Uni open day visits, applications, interviews and more 2018-2020 - a parents take

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Ghostlady
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I thought I'd share some photos, info and opinions on some of the open days and the uni's (as a parent's point of view, hence me posting in parents forum- the parent room (so dont move it please lol) that we have visited over the period of 2 years. What with open days being digital, I thought I'd put in a bit of a contribution from a parents points of view, and in a bit of a diary format, like some of the other students do in gyg.

So the lowdown is my daughter has always wanted to do physics and astronomy since about 12 years old. We are members of the Nottingham astronomical society since 2013 and she told me wanted to go to uni from about 14 years old. (my daughter is currently 18 and starting in 2020)


***Spoiler*** this will be on:

Leeds uni,

Lancaster,
Oxford,
Leicester and
York Uni,



Leeds University
She looked at Leeds website during her G.C.S.E's and really liked the look of the uni. One of her G.C.S.E was history, so we thought we would tie in a visit to Thackray medical museum (which was a previous workhouse) and have a walk round the uni. I was a little bit apprehensive at first, I mean, can we walk around the grounds other than an open day? But yes you can
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(above main walk through)
Thackray musuem was good fun and it was a glorious sunny day. We visited a cafe in Leeds Uni called the Edit room. Full of different light bulbs. definitely instagram worthy.
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(above the edit room)
We visited Leeds again on an actual open day September 2018. Not as nice weather.
We visited Central Village first. This residence is over subscribed since is close to uni and just a short walk away. The actual place though, seemed really nice and secure, quite modern.
Next we visited Henry Price. they were at the cheaper end of the pricing, but I thought they were really good. Shared between 2 people a bathroom, and the kitchen I really liked the layout. Henry Price doesn't have a lift.
Then we visited Lyddon Hall. I quite liked the rooms, although the properties were older.
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Lyddon Hall above.
There are two libraries we visited at Leeds
Edward Boyle Library was enormous. Out of all the libraries we visited, I really liked Edward Boyle. Laidlaw Library was on the main road and despite the busy traffic you could not hear anything. The tour was also well done in Laidlaw.
We also had a tour of the Physics and computing building called the EC Stoner building.
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(ec stone building above)
We had a mini lecture on quantum physics which lasted about half an hour. We had a coffee at the physics cafe, and the students were super helpful. They also had experiments going for people to join in with.
We also saw the 2 domes on the top of the building with telescopes, and also the labs and rooms where they did electronics.
We then visited the main cafe called the Refectory. This cafe is huge, with lots of seating and plenty of offers to choose from. We chose he classic jacket potato with cheese and beans. it passed the taste test.
We then checked out the student union and the night clubs that are onsite.
Overview
All in all, if you liked a city uni, with good clubs, and buzzing lifestyle, Leeds would be your in your UCAS five. Leeds from what we researched, you could stay in the uni owned halls in first year, but everyone sought elsewhere in the subsequent years. We also researched best areas to go for second year. Hyde park is the usual student area but can be known for a bit of crime (my dad used to work in Leeds and also confirmed this) Headingley is good, and Woodhouse I was told was also good from the students that were there on the day. The city itself is pretty great with plenty of shops and a Morrisons not too far away. The driving though took a little while to get used to with many flyovers and tunnels and the A64 running through it. (we parked in Woodhouse car park about 10 mins away from the uni) . The libraries were amazing, and the cafes were good as well as accommodation. In comparison to others, I thought that they were reasonably priced. Leeds do have a good selection of private halls too, so if you don't want a landlord shared house, then there are some good selections out there. Accommodation for students is a good website to find private halls. For other uni owned halls like Devonshire Halls and North Hill Court it was a short bus ride away.

If you are concerned about transport links, don't be. The amount of bus routes we checked out are brilliant running in and out of the city. Leeds also has a train station not too far away.
The EC stoner building, we felt the corridors were skinny and dark. Not a bad point per say, but something to take note of. But, on the plus point the building was enormous. This was the biggest physics department in my opinion. And the 2 domes I was also impressed with.
The open day itself was very structured and well laid out. The student helpers, they couldn't do enough. An the physics tour was made by a lecturer who doubled up as a comedian as he made us all laugh throughout the tour.

After seeing all the unis, Leeds did not make my daughters top 5. She wanted more of a campus than a city uni in the end, however she really enjoyed the day.
With today's current situation and Covid-19, Leeds is very well laid out and spacious, so getting around from A to B I feel would not be a problem, and the Refectory, I went at dinner time on open day and there was so much room there.

So that's my take on Leeds. It might not agree on others point of views good or bad on TSR, but if I was to give Leeds a score it would be a solid 7 out of 10. 9 out of 10 if I was looking for a busy city buzzing uni

Other unis I will be bringing up are Leicester, Lancaster, York and Oxford and the Uniq summer school. Will be updating this further down the line with more pics and that.
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Oxford Open Day round 1 (may 2018)
With this open day I was not a part of. My daughter went with school after her G.C.S.E's in May 2018. She visited St Edmund Hall and Balliol and Brasenose college. After this open day she told me she really liked it and wanted to go.

York Open Day September 2018
After our trip to Leeds, we went to York. This time we decide to stay over night, enjoy the sights York had to offer before the open day.
We stayed at a travelodge (travelodge soon became our nearest friend ) on Picadilly road. We went to the shambles which is a small street with quaint shops. We went to the park at the north of the city, and we ate at the Golden Fleece pub for a bite to eat which is 400 years old and haunted. After staying overnight we then went to the open day.
First of all, we parked at Alcuin car park. Alcuin is one of the colleges and had plenty of spaces there rather than the center of uni where we knew was going to be busy. This was at Heslington West and we needed to get to Heslington east which had some accommodation choices we wanted to look at. There is a free bus during term time and on open days so you can get from west to east, or you can walk it in about 25 mins.
As we got off Heslington East, we first went to Langwith College. Langwith is a popular college. Langwith is one of the more modern accommodation which has Ensuite and shared accommodation. The kitchens looked super pristine and really nice. Langwith also has a common room and bar.
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(langwith base above)
Next we went to Goodricke College . Goodricke is next door to Langwith. There is also another college there called Constantine, but we did not get chance to see that one. Goodricke was one of my daughters faves. Goodricke has a common room and again the set up of Goodricke was great. Ensuite and shared accommodation available,

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(Goodricke base above)
We went over back to Heslington West and visited James College. James does various standards of accommodation. And also catered.
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(James college above)
.After we saw the accommodation, we then went and did the tour of the physics building. I quite liked this building. It sits right by the lake (be aware of the many geese there) We saw the labs, where they did the electronics and we also had a question and answer session. We also booked to go on the tour to the Astrocampus. Oh this was very impressive. Its in a secluded area, had radio telescopes, a dome and also a covered area for more telescope work, as well as a base there to do computational work.
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(astrocampus)
We then went and did a physics talk in the one of the main lecture buildings and visted the JB morrell library
The library was amazing. Spot on so light and airy and had pods for studies and presentations. We also ate here at the library cafe. We had another jacket potato and beans, just in compassion to leeds lol. No issues and was really nice. My husband had a wrap there too. again really nice.
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Afterwards we went to Alcuin College which is behind the Library. This does ensuite accommodation. Again great accommodation and very decent.

Overall on York
Overall when it came to York, my daughter loved it, my youngest loved it (shes 15) , we all loved York. Its a collegiate uni with many colleges making up the 1 university. The pros were the physics building and astrocampus, the colleges, the layout, the lake, the department, staff, students. The accommodation was great. They have lots of societies too and the library is fabulous. And security wise I was very happy about my daughter being safe in her accommodation. York city is not that far away, about a mile or so. Cons, there was not many. I would have to say the accommodation is more on the pricier side than the others we have seen.
Halifax College is the cheapest, but if your looking at Langwith/ Alcuin, your not far from being near toward £6k, and that would basically take all of your maintenance loan, so parents would need to chip in. James catered and is even more than that, but you do get breakfast and dinner on most days. Goodricke College we liked the best and Alcuin. There is also Vanbrugh College and Derwent College which we did not get chance to go to.
York is not far from us, its off the A64 off the A1, and has a train station, but a stagecoach service which takes you to Scarborough seafront for the day. My family used to have a caravan at Cayton bay nearSscarborough so the A64 route we as pretty used to and always drove past the Uni. York at Christmas time is also good, its all lit up at night and the markets there are lovely. There is also the Yorvik centre which is a museum on vikings, and the York cathedral ,and its worth going on a ghost tour as well in the city. Plus there is a wall which you can walk on around the city. There are a few clubs, not as many as leeds, but freshers can still have a great time and are often fierce when it comes to chanting their college chants on the buses during freshers week. York did make the UCAS top five for my daughter. She chose Physics with Astrophysics Masters course.

You tubers which do York University:
Student Vlogs Dylan
Rhiannon
Chelsie Angeles.
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Leicester Open Day October 2018

and March 2019

We went to Leicester just myself and my daughter in October and with hubby and youngest in March of 2019.
Leicester is about 40 mins away from us off the M1. When you go to the open day, you have to park at the race course at Oadby, which is where some of the student accommodation is. Once we got there the uni put on tour buses which did a loop. It was start at the racecourse, then to the uni, then to student accommodation in Oadby Village and then back to the racecourse again. It was very organised and during the bus journey he students were chatting on the microphone about the day.
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We got off the bus on the main road outside the uni which is near Percy Gee Students union building. Now they are making an extension to this building, with lots of eating space study spaces and cafes and eateries. It will look really good when its done and there are videos available on their website on the progress. This also has a bank and a hole in the wall there as well as a student union shop.
We ne to the charles wilson building which had a large room where you could pick up leaflets and booklet full of courses there.
We had a talk in the Attenborough seminar block, which talked about the accommodation and how to write your personal statement.
When it came to the physics tour, there is two (hence why we wen round a second time) The first one is of the main physics block, where you could see computational offices and labs and seminar rooms. The second tour was on more of the hands on in one of the engineering places round the back. We got to hold a rock from the moon and then even more impressive a rock from mars.
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(the Library Above)
We also got to see Suzanne Imber, who won ''So do you want to be an astronaut?'' on BBC one and shes based at Leicester. She as doing a demo on ho you can make things hovver.
We visited the library. Again as very nice library, with many floors and the tour as very good.
We also got given a £5.00 food voucher to spend for dinner, which I thought was lovely and we got a sandwich meal at the deli. The first time around we had a panini at the library cafe. I did not rate it much as was not to my taste, but it was fresh.

There are two sets of accommodation. One is City accommodation and the other is Oadby Student Village.
of the City accommodation we saw opal court. My husband liked this one. He is one for security and making sure our daughter is in a safe environment. it had a base where people could meet and socialise and the rooms were super large in comparison to some others.
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(opal court above)
Then we went on the bus to Oadby Village.
We saw the Pavillions, which were very nice halls. Ashcroft house, this was a house for about 12-16 people if i remember right and my daughter loved this one. Oadby has halls and old large houses converted to accommodation. Lasdun (so ive heard,) used to be an old prison converted to halls. Sorry was not fan of lasdun. The corridors were tiny and it did feel 'boxy'. Loved Bowder Court halls. yep a bit more pricey but liked those, and also knighton court. Glebe Court and Meadow Court my daughter also loved.
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(Richard the third student pub in oadby)
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(one of the old houses converted to student accommodation)
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(Ashcroft House accommodation)

Overall on Leicester:
Leicester is about a mile away from the city. Its got great transport links. We loved the physics building and when Percy Gee is finished it ill look amazing. Oadby has a student hub with a pub and a mural of king Richard the III and has dark fruit way hey. I liked the village, hubby not so keen, but i liked it. its about 40 mins walk to the uni, or 15 mins on bus. Bus is not complimentary like Yorks is, but I hear they could be looking at changing that. Oadby is a mix of reasonably priced to very cheap accommodation, so bonus is that there's something for everyone. There is also a sport center in Oadby village too, again a bonus. There are other student halls in the city center and a brand new one opening up soon.Leicester did make the top 5 in the UCAS for Physics and Astronomy Masters..

Next up, Oxford UNIQ process and Summer school and work experience....
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Oxford UNIQ 2019 Summer School July 2019
In 2018, after the Oxford Open day that my daughter visited with school, she said she is very interested in going. So we watched you tube videos. Viola Helen, This is Mani. It was when she watched Eve Bennett was when we stumbled across a vlog called UNIQ summer school.
UNIQ is for state school students who have good G.C.S.E grades and live in a certain area criteria called ACORN and POLAR. She applied, and with that application she had to do a short personal statement on her passion for the subject.

Come early 2019 I get a text '' I GOT IN FOR PHYSICS!'' . lol i still kept that text.
If you want to check out the actual physics program timetable and tutorial timetable its here ... https://users.physics.ox.ac.uk/~huff.../uniq2019.html
If you do happen to get in for subsequent years, just change the year in the url and keep an eye out about 1 week before you go.
This tells you what college your in . Your not meant to know and get told on arrival at the train station in Oxford, but we found this freely available on the world wide web and from the colour and where your name was, you could see which college you was allocated lol.
So she was allocated to Balliol College.

The night before drop off, we went to see Pink at Wembley. It was such a hot day and she was amazing.
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We then traveled from Wembley to Oxford and dropped her off that the train station. Students can actually have their travel paid for and they encourage you to use the train. We parked at pear tree park and ride and caught the bus into town and walked to the train station. After dropping our daughter off, we drove back home to Notts. The rest is what we got from my daughter. She made 2 friends from her group in Balliol (by the way shes still in contact with them now 1 year later )
She went to the physics dept had lectures, worked on problem sheets, visited St Catz college, had a huge party at the end. Had a tutorial at St Johns, which she loved. She really loved the tutorial system. She caught the train back for the first time on her own, but arrgh problems at Reading meant that the trains were 2 hours late and the train she was on, terminated at Birmingham instead of carrying on at Derby which was the actual end stop. So shes at New street station which is a super super busy terminal, and I offered to pick her up, but there was others that also was from UNIQ from other courses on the same, so she followed with them and got onto a connecting train to Derby, so we need not worry, she figured it out
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(balliol college above)
UNIQ was an amazing experience and she spent 4 great nights there. It does increase your chances of getting in when you apply and great to put on the personal statement. Competition is fierce though, for physics alone it was a 1 in 11 chance. If you don't get in, you might get into UNIQ Digital which is also a great program too but done on line. And people still do get in to Oxford without UNIQ so

UNIQ sealed the deal, Oxford was definitely in the top five on UCAS and we have another open day in Oxford to attend to in September 2019, but next up was Lancaster Open Day July 2019 which came a week after Oxford......

Lancaster Open Day July 2019

Good old trusty travelodge, my old friend lol This time on the M6 northbound around jct 32 i think it is. Stopped at preston for a dinner at a place called the Sherwood which was lovely.
We arrive and park on campus, this time outside Pendle College. The plan is to walk up whats called the ' spine' from south to north and visit the colleges along the way. First stop is Pendle College.
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(pendle college)
Pendle college accommodation that was shown was a standard accommodation. Its known as Pendle Ghetto. I have no idea why, because it certainly didnt look like a ghetto, it was really nice. group of 8 sharing. Pendle also does other accommodation options, but we liked Pendle. It felt away from the alexandra square main hub, a home away from home.
The Pendle rooms bar area, I liked that too. Bit of the sticky floors though (too much partying lol )
As we walked along the spine we walked past Grizedale College, then Fylde college, then Furness college to lead to Alexandra Square. This is the hub and its got the library, greggs, 2 banks, costa coffee, wh smiths, juice bar and other places which im sure ive forgot. Also there is the 'base' which has mini hubs inside where you can work and play. The library does have a tree inside called Norman (although he since died and a new one is being planted so a name will be needed) They also have a farmers market once a week in the square.
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(alexandra square)
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(norman the tree inside the library)
We continued on North of the spine and next stop was Bowland College. We stopped in the quad for drinks and a chat with the students.
Opposite was the Physics building which also has a subway and Blackwells book shop outside
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(physics dept)
We took a tour of the physics dept and it was great. It had a observatory dome on the top and the labs and electronics were great. Plus the isolab, is amazing. We then moved on to County College which is at the north of the college. We saw the Townhouse accommodation. The town house consists of a lower floor with toilet, a double oven in the kitchen, 24 cupboards (2 each) 3 fridge freezers, a dining room area and living room area. The 2nd 3rd and 4th floor each has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. I really liked the set up of the townhouse.
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(County townhouse left/ county Main (super std accommodation) right)
We also visited the LICA building and got some leaflets of lancaster. My eldest had a physics talk in the lecture theatre, and at the same time my youngest wanted the talk on Zoology course at the LEC building (outside Furness college) which happened at the same time.
So we got split and the talk on Zoology was really good. They talked about studying abroad and being hands on with animals and wildlife parks. We met up at Furness College in the foyet where the porters lodge was.(porters lodge is where security is and where they collate the post for students and if theres any issues and each college at Lancaster has one). It was then we saw this huge grin on my daughters face and she looks really content. I say ' your liking this one aren't you?' she nods. 'So, does this trump York and Leicester then?'' She says it does. We know that Lancaster is the front runner with Oxford at this point.

Overall at Lancaster
I loved lancaster:loveduck:. Yes thats a duck because the place is full of them lol. The layout, the fact that the spine is a covered walkway so great for when it rains. There's even bits we didn't get to see like the postoffice, sultans restaurant, go burrito, spar and central super markets, Ketcap restaurant, and wibbly wobbly burger bar. We loved the Townhouse and the standard accommodation, the fact each college has a bar, a porter lodge, inter college sports. Each college has its on freshers program, the physics dept was so so good it was the best we had seen. The library was having an extension, and also a 400 seat lecture theatre is almost complete. We also ate at Fylde College bar which was really nice pub grub and had a very sporty feel to it. So we can see why Fylde has that reputation for sports. And Grizedale has a college cocktail bar. Everything about Lancaster felt safe, it was an amazing place and yes its a bus ride from the city, but there's so many buses, they were easy to get.
There's a free bus on Wednesdays if you spend £5.00 at Sainsburys so you can do your weekly shop. Lancaster owns a night club called Sugarhouse, and this and Dalton Rooms, Glow, and Generation makes up your nightclubs in Lancaster.
The accommodation is really reasonable, a lot less than York's and got more value for money when it comes to standards. Down points, is Lancaster is not a busy city like Leeds is, but that's ok if you want a campus uni, with a bit of quiet time and a bit of busy time too. My daughter does not drink and wants the clubs every now and again, but not full on partying every night, so Lancaster is a dream place for her. The societies are really good and there's even a cinema on site too in Bowland. Lancaster is in the top 10 of the complete university guide and 4th for physics.

We used to watch a you tuber called Charlie Collette and there a you tuber called Charlotte, and Josh Hilmanator Hilman
If you want physics at Lancaster its Alice Does Physics.
If you want to see what its like to live in a townhouse, its 'Watchdevante'.
I mention these you tubers because at a time like Covid-19, seeing the uni through their eyes is the next best thing, so if you want to see more of the place, go watch them.


It was at this point, was when my daughter had work experience the following week in July 2019 and that changed which way she was going to go in the future which will be in the next post...........
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Work Experience and On Line Courses
Summer 2019
With work experience, I would say to get looking around the start of year 12. Once you have found some places, save them to your favorites or book mark the page so you can come back to it later on. It was around early December of 2018 was when we found the Nottingham University work experience on their physics and astronomy dept. She applied there and then and a few months later was told she had won one of the 18 placements they had there.
During our time at the Nottingham Astronomical Society we had met a few people over the years before the lecture would start, and one was a very nice person at Biocity in Nottingham who also told me about how they do a work experience placement and to write to them. This one was for a Biochemistry work placement.
So if anybody wants a physics, biology, chemistry placement in Nottingham, the above I would recommend.

With an online course her teacher told her about a MOOC. These are free online courses that you can do. You are not obliged to pay for the certificate at the end. You do not need to prove it in your application on UCAS. My daughter was taking Maths, FM, Chemistry and Physics and the one she saw was in Chemistry. She completed this in the 6 weeks holidays after she finished year 12. This is a great on line thing to do during this pandemic and I highly recommend it as its shows on line and independent learning to universities.

The Physics and astronomy placement took place after her UNIQ summer school at Oxford in July.
They were put into groups of threes and was allocated a topic to research and present to the staff and us parents at the end of the week. One was on nano technologies, another MRI.. I cannot remember the other 3, but my daughters was on particle physics and cosmology. She had just completed an EPQ on particle physics and loved it so for her to have this topic was brilliant.
At the presentation at the end, we all had a buffet which was great and they all had a laminated poster on their work to take home..

It was here when she did a bit of a turn on what she wanted to do. She loved physics and astronomy still, but when she saw the course at Lancaster on Physics Particle Physics an Cosmology she told me she was going to apply for that course too. There are not many places that do Particle Physics and Cosmology as a degree title. They touch on it during your course at any uni, but specializing in this, I think its only Swansea I believe is the other uni that does it currently....

So that was summer of 2019... work placements, summer school and on line courses... next up was Oxford open day (round 2 as us parents came this time.....)
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Oxford Open Day(round 2) September 2019
I say this is round 2, since my daughter went with school at the end of her G.C.S.E.s'.
Oxford university departments and colleges are dotted about all around the city and you do not want to end up in a mess and not get chance to see it all. So the way we planned it was this.....:

A) choose 6 colleges to visit (not see the department of physics since she did summer school)
or
B) choose 5 colleges to visit (and see the department of physics)

We chose option A. We had seen previous department's so we had a general idea about them, so if Oxford is first on your list of visits, I would recommend seeing the department.
There are so many colleges to choose from, so I would visit the Oxford uni website, read up about them, read their alternative prospectus on each college, as that gives an insight from a students point of view.
Then plot all the colleges in google maps. We gave an hour on each college, and then walking time in between.

So that was our prep. We went in this order...
St Annes College, Somerville College, Lady Margaret Hall College, Magdalen College, Merton College, Balliol College.
We stayed the night before in the trusty old friend the travelodge. This time at the park and ride at Pear Tree. I recommend because you can leave your car there over night and during the day and you can walk from travelodge to the park and ride. The park and ride stops right near St Annes (further down outside George street if you want to carry on with the bus)

St Annes college is a mix of years, but more modern than other colleges. I liked it because of its proximity to maths and physics. The fact you got a kitchen which is great. Loved the bar. People had written poems on the walls and pillars in all different coloured pens. The library I loved. It had a roof top terrace where you could chill and look over the city. You could be here for the first 3 years in accommodation
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(St Annes College)

Somerville College. We did miss the tour but got to tag along half way through one. We went to the church, saw the JCR, and the library. Library I thought was strange because it was full of narrow corridors with lots of books. There was not any kind of uniformity to it. Reminded me of a bookshop but on a bigger scale. I did love the huge grounds though. Bigger than St Annes. You can be here for all years in accommodation
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(somerville College)
Lady Margaret Hall. This place is enormous. It is out of the city though and about 20 mins walk to the centre, but it is gorgeous. I loved the fact you could be here for the first 3 years in accommodation as well, which as the basis on choosing the colleges as that was important to her. The rooms for first years, were also enormous. Their Library was very pretty. Two tiered.
The grounds are extensive and they lead onto the huge park which we walked through to get back to Parks road/St cross road junction to continue on to Magdalen.
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(Lady Margaret hall College)
Magdalen College. This was an older college and more traditional. The grounds were big and the accommodation was impressive. I would have to say as a downside to Magdalen is that first years live at st clements road away from the college over a sainsburys. Its only 2 mins walk away, but if you want to spend your first year on the grounds and the quads, this might not be for you.
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(Magdalen College)
Merton College was next on the list. My daughter fell in love with this college and it was Merton she applied for for physics. Although many colleges were similar,she liked their halls, and the library she liked best. It was across the road and had multi split levels. She also like the accommodation.
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(Merton College)
Balliol College, this main hall is up stairs which I thought as quite unique. Loved the JCR, it was very spacious. My daughter showed us which staircase she was at during UNIQ summer school. I loved the little cafe underneath the hall.
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It was a tie between Balliol and Merton but she chose Merton to go for in the end.


Next is the UCAS application system, interviews and tests.
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Ghostlady
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The UCAS application process.
When it comes to an application you have to do a personal statement. I had helped with the personal statement for UNIQ, but obviously this was different because your applying to 5 choices, so you have to have a one size fits all application. So I helped out where I could, but then the teachers helped out iron the bits at the end.
Its really hard to do a personal statement, you could be sat there with no ideas on how to start. So instead we started with the 'meaty bit' . This is the part where you shine with all the things you have done, and also get to show you passion for the subject.

So first of all, we written together a list of things that my daughter did.
1)UNIQ/Summer school
2)Work experiences
3)School clubs
4)School competitions
5)After school club (ie astronomy club)
6)Books read
7)On line courses
8)EPQ
We made sure we had a gap in between each topic. Under each topic she written what the benefits were. What did she get out of doing all these things and why she enjoyed it so much? Its this part which shows the passion of the subject you want to apply for.

The intro, well this is based on the subject in question. What parts really captures your interest? Why do they capture your interest? What do you want to learn about that specific thing? All this and more is which is why you want to go into that field.

Then a closing statement at the end as to why you feel you are a suitable candidate for their university.

After she did all of this, the teacher tweaked it a bit by suggestions. Elaborated on some parts, and reduce on others. It took about 7 times to refine the original to one that is suitable and also in the right number of characters, so be prepared for it to go backwards and forwards before its perfected.

For Oxford it is a collegiate university, so had to apply by the 15th of October 2019, so made she she had it submitted a good week before so not to fret getting close to the deadline. For Oxford you had to also select a college, although you can submit an 'open application' to be at any college. If you choose a specific college, it is not guaranteed either. For Lancaster and York they too are collegiate, but you choose accommodation/college further into the following year. The teachers also did a cracking reference as well which did bring a tear to my eye

She submitted for the following choices:
York University Masters Physics with Astrophysics
Leicester University Masters Physics with Astrophysics
Oxford University Masters Physics (Merton College)
Lancaster University Masters Physics with Astrophysics
Lancaster University Masters Physics with Particle Physics and Cosmology.

As you can see you can apply for 2 courses at one university. You can select all 5 there if you wish, although you do run the risk of coming across as being a bit indecisive if you choose totally different subjects entirely.

Next up Interviews and Offers....
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Ghostlady
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Interviews and Offers
So first of all just to recap these were my daughters choices below and the minimum requirement in A'levels as per their websites.

York University Masters Physics with Astrophysics AAA
Leicester University Masters Physics with Astrophysics AAB
Oxford University Masters Physics (Merton College) A*AA
Lancaster University Masters Physics with Astrophysics AAA
Lancaster University Masters Physics with Particle Physics and Cosmology. AAA

October 11th 2019:
Offer came through from Leicester!. If she pulled off an A* in EPQ she would be accepted with a BCC. If she chose as insurance it would be a ABB. Leicester was looking like the clearing option at this stage. Out of the 5 choices Leicester although was a cracking uni and local to us, it would be the option in 5th place.

Mid October 2019,
she has an interview at York end of October! Does not clash with the PAT test she is now prepping for for Oxford so that's good.

York Interview 28th of October
York Interview went really well. She was asked questions on physics and maths (I wont say what on), but found them manageable and we parents had a buffet and a tour of the uni. We also had breakfast in the morning at Vanbrugh College. Full English breakfast for £5. We took lots of photos, one of Heslington Hall, and also top of the physics building in the computer room. There was about 20 students there on interview day. PS the night before, we stay at Travelodge Hull Road. Cheap and cheerful this place but very comfy and quiet.
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(Heslington Hall York Uni)
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(View from the top of the Physics dept York)

30th of October 2019
Day of the PAT test. It does not go as well as planned she says. Shes not holding out much hope on Oxford. Good news though, York came through with an offer of AAA which is brilliant. York was 4th on the list and she said she would be very happy here if she ended up at York. So would her sister as she loves York the most.

2nd of November 2019
Its getting on a bit from Lancaster, about a month but up pops an email to say she has an interviews for the 13th of November. She has to log on to I-lancaster to accept. Its pretty straight forward. A little later a letter comes through the post.

12th of November 2019
Stayed at the Travelodge on the M6 near the Junction of Lancaster uni. Hardly got much sleep the night before so was shattered when I got there, but woke up refreshed for the day ahead.

13th of November 2019 Lancaster Interview Day
We parked up at Cartmel College car park, and it was free. A complimentary bus takes us to the underpass underneath Alexandra Square where students take us to the physics dept. It was very well organised, and we met other students that were applying and current students.
There was a talk on the course the dept and interview process. Then another walk around the building. Then we had a buffet lunch, then students went off to interviews, whilst the parents and carers had a talk on the history of Lancaster Uni and how it formed. Plus after the interview there was an optional walk around to see library and accommodation, but we had seen that bit.
I kept asking how did it go to my daughter and she would not reply and said to wait until we got to the car. It was a lonnnnnnnnnnnng wait. We gets to the car in the car park, and I'm like 'SOOOooooo?' And she says she's got an unconditional in both of her choices. The interviews went really well and she was told as soon as it finished she was told that he will put it to the panel that she should be awarded an unconditional offer. Again I cannot go into the interview and what was said, but I will say that she felt so at ease with the interviewer and was very interested into what she had to say. It was at this stage that she decided Lancaster was going to be top spot should she not get into Oxford. If she did get into Oxford then York would be insurance, as Lancaster was not promising on the accommodation front for insurance choices.
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(grizedale College Lancaster)
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(physics dept Lancaster)

End of November 2019.
Students are starting to get interviews on the TSR from Oxford. It was early December when we hear. My daughter called me from upstairs and says do I know much about Jesus College. I said no, but then she shows me the email from Jesus to say she has an interview there.


Mid December 2019.
Arrive at Jesus College, we were all there to see her off; hubby, youngest and me. We got to look around the college and also the interview sheets in the JCR. Two interviews at Jesus (1 for maths and 1 for physics) and 1 Interview at St Hughs College.
We visited the Jesus Chapel and there was such heavenly voices singing O' Holy Night, which is my favorite carol. After eating at the Four Candles, a spoons restaurant, we said our goodbyes and good luck and would pick her up on 2 days later.
As to how the interviews went she said they were ok, but felt her maths she was prompted a lot, so was not sure about Jesus, but St Hughs went very well.
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(Jesus College)
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(Jesus College)
January 2020
Horrid news, she did not get in to Oxford. So gutted for her I really was. The feedback she did ask for and she got back in February to say the interview had 1 prompt too many and the PAT result was on the borderline. It is hard for students. They put their heart and soul into Oxbridge and to have to go through all the testing, interviews, only to say no. It is a learning curve, everyone has to go through rejection, its just hard when you see your kids go through that. One week later when the dust has settled and feels much better, she firms Lancaster unconditional. Upside - she does have her EPQ result in particle physics: A*.

So these were the results overall
York University Masters Physics with Astrophysics AAA- Offer AAA
Leicester University Masters Physics with Astrophysics AAB Offer BCC
Oxford University Masters Physics (Merton College) A*AA- Rejected
Lancaster University Masters Physics with Astrophysics AAA - Unconditional
Lancaster University Masters Physics with Particle Physics and Cosmology. AAA – unconditional accepted.
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Ghostlady
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After the offers until A'level results day...
February 2020 and Covid-19
Covid 19 comes into the news at my work place. Everyone in the office thinks I'm over reacting following this thing; thinking its another swine flu, or some kind of SARS that will die out, but by the sounds of things, it looks pretty contagious. We was planning to go back to Lancaster to have a walk round February half term, but not so sure...

February Half Term.
Well we chance it any way and go back to Lancaster for another nosey at the uni.
We parks this time near Fylde College and have really good walk around Bowland College, County College Quad, Grizedale College, and has a bite to eat at Sultans. We love Sultans, its got everything. Kebabs, wraps, pizzas, burgers, fish and chips. And you can eat inside.
We gets to Grizedale college where the townhouse accommodation is, and we have a good laugh at the postit notes on the windows. 'Pivot', 'We were on a break' and other sayings from friends. We also get some food from central supermarket for the journey home.
We are so glad we visited Lancaster. I highly recommend any parent whose son or daughter has been through a rejection from a uni that they did put a lot of effort into to go to the uni that was going to be (I'm not going to say second choice, or back up choice because it was not.) so going say uni choice part 2; to actually go and visit ''part 2'' uni again, because it really helped get over Oxford and driving back up the M6 again, felt like she was coming home which was lovely. And, not only that, the walk around helped gauge how far she was from the physics dept and shes chosen Grizedale Townhouse and County Townhouse for accommodation. We had watched a you tuber called 'watchdevante' and it was his vlogs which helped make a decision. She loved the townhouses anyway, but it helped confirm her choice.
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(Physics Garden Lancaster)
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(pg statistics center Lancater)
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(Alexandra Square Lancaster)

March and April and May 2020
Well its lockdown and A'Levels are cancelled. Not sure what to think about it. She really wanted to he her exams. Even though she's got in to uni, she feels its not earned if there are no exams. She does not want to contest. She just wants to get on with her degree, that's if she's allowed back to uni in September that is. One good thing from lockdown though is that shes joined lots of social media groups and now whatsapp with her physics group doing a weekly quiz every Sunday on zoom. Shes in a group of about 50 physics students, and made close friends with about 12.

18th June 2020
Its accommodation portal opening time. Very easy process. Just make two choices of accommodation and then on the second page choose if accommodation type is important to you or college. Her decision has not changed. She's gone for Grizedale Townhouse as choice 1 and County Townhouse as choice 2. We hear the unis may want to put students into accommodation with other students studying in the same subjects. Not sure what to think of that. It would be good as studying would be easier to exchange ideas and help each other out, but you don't want to live and breathe the subject too.
We also visit Dunhelm. Some shops are open, but not all. We stock up on a few bits for uni. Have a clean out of the house and putting things into storage boxes.

28th June 2020.
Laptops. Oh my what a mine field. I don't know whether to get one now before every student buys one in August, or to wait and see if August throws up some great sales. Any advice on this would be handy. I kind of know what im looking for, but because of covid, half the stuff in argos and pc world is out of stock or just over my price range.

Well I'm bang up to date now. Hopefully were going August Bank holiday back to Lancaster to see more of the city and Morecambe and again the uni.
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学生の父
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Loved reading your parent's eye diary of the uni admissions process. I'm only disappointed you didn't weigh up the pros and cons of the various Travelodges, though!

Best wishes to your daughter when she arrives at Lancaster in September.
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vetstudent123
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With regards to the laptop shopping. Most have good sales in August in the lead up to uni's starting. I bought a MacBook and Apple have education pricing all year round, but in the summer they throw in a free gift, usually Beats headphones, so I would wait until that's announced
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Ghostlady
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(Original post by 学生の父)
Loved reading your parent's eye diary of the uni admissions process. I'm only disappointed you didn't weigh up the pros and cons of the various Travelodges, though!

Best wishes to your daughter when she arrives at Lancaster in September.
(Original post by vetstudent123)
With regards to the laptop shopping. Most have good sales in August in the lead up to uni's starting. I bought a MacBook and Apple have education pricing all year round, but in the summer they throw in a free gift, usually Beats headphones, so I would wait until that's announced
Thank you lol the Travelodges I would have say these have been the best and worst over the years:
Best: York Piccadilly, York Hull Road, Oxford Pear tree, London Wembley (north circular road), Stonehouse Stroud Gloucester.
Reasonable: Lancaster City, London Chigwell, St clears(south wales)
Not so good: Newcraighall near Edinburgh (i slipped in the shower wasnt good lol), Lancaster M6 (bed was too hard but not on second visit),

Thanks for the update on this Vetstudent, very interesting to know I'm looking for a I7, 8g 1TB if I can, or something similar that's fast processing with some memory to put programs on. Might be worth holding out until August. Was not sure whether they would hike up the prices and bring them down to make them look good so thoughts id have a look early just to get a fair idea on price
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学生の父
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(Original post by Ghostlady)
Thank you lol the Travelodges I would have say these have been the best and worst over the years:
Best: York Piccadilly, York Hull Road, Oxford Pear tree, London Wembley (north circular road), Stonehouse Stroud Gloucester.
Reasonable: Lancaster City, London Chigwell, St clears(south wales)
Not so good: Newcraighall near Edinburgh (i slipped in the shower wasnt good lol), Lancaster M6 (bed was too hard but not on second visit)
Of those, I stayed at Stonehouse for the election last December --- very good.
I live too close to St Clears to want to stay there --- unless Mrs 父 chooses to throw me out!

I might check out one of the York ones if we go to Durham for an offer holder day next Spring, though. It's #2 child's turn to go through UCAS now. Two years ago with #1 child we stayed at the Premier Inn in Newton Aycliffe, but I suspect I'd prefer to break the journey closer to York.

#2 is looking to do Physics, too. At the moment the likely list is Cambridge (Phys NatSci), St Andrews (joint with Chemistry), Durham (NatSci), Birmingham (not sure which option --- experimental or theoretical) and either Aberystwyth (again, not sure which option), Bristol (Chemical Physics) or York.

We've already done in the flesh open days at Oxford, Imperial and Bristol, as well as virtual ones at St Andrews, Cambridge and Birmingham.
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Very interesting read! and so many Travelodges :laugh:
Helpful to hear what you thought of Lancaster and York, I haven't had chance to go to an open day because of covid
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(Original post by laurawatt)
Very interesting read! and so many Travelodges :laugh:
Helpful to hear what you thought of Lancaster and York, I haven't had chance to go to an open day because of covid
Lancaster does do an open day virtually on their website, and on you tube they have just done one on Saturday https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaKM70_CAog&t=3225s . They should hopefully be in person again in September. We also plan to visit in August bank hols to the town and the uni again, so will try and get more pics
For lancaster:
We watched 'Watchdevante' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSuWaXMIsWw thats his first vlog to lancaster. hes canadian and stays a term at county townhouse. I hope my daughter has a great time like he did
And then there is Josh Hillmanator Hillman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9tD8Gj1zdQ. Hes at Pendle College and stays in standard accommodation.

York does have a lake in the center of Hes west which does break up the campus nicely,
For York: you have faye singleton https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj1...tARelhv-0SFaWQ shes at Constantine College Heslington east
and Student Vlogs dylan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDWJFI5nmM4&t=506s, he was was James College York.

Both are just as good as each other. The thing that swung it for my daughter was the accommodation prices between the two, so it depends on how much you get on maint loan/parents
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(Original post by 学生の父)
Of those, I stayed at Stonehouse for the election last December --- very good.
I live too close to St Clears to want to stay there --- unless Mrs 父 chooses to throw me out!

I might check out one of the York ones if we go to Durham for an offer holder day next Spring, though. It's #2 child's turn to go through UCAS now. Two years ago with #1 child we stayed at the Premier Inn in Newton Aycliffe, but I suspect I'd prefer to break the journey closer to York.

#2 is looking to do Physics, too. At the moment the likely list is Cambridge (Phys NatSci), St Andrews (joint with Chemistry), Durham (NatSci), Birmingham (not sure which option --- experimental or theoretical) and either Aberystwyth (again, not sure which option), Bristol (Chemical Physics) or York.

We've already done in the flesh open days at Oxford, Imperial and Bristol, as well as virtual ones at St Andrews, Cambridge and Birmingham.
I used to host ghost hunts, so travelodge's and premier inns became our best friend lol . York Central on Piccadilly is nice. We got a room facing the river which is quieter, and its about 10 mins walk to the city center with all the shops. We went to the museum gardens on the north of York which is in walking distance and that was nice to walk round. Shambles again about 10 mins walk from there, and plenty of restaurants. We did look at Durham as well on line but it clashed with other open days so did not get chance to go. The youngest daughter wants to do zoology, so she is looking at Bangor, Aberystwyth Chester and a few others, but that wont be until Sept next year when she starts 6th form college.
Hopefully you can get to go in person in September/October to some of them
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Lancaster Uni Walk Around June 2020

I know its covid and all of that, but this video has a great walk around for anyone interested

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This was interesting to read. I’ve been thru whole process with my eldest daughter who is graduating this year and am have been thru same this year with my middle child who starts in sept 2020 at York. My son is interested in physics and astronomy etc and this has helped choose some unis to attend in the future as he’s got a couple of years to go at school. Thank you for this info.
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(Original post by Bluebells602003)
This was interesting to read. I’ve been thru whole process with my eldest daughter who is graduating this year and am have been thru same this year with my middle child who starts in sept 2020 at York. My son is interested in physics and astronomy etc and this has helped choose some unis to attend in the future as he’s got a couple of years to go at school. Thank you for this info.
Your welcome I will be keeping posting on here for a while. I'm sure ill have weekly updates from the eldest about her course and that And good luck to your son starting York and well done your eldest graduating
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(Original post by Ghostlady)
Your welcome I will be keeping posting on here for a while. I'm sure ill have weekly updates from the eldest about her course and that And good luck to your son starting York and well done your eldest graduating
Thank u
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