Mother of student needs help



  • crana999
    crana999 Posts: 573 Forumite
    lyniced wrote:
    zpcard - Did you work during uni? My son wants to find a Saturday job, but thats all. He works on Saturdays at the moment and finds that enough.

    By the way, what degree did you get? Is it true that anything less than a 2:1 is failure?

    No, they are not failures below 2:1. You have 2:2 and 3 below that, and I think at some unis (not mine) if you don't get a 3rd you may be awarded an "ordinary degree" instead of an "honours degree".

    The only thing is that for many jobs, further degrees etc you need a 2:1 or higher. It's a bit like with GCSEs: A*-G are "pass grades" but for lots of purposes only A*-C is considered a "good pass", if that makes sense.

    I'm at Cambridge so we aren't meant to have p/t jobs because our courseload is so heavy, but I still do a small bit of p/t work. For most unis/courses your son would be fine to do p/t work - it's more difficult if you are somewhere/ on a course (eg medicine) with a very heavy load but still possible.
  • crana999
    crana999 Posts: 573 Forumite
    zcaprd7 wrote:
    I diasagree with this also - it is essential that when you go to Uni you get a 2:1 or more, anything less and the whole three years will have been a 'waste' of money.

    If you are brainy enough to do the work and get a part time job then fine, otherwise it will cost a great deal more over the rest of your life with lower salary...or not a graduate job at all.

    Well, the trick is that you don't cut study time to do paid work - you cut excess leisure time. Almost everyone can afford to go out slightly less and spend that time in paid work instead, so their study time isn't affected.
  • lyniced
    lyniced Posts: 1,880 Forumite

    Yes I've heard about Oxbridge - my friend's son is going there (Oxford) and he says he isn't allowed to have a job. His parents (who don't have a lot of money) are going to have to support him. Why can't they bring back student grants???!!! Anyway, I must admit, this uni thing is starting to worry me - sooo much pressure, and that just us, the parents. I've got to go through all this again with my younger children.

    Oh by the way I know that 2:2, and 3 are passes, but what I meant was 'Are they considered failures, to the outside world?' Anyway anyone who has been to uni and got a degree of any kind hasdone better than most, I would say.
    Me transmitte sursum, caledoni
  • Raquela
    Raquela Posts: 359 Forumite
    I'm reading all this with great interest! You see, my perspective is slightly different; I'm a mature student who went through the application and accommodation processes last year!

    Whether or not accommodation is guaranteed depends on the university. I found that 99% of traditional universities guaranteed accommodation to firm choice applicants, and mostly to insurance/clearing entrants.

    I would strongly recommend that your son gets a place in a hall if one is available, or at least in a student village / development (though they are ridiculously overpriced when the University doesn't own them.Tru$t me). It's the easiest way to make friends (and thereby find people you actually want to live with in the second and third years), breaks you in to looking after yourself gently. Some halls are fully or part catered meaning you don't have to worry about your son having to cook for himself straight away. Plus the advantages of living on campus are immense.

    Jobs; I worked for my first two terms here, just 8 hours a week. Studying law, I found it really hard to juggle. Most of my younger friends simply work in their vacation periods, I would definitely recommend this. That said, the first year tends to be easier than the subsequent years, so the first year might be the best in which to work term time and try to save some money. My fellow students that worked in the summer between A levels and September are the ones which still have money left now despite extensive partying!

    Degree classes. A 2.1 should generally be achievable, don't sell your son short! And, yes it's true; with a 2.1 there will be a much better career ahead. Of course this depends largely on what your son wants to study. At the end of the day, going to University is about getting life experience as well as getting a degree.

    Private Student Housing: I agree, especially in my town, that students pay for the nose to live in the student areas. Why? the Landlords know they can get away with it. I will put up with the higher rents; to live in a slightly cheaper area means more money spent travelling into campus, having to spend all day there if you have hours between lectures (I find it v. difficult to work in the library personally; I prefer the comfort of my own room), and also more time in travelling to and from campus; this detracts from time available to study.

    Finally a plea; I echo and applaud some of the comments about teaching your children domestic skills. The amount of people I had to teach to use a washing machine and a tumble dryer just wasn't funny. Also, some parents buy their children houses to live in for the 2nd and 3rd years. This doesn't do your children any favours, unless you act like a proper landlord!
  • stuwilky
    stuwilky Posts: 297 Forumite

    A 2:2 is considered "average" and most graduate schemes will accept people with a 2:2 or above. Although some can be more picky.
  • KK
    KK Posts: 212 Forumite
    I left home at 20 to go to Uni (1986) and barely knew how to use a washing machine (my mum's fault). I ended up in a grotty houseshare with 3 guys (only one was a student) and was fairly miserable for 2 terms. I was 3 miles away from college so used to go all day every day. On the plus side it taught me to make the best of my situation, I had to get out and make friends, learn to cook for myself etc. In the summer term I got a place in halls where you cooked for yourself and did your own washing, but eveything else was done including cleaning and changing bedlinen! This was fantastic fun and meant that I made enough friends to enjoy the rest of my 2 years.

    The best thing I did was practice cooking on my family for about 3 months before I went away, mum bought me a couple of veggie cookbooks and I cooked once or twice a week. The other thing I did was get a fairly well paid full time job for the summer before I went which meant I earned enough money to see me through the next 3 years (yes really) in terms of luxuries. Mum and dad paid for my rent and food and the rest was up to me.

    I bought a bike and rode it to college (this was Oxford so everyone did the same) which meant my transport costs were nil. I cooked my own food and didn't buy ready made or take away food. Mobiles were barely invented then so that wasn't an issue, but the isolation of living in a house with no phone was pretty miserable, I lived in the phone box up the road at first. I did smoke and drink but in moderation and I had learnt how to budget as my mum gave me an allowance from the age of 12. I think I was so worried about getting into debt that I was probably quite frugal, but I had been used to a fantastic social life at home.

    I didn't work until my 3rd year, when I worked 4 hours on a Friday morning in a local shop which paid my weekly rent (those were the days!) and could spare the time (believe it or not). I shared a house with friends for the 2nd and 3rd year which was cheap, not too grotty and had a really good landlord who used to come in and clean the kitchen and bathroom floors and mow the lawn! What a fool!

    I think budgeting and how to make your money last is the best gift you can give your son. I lived with a guy in the 2nd year (1 guy, 4 girls) whose parents were loaded and paid off his overdraft at the end of every term. He went out every night and knuckled down to work in the last couple of weeks of each term. He was a pain in the a** and so naive as to be unreal. I've never forgotten finding him cleaning mud off his rugby boots with my potato peeler and wondering why I got upset! He cooked chicken, potatoes and carrots every single night for the whole term and never did the washing up, or cleaned the house, or bought so much as a single loo roll. His mother should have been ashamed of how hopeless he was. We couldn't wait to get rid of him and moved another girl in for the final year - much better!

    Uni should be a gentle introduction to the real world - in terms of learning how to look after yourself.

    I'm not sure I agree with anything less than a 2:1 being value-less. I got a 2:2 and just missed a 2:1 by 1% point - I have never been asked for my degree result and have always had 'graduate' jobs. Mind you I've not forged a great career for myself as such, but surely not every graduate wants to achieve amazing things. I agree that a 3rd is not necessarily what you want, but for some that may be a great achievement.

    I wish I had gone into halls for the whole of my first year (I was offered a place, but turned it down because it was a hall that catered for you and was 3 miles away from the main campus) as I think my first year would have been easier.

    Good luck to your son and hope he gets the results he wants. And don't fret too much - it will all work out.
  • lyniced
    lyniced Posts: 1,880 Forumite

    Thanks for that - You must be a little younger than my husband - he left uni in 85. Anyway, he said going uni helped him to become independant and made him 'grow up'. His first year he was in awful digs, much like yourself, but he made friends with some guys on his course and the subsequent years manged to house-share with them.

    I didn't go to uni (I wish I had, but back in the early 80's girls weren't pushed as much as they are today) so it is new to me. It has changed quite a lot for my husband too. He says he can't remember how things happened (getting forgetful in his old age!) and of course there weren't student loans in those days.

    By the way my husband got a 2:2 in Metallurgy and Material science and has since only ever worked in finance! He has always said a degree is just a stepping stone to what you want to do. My brother did a sociology degree and now works in advertising, so a degree is showing employers what you are capable of, I guess.

    All I really want for my kids is to be happy and healthy in life! Isn't that what we all want?
    Me transmitte sursum, caledoni
  • crana999
    crana999 Posts: 573 Forumite
    lyniced wrote:

    Yes I've heard about Oxbridge - my friend's son is going there (Oxford) and he says he isn't allowed to have a job. His parents (who don't have a lot of money) are going to have to support him. Why can't they bring back student grants???!!! Anyway, I must admit, this uni thing is starting to worry me - sooo much pressure, and that just us, the parents. I've got to go through all this again with my younger children.

    Oh by the way I know that 2:2, and 3 are passes, but what I meant was 'Are they considered failures, to the outside world?' Anyway anyone who has been to uni and got a degree of any kind hasdone better than most, I would say.

    You usually *CAN* have a job, you just have to be able to prove to your tutors etc that it won't affect your work. At the minute I have 3 p/t jobs all for the university!

    His parents won't have to support him that much. He can work through the summer vacation and parts of winter/easter as long as he balances it with enough acadmic work then.

    If his parents aren't well off he won't have to pay (much) tuition fees and will get the full loan or close to it. At Cambridge he would also automatically qualify for a bursary of up to £1000/year, I don't know about Oxford. He should get a Higher Education grant as well. He may also get individual support as bursaries, rent rebates etc from his college. His parents shouldn;t have to give him much besides supporting him in the holidays as long as he's careful with what he spends.

    My parents didn't have this kind of worry, I sorted it all myself! and I am paying my own way as well, at least for the moment.

    2:2s / 3s are not considered failures by the outside world but as other people have explained, it depends who the "outside world" is. The student's grandma? The uni he applies to a PhD for? A potential employer?

    For some things you would need a 2:1 or 1, for other things it's not relevant or a 2:2 would be fine or whatever.
  • student100
    student100 Posts: 1,059 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    Also Oxbridge students only have 8 week terms - giving more time for vactation jobs.
    student100 hasn't been a student since 2007...
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,007 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    I got a 2:2 and my DH a 3rd - he knew he wouldn't fail because he was the only student doing his course (Mathematics with Philosophy) and if they'd failed him, he'd have had the right to re-sit the year, which obviously the uni wouldn't want him to do. :D

    I don't know how things have changed: if you wanted to go on to do research in those days you had to have a 2:1 or better. And if you wanted to get a postgraduate grant then a 1st was pretty well essential. Doubtless there are some jobs for which a 2:1 or better is required. And doubtless there is still snobbery about which are the 'real' universities and which are the jumped up polytechnics. But what's important is that the student chooses a course that will suit them, in an environment that will suit them. And that's the hard bit!

    I consider my son lucky in that I could discuss with him the differences between campus, collegiate and 'civic' universities and help him think what would suit him best. I was pleased and astonished when he didn't appear to use 'furthest distance from home' as a criteria in his choices (I know I did!) He did some visits alone, I took him on 3, and we both liked best the one which is now his first choice (although my shopping experience was better at his second choice ;)).

    All I need to do now is remind him regularly that he needs to get better grades than I did to get to his first choice, and keep up with the housetraining!
    Signature removed for peace of mind
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