Son's thinking of going to Cambridge University, expensive?

nheather

Distinguished Member
Not so much sports and obviously your academic ability has to be top-grade.

But IME with my nieces they were very interested in any volunteering, jobs, social groups, and organisations you were involved with.
Okay that is true for any university though. When you apply through UCAS you need to do a personal statement where you put all that sort of stuff on. You write it once and is accessible to all universities that you apply to. Apart from Oxford and Cambridge if I understand correctly - they require you to produce an individual personal statement just for them.

But this is just like applying for any position be it a university place or job - the interviewer will be interested in what you do as a person not just your qualifications.

When you consider that all Oxbridge applications will be over-subscribed, and every applicant will be predicted to meet the entry grades you have to look at a way of selecting - and they do that with the personal statement and the interview. I'm sure there will be some privilege bias just as I am sure there will be some positive discrimination bias but for the most part it is done fairly.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

brad123

Well-known Member
From what you're saying he seems barely suitable for any further education until he grows up a bit.
I totally agree. He's my stepson and he's caused many an argument between my wife and me. He's clever enough to go to Uni but as I've said before you need to be a certain person with a certain attitude to succeed there and at present unless it's put in front of him like school work he struggles. He tends to come 10% then expects everyone else to come 90%.

I'd hope uni would make him as it does get mothered a lot, even by his younger sister. He has a lot of work to do and this means his attitude and outlook to things needs to change. Like has been mentioned on here, grades aren't the be all and end all and it's the you as a person and attitude and motivation which is the area sadly he is lacking in a big way
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
Uni wasn't for me at age 17. I wasn't academically motivated although I had good grades. I sailed through my exams and put in little effort whereas many of my friends were struggling with studying.

I went off and worked for a couple of years which really changed me, brought me out my shell and showed me the opportunities I was potentially missing by not going to Uni through my friends that were. That and the possibility of ending up in a job on decent pay that I hated.

I started Uni at 21 and I believe it gave me an advantage although the studying and coursework was a struggle in the first year as I'd never really had the habit.

Uni also isn't for everyone. Many have made it far in life with a good trade, entrepreneurship or just a sense of old fashioned "get on with the hard work and climb your way up"
I'd also argue a lot of Uni courses now, at the lower end of University quality are just cheap, bums on seats, keep you off the dole for a few years, time-wasters until you figure out what you actually want to do. Employers barely rate them although more and more entry level jobs require a degree now, which IMO is as pointless as crap courses.
 

phil t

Well-known Member
Uni also isn't for everyone. Many have made it far in life with a good trade, entrepreneurship or just a sense of old fashioned "get on with the hard work and climb your way up"
I don't disagree.

Most of my education was during adulthood, where it had a point and purpose, and allowed me to further my career.

I also know that in some sectors, not having a degree potentially career limits you. Not having a degree doesn't preclude you from becoming a chartered engineer, but there aren't many who don't.
 

Davidc7230

Active Member
I totally agree. He's my stepson and he's caused many an argument between my wife and me. He's clever enough to go to Uni but as I've said before you need to be a certain person with a certain attitude to succeed there and at present unless it's put in front of him like school work he struggles. He tends to come 10% then expects everyone else to come 90%.

I'd hope uni would make him as it does get mothered a lot, even by his younger sister. He has a lot of work to do and this means his attitude and outlook to things needs to change. Like has been mentioned on here, grades aren't the be all and end all and it's the you as a person and attitude and motivation which is the area sadly he is lacking in a big way

Someone earlier suggested the armed forces, maybe that would shake him up a bit and hammer out the bad habits?
 

phil t

Well-known Member
Someone earlier suggested the armed forces, maybe that would shake him up a bit and hammer out the bad habits?
Armed forces at degree level would be at officer level.

If you need a "shake up" you'll likely not pass the Admiralty interview board, or Army and RAF equivalent.
 

sbriggs

Active Member
He would also have to know he needed a shakeup, you are hardly going to be able to force him into the army
 

brad123

Well-known Member
Too soft, he's one of those delicate snowflake generation. Had problems with mental health also so probably not mentally strong also. He wouldn't last 2 minutes, not sporty at all apart from Xbox football. He's as far from forces sign up as someone could be tbh. I don't think he knows what he wants to be long term which is fine as I never did at that age but does want to go to uni he said. However he does like to show off with grand things so I would not be surprised if it's just to brag to friends now saying he's off to uni. Kids change their mind at that age all the time. His big problem is his lazyness and he can't think for himself, to a worrying level even at almost 17. Causes so many arguments as I get so frustrated it's lazy thinking and a "someone else do it for me" attitude which I hate.

I think Uni would be a sink or swim situation for him which would maybe be what he needs, like the forces would but not to that extent.
 

brad123

Well-known Member
Why? I'm providing feedback so people can offer the right advice. I'm not going to sugercoat things. I want him to do well and make something of himself including going to Uni. He knows all this we have told him and his mum and grandparents agree with everything I've said on here. Personally I think Uni would help him mature but he needs to get there first and as I suspected when asking the question it's not all about grades. The idea is why can help prepare him.
 

shodan

Distinguished Member
He's very young for his age in everyway, motivation, self hygiene, understanding whats right and wrong etc. He turns down chances to do things so he can play on his xbox. I've already said that side of him alone will stop him getting in.
I was born at a young age and that never stopped me from getting in to Cambridge.

It was being lazy, dumb and arrogant that stopped me from getting in to Cambridge.... 😂

Got in the police just fine though.... 🤣🤣🤣#irony
 

brad123

Well-known Member
He's bright and has the potential which is the frustrating part, just switches off all other times, more so then a normal teenager would. We are hoping A levels and a sense of a bit more freedom will help. The more he has to rely on his own motivation for school stuff the better.

I did rubbish at school, but then excelled at college when it was up to me, became organised, work proud and loved it, so no reason it can't be the same here though his grades are good already. We all mature at different ages so we'd hope he is just late. Flipping Xbox doesn't help, I hate them things, turns kids into zombies.
 

phil t

Well-known Member
Personally I think Uni would help him mature but he needs to get there first and as I suspected when asking the question it's not all about grades. The idea is why can help prepare him.
As you say, sink or swim.

I've not been through the process myself, but was with the ex wife when she did.
No one will drive him or take care of him. That will purely be his choice.
Whatever debt he accrues, at some point he'd need to pay, whether he leaves with a degree or not.
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
College accommodation can be significantly lower than £700

From the university website
Living Costs 2019-20
Living Costs 2019-20
Accommodation (including any kitchen charges)
£110-£180 per week1
£130-£210 en suite, per week1
Living Costs 2019-20
College meals
£4-£7 per meal
For universities other than Oxbridge the cost of accommodation really does vary geographically.

Although halls do vary too, but the big difference is when you must find private accommodation from year 2 onwards.

My son and daughter have recently finished, their studies overlapped time-wise. My son was at Birmingham and was paying around £80-£100 per week for a room. My daughter was at Surrey and paying £120-£150 per week for a room. And remember in halls you get charged roughly 39 weeks of the year but for private you are charged 52 weeks of the year.

So if worried about cost I’d seriously advise researching the cost of local private accommodation as that can make a big difference to the affordability - many forget and just look at the cost of halls which in my experience don’t vary as much.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

brad123

Well-known Member
Thanks, some great advice on here to digest. I feel a bit less worried now about costs etc, soon as he mentioned Cambridge I was like ah is that gonna be stupidly expensive. We think the can't work aspect of Cambridge is a reason enough tbh as we want him to work part time to gain experience, meet people and earn some income.
 

brad123

Well-known Member
Yep we are looking at doing this now restrictions eased. He's keen to as well as his friends work so he gets pocket money, we have said he saves some and the rest he can spend on what he wants.
 

BillyBobJoe

Novice Member
OK so my step sons 16, doing A Levels, good at Maths. We've been talking about Uni as he wants to go after his A levels to study something to do with Maths. Tonight he's thrown into the mix he want to go to Cambridge Uni maybe. This has thrown us a little and personally worried me it would cost a fortune in fees plus living expenses like accommodation etc and we aren't really made of money nowadays we get by. Wife says oh it's no more expensive then say Newcastle or Liverpool he was thinking of going to but surely it must be.

I'm getting premonitions of texts every other day asking for money which we simply don't have!
Maybe see if he can find the information himself about the cost to see if hes smart enough and eager enough. Pretty sure any kid thats going to make it through Cambridge doesnt need Mom to get the cost for him.
 

TerFar

Active Member
OK so my step sons 16, doing A Levels, good at Maths. We've been talking about Uni as he wants to go after his A levels to study something to do with Maths. Tonight he's thrown into the mix he want to go to Cambridge Uni maybe. This has thrown us a little and personally worried me it would cost a fortune in fees plus living expenses like accommodation etc and we aren't really made of money nowadays we get by. Wife says oh it's no more expensive then say Newcastle or Liverpool he was thinking of going to but surely it must be.

I'm getting premonitions of texts every other day asking for money which we simply don't have!
He'll have a huge student loan, but don't fear. Once his salary passes the threshold (currently ~£26,500), he will pay 9% of the excess REGARDLESS of the size of his debt. If he earns £30k, the max extra he pays is 9% of £3.5k (£315). So it doesn't matter if he owes 10k or 100k, he still only pays £315 pa extra.
Something like 85% never pay it back before it expires, so just think of it as an extra income tax that only looks huge if you're on a huge salary and can afford it.
 

Dr Stirbitch

Novice Member
Thanks guys great advice. TBH I'm not convinced he's suitable for Cambridge. All he does is sit in his room on his xbox, he has zero interests and doesn't show any self motivation or pro-activeness in life. He's in his top 5% in maths in his group but thats not enough we've told him. He does tend to be very lazy and it's caused many an argument and his attitude is oh I'm not doing extra school work or handing my work in early thats geeky.
He's very young for his age in everyway, motivation, self hygiene, understanding whats right and wrong etc. He turns down chances to do things so he can play on his xbox. I've already said that side of him alone will stop him getting in.
In that case, don't even think of him studying maths at Cambridge. I agree that Cambridge is an excellent university for maths (perhaps the best in the world), but that also means it is particularly tough, at a university generally not known for being easy. I had friends that were forced to drop out of Cambridge maths, but managed to do respectably well at other subjects there.

If he does buck up his ideas, by all means give it a shot, and don't worry about the cost. Everyone deserves a chance, and I hope things work out well for him. But otherwise, I don't think it will be helping anyone.
 
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