'Beware universities mis-selling courses on open days' blog discussion

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.

Please click 'post reply' to discuss below.


  • Elvisia
    Elvisia Posts: 914 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I taught in a university and I was shocked at how the admissions team who did the selling seemed to work in an entirely different university than they worked in. I frequently heard complete lies from programme directors (including "yes you can get all the software you want for free, saving you hundreds of pounds" - no you couldn't). My advice is to talk to as many students as possible, as well as teaching staff. If possible ask for copies of the syllabus, and remember that you're paying out a huge amount of money every year for three years - you could buy 3 cars with the fees - so do your research and ask as many questions as you can think of.
  • Fitzmichael
    In 1993, when tertiary/higher ed institutions were being 'set free', the Principal of the one I taught in, during a discussion on advising prospective students, many part-time/evening and/or mature about enrolling, 'reminded' us that funding, and the survival of some courses/subjects, would now be very dependent on number of students - what became known as 'bums on seats' - and that could translate into 'jobs' - ours. (Not his, because he had agreed to take early retirement with a recompense dependent on how many of the most expensive staff he could allow/persuade to do the same much sooner than they had anticipated by enhancing what they would get. 'Reorganisation' would allow a thinning of the next rank with a similar 'early release scheme' facilitated by much enhanced 'redundancy', which was not unpopular because there were warning signs - which turned out to be correct - that contract conditions would become more onerous for new academic staff or anyone 'changing job' by promotion. This became general practice.)
    Relevant to this thread is his comment at the next Open day/evening to one Faculty head, that some staff seemed not to think it unwise to thin down the queues at Open days/evenings by posting up info that in subject areas a/b/c we did not provide options x/y/z, but if these were important, a larger local institution did so.
    I had always seen that my duty was to the best interests of students or those intending to be so, and I was aghast to find that we were expected to put these below our own advantage. I was not eligible for early retirement at that point but, since it was an enjoyable prospect anyway and, even if not, would have provided an escape from whatever would have ensued from my pursuing the 'right' path, I let it be known that I thought it outrageous, and was rapidly advised that, if I accepted it, the offer would take effect as soon as the eligible age, 55, was reached.
    Now, of course, school Heads talk endlessly of the good of their school, which they equate with that of the pupils, while they and their staff bemoan the fact that they are forced to follow educational policies which they do not believe are in the interests of their pupils/students. I could not have believed when I started my career that teachers could employ such doublethink and that recruits would happily sign up to it. They are no different than bank staff or the like who smiled at customers across their desks while advising them to sign up for policies that they knew were not suitable for them. What is worse is, that if I say that to someone ranting about how generic 'Bankers/Insurers' etc have ripped us off, I will get a blank or puzzled look.
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