St. Andrews University or Glasgow University?Watch
I think the quality of the course should be the biggest factor in deciding which university to go to, and the History courses at St Andrews are very good. It sounds like you would be prepared to move to St Andrews, otherwise you wouldn't have applied in the first place. I'm sure your family will support whatever choice you make, especially given that St Andrews is very safe and friendly. Homesickness is something almost everyone has to go through at some point, but it's never as bad as people think, especially if you are having fun at uni.
On the other hand you would probably save a lot of money staying at home, but you have to decide if that's worth turning down your first choice uni.
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I am also from the West of Scotland, and the attitude in this part of the world to moving away for university seems to be that it’s akin to Amundsen’s Antarctic expedition. I’ve never understood why this is, and it really annoys me that people round here are expected to have a mediocre university experience by staying at home with Mummy and Daddy. It probably annoys me more than it should, but this is because, like you, I had the choice of going to Glasgow University or moving away. I really wanted to move away and get the full university experience, but I went to Glasgow because my family’s concerns were similar to yours, and because most of my friends seemed to believe that the Glasgow conurbation was surrounded by a ten-foot concrete wall. I really regret this choice, and I want to make sure that others from the West of Scotland don’t make the same mistake out of social pressure from the crippling conformist culture we seem to have in this part of the world.
First of all, it’s great to hear of the confidence your family have in your abilities (!) Don’t get me wrong, moving out for university isn’t easy. But the way I see it is this. Every year in most of the rest of the UK, tens of thousands of students move to a different town or city for university. They manage! So why should you be any different? Plus, as others have said, you have to move out at some point, and I don’t see what you gain by delaying it. Far better surely to move out and learn all your lessons early, rather than finishing university, getting a job in (say) London, and having to learn how to live by yourself while working a full-time job?
As others have said, St Andrews isn’t a long way away from Glasgow. You can always come back at weekends.
You mentioned cost as a factor. We Scots can be very logical, and people will try and convince you to stay at home as all logic points to that being the more cost-effective choice. But I think that sometimes your gut tells you when you *know* something is right for you, and gut feeling can - occasionally - be more important than pure logic. Nothing worse than spending the rest of your life wondering what might have been.
You mentioned that you’re rather shy and not heavily into nightclubs or drinking alcohol. I am also shy and not a big drinker, and my own experience was that this made socialising at Glasgow very difficult. Many of the commuting students simply head straight for the train or the bus after lectures, so it was all too tempting for me to do likewise. For those commuting students who do socialise at Glasgow, it is almost always heavily centred around alcohol. As an alternative, I looked into some of the clubs and societies. But they were always scheduled at very awkward times for commuting students. On the other hand, if you go to St Andrews, I think that socialising will be far easier for someone of your personality type. There is a strong international presence there, you will obviously have flatmates, and it’s much easier to get involved in clubs and societies when you live in the same town.
And even if moving to St Andrews doesn’t work out – so what? You can always move back home and try again there. There’s no rule that says you only get one shot at this!
I do understand that family concerns are important, but at the end of the day – it’s your choice, not your family’s. Please don’t make the same mistake I did and let others choose for you. Good luck!
It’s taken me a long time to write this, but it’s something I feel very strongly about!!