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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:26 pm 
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That's about it, really :D

DD's in YR 11 and wants to do a degree in Physics. Any help, feedback or advice would be very welcome in terms of where's good, what the pitfalls are in terms of courses, universities etc. I'm so out of the loop regarding university and applications plus I'm on the Arts, not Sciences side of the fence. I know that at the end of the day, it's going to be her decision and she'll have to visit them, so that she gets a feel for the campus (if it has one, which several don't) and the department but we'd really welcome some insight and experiences from those who have, or whose DC's have studied Physics :D

We've spoken to teachers at her school so far and had a brief look at the kind of post-grad courses she feels she want to do. It could be "all change" in a year but we'll make a start :-)


Many thanks :-)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:37 pm 
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Location: Herts
Sign up for some taster courses that a lot of Universities run. There are also University and Department open days that you can go along to.

It would be helpful if you could perhaps develop some preferences.

Campus or Town University, Large Town or Small Town. That will help reduce how many you need to visit. DG


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:44 pm 
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She needs to be looking at a few uni websites to make sure she picks the right A levels.

Physics can vary a lot in how much maths there is - this website is a good start:

https://university.which.co.uk/subjects/physics

Some unis prefer double maths so she needs to be a good mathematician to choose that. It's not necessary to do any summer courses and I'd wait until after GCSEs to start considering any uni visits.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:50 pm 
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Many thanks.
We're planning to do open days and UCL is going to be on the list, so she can get a feel for a non-campus university in a huge city. It was culture shock for me but I loved it. When we did some "grockling" last year, one of the places we went to was The Wellcome Collection and I took her past the old UCL SU Bar to show her where I'd spent many an evening - ironically it's now the Physics Dept :lol:


Last edited by bravado on Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:52 pm 
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Guest55 wrote:
She needs to be looking at a few uni websites to make sure she picks the right A levels.

Physics can vary a lot in how much maths there is - this website is a good start:

https://university.which.co.uk/subjects/physics

Some unis prefer double maths so she needs to be a good mathematician to choose that. It's not necessary to do any summer courses and I'd wait until after GCSEs to start considering any uni visits.


Many thanks - she's planning on doing Maths and Further Maths. Thanks for the heads-up for Summer courses.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:56 pm 
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Guest55 wrote:
It's not necessary to do any summer courses and I'd wait until after GCSEs to start considering any uni visits.
+1

An afternoon spent on university websites reduces the number of visits you need to make - neither of my applicants visited more than a couple before applying. Pre-application Open Days in my opinion are a very mixed blessing. The post-offer ones are much better. It is straightforward to look at courses online, then narrow it down and go and see any towns you really don't know or have any idea about before applying (we went to Lancaster, St Andrews and Durham for example). I strongly recommend not going and looking at student accommodation on pre-offer open days, as an aside. Waste of time at that stage and if you choose a uni on the basis of where you might live for 30 weeks of your life then you are daft. Re campus vs non-campus: that is personal preference. One of mine wanted to be in a town so it felt more like 'real life' and really did not want a campus. The latter is great until Y2 when you find yourself living miles away if you're not careful. To mine that is a pitfall and to others an attraction.

TSR is good and she can ask specific questions on there.
bravado wrote:
had a brief look at the kind of post-grad courses she feels she want to do
That is maybe a little early for someone in Y11, to be honest. Get the undergraduate stuff out of the way first - most people change universities for masters/higher level study.

Just saw that she is thinking of UCL - I know that very well and being in London is (obviously) very different from most universities for undergraduates. Lots of travel involved for a start, and the undergrads I know have a much harder time making friends, participating in sport etc, than those I know who are outside London. But they still seem to like it!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:03 pm 
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There is a vast range from the very theoretical to the more 'applied' courses. It can also be combined with a number of subjects.

Open days are here:

https://www.ucas.com/ucas/events/find/type/open-day


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:22 pm 
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Amber wrote:
Guest55 wrote:
It's not necessary to do any summer courses and I'd wait until after GCSEs to start considering any uni visits.
+1

An afternoon spent on university websites reduces the number of visits you need to make - neither of my applicants visited more than a couple before applying. Pre-application Open Days in my opinion are a very mixed blessing. The post-offer ones are much better. It is straightforward to look at courses online, then narrow it down and go and see any towns you really don't know or have any idea about before applying (we went to Lancaster, St Andrews and Durham for example). I strongly recommend not going and looking at student accommodation on pre-offer open days, as an aside. Waste of time at that stage and if you choose a uni on the basis of where you might live for 30 weeks of your life then you are daft. Re campus vs non-campus: that is personal preference. One of mine wanted to be in a town so it felt more like 'real life' and really did not want a campus. The latter is great until Y2 when you find yourself living miles away if you're not careful. To mine that is a pitfall and to others an attraction.

TSR is good and she can ask specific questions on there.
bravado wrote:
had a brief look at the kind of post-grad courses she feels she want to do
That is maybe a little early for someone in Y11, to be honest. Get the undergraduate stuff out of the way first - most people change universities for masters/higher level study.

Just saw that she is thinking of UCL - I know that very well and being in London is (obviously) very different from most universities for undergraduates. Lots of travel involved for a start, and the undergrads I know have a much harder time making friends, participating in sport etc, than those I know who are outside London. But they still seem to like it!



Hmmm - I totally agree about UCL. I was at UCL and university life in London doesn't suit everyone. I've always made that clear to her and warned her about the YR 2 issues I had with finding accommodation and having to work.

We've discussed how you can find you start uni with one thought about where you might like you career to go...and come out of it with something totally different and she understands this. Her problem, is that she wants to do something very "niche" and we needed to start somewhere, to see how and where it could be achieved. :-) It's nice to be passionate about something :-)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:54 pm 
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She'll need good A levels in Maths and Physics. Sounds like you're already aware of that though. The Further Maths will certainly be useful too, although not necessarily essential.

She would not normally specialize in something "niche" until PhD (which might well be at a different university to her first degree anyway). Better to do a good all-round undergrad physics degree at a University she likes IMO. If she has a particular interest in something like astronomy/astrophysics though its worth looking at which places offer those as options. (Manchester is one which does with links to Jodrell Bank Observatory)

As you might expect for a traditional academic course the usual suspects generally come top of the ranking tables.

https://www.thecompleteuniversityguide. ... +Astronomy

Note that at Cambridge I think they study 'Natural Sciences' which is a bit broader than just physics in the first year and then specialise a bit more in years 2 and 3.

Regarding campus vs town, there are places like Birmingham which is a campus within the heart of a city and so arguably offer best of both.

Good luck to her anyway! :D

(Who's her favourite celebrity physicist? Stephen Hawking is at Cambridge and Brian Cox is at Manchester. Not that I'm suggesting she base her decision on that! :) )


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:06 pm 
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Surferfish wrote:
As you might expect for a traditional academic course the usual suspects generally come top of the ranking tables.
https://www.thecompleteuniversityguide. ... +Astronomy
....
Regarding campus vs town, there are places like Birmingham which is a campus within the heart of a city and so arguably offer best of both.

Please don't go by rankings - these are far more flawed than school league tables. Go somewhere where she likes the course modules and where she likes the place she going to live.
Birmingham uni was a train ride from town when I last took students there - have they moved it?


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