Out of my top 2 unis I've been on 1 open day and 1 applicant day for each. (subject - English)
- I've met the teachers
> I like all of them, and the writing teacher is an author I love (but I know I can't pick my uni based solely on one member of staff), the language teacher offered to give me feedback on the language coursework I'm currently doing, the literature teachers are clearly enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their subject (one of them literally wrote the book on it), and when I asked about office hours a student told me that they're in their offices 2 hours before lessons start until 3 hours after lessons end, which another student also told me later, adding that one time she emailed one of the teachers at 3am and the teacher responded by 4am.
- I know what the course/options will be
> They all look great to me and I'm interested in pretty much everything and there are options I'm not so into but at the end of the day they are options and with this course I can do a mix of literature, language and writing, which is good because I like all 3 areas of English and most other courses offer just one with maybe a hint of the other 2 but this course would let me decide how much of each I want to do based on options
- I like the campus
> It's small-ish since there's a relatively small number of students (about 4000 I think?) and it's clearly an academic setting with a great library but the campus still close to the town and everything else. It's commutable, so I could save money on accommodation by living at home and taking a half hour train. They've arranged the schedule so classes are all bunched together, 3 days a week from 10 to 3 with an hour for lunch, so I can go to the library when I want and I'll more than likely miss the morning and end of work rush for trains. The trains take a little over 20 minutes and leave the station every 15.
- I've met 2/4 teachers in the English dept
> Neither of the ones I met are the teacher I would actually have if I went there (one teachers US lit and one teaches drama and if I went I would be doing solely English literature)
- They've been weird about the options
> they showed us a list of all the options they'd offered in previous years to give an idea and said that some of those would be in next years syllabus, but they weren't sure what yet. I thought they'd know by applicant day but no such luck (I asked a third year if the changes in options were really drastic between years and she said that she has friends doing the same course one year below her and she looked at the options they were given and didn't recognise most of them)
- The campus is okay...
> the campus itself is like a little village, and you could probably go there for three years and not have to leave the campus once with everything it's got on it (shops, SU, bars, library) *but* I'd have to live in the main town 2nd and 3rd year, and it's a half hour bus ride on a bus that comes every half an hour, the city itself has one of the highest cost of livings in the UK, and the schedule is spread out over 5 days, so if I miss the bus I aim for and catch the next one, I could easily not get to campus until halfway through the college day, be there for half an hour, an hour tops, and then have to leave again!
This seems simple, right? I clearly prefer uni A. But here's the thing:
According to the whatuni rankings, Uni A has been on the table for one year, and is ranked 129/129, and uni B has been ranked in the top 40 consistently for over a decade.
I didn't think it was a huge deal, but when my tutor saw it she asked me to draw up a pro/con list for both unis and just generally looked really concerned. I am now starting to think it is a huge deal.
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In my top 2 unis the "good" uni is bad and the "bad" uni is good watch
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*also for uni B I'm not sure if this is even to do with my course, but when I went into the English classroom there was writing on the board that looked like it hadn't been gotten rid of that said "OFFICE HOURS - MONDAY - 10 TO 11" and nothing else. I honestly don't know if it's relevant or not but that's where the English interview took place so I assume it's an English classroom and I don't know how I'd feel about having a teacher who's only available for an hour a week for all students
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Go to the one that you liked the most.