus is really lovely.

I didn't apply to any of the others on your list, so don't know a lot about them. My advice would be to have a good look at each university's prospectus, look at the modules and consider if you would be interested, an then go on lots of open days. Open days can be really helpful, as I went to a couple which put me right off the course - better to realise you hate a uni/course before you apply than after when you can't change your mind!
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Nana_A
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don't do what i did and pick universities without having any clues about them...as this has cost me an extra £6000 per term...as i have to take a gap year now
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angelmxxx
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The quality will be hard to tell, you can look at student satisifcation figures but since you don't know what hte students were expecting, it's petty hard to make any sense of those figures!

The standard of French will probably be the same at all those unis. I know Bristol's French students had a protest a couple of years ago because they only had 3 or 4 teaching hours a week, but I assume that's sorted now! But looking up the modules on offer and how flexible the degree is (can you take as many literature modules as you'd like to, can you drop a language if you don't like it, can you pick up a new language in second year, etc) might be important to you?

Otherwise, try and visit the universities to see if you actually like the university (location, campus/non campus, travelling distances to lectures/etc). You could do Durham, Newcastle and Edinburgh (and maybe St Andrews) in one visit, and if you go in late June or July you should be able to stay in university accommodation which is much cheaper than hotels.
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username457532
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(Original post by angelmxxx)
Otherwise, try and visit the universities to see if you actually like the university (location, campus/non campus, travelling distances to lectures/etc). You could do Durham, Newcastle and Edinburgh (and maybe St Andrews) in one visit, and if you go in late June or July you should be able to stay in university accommodation which is much cheaper than hotels.
Don't just TRY, DO. If somewhere's too far to go and visit then you've got to think about whether you'll be able to get home at the end of term easily or if you want/need to go home one weekend. You will discover so much on open days. I discounted two universities (Manchester and Oxford) because after going to the open day I knew I wouldn't feel happy there. Also, consider the cities these places are in. Do you want a campus, a big city, countryside...?
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simon-leeds
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This may not make much difference to you but the latest rankings for French rank the Universities in your shortlist at:

2. St Andrews
3. Durham
4. Cambridge
10. Bristol
13. Edinburgh
18. Nottingham
20. Newcastle
27. Liverpool

But visiting is probably the most important thing.
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sophieelis
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(Original post by simon-leeds)
This may not make much difference to you but the latest rankings for French rank the Universities in your shortlist at:

2. St Andrews
3. Durham
4. Cambridge
10. Bristol
13. Edinburgh
18. Nottingham
20. Newcastle
27. Liverpool

But visiting is probably the most important thing.
according to what source?
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Folie
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(Original post by sophieelis)
according to what source?
I think that's probably the complete university guide. I'd send you the link but I'm having some technical issues

Obviously rankings vary OP, but if you were really stuck with where to start, looking at these, and checking entry requirements, could get you going. Once you've narrowed it down to a number you can visit (which you're not far off anyway by the looks of it), then getting a feel for each university/course is the important thing.

Open day visits are fun
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sophieelis
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When I was choosing my universities I basically narrowed it down by using like the top twenty and disregarded oxbridge cos i'm too lazy to work, and the ones which i considered to be too far away from home because as stupid as it sounds i get carsick and simply cannot be bothered with long journeys home. Also disregarded scottish unis cos of the extra year. I then considered the areas themselves- did I want somewhere big/small, rural/urban, and nightlife/shopping was a big part of my decision too. Out of those I would then look at those left and see which courses i liked the most Consider how much of a change you want too, if any. You will be spending 3 years there after all... Oh and also it may be worth researching into whether you're eligible for any bursaries/scholarships those unis.
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simon-leeds
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(Original post by sophieelis)
according to what source?
Complete University Guide 2012.
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Ecaudate
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Thanks for all the advice - still not made much progress on narrowing them down but I'm planning out visits to most of them now so I'll choose after those.
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fitzgerald66
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You don't have to apply to all high ranking Unis. It's good to apply to some lower ones, especially since I think you already will pick the top 3 if you get them all. The reason being that when admission looks at the list, they will think, which one will he or she pick? If you have all high listing ones, they will think it's likely you pick them and even reject you. They give offers to people who qualify and are likely to accept. Though for lower ranking Unis, they will accept if you have high grade predictions, knowing if you didn't get into the top ones, they could gain an ace student.

This will also help you make a decision later.
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qwertyuiop1993
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(Original post by fitzgerald66)
You don't have to apply to all high ranking Unis. It's good to apply to some lower ones, especially since I think you already will pick the top 3 if you get them all. The reason being that when admission looks at the list, they will think, which one will he or she pick? If you have all high listing ones, they will think it's likely you pick them and even reject you. They give offers to people who qualify and are likely to accept. Though for lower ranking Unis, they will accept if you have high grade predictions, knowing if you didn't get into the top ones, they could gain an ace student.

This will also help you make a decision later.
The other unis won't be able to see your other choices...this use to be the case but now they only see who else you chose after they accept or reject you and I doubt they'd withdraw an offer based on "oh actually he applied to university x"

But yes, it is good to have one with a lower standard offer...some people I know only have AAA offers because their one insurance place rejected them =S
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Ecaudate
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(Original post by qwertyuiop1993)
(Original post by fitzgerald66)
You don't have to apply to all high ranking Unis. It's good to apply to some lower ones, especially since I think you already will pick the top 3 if you get them all. The reason being that when admission looks at the list, they will think, which one will he or she pick? If you have all high listing ones, they will think it's likely you pick them and even reject you. They give offers to people who qualify and are likely to accept. Though for lower ranking Unis, they will accept if you have high grade predictions, knowing if you didn't get into the top ones, they could gain an ace student.

This will also help you make a decision later.
The other unis won't be able to see your other choices...this use to be the case but now they only see who else you chose after they accept or reject you and I doubt they'd withdraw an offer based on "oh actually he applied to university x"

But yes, it is good to have one with a lower standard offer...some people I know only have AAA offers because their one insurance place rejected them =S
Definitely something to think about but Liverpool is BBB and Bristol is ABB-BBC, and I'm quite confident I can get those grades. Only Cambridge and Edinburgh are AAA or more actually, so I think I'll be okay, but thanks for the advice
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Dusty12
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(Original post by Ecaudate)
Definitely something to think about but Liverpool is BBB and Bristol is ABB-BBC, and I'm quite confident I can get those grades. Only Cambridge and Edinburgh are AAA or more actually, so I think I'll be okay, but thanks for the advice
You probably will get those grades, but it's worth noting that Bristol's typical BBB offer for languages doesn't reflect what the accepted candidates actually get. I know people rejected with far more than that.

I suppose it's brilliant if you get accepted though, because you'll always have a really good insurance even if you didn't want to go there. :L
and Liverpool is probably quite a safe choice too. Although I don't really know anything; I'm not even at uni yet.

Are you going to the Bristol open day? Might see you there.
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sophieelis
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(Original post by Ecaudate)
Definitely something to think about but Liverpool is BBB and Bristol is ABB-BBC, and I'm quite confident I can get those grades. Only Cambridge and Edinburgh are AAA or more actually, so I think I'll be okay, but thanks for the advice
I applied to Bristol and my predicteds were A*AB and i got rejected.
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Ecaudate
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Oh, I'm sorry to hear that! That is quite worrying though, I'll probably still apply to Bristol anyway. What subject did you apply for?
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sophieelis
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French and spanish. I got top 5 in the country for my french gcse but apparently i'm not good enough for them! lol. I wouldn't apply to bristol unless you particularly really want to go because it's a waste of a choice- I know a lot of people who have applied for bristol and I don't know of anyone that got in.
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qwertyuiop1993
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(Original post by Ecaudate)
Oh, I'm sorry to hear that! That is quite worrying though, I'll probably still apply to Bristol anyway. What subject did you apply for?
Definitely apply to Bristol - the modern languages centre is only like 2 years old and really modern. There's even a cinema just for languages students.

It is true that they're really picky with grades though - my friend got 100% in the French listening/reading/writing AS level exam but he had a B in Philosophy which I think worked against him (and maybe his GCSEs - 4A*s)
But that shouldn't deter you too much - if they do give you an offer it's most likely to be quite low (I got an ABB offer) and so a good insurance or indeed main choice.
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