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    Following my second rejection from Cambridge in as many years (yes... I have two... how cool am I? :rolleyes: ) I really need to start making some choices about other universities.

    So, here's the question: Should I pick York or Durham as the place to study English for the next three years?

    Any ideas at all would be fantastic. If you are a student at either that'd be even better. Also what are other applicants thinking?

    As nice as drinking beer and sleeping until 4pm would be in many ways, I am actually looking for something different. A friend at Durham (not for English, but Philosophy) wrote a total of 1500 words of essay in his first term and has been told he needs 40% in some up-coming exams. Someone I know at Cambridge (studying English) prepares and writes an essay a week. These two examples don't really inspire much confidence.

    Any comments/suggestions/ideas would be wonderful.

    Thanks.
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    Hey...I'm hoping to study Joint honours english and history next year. I have my offer from York and am waiting for one from Durahm (fingers crossed!). If I get my Durham offer I willl be in exactly the same position, not sure which to choose as my firm choice. I don't know much about the course itself, but I've heard there is more going on at York socially, although that could just be a rumour. Some of the accommodation at York doesnt look too great whereas Durham's looks good. Keep me posted on what you're thinking anyway. Love Rachel x
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    (Original post by englishstudent)
    Following my second rejection from Cambridge in as many years (yes... I have two... how cool am I? :rolleyes: ) I really need to start making some choices about other universities.

    So, here's the question: Should I pick York or Durham as the place to study English for the next three years?

    Any ideas at all would be fantastic. If you are a student at either that'd be even better. Also what are other applicants thinking?

    As nice as drinking beer and sleeping until 4pm would be in many ways, I am actually looking for something different. A friend at Durham (not for English, but Philosophy) wrote a total of 1500 words of essay in his first term and has been told he needs 40% in some up-coming exams. Someone I know at Cambridge (studying English) prepares and writes an essay a week. These two examples don't really inspire much confidence.

    Any comments/suggestions/ideas would be wonderful.

    Thanks.
    Hiya,

    I was in a very similar postition last year. Was rejected by Cambridge, and then had to agonise choosing between Durham or York...oh yeah, and also for English lit. After visiting both Durham and York, I went for Durham, because after having seen the two places there was no question about it, I was definitely going to be happier in Durham. Not that York isn't beautiful, but the campus is totally removed from the city, and is just a load of grey concrete. I love Durham soooo much, and have not regretted my decision for a second - though I did have something of a mid-term crisis and decided to change course, because I realised English wasn't for me after all. This has nothing to do with the English course itself, because all my other friends love it....in fact it was because I could see just how passionate everyone else was about it, that I realised that I just wasn't that passionate about English myself, and that the course just wasn't for me. I really did leave it to the very last second, but I was still able to change, and my new course is 100% me. (Had I been at Cambridge, I think I would have died, because I would most likely have felt the same way about my course, but very much doubt I could have changed, and even if I had been able to, I don't think the course I'm doing now would have existed)...I'm doing Combined Arts now, and am taking modules from three different subjects: English, German and Philosophy. As to what you've been told about essays and stuff, the thing is that you have 6 modules altogether, and have to do an essay for each in the first term, each of which is 2000 words, and believe me, it may not sound much, but it's plenty, because you have to be preparing work for your tutorials on top of that, and of course, be doing lots and lots of reading. (Philosophy essays are only 1500 words long, but they're a very different style of essay altogether, and focus on the clarity of the argument as opposed to the rhetorical flourishes, which are more appropriate to English essays, and in fact it is sticking to the word limit and not going over that presents the real difficulty). The thing about only needing 40% is because you're whole first year does not count towards your degree, and is really more about finding your feet, and getting used to the new work pattern and so on, so that once you get into second year, where it begins to really count, you know what you're doing - so if you're uncertain about you're first few essays, and feel a bit confused as to what they're expecting of you, it doesn't matter, and then you get feedback in your essay hand-back sessions. Because the first year doesn't count towards your degree, you only really need to pass (and 40% is a pass)....which is reassuring to know, but this doesn't mean you're actually supposed to be *aiming* for 40%.

    Hope this helps a little bit.
    xxx
    Sarah
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    (Original post by englishstudent)
    A friend at Durham (not for English, but Philosophy) wrote a total of 1500 words of essay in his first term and has been told he needs 40% in some up-coming exams.
    :eek: Warwick english students have already been given about eight assignments. I think I've handed in about 12000 words total, and I'm working on a 3,500 word essay at the moment. Although it's true you only need 40% overall to pass here.

    Of the two I'd pick York - better overall rep, slightly better rep for english, and one of my best friends is having an amazing time there
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    I went to York uni for a week (dropped out after a week though but that was because of a wrong course decision), one of my flatmates was there doing English Lit. and it seems as if there was LOTS of work to do. She had a very large reading list and unlike other uni's, exams you take after January in the first year DO count towards your degree, it's only the first term that doesn't.

    I never visited Durham, but there is no doubt both the city's are completely beautiful. Yes, york campus is quite concrete-y but its swarming with ducks and things, and surrounds a lake. Essentially though, it's not really about how beautiful a bunch of buildings are, but how much you're going to enjoy your course.

    I don't think you can loose either way going to Durham or York as both have a good reputation - although at the moment York English course is slightly more competitive to get into than Durham. I would visit them both, and look at the courses in DETAIL (look at how the course pans out for the second year and third year) and decide which one you'll be most happy at.
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    (Original post by englishstudent)
    As nice as drinking beer and sleeping until 4pm would be in many ways, I am actually looking for something different. A friend at Durham (not for English, but Philosophy) wrote a total of 1500 words of essay in his first term and has been told he needs 40% in some up-coming exams. Someone I know at Cambridge (studying English) prepares and writes an essay a week. These two examples don't really inspire much confidence.
    If it's any reassurance, my sister is doing English at Bristol (she turned down York but they're relatively similar courses) and wrote numerous 2500 word essays last term in addition to preparation for seminars and tutorials, and having to give a presentation virtually every week. She now has a 2500 word essay and a 5000 word essay to do for next week - so there's not much room for sleeping til 4pm Uni is definitely what you make of it, and if you want to work hard no one will stop you! She always has more reading that she could or should be doing to improve her essays and strengthen her arguments in classes.

    My sister tells me that one of the things that put her off York was the compulsory foreign language module, as she wanted to just study English -- it's worth examining every aspect of the course in immense detail and choosing the one that you will find the most stimulating and enjoyable, because it'll dominate your life (and your reading) for the next three years!

    Good luck! You sound like you'll be a success wherever you go
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    I haven't received a decision from York yet

    I really liked the campus and the city when I visited, although wasn't too keen on all the concrete! Apparently York was voted the most boring university town in the country! :eek: That put me off a little..
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    You should pick durham of course. It's most likely going to be my first choice. York doesn't have as many nice historical buildings. My brother went there for history and didn't like it. Well, that's my two cents.
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    Thanks for all the replies everyone! It's cheered me up no end after feeling pretty rubbish for the past few days about Cambridge.

    At the moment I am leaning slightly towards the idea of York; I like the foreign language aspect as I did French and German A2. But I am going to go and check them both out. I've been to Durham and I must admit it was beautiful. On the train journey in I thought it looked slightly Italian - something along the lines of the Tuscan countryside. Not a good basis for a Uni choice though!

    I've applied to Hatfield at Durham - with hindsight that wasn't a good move. I like the look of other colleges more and I wish I had taken a bit more time.

    I'll keep you posted Rachel. Let me know when you hear from Durham . I wish they'd get a move on... It's been a long, long time. Have you ever been to York? I'm going to try to get up there at some point soon I think. Got a mate doing history so that's another good reason.
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    I think Durham is a better choice if you want an oxbridgy system (the colleges etc.) but unfortunately because of such things, it's become labelled as a place for "oxbridge rejects" which isn't nice at all. I also get the impression, as I have told you before, that Durham seem to place themselves really high amongst the best unis in the country even though a lot of this reputation is illfounded. Durham is in many respects overrated. York is a bit less known and more of a modest choice. As for the environment, it depends what you are looking for - York is a campus uni and Durham uni is integrated within the city. Both will be great, whatever you decide

    P.S. When I went to Durham, I didn't like it at all. Maybe because of the fact that I wasn't there to see the uni but it just seemed ugly and pretentious.
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    (Original post by Adhsur)

    P.S. When I went to Durham, I didn't like it at all. Maybe because of the fact that I wasn't there to see the uni but it just seemed ugly and pretentious.
    Ugly? Are you kidding?
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    (Original post by englishstudent)
    Thanks for all the replies everyone! It's cheered me up no end after feeling pretty rubbish for the past few days about Cambridge.

    At the moment I am leaning slightly towards the idea of York; I like the foreign language aspect as I did French and German A2. But I am going to go and check them both out. I've been to Durham and I must admit it was beautiful. On the train journey in I thought it looked slightly Italian - something along the lines of the Tuscan countryside. Not a good basis for a Uni choice though!

    I've applied to Hatfield at Durham - with hindsight that wasn't a good move. I like the look of other colleges more and I wish I had taken a bit more time.

    I'll keep you posted Rachel. Let me know when you hear from Durham . I wish they'd get a move on... It's been a long, long time. Have you ever been to York? I'm going to try to get up there at some point soon I think. Got a mate doing history so that's another good reason.
    You can take two modules outside your course in whichever subject(s) you want, as long as they don't clash in your time-table, so you could still do some French or German if you wanted to (- in Durham that is).

    I've just got back from visiting friends in Bath for a week, and so I've had a chance to compare life on campus and life in college. Basically the atmosphere on campus is very different, which is neither positive or negative, it just depends on the person - you just have to know which is best suited to you. I could see that both my friends Beth and Sabrina were much better suited to Bath than Durham, and would probably find life in college a bit claustrophobic, whereas, as much as I liked Bath, I would still choose Durham any day, because I love the tight-knit feeling of college life, and Durham's picturesque surroundings, and found the rows of 100% identical concrete residential buildings on Bath's campus a bit eerie in a way. I love living in college, because coming back after the holidays the other day really did feel like coming *home*. Teaching isn't college based, so college really is just like a hall of residence - the place where you eat and sleep, but then in a way it's more than that, because it does feel so much like a home, and you do tend to make your closest friends in college, and you feel like you're being looked after, and that there is always someone there for you to talk to if you're having problems. For example, when I wanted to change course, I had the full support of my college's vice principle - and it's nice to know there are people there to help and support you, and who take an interest in you as a person, rather than just in an academic sort of way.
    Actually I think Durham gives you a nice compromise between campus and a...erm, non-campus universities, because the place is so small that the city itself basically *is* the campus.

    As to the whole nonsensical "Oxbridge rejects university" title someone referred to (which I believe several other universities hold as well), the fact is, that yes, Durham does have it's fair share of Oxbridge rejects, just like any other good university, because a large percentage of top students do apply to either Oxford or Cambridge, and only a fraction of them can get it, because there simply aren't enough places. Durham doesn't set itself up to be "the best" in any way - at least no more so than other good universities do. But Durham does happen to be excellent for English. And that's all there is to it.
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    (Original post by shilling)
    You can take two modules outside your course in whichever subject(s) you want, as long as they don't clash in your time-table, so you could still do some French or German if you wanted to (- in Durham that is).

    I've just got back from visiting friends in Bath for a week, and so I've had a chance to compare life on campus and life in college. Basically the atmosphere on campus is very different, which is neither positive or negative, it just depends on the person - you just have to know which is best suited to you. I could see that both my friends Beth and Sabrina were much better suited to Bath than Durham, and would probably find life in college a bit claustrophobic, whereas, as much as I liked Bath, I would still choose Durham any day, because I love the tight-knit feeling of college life, and Durham's picturesque surroundings, and found the rows of 100% identical concrete residential buildings on Bath's campus a bit eerie in a way. I love living in college, because coming back after the holidays the other day really did feel like coming *home*. Teaching isn't college based, so college really is just like a hall of residence - the place where you eat and sleep, but then in a way it's more than that, because it does feel so much like a home, and you do tend to make your closest friends in college, and you feel like you're being looked after, and that there is always someone there for you to talk to if you're having problems. For example, when I wanted to change course, I had the full support of my college's vice principle - and it's nice to know there are people there to help and support you, and who take an interest in you as a person, rather than just in an academic sort of way.
    Actually I think Durham gives you a nice compromise between a campus university and a...erm, non-campus universities, because the place is so small that the city itself basically *is* the campus.

    As to the whole nonsensical "Oxbridge rejects university" title someone referred to (which I believe several other universities hold as well), the fact is, that yes, Durham does have it's fair share of Oxbridge rejects, just like any other good university, because a large percentage of top students do apply to either Oxford or Cambridge, and only a fraction of them can get it, because there simply aren't enough places. Durham doesn't set itself up to be "the best" in any way - at least no more so than other good universities do. But Durham does happen to be excellent for English. And that's all there is to it.
    Well said! If I hadn't already given out rep today, you would have some! I'll try and remember tomorrow.
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    I may be a little biased against Durham - as they rejected me - but I still prefer York. I went to the general open day and it seemed friendly and welcoming, and the contrast was nice between the town and the uni, because you can experience living in an ancient place, but without the disadvantages that would bring - 18th century plumbing anyone?! If they would bother to give me an offer I would seriously consider it.
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    (Original post by englishstudent)
    Thanks for all the replies everyone! It's cheered me up no end after feeling pretty rubbish for the past few days about Cambridge.

    At the moment I am leaning slightly towards the idea of York; I like the foreign language aspect as I did French and German A2. But I am going to go and check them both out. I've been to Durham and I must admit it was beautiful. On the train journey in I thought it looked slightly Italian - something along the lines of the Tuscan countryside. Not a good basis for a Uni choice though!

    I've applied to Hatfield at Durham - with hindsight that wasn't a good move. I like the look of other colleges more and I wish I had taken a bit more time.

    I'll keep you posted Rachel. Let me know when you hear from Durham . I wish they'd get a move on... It's been a long, long time. Have you ever been to York? I'm going to try to get up there at some point soon I think. Got a mate doing history so that's another good reason.
    I've been to York for the day quite a few times...not the university, just the place itself. It's really lovely, quaint and old and really pleasant, but as the campus is outside of the city I didn't get to to see it. I'll be going to see the uni as soon as they send me open day dates, I have been to Durham and wasn't overly impressed to be fair, although that was outside term time and I was ill. If York blows me away then that will be decision made as Durham most certainly did not. I don't know I can warrant going back to see Durham again, it's one hell of a journey!
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    I got a letter from Durham today telling me that they were sorry about the wait but that they'd let me know by the end of February. :rolleyes:
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    i'd like one...i feel like theyve forgotten about me!
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    (Original post by rachplatt)
    i'd like one...i feel like theyve forgotten about me!
    Probably in the post right now!
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    Durham's English course is incredibly cool!

    I may be slightly biased because I didn't apply to York and Durham is my first choice, but I think most people here are biased in some way
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    (Original post by Rose64)
    I haven't received a decision from York yet

    I really liked the campus and the city when I visited, although wasn't too keen on all the concrete! Apparently York was voted the most boring university town in the country! :eek: That put me off a little..
    you must be joking!!! you should see royal holloway!!! its in egham!

    by the way, york does have a college system similar to durham, but you dont apply to them, you are assigned to one
 
 
 
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