Trying to help DD make a decision - any ideas?

(15 Posts)
Gruntfuttocks Fri 22-Mar-13 10:42:00

Kings College London or Bristol University for Pharmacology - any thoughts?

DD has unconditional offers for both plus music scholarship for Bristol.

We have gone round and round in circles debating every aspect we can think of (costs, location, course content, accommodation, employability, year in industry, extracurricular music) and she can't make a decision. Anyone able to offer any insights?

Teachercreature Fri 22-Mar-13 16:45:24

King's College ranks higher: http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings?s=Pharmacology%20%26%20Pharmacy

In terms of location, I personally preferred the chance to live away from home. London will of course be more expensive though.

Has she visited both? If not that's what I'd advise, and pick which feels "right" if all else balances out.

Good luck choosing - and congratulations to your daughter. At least on the bright side it's win-win!

dontoutmyselfthistime Fri 22-Mar-13 16:53:06

KCL can be quite heavy (IN MY EXPERIENCE YEARS AGO)

Bristol seemd to be more fun but then I HATED the facilities they had their for my course! (I didn´t go bristol)

London was very expensive back in my student days, but but but there is tonnes of free stuff to do ie parks etc.

Have you been to either locations?

Does she have to make a decision now???

My decision was made for me, it was the wrong decision in the end!

Congrates to your DD

BeckAndCall Fri 22-Mar-13 16:54:51

Great choices both - it'll definitely be down to what feels right.

Have you compared accommodation? That might matter. My DS was in residence at Bristol in year 1 and had a 40 min walk each way - he loved it, but might not suit everyone.

SummerInSicilia Fri 22-Mar-13 17:12:02

Friend's DS is at KCL for Medicine, he likes it ok but it's absolutely huge, and quite impersonal. Also, high proportion of the students are from London and seem to live at home, so maybe creates less chance to "bond" with other freshers, compared with somewhere where everyone's in halls? That's only anecdotal though, and obviously both Unis are highly regarded, so she probably can't go too far wrong!

senua Fri 22-Mar-13 19:41:36

What a lovely dilemma to have !smile
Go on gut instinct. Have you visited them both?

Copthallresident Fri 22-Mar-13 19:42:00

Dd at another London uni and has friends at KCL (though the rivalry is fierce grin KCL students even stole their founder, who is stuffed and used to sit in on board meetings....) The are having just as much fun as DD and friends. Medics everywhere lead a slightly different life, the workload and long hours and later the demands of hospital life tend to segregate them.

For info DD was in a central London hall in the first year but has been in flats 2 or 3 tube stops out since, rent is £550 a month which is fairly standard. Her flats haven't been in supersalubrious areas but not rough either and they have loved their student life there. No shortage of student flats. Groups of students from the same unis tend to congregate in particular areas. There has been a shift of London student life south and east. There is so much on offer in the capital, cultural as well as clubbing, with cheap student deals. DD thinks she would have been bored elsewhere (probably not, her friends in Bristol are having a good time too)

TBH I think it is rare not to enjoy uni wherever you go.

ParmaViolette Fri 22-Mar-13 19:47:56

Depends on how much money you have or how big her loan is.

Everyone I've met who have had a great time at a London uni have their parents paying their rent, leaving the maintenance loan for fun and frolics- or on full grant, bursary and max loan to play with.

Everyone else stuck in the middle with a loan that just covers the rent and a token 20 quid from mum and dad have had a miserable time once the savings have ran out and they're living off pasta and passata.

Bristol is a brilliant university, and brilliant city with cheap nights out, cheaper rents and so much to do. Although its a civic uni like KCL, it's a more close knit community and less 'spaced out'.

boomting Fri 22-Mar-13 19:47:59

There's not much to choose between the universities themselves.

However, one thing that isn't quite so obvious to an 'outsider' is that people at London universities tend to live some distance away from the university, because most people can't afford to rent in Central London. However, people do not tend to congregate in one area to the extent that they do elsewhere, so you lose the 'student village' feel that you get in student areas of other cities. Students in Bristol are quite lucky - they tend to congregate around the Clifton / Redland / Cotham areas, all of which are quite desirable areas.

Copthallresident Fri 22-Mar-13 19:56:01

Parma I disagree we do pay DDs rent but so do most of her friends whatever uni they went to but DD has two friends whose parents cannot contribute and are on maintenance grants, which at her uni seems to automatically qualify you for a bursary, and they not only have a good time alongside DD but save, and of course they have tele, gaming machines etc. grin . One of the things DD has enjoyed about where her flat is this year is that a lot of student friends have congregated there and they are just two stops on the tube from uni.

Happymum22 Fri 22-Mar-13 21:11:52

Wow- what fab choices!
DD went to Bristol. Absolutely loved it, IMO it suits quite a different type of person to KCL. Its a vibrant but more enclosed city than london with definite student filled areas. Lots of fun but also work them hard. The student population isnt terribly diverse, it has one of the fewest % of international students of all unis- and especially compared to london unis -- so something to consider what type of atmosphere would suit your DD, does she easily click with people more diverse from herself?

DD got a grad job in london and is now enjoying the london lifestyle. She used to be jealous of her friend at KCL who seems to have the city at their fingertips and be super confident and more mature in many ways a lot earlier- I think london promotes independence. But DD soon caught up and it has made no difference whatsoever in the log run.

Go back to both this holidays and explore, look at the accommodation options- it is such a big thing for successfully settling. DD has halls 40 mins from Bristol uni but there is now a very frequent bus service from the halls to lectures.

We are fairly local to london and DD liked having a very different and quite far away city of her own which she called home and knew well. Other DD at durham feels the same.

Sorry this is a bit bristol biased- I know little about kings!

goinggetstough Sat 23-Mar-13 07:48:40

Just a slight update to Beckandcalls post about Bristol. The Halls at Stoke Bishop now include a free bus pass, so the 40 minute walk to lectures is optional!

BeckAndCall Sat 23-Mar-13 07:57:48

That's useful to know, going. I bought him a bus pass when he was there and he didn't use it once because no one else did and he liked the sociability of the group walk. If everyone does it, I'm sure they'll all do it.

And I should point out to the OP that there are loads of halls closer into town too - not all the accomm is at the top of the hill......

And to reiterate, DS loved it there. Especially years 2 and 3 where everyone lived in houses in Cotham hill just around the corner from each other and 10 mins from the labs.

ParmaViolette Sat 23-Mar-13 10:57:57

Exactly Cop- 'Everyone I've met who have had a great time at a London uni have their parents paying their rent, leaving the maintenance loan for fun and frolics- or on full grant, bursary and max loan to play with.'

I know everyone laughs about students being skint- but now we are living in a time where grants have been done away with, there is a lot of difference between students financially. Lots of my friends who are at London unis (I am a student myself) are having a pretty miserable time as they're too rich for a bursary, but their parents can't contribute either. This means working all hours or literally living in poverty. It's not fun.

You do honestly need to look at what you can afford and where she'd be better off. I'm from Bristol myself and know that cheap student rents (70 pw) do exist there and there are a ton of fun cheap student nights.

Uni is stressful enough already, you don't need money worries as well.

Gruntfuttocks Sat 23-Mar-13 11:55:37

Thanks to all of you who took the time to reply - some really useful comments, ta.

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