Saturday, 13 July 2019

University Open Days

Funnily enough, we've been doing some of this, so interesting to see an article:-

"It's important to talk about the cost of going to open days," says Rachel, a sixth-former from Plymouth, in Devon, who is looking at university choices.

"Not everyone can afford to go out of their area. Train tickets are expensive and there's most likely accommodation as well."

This is peak season for university open days, when tens of thousands of teenagers and their families are criss-crossing the country viewing places where they might study.

A return trip by train from north to south can cost £200 or even £300. And even with railcard discounts, when there might be four or five universities to visit, the open-day season can soon become an unaffordable closed door.

"Can". Yeah. Plymouth to Manchester, maybe.

There is no charge to attend these events. But Rachel says the travel costs mean she has effectively ruled out universities in the North of England.

"I wouldn't want to apply to a city I hadn't been to before, in case I'd regret it," she says.

Why does someone from Plymouth need to study in the North of England? I'm not saying there aren't sometimes specific courses in certain places (like Southampton excels at marine biology), but I doubt most people in Plymouth can't find something close to what they want at Bristol, Exeter, Bath, Southampton, Cardiff, Reading, UCL, Imperial, Oxford, Cambridge, Birmingham and Warwick (plus all the ex-polys).

"It is unfair. We all know rail fares are phenomenal in this country, particularly if they're choosing to go at the last minute. Planning an open day in advance isn't always easy," she says."

Actually, rail fares aren't "phenomenal" in this country, unless you go to certain places at certain times. Mostly into London at peak hours. Travelling from Swindon to Cardiff is about £30-35 by train. Exeter is about £50, which I don't think is any more than most places in Europe.

It's usually left to parents to provide the money and organisation for their teenagers, so they can meet tutors, find out about applying for courses and check out the accommodation.

And when thousands of families are descending on a university town at the same time, the trains are not going to be cheap.

That's actually bollocks. None of the fares rise on university open days. Mostly because they're on Fridays and weekends when demand is lower on trains, anyway.

Sadie, from Hastings, in East Sussex, says her friends are working out which universities they can afford to reach.

She won't look any further north than Nottingham, which means ruling out places she might otherwise have considered, such as Newcastle and Durham.

Well, that seems like a good thing.

Sarah, from Plymouth, says she probably wouldn't go any further than London.

Which is a long sodding way from Plymouth and actually, an expensive train route. Birmingham is quicker and a similar price.

And if you think travel is expensive, wait until you find out how much more accommodation is in London.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Excellent final para.

I was tasked with accompanying the lad to a couple of these, they are all the same blah blah blah.

Graeme said...

Back in the distant past when I applied to university, it was the course contents and options plus the calibre of the staff that mattered. I paid no consideration to the locale. But in those dim and distant days, places like Manchester, Sheffield and Liverpool had top teaching staff in my subject. I think I would have had a great time if I had gone there even though the surroundings then would have been.... Grotty. Aren't you supposed to study at university anymore?

The Stigler said...

We've seen a few variations. Courses are different in biomed at Southampton and Cardiff from Birmingham.

My daughter is definitely focussed on the courses. That's her number 1 thing. But a lot of that seems to be quite equal, so then what? Like, we've ruled out Warwick because it's out in the sticks, which makes things like 2nd year accomodation tricky.

She doesn't want to do more than a couple of hours, which rules out 2 really good biomed places: Durham and Sheffield. But it's all much of a muchness between them, Cardiff, Birmingham, Southampton, Bristol and Bath.

Lola said...

Sigh. Witless snowflakery...