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Attending university as a student with children/Commuting from home watch

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    Hello all,

    So my situation is I have two children of 5 and will be living at home whilst studying at university, commuting to my chosen university.

    Anybody had any experience of this kinda of thing. Would be great to know how accommodating unis have been with fitting timetables around parent students/students commuting greater distances?

    Also any hints on making train travel cheaper would be great
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    (Original post by NCaFeC)
    Hello all,

    So my situation is I have two children of 5 and will be living at home whilst studying at university, commuting to my chosen university.

    Anybody had any experience of this kinda of thing. Would be great to know how accommodating unis have been with fitting timetables around parent students/students commuting greater distances?

    Also any hints on making train travel cheaper would be great
    If you are a full-time undergraduate then you might be eligible for student travel cards etc., but some are age based which might rule you out (e.g. 16-25 rail travel card).

    As far as timetabling is concerned, people will generally be accommodating when it comes to individual sessions they control, but in general there will be little flexibility. Timetabling is usually done centrally and has to account for limited resources and competing demands. You could not move a 09:00 lecture with 300 biomedical students just because one of them is a mature student with children who is commuting.

    Having said that, these things are not always fixed in stone, especially with smaller classes. Your lecturers might ask at the beginning of term whether the class prefers to switch to a more convenient time and place. But at the end of the day if you are full-time student you are supposed to treat this as a job.
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    (Original post by evantej)
    If you are a full-time undergraduate then you might be eligible for student travel cards etc., but some are age based which might rule you out (e.g. 16-25 rail travel card).

    As far as timetabling is concerned, people will generally be accommodating when it comes to individual sessions they control, but in general there will be little flexibility. Timetabling is usually done centrally and has to account for limited resources and competing demands. You could not move a 09:00 lecture with 300 biomedical students just because one of them is a mature student with children who is commuting.

    Having said that, these things are not always fixed in stone, especially with smaller classes. Your lecturers might ask at the beginning of term whether the class prefers to switch to a more convenient time and place. But at the end of the day if you are full-time student you are supposed to treat this as a job.
    I appreciate that, I do not expect them to move a class time just for me. I meant more in terms of if there was the same class that ran at two different times would you be able to pick the one which suited you better.
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    (Original post by NCaFeC)
    I appreciate that, I do not expect them to move a class time just for me. I meant more in terms of if there was the same class that ran at two different times would you be able to pick the one which suited you better.
    It depends on your subject and the size of classes. The situation you describe is normal for some of my students where there are multiple practicals or seminars alongside a single large lecture (in first and second year at least). But if your subject/classes are smaller then there might only be one seminar which you could not really miss.

    I would not try to worry about this sort of thing until it is an actual problem you have to face.
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    (Original post by NCaFeC)
    Would be great to know how accommodating unis have been with fitting timetables around parent students/students commuting greater distances?
    Whilst I don't have children, I studied with people who did at both undergrad and Masters level, plus I commuted for my Masters. The reality is that there was no account taken of outside responsibilities. We didn't have duplicated lectures or seminars - if you missed it, you missed it. Little or no help was given for catching up. My Masters uni even decided - mid-year - to make evening guest lectures mandatory and formally assessed due to low attendance, apparently without realising that many people had evening jobs and child/elderly care responsibilities. They eventually reversed the decision but only after weeks of protest and in response to a formal complaint via the Student Union.

    Sorry to be so negative, but I found that whilst unis pay lip service to welcoming mature students, in reality there's no account taken of the fact that they might have different demands on their time than the 18/19 year old school leavers.

    I'd sincerely hope that I've seen the worst end of the scale and that your uni will be more useful. They should have something like a Student Support office and it might be worth contacting them in advance to raise your concerns.

    Also any hints on making train travel cheaper would be great
    You need to figure out how many days a week you'll be on campus, then calculate what sort of season ticket would be cheaper. Plus students - even the old wrinkly kind - are entitled to a discounted Student Rail Card, which might also be worth considering (although you can't use it to get discounts on season tickets).
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    (Original post by evantej)
    It depends on your subject and the size of classes. The situation you describe is normal for some of my students where there are multiple practicals or seminars alongside a single large lecture (in first and second year at least). But if your subject/classes are smaller then there might only be one seminar which you could not really miss.

    I would not try to worry about this sort of thing until it is an actual problem you have to face.
    (Original post by Klix88)
    Whilst I don't have children, I studied with people who did at both undergrad and Masters level, plus I commuted for my Masters. The reality is that there was no account taken of outside responsibilities. We didn't have duplicated lectures or seminars - if you missed it, you missed it. Little or no help was given for catching up. My Masters uni even decided - mid-year - to make evening guest lectures mandatory and formally assessed due to low attendance, apparently without realising that many people had evening jobs and child/elderly care responsibilities. They eventually reversed the decision but only after weeks of protest and in response to a formal complaint via the Student Union.

    Sorry to be so negative, but I found that whilst unis pay lip service to welcoming mature students, in reality there's no account taken of the fact that they might have different demands on their time than the 18/19 year old school leavers.

    I'd sincerely hope that I've seen the worst end of the scale and that your uni will be more useful. They should have something like a Student Support office and it might be worth contacting them in advance to raise your concerns.


    You need to figure out how many days a week you'll be on campus, then calculate what sort of season ticket would be cheaper. Plus students - even the old wrinkly kind - are entitled to a discounted Student Rail Card, which might also be worth considering (although you can't use it to get discounts on season tickets).
    Thank you both for the help and advice
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    (Original post by evantej)
    If you are a full-time undergraduate then you might be eligible for student travel cards etc., but some are age based which might rule you out (e.g. 16-25 rail travel card).

    As far as timetabling is concerned, people will generally be accommodating when it comes to individual sessions they control, but in general there will be little flexibility. Timetabling is usually done centrally and has to account for limited resources and competing demands. You could not move a 09:00 lecture with 300 biomedical students just because one of them is a mature student with children who is commuting.

    Having said that, these things are not always fixed in stone, especially with smaller classes. Your lecturers might ask at the beginning of term whether the class prefers to switch to a more convenient time and place. But at the end of the day if you are full-time student you are supposed to treat this as a job.
    actually you can get that at any age if your a student
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    (Original post by NCaFeC)
    I appreciate that, I do not expect them to move a class time just for me. I meant more in terms of if there was the same class that ran at two different times would you be able to pick the one which suited you better.
    What degree will you be doing? Arts and humanities degrees have lectures and seminars. The same seminar won't run more than once so there is no flexibility over that, but certainly at my university where a module has more than 20 students on it there will be 2 seminar groups meeting at different times. We are assigned a seminar group but can request to change if we have a reasonable reason to do so- and I know someone who did. Check what time of day the university operates from as well, mine runs 9am-7pm and your expected to be available any time between this.
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    (Original post by jelly1000)
    actually you can get that at any age if your a student
    So you can! What a misleading name; they should just call it a student discount card.
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    (Original post by evantej)
    So you can! What a misleading name; they should just call it a student discount card.
    The thing is though you can get it at age 16-25 even if your not a student. So I can carry on getting one once I leave uni until I'm 25
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    (Original post by jelly1000)
    What degree will you be doing? Arts and humanities degrees have lectures and seminars. The same seminar won't run more than once so there is no flexibility over that, but certainly at my university where a module has more than 20 students on it there will be 2 seminar groups meeting at different times. We are assigned a seminar group but can request to change if we have a reasonable reason to do so- and I know someone who did. Check what time of day the university operates from as well, mine runs 9am-7pm and your expected to be available any time between this.
    I'm doing Physics with astrophysics with an integrated foundation year. I've spoken to Liverpool who I've had an unconditional offer from and they said they would do their best to put me into more accessible groups which was fantastic of them. Waiting to hear back from 3 others which are shorter travel distances. Seems I can get the 16-25 rail card also and my child care is easily sorted. Thanks for the advice.
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    (Original post by NCaFeC)
    I'm doing Physics with astrophysics with an integrated foundation year. I've spoken to Liverpool who I've had an unconditional offer from and they said they would do their best to put me into more accessible groups which was fantastic of them. Waiting to hear back from 3 others which are shorter travel distances. Seems I can get the 16-25 rail card also and my child care is easily sorted. Thanks for the advice.
    That's great to hear.
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    (Original post by jelly1000)
    That's great to hear.
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    I'm exactly the same situation . Haven't made my final choice yet - as want to go to open days and get idea of parking, time table of poss . My children are 8 and 5. Bit nervous -
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    (Original post by NCaFeC)
    I'm doing Physics with astrophysics with an integrated foundation year. I've spoken to Liverpool who I've had an unconditional offer from and they said they would do their best to put me into more accessible groups which was fantastic of them. Waiting to hear back from 3 others which are shorter travel distances. Seems I can get the 16-25 rail card also and my child care is easily sorted. Thanks for the advice.
    Hi!

    Physics is a pretty time-intensive course. Lots of contact hours, and probably at least one 9-4/5 lab a week, maybe 2. Lectures will have fixed time slots, so the only thing you're likely to have any sort of flexibility over is tutorials.
    The good news is that your timetable is likely to be pretty consistent with 9 or 10am starts and 4 or 5pm finishes every day.
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    (Original post by Katie_p)
    Hi!

    Physics is a pretty time-intensive course. Lots of contact hours, and probably at least one 9-4/5 lab a week, maybe 2. Lectures will have fixed time slots, so the only thing you're likely to have any sort of flexibility over is tutorials.
    The good news is that your timetable is likely to be pretty consistent with 9 or 10am starts and 4 or 5pm finishes every day.
    Thanks for the info, those times are very doable for me.
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    I'm also a mother of 2 who commutes to uni. You can get a yearly railcard 16-25 at any age if you are a mature student you have to get your tutor to sign it and the uni to stamp it, it costs £30 per year and saves me £12-16 per week and I'm 37.
    Times for lectures are very much set in stone but Im sure if you were having problems they would accommodate you.

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    (Original post by Lucy-Susan)
    I'm exactly the same situation . Haven't made my final choice yet - as want to go to open days and get idea of parking, time table of poss . My children are 8 and 5. Bit nervous -
    Yep I'm the same here! Three kids and have been grateful that my Access tutors re understanding if I am unavoidably late or child unwell but I am guessing that they won't be so understanding at uni. I'm looking forward to Sept but know I will be really nervous too!
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    (Original post by Lucy-Susan)
    I'm exactly the same situation . Haven't made my final choice yet - as want to go to open days and get idea of parking, time table of poss . My children are 8 and 5. Bit nervous -
    (Original post by lindsay2910)
    I'm also a mother of 2 who commutes to uni. You can get a yearly railcard 16-25 at any age if you are a mature student you have to get your tutor to sign it and the uni to stamp it, it costs £30 per year and saves me £12-16 per week and I'm 37.
    Times for lectures are very much set in stone but Im sure if you were having problems they would accommodate you.

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    (Original post by hadfleur)
    Yep I'm the same here! Three kids and have been grateful that my Access tutors re understanding if I am unavoidably late or child unwell but I am guessing that they won't be so understanding at uni. I'm looking forward to Sept but know I will be really nervous too!
    It is scary stuff, but worth it I think. Thanks for the advice Lindsay2910! good luck all!
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    Im applying to to uni this year, im 25 and ill have a 2 year old when i start uni, thing is im from hull and want to study biomedical science but sheffield seems so much better, do you think a 1 hour drive to uni will be a bit too much, im course is 18 hours a week, sorry to barge in on your thread but your getting some good advice here :-)
 
 
 
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