Friday, 16 January 2015

The first round offers for university

places are out in this morning's papers. I have just prowled through them to check on "my" students.
All but one of them has gained a place in the course of their choice. The other will not be disappointed - just pleased to have a place at all after a year made difficult by very serious family trauma. There is always the chance to transfer into her chosen course.
Offers used not to come in a long list in the paper where everyone could see it. They came in envelopes. You could tell by the size of the envelope whether you had an offer or not - although not what the offer would be. At least it came to your home. (I hasten to add I never had such an envelope. I did my university degrees in a different order and by a different means.)
There was a very limited range of university degrees when I left school. There was just one university. Entry was much more difficult and places were definitely limited. My brother was offered a place two years later - but could only take it up by agreeing to train as a teacher. There was a choice, from memory, of Arts, Science, Law, Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Architecture and Engineering. Music was taught at the Conservatorium. There were specialisations within those degrees of course.
The Senior Cat did his part-time on leaving college (as did most young teachers who wanted to get on) in English and Latin with a subsidiary in History. His (then compulsory) science subject was Geology. He loathed it but one of his good friends was specialising in Geology and coached/coaxed him through it.
Now you can do a degree in just about anything it seems. Tourism? Environment? Media Arts? Nursing? They are some of the less unusual choices now.
I wonder about all this. I see some of the work students turn in. Some of it is good but the standard is not consistent across universities or degrees or even within degrees. It seems ideas about what a university is and is for have changed.
Perhaps it is a good thing to have the greater variety and more students attending. But are some of those degrees really worthy of the name? Is this why my nephews are embarking on their part-time postgraduate studies with sighs of resignation knowing that they need to be a Master rather than a Bachelor?


Helen Devries said...

A masters was very new when I was a went from Bachelor to Doctor in a two year leap.
And we studied things worth studying at degree level...not, as I saw some years ago, a degree in golf course management! That used to be the product of vocational courses...
But now, of course, education fits you for a job, not for a fulfilled life.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm Catupover. My degree was completed from 1984-87 while teaching full time, the mother of a small girl, with a husband who worked away due to his job! No idea how I managed but I did. The sense of satisfaction was amazing and it made me a life long learner especially since I retired. I enjoy your blog very much and read it each morning. Catriona

Janet McKee said...

I wonder what the scene will be when my grandchildren consider their choices. My oldest is 14, a freshman in high school in Connecticut.

catdownunder said...

a degree in golf course management? weird!
hello Catriona - nice to virtually meet you - how did you do it??? I salute you!
Anything could happen in 5yrs Janet - it scares me how fast things change.