Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A Word On Scottish Universities For Those In England

Being in my last year of sixth form college, I'm now nearing completion of my UCAS form, ready for it to be sent off to UCAS for them to apply to my five choices of university. So you'd think that by now, I'd know everything I need to about my choices, right? That's what I thought too, until I visited Glasgow University last weekend.

Glasgow has been one of my choices for a while now, but it's always been sitting under Sheffield, as I consider Sheffield to be as near perfect as I could find for a combination of computer science course, accommodation, city and activities. I also wasn't so keen on studying one subject for the four years in Scotland, rather than three years in England. Except that's not how it works.

It would seem that, at least in my area, the people who advise us college students on university choices seem to have forgotten to explain (or simply don't know) how the Scottish system works. It allows for study of three subjects from the same 'School' (eg. The sciences) in your first year of study, followed by two in the second year, and then your chosen degree subject in more depth for the remaining two years. The final degree subject, other than having to be one of your original three subjects doesn't have to be picked until the end of the second year, allowing for far more flexibility than the 'one subject until the end' system we have in England.

As I've said, I don't know if I didn't find this out because the advisers didn't know themselves, or because they just didn't tell us. I guess I'll find out when I ask after half term. Either way this is a complete game changer. After looking into it, it seems the Scottish system is widely recognised as being superior to ours, and other countries (including the US) have emulated it. (I wouldn't like to speculate, but maybe we weren't told so we wouldn't 'defect' to Scotland? Shh, I didn't say that).

Glasgow is now my first choice for university. It could hardly be anything but, considering the massive flexibility compared to Sheffield, Leeds, and all my other English choices. I have to say, it's not the fault of those unis, they are great, but they can only do so well in an inferior system before they hit a ceiling. The applications process is far better as well, with just one simple change. Instead of looking at my predicted grades and thinking 'based on these (nonexistent, purely predicted, like the weather) grades, he might not make it', and basing their choice on whether to give me an offer on that, Glasgow will instead just make sure I'm studying the right subjects and immediately offer the place, allowing me to achieve (or fail) the grades in my own right, rather than basing their choice on something a computer algorithm came out with.

I don't mean to sound harsh towards the English system, or the staff who didn't tell me about the Scottish system, but it really was almost too late for me to find out. Still, it's sorted now, and hopefully I'll get in. Incidentally, Glasgow is ranked higher than Sheffield. Just saying.

Tall again soon,

PS. Sorry for the delay. I've written about five halves of posts and been unable to finish them due to a bit of writer's block. And then as you can see I've been busy recently. Hopefully all will be back to normal soon.

PPS. This post was entirely created on my phone, so please forgive the lack of links and creative editing.

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