Normally, I avoid excessive praise, but I cannot help it here. I enjoy this university and the life I've built around it. As with life itself, one's experience may vary, but I could realistically have hoped for much more. I study International Relations, a degree discipline which is extraordinarily popular, particularly with the not insignificant number of Americans who attend the university. The lecturers have largely proven attentive, knowledgeable, and generously fair in marking. I cannot fault them in any way, especially the amount of office hours I've used to discuss in depth points which have interested me during class.
Student life is built around the local pubs, halls, the beaches, and house gatherings/parties. Generally, I'll be found at a pub or calling round to a friend's place. The student, on average, come from a higher average socio-economic background than you'd expect to find in Britain, but the fellows in tweed are not as insufferable as they might appear.
Our traditions are our strong point, and I would have had a much duller experience without Raisin weekend, Kate Kennedy functions, and the miscellaneous annual balls and festivities thrown by societies, the town, and the university. I'd encourage anyone I know to go and I'll gently urge my kids perhaps someday.
The only drawbacks for some will be the lack of shopping and the cost of living. Most go to Dundee or Edinburgh for a serious shopping trip, but we've got a few shops to occupy those with money burning a hole in their pockets. Cost of living can be an issue, as the local Tesco is the second most expensive in the UK, and I do not believe they offer a favourable price:quality ratio. I'd recommend Aldi for their German specialities and Morrison's for most other things.
St Andrews is inefficient and generally difficult to work with. The administration can't get anything right and the simplest things are made difficult. If you are a US student, be warned- everything is disorganized and the finance people will screw up your loan but not tell you. Emails will go unanswered. The library is a DISASTER. There are few books and if you need something it will not be available to you. This seems to be generally be the case with many UK universities. Think hard and investigate EVERYTHING before you decide to come here.
St Andrews is Britain's third oldest University, behind Oxford and Cambridge, and is excellent in providing education, accomodation, and close net community.
Endless clubs and societies are offered by the University society, from Golf to Acapella groups, and provides all the facilities necessary to run such events.
The campus surrounds St Andrews town centre and everything is accessible by foot or by bike, popular arround the town. I currently stay in New Hall, which may not look much from the outside, but provides modern bedrooms and facilities including a games room and coffee room. The bedrooms have double beds and an ensuite bathroom, which is relative luxury in University hall terms.
The teaching has been rated some of the best in the country and the lecturers and tutors are very helpful and always happy to provide help when needed.
The sense of community and ease of which to make friends is unbeaten by St Andrews, as the town centre is full of students and people you know. The town is very friendly and the university in general is of very high quality.
I began my degree at St. Andrews in 1999. Whenever I told anyone where I was studying I would be met with a quizzically furrowed brow and a blank expression. Two years later the Prince William Factor transformed it into one of the most famous universities in Britain. St. Andrews has long been one of the most eminent seats of learning in the world though, and tends to attract people that are too eccentric / alternative / spirited to want to go to Oxbridge. After 17 years of living in Bournemouth it was time to get far away, and I chose St. Andrews because it is truly unique, if not pretty peculiar. On the surface it may seem frightfully middle (or even upper) class, and definitely is a mini-England in Scotland, but underneath there is a wonderful, singular mixed community, which draws from everyone who becomes a part of it.
WHERE IS IT?
St. Andrews is located on the East Neuk of the Kingdom of Fife, surrounded by open countryside and bordered by the North Sea and two fabulous beaches. At one end of the town is the West Sands, which stretches away for 1.5 miles providing the perfect sunset view of the spired outline of the tiny city. At the other end of the town, behind the ruin of the massive 13th century cathedral, is the quaint harbour, pier and the East Sands which are more sheltered for bathing. In between the beaches stands the imposing 13th century Castle.
St. Andrews is only 45 miles from the capital Edinburgh, just over an hour drive to the big city of Glasgow, and only 12 miles, across the River Tay, from Dundee, which is excellent for shopping.
As St. Andrews is a small place cars are not needed, and are difficult to park. Everything in town is easily accessible on foot. There is a bus station in the centre of town with an excellent network and reduced student fares. The local train station is 5 miles away at Leuchars, and the nearest main airport is Edinburgh.
St. Andrews University was founded in 1413 and is Scotlands oldest university, and the third oldest in the UK. Long before that the settlement was the site of religious pilgrimage after the bones of Christs disciple Saint Andrew where shipwrecked on the coast, and he became the patron saint of Scotland. The four main medieval streets of the town surrounded by the city walls are filled with wonderful historical, architectural and religiously significant buildings, from the magnificent cathedral and castle to the charming fishermens cottages.
St Andrews is a small university (8000 students and staff) in a small town (18,000 residents). The students tend to congregate around the old town, whereas the locals mainly reside down a steep slope known locally as the Travellator, because with a covering of ice in the winter its exactly like that mean machine from Gladiators. The university buildings, which accommodate four faculties - Science, Medicine, Arts and Divinity - are spread throughout the town, in three main sections - St. Marys Quad (biomedical sciences, psychology, divinity), St. Salvators Quad (arts) and the North Haugh (sciences). At first I found the smallness of the town very claustrophobic, and without any means of escape, but soon I was so glad that every time I ventured outside I would meet people I knew, and I was part of a community and not faceless noone alone in a big city. There is always the downside of course that everyone knows everyone elses business!
St. Andrews is a traditional university, which provides a traditional, yet diverse, choice of subjects. In my opinion the Scottish education system excels above that of England. In Scotland first degrees are four years long as opposed to three, enabling students to gain a greater breadth of knowledge. In the first two years, a broad variety of subjects are studied, with the final decision on which discipline to focus on only being settled in the third Junior Honours year. The modular method of teaching and gathering credits also negates the need for stressful Finals. This system particularly suited me, as initially I applied to study Neuroscience, which obviously I hadnt been able to try out at school, and when I didnt particularly enjoy the Psychology aspect of it, I was able to switch to Physiology with no bother at all.
This isnt the only benefit of Scottish higher education. The academic years starts and ends much earlier than the rest of the UK, running mid-September - end of May, allowing St. Andreans to get first pickof all the best Summer jobs. Also in Scotland graduation from high school generally takes place at 17, so if like me you finish school in England a bit early, you are thrown in to start uni with people your own age.
HALLS OF RESIDENCE
I spent my first three years in St. Salvators Hall (Sallies) and my final year in a private flat. St. Andrews is unusual in being able to provide accommodation for many students for the whole of their academic career - about 65% live in Halls, and the older Halls require freshers to share rooms. When Prince William decided to join me in Sallies it all went a bit crazy - little Bob the Porter frantically polished all the bronze plaques before Will and his dad arrived, MI5 agents dressed up as road sweepers to monitor any insurgents in the streets, Prince Edward was lurking in the bushes outside with his camera crew, and there was a sudden large influx of young Americans seeking to be the next Queen. Indeed Willie made a good choice as Sallies is by far the best Hall, bang in the centre of town, with views of the sea, a lovely wooden panelled dining room with stained glass windows, where formal dinners are held regularly, two common rooms, snooker table, reading room, computer room, laundry and very large bedrooms. Single rooms currently cost £3,734 per year, including catering, linen and a team of lovely cleaning ladies.
The other Halls are no less well appointed, with the traditional St. Regulus, University, McIntosh (Chattan) and Deans Court, semi-modern John Burnett (Atholl) and Hamilton, the modern David Russell, the ship-shaped Andrew Melville, the luxurious New Hall, and the bleak student villages at Fife Park and Albany Park (Gatty). From all the universities Ive visited, St. Andrews definitely has the best accommodation, and this extends to the private rentals in the town, which are often plush flats in old buildings with high ceilings, and cost an average of £75 per person per week.
Library (North Street) - The university library is excellent holding over 800,000 books, 3,000 periodicals, special collection of rare material, and access to online journals. There are around 800 study stations inside, alongside numerous photocopiers, computers, seminar rooms, CD-ROM databases and very helpful staff. The library opens long hours, and even 24/7 during exam times. There are also many departmental libraries dotted around the town, as well as various museums, including the renowned Bell Pettigrew Zoological Museum located in the Bute Building, which is open free to outsiders.
Computers - There are several computer clusters located around town, and in the Halls of Residence which can be accessed 24 hours. Networking to the university inter/intranet system is available free of charge from Hall bedrooms.
Students Union (Market St.) - the physical site of the university bookshop, stationary shop, off licence, travel centre, bar, games room, and the spiritual home of the many societies, from the sensible Debating, United Nations, Christian union to the less serious James Bond and Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Appreciation Societies. On Friday night the Union stages the Bop the nearest thing in St. Andrews to a nightclub.
The Athletic Union (North Haugh) - home to all sports clubs, the gym, pitches and courts. Being Scotland there are some unusual, and nicely violent, sports to try such as shinty. The worse thing about my university experience was as an avid cricketer, I chose not only a rainy country which is more into football and rugby, but also one whose university years end before cricket season begin, which meant a lot of practice and no matches. There is a municipal swimming pool on the other side of town.
Careers Advisory Service (St. Marys Place) - stock a wide range of pamphlets, and advisors are available for consultations on career options throughout the year. They can help to arrange postgraduate and vacation placements. This is a valuable resource I wish I had made more use of at the time.
St. Andrews is not short on odd traditions.
1. Undergraduates wear bright orange furry gowns. Originally chosen to identify students trying to patronise houses of ill repute, today, despite being a fashion disaster, these are very helpful to keep warm in the winter, and enable students to stop traffic at will - although most drivers unfortunately dont know this - so you may not stop it the way you intended. As students progress through the university, the gown is worn gradually slipping off the shoulders to signal the transition to graduateship.
2. Academic families - within their first few weeks all Bejants (freshers) acquire a mother and father who Tertians (3rd years) or Magistrands (4th years). The role of the academic family is to help new students get to know their way around, and many long lasting friendships are formed. After helping their children settle in, the parents get their chance to reap pleasure from the deal in November each year, on Raisin weekend. The ancient tradition has morphed rather, and now the bash consists of a mothers tea party with party games (not as innocent as it sounds), followed by the fathers night on the town. The next morning the mother dresses the worse for wear child in something embarrassing and parades them through the town to the quad, where they are admitted through a group singing the university song Gaudeamus Igitur into the Quad for a huge shaving foam fight. The mother gives the child a Raisin String with a relevant gift on the end to tie to their snazzy gown, and the child gives the father a bottle of wine (originally a pound of raisins), and in return receive a Raisin receipt written in Latin on something impractical which they must carry around - inventive fathers will use police security fences, and hands from the pathology lab are rumoured to have gone missing for this purpose in the past.
3. Pier Walk - on Sundays after chapel, begowned students march through the town in a blur of orange and along the pier, which incidentally if one does fall off and die, they are instantly awarded a First.
4. After Easter every year the elitist male only Kate Kennedy Club parade through the town dressed as knights, bishops and other figures from the towns past, and due to a self-enforced lack of the fairer sex, the prettiest boy has to dress up as Kate and sit in a chariot bedecked in daffodils. The whole town lines the streets to watch, and this is a lovely occasion.
5. May dip - At sunrise on the Celtic Festival of Beltane (May Day) students traditionally go for a dip in the freezing North Sea accompanied by a singing madrigal group. This is surprisingly popular, although I never quite made it myself.
THINGS TO DO
Hob-nob - PW wasnt the first big name to graze the cobbles of St. Andrews. Sean Connery has a cottage near the castle, there are always plenty of famous golfers knocking around and a bevy of stars such as Michael Douglas, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Jordan, Beefy Botham turn up in October each year to play in the Dunhill Cup. The Royal & Ancient Club is the official home of golf and a lot of students only come here to make use of the excellent courses at bargain student rates.
Relish in the arts - St. Andrews has a tiny independent cinema, The New Picture House (North St.). It may only have one and a half screens, and gets films a little later than the rest of the country, but it has an unique atmosphere and at £1.20 in my day was a cheap night out. St. Andrews also has the tiny, sophisticated Byre theatre, which stages regular high quality productions.
Balls - there are balls and ceilidhs (traditional Scottish dances) practically every week, from Hall, to society, to sports club etc.
There are also a several tourist attractions in town such as the small Sealife Centre, town museum, golf museum, castle and cathedral to visit, at which students receive reduced entrance fees.
TOP FIVE PUBS
St. Andrews is famous for having the most pubs per square metre of anywhere in Britain, and with Scotlands late licensing laws they are nearly always available. There are over thirty to chose from all with unique characters.
Ma Bells (The Scores) - a favourite with anyone famous whose in town, this fashionable pub overlooks the sea and the Old Course, and does the best White Russian in town.
Lizard Lounge (North St.) - the funkiest pub, verging on club, with an underground bar and often live DJ.
West Port (South St.)- swanky wine bar, with an unsurpassed range of alcoholic beverages, and trendy sofas on which to enjoy them.
Drouthy Neebors (South St.) - Scottish theme pub, decorated with fiddles, poems and bottles. Always busy with a homely atmosphere.
The Central (Market St.) - With a huge bar in the middle this is reminiscent of Cheers, but with much more character, and is an excellent day time watering hole.
TOP FIVE EATING PLACES
Balaka (Market St.) - this award-winning Bangladeshi claims to serve the best curry in Scotland, and is reputedly a favourite of Sean Connerys. This is quite an expensive restaurant (£25+ per person) and they make it blatantly obvious they prefer the likes of Sir Sean to students, but the food is exceptionally good.
The Dolls House (Church Sq.) - A quirkily decorated, intimate restaurant. Two course set lunches are a bargain at under £10, with delicious nouveau cuisine crossed with traditional Scottish dishes, all made using local produce.
North Point Café (North St.) - Wonderful home baked cakes, muffins, soups and huge Chai lattes, with a side on view of the cathedral.
Jannettas (South St.) - run by the Janetta family for several generations, this award winning Italian ice-cream bar has a huge variety of flavours from cookie dough to Irn Bru.
Brambles - The tiny below street level stone room, with roaring open fires and plaid trimmings is the perfect place to sit out the cold weather with some lovely home baking and fine cuisine.
When I moved to St. Andrews I could not believe how cold it was. Being a soft Southerner I found it hard to endure the icy wind blowing in from the North Sea (which once actually froze my eyeballs in my head), and the ever present Har, so I would seriously advise investing in a super-thick duvet. The weather is only lovely from June-August when all the students go home. I got so fed up with being cold for four years I promptly moved to South Africa after graduating to warm up.
When I look back on my university days, I am so glad I chose to go somewhere so special. I feel privileged that I was part of a unique place of learning in such beautiful historic and natural surroundings. I will always look upon the little Scottish town as one of my dearest homes.
For more information see www.st-andrews.ac.uk
© 2005 (2006) V.L.Collyer
St Andrews is such a lovely, wonderful place to come to study. It is set in a really lovely part of Scotland, with some beautiful beaches. Although it is such a small town, there is a never a dull moment, not for students anyway! The Students Union is rather small, with two venues inside. Venue one is the biggest and the best (if you like cheesy pop music). Try the BOP at the weekends! I came here to study in september, and I have gone striaght in to second year (direct entry). This is because first year in scottish uni's is sort of between english A-level and first year uni. I managed to get into second year because of my high grades (BBB). Pjysics is a very hard subject to go straight into second year. It is such a big gap between alevel physics!! Never the less, its all great fun! I study astronomy in my first year here. St andrews has some of the best observatories in Scotland - so its great to study it here! You find your self with such a high workload, but if you manage to find some time party then Dundee is a great place to go. The student union runs a bus on a wednesday to dundee, and it costs £5 to get the bus there, get in to the nightclub, and for the bus ride home at about 3am. You cant complain about that!!
St Andrews is tiny. And full of golfers, press and posh people. If you delve a little deeper, you will find an excellent university town with a vibrant community and a great reputation (if you ignore our recent performance on University Challenge). I am currently in my final year and, whilst it is time for me to move on, I still love the place. It does drive you mad after a while, and there comes a time when you have to leave it for a weekend every 2 months - but graduates find it very hard to stay away. The town is tiny - just three main streets. You won't find loads of ents or clubs. St Andrews revolves around pubs and house parties and is a very special place. The actual university is bizzarely organised. You have to "matriculate" and pick other courses than you major in 1st and 2nd year. But this is of massive benefit. Being able to put on your CV that you studied various subjects at University level is an excellent advantage. Academic standards are high once you are at the uni and many people fail to get into Honours (this means that they usually leave after 3 complete years of study with a general degree, rather than after 4 years with a MA (Hons) in a particular subject) due to laziness. The teaching standards vary wildly between departments but all in all are very good. You can read all about the academic stuff in the prospectus. There web pages are also good - but be prepared to have to root around for the info you require. What I want to tell you about is the Student Support Services. I can honestly say that they are fantastic. Students with academic, finanical or personal problems will find that there is always someone ready to help - from fully trained staff and people who will lobby the officials on your behalf, to student volunteers and an anonymous help line. There is everything that you will need and there is no shame about using it. Being at uni can be hard. At first it's disorientating,
then it's hard to imagine life without it. Exam stress, personal problems and basically growing up means you may well need these resources. St Andrews has everything you could need and I think this is what sets it apart from other unis. Most courses in most subjects are pretty much of a muchness nowadays - in general. Obviously there are places which specialise in various subjects - St Andrews is great for Psychology, History and International Relations in particular. But, none of this is that special. We are a great uni - one of the top ones (don't believe the ratings you read in the Times - they have something personal against us) but it really is the great support and very special ambiance of the tiny city that makes this the place to go - unless you are a mad clubber - in which case go to Newcastle!
Well, I have just graduated from St Andrews, (2 days ago – it was fantastic!) and so I decided to write an opinion about the university where I have just spent my last four years, and hope to spend a further few years! (My willingness to stay on shows straight away just how great it is here!) St Andrews was founded in 1411, the first university in Scotland. Scottish academics, many of whom had graduated from Paris, established the university here, and it continued to grow in size, with an explosion of new buildings in the 1960s. This is not a campus based university and buildings are spread out throughout the town, with two highly attractive quadrangles, St Salvator’s, and St Mary’s. In the summer, you often see Japanese tourists getting their cameras out in the hope of catching some St Andrews students strolling through in their striking red undergraduate gowns. Apparently they are such a bright red as this was originally to deter students from entering brothels! Teaching ~~~~~~~~ This is generally considered to be excellent in St Andrews, although I recommend reading some of the specific subject reviews if you are considering coming here. I have however always found my tutors to be really helpful, and to have a passion for the subject they are teaching. Lectures too are generally of a high quality. One of the advantages of studying at a Scottish university is the chance to take more subjects than the one in which you hope to take your final exams. In St Andrews, during the first 2 years, you can take 3 (or more) different subjects each year. In my first year, I learnt Russian in addition to studying both Scottish and Modern history, and in my second year took modules in International Relations and Divinity, as well as concentrating on History which was my degree. This is a good system as it enables you to try other subjects which you might not have considered and this can sometimes encourage peo
ple to change their degree - I had a friend who was studying psychology and took a module in art history to see what it was like, and enjoyed it so much she is now doing single honours art history. It is nice to know that you are not locked into the degree you originally applied for. The downside of this is that if you are completely dedicated to your subject then you may feel frustrated being forced to study something which is outside your interest. My degree was in history and although I did enjoy the other subjects I took, in 2nd year I wished I could have taken 3 different history modules, but this was not allowed. In 3rd and 4th year however you can choose to specialise in your particular subject, really narrowing down your interest if you want. I chose for example to focus on C16th history but have also taken a couple of modules outside of this in medieval history. This also gives you the chance to both broaden your knowledge and to make new friends – some of my best friends here are from the Medieval history department, several of whom also hope to stay on next year. Entertainment and people: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Whilst St Andrews lacks the nightlife associated with a city such as Edinburgh, it has a lot of other things to offer. There is always something to do, whether it is just going for coffee or a drink with friends, or wandering along the beach or through a park. It’s great to be living in a town so close to the sea, and with so much history everywhere you go. There are loads of coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars, something to suit all tastes, and all price ranges! The Students Union here is OK, maybe not as good as at some other universities but it does have some quite good nights and has the cheapest prices in town. There are no clubs, only one small cinema and no decent shops except touristy ones, which may not be the right environment for some people, but on the other hand it d
oes mean that you have to make your own entertainment a bit more, and there are usually quite a few dinner parties taking place. Because it is such a small town you tend to make friends for life, though some people may find this a bit claustrophobic. There are plenty of societies to join, from the regular academic ones, to the more unusual, such as PuddingSoc, and the Tunnocks Caramel Wafer soc! I have always been a member of the history society, which organised some interesting lectures, and the highlight of its calendar, which was the history ball. There are always loads of balls taking place in St Andrews, and you don’t have to be a member of the particular society to attend. It’s a great chance to get dressed up, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll love seeing all the guys wearing their suits! Usually at the balls, there is a ceilidh to start off with, where we do typical Scottish dancing, which is a great laugh and always an ice breaker, as many people attend the balls just with groups of friends, not with a specific partner, and this way, you get to meet people. Balls are often held in the many hotels in St Andrews, although the best ball I have ever been to was held in the Sealife centre! This was very unusual but provided a fantastic atmosphere, dancing amongst the conger eels! The biggest ball of the year is of course the KK ball. The KK (Kate Kennedy) society is very elitist and public school, admitting only men, but it does a lot of good work, raising money for charity and putting on a pantomime each Christmas. The ball, held every May, is amazing. Although it’s very expensive, a platinum ticket gives you a limousine ride to the park where it’s held, a champagne reception, free drinks and fairground rides all night, and the best bit of all, a helicopter ride! This is an event that everyone should attend at least once whilst at St Andrews – I had a fab time. There are
quite a variety of pubs here (and they do say that one in three students leaves with a drink problem!), more per square foot than anywhere else in Scotland. Often a pub will be associated with a particular group, e.g. Ogstons for the medical students, and Ma Bells is often frequented by the 'yahs'. Unfortunately there are quite a few yahs here (well that may appeal to some people!). To be honest, they get up my nose (I don’t have time for pretentious people), but you meet so many people here that you can find other friends. I am worried however that next year, the yah contingent will dramatically increase in size, with the arrival of Prince William. If anyone happened to catch the Channel 5 documentary, “Student Prince” the other week, you will know that those who spoke about St Andrews made out that it was just an “extension of Eton”. I have never felt like this at all – I arrived here from a state school and never felt out of place. I fear that this is about to change and that state school students will become a minority – I don’t like the way that the university is going since it has heard that royalty will be arriving. The principal’s house has been taken over by the art history department, since it was felt that the existing art history buildings were not of good enough quality for royalty, and the principal has been given a house in a slightly less attractive area (it’s still nice – but nothing can compare to the view of the beach and the golf courses that it used to have). It is also slightly alarming to hear that the university has accepted many more students than usual – (applications rose by 44%) and there is not enough university accommodation. Whilst first years are guaranteed a place in halls, returning students have been hard hit, with the number of places reserved for second to fourth years drastically reduced. Final year students always used to be ass
ured of a hall place, but now many are forced to find private accommodation. With rents rising from an average of £25-£50 a week, to £50-£100 a week, many will struggle to make ends meet. If this rent increase continues, St Andrews will sadly become a playground of the rich and famous, whose parents can afford the exorbitant prices. When you get to St Andrews, it’s very easy to make friends, due to the system of academic families we have here. Each first year will be adopted by 3rd or 4th years, who will become academic parents and through whom you will meet more people. The highlight of the year which involves these academic families is raisin weekend. It is a tradition whereby the academic fathers are presented with a bottle of wine, and the children given a raisin string, to decorate your gown. The wine is presented at a tea party on the Sunday afternoon, usually hosted by your academic mum, which is when the drinking starts. After this, your academic dad takes you out to a party. There is a lot of alcohol consumed – and then later regurgitated on the pavement. Not a pretty sight! The following morning, most first year classes are cancelled (why they don’t cancel everyone’s I really don’t know!) and the first year ‘children’ are dressed in various fancy dress costumes, before they assemble in the quad for a foam fight. It does sound strange but it is a unique St Andrew’s tradition and one you will never forget. Facilities ~~~~~~~~~~ The facilities here are generally not bad, although there is certainly still room for improvement. The library in particular could be improved, there never seem to be enough copies of the books. But that's a question of money and I guess most university libraries are in the same position. Still, with the fines they charge you if you forget to take back a short loan book in time then I am sure they will soon be able to affords loads more b
ooks! In addition to the concrete monstrosity which is the main library (totally out of keeping with the character of the town since it was built according to plans drawn up for Bristol university) there are also departmental libraries, which are also useful to work in. Staff working in these libraries are generally more helpful than those in the main library as they know their subjects well and can therefore advise on books. The sports centre here is reasonable - no swimming pool though, although there is a public one. But that is more of a leisure pool really so if you are after serious swimming then forget it! There are good sports ground for a university of such a small size (we only have about 6000 students) and an excellent gym – although this can get very crowded in peak periods. Exercise classes are run on a regular basis, although it’s enough exercise for me just walking up to the sports centre! The Athletics Union runs a variety of clubs, for all sorts of sports, and aimed at all levels, from beginners right through to experts. It’s the perfect opportunity to try a new sport such as archery, skiing, or to improve on something that you already know. Computer access is usually quite good here, with some 24 hour access rooms and some computer rooms in halls too. There are computers dotted around throughout the entire town, so you’re never too far away from them if you suddenly realise that you have a last minute essay due! More and more students however are bringing their own computers with them, as net access becomes cheaper, it is a more popular option. However, if you’re in hall, connect to the university network and you can download files at what seems like the speed of light – I know friends who have downloaded movies, and here’s me crawling along with my 56K modem! It can be a little claustrophobic living in St Andrews for students, since it's so small and unless you’
;ve got a car or a friend with a car, leaving the town isn’t always easy. True, there are buses into Edinburgh and Glasgow, but the journey takes over 2 hours, and not many people I know are prepared to endure that just for a shop or night out. The train service from Leuchars is appalling, not even one train an hour, and when you do get one, the chance of getting a seat is slight. However, the one advantage is that students with all their luggage can usually find a train which goes direct to London Kings Cross – very handy. Just be prepared for the fact that a train advertised as direct may decide to terminate at Edinburgh after all! Overall I have loved my four years at St Andrews and have made some wonderful friends and have some fantastic memories. True, at the moment, I am sitting here with my case packed, looking forward to flying home in three hours, but I know I will be pleased to be back next week! For me, it was the right choice. I can appreciate that it won’t suit everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time here (and hope the future’s just as good!) I only hope that Prince William’s arrival on the scene in September won’t cause St Andrews to lose any of its charm or unique character.
I've just finished my second year at St Andrews so you could say I know what I'm talking about. St Andrews is a great university, its small and everyone is really friendly. St Andrews is very multi-cultural so where ever you're from its easy to fit in. I'm from Northern Ireland, but I made friends from England, Scotland, the US and god knows where else. If you're interested St Andrews has more pubs per square foot than anywhere else in Britain!! But if you're into nightclubs then you'll be disappointed, St Andrews is a nightclub free zone. You'll have to go to Dundee for nightclubs, but buses go every half an hour or so at weekends so its not too much hassle. Its a quiet little town and very conservative but it definitely has something to offer everyone. As St Andrews is so small there are not very many shops, but if you are a shopaholic like me Dundee is only a bus ride away. St Andrews is also relatively close to Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow, all only an hour away on the train. St Andrews is also very beautiful and the beaches, which are within walking distance from anywhere in town are amazing especially in the summer. There are two beautiful quadrangles in the town centre where some lectures take place - St Salvators and St Marys. The Union has a huge variety of clubs and socieities and if you are in to acting there are always plays running. No matter what your interests you'll find a club for you. There are numerous music and film societies, a large Christian Union, a photography society, and many many more. Watch out in Freshers week or you'll end up broke by the time you've joined all the clubs you are interested in. The accomodation in St Andrews is also pretty cool, a lot of it is in old fashioned buildings in the town centre, which are really pretty to look at, such as 'Regs' or 'Sallies' (where wills is rumoured to be st
aying). The less expensive accomodation is located a bit further from town as are the self-catering houses. DRH, Andrew Melville and Fife Park are all located about a mile from town. The walk can be a pain especially in typical St Andrews weather but you get used to it and bus run every half hour. The food isn't fantastic in any of the halls (and trust me i work in one of the nicest halls and people still complain all the time!) but then it is no worse than any other universtity. If you're a first year I would definitely recommend catered accomodation as it is much easier to meet people and make new friends, there is also a better atmosphere than the self catered flats. Selfcated flats tend to be more groups of friends coming back in 2nd, 3rd and 4th year as I discoverd in 1st year. Also although New Hall sounds really good,it is a huge hall and its harder to meet people than in one of the smaller ones like David Russell or St Regs.Its not worth it just for a double bed and ensuite...no really its not. St Andrews is also a great academic university and it has many highly rated departments such as psychology, maths and history. There is a great choice of classes and the system is very flexible. The teaching in all of the apartments I have had classes in has been of a very high standard and most lecturers and tutors are happy to help with any problems. I applied to do English and Psychology joint honours when i started St andrews but now i'm doing Single Honours History which i love. So it all goes to show your ideas change a lotfrom 1st year and the university is great at accomodating them. There are also lots of facilities available for students such as excellant libraries, computer suites and a top class gym with all the trimmings. If you are into the whole exercise thing there is a team for every sport you could imagine at St Andrews. Including hockey, football, athle
tics, rugby, badminton, tennis....and the list goes on. There is also a swimming pool in town but it is quite pricey. All in all St Andrews is a great university, there is a fun atmosphere and quite a tight knit community. There is always something to do and some place to go. However on the down side....St Andrews is an expensive little town. Prices have risen even more since news arrived that Prince William was coming. Private rents are atleast £50 and week plus bills. House prices are also pretty steep. Al ot of the pubs cater for the rich, which is unfair as most people are just regular students. And then theres the golfers and the tourists, always wondering around looking directions and taking photos. And finally on the downside...the St Andrews phenomonon known as 'yahs', people who say yah instead of yes, wear sunglasses on their heads constantly as well as jumpers tied around their shoulders and daddy pays for everything. But in most cases you can just avoid them as they dont tend to associate with the likes of us. Definitely a great university, I wouldn't swap for anything. A recent bad point for St Andrews is Prince Will. Sure, I don't have any problem with him going to uni, he has the right to an education wherever he likes as much as the rest of us but I am worried about the effect it will have on the university itself. There have already been bomb threats and the Scottish National Liberation Party have been making death threats. Security has increased at uni and so have all the prices, which really isn't fair on us regular people, who have to live off our loans. St Andrews is already tourist central, with the golf and the history, I can only imagine things getting worse this year. There has been talk that the press have bought 2 houses in St Andrews so someone can be there all the time, getting the latest gossip, which isnt really on. I hope the arrival of royal
ty doesn't effect the uni and the community too much, as I like it the way it is. I also don't want St Andrews to become known simply as the uni William went too......
I visited the University of St Andrew's twice before I decided I wanted to spend 4 years of my life there . It is really important to visit university's , don't just rely on the prospectus , as they are often just trying to make it look good !!! This opinion is in the wrong place but I couldn't find a suitable area to put it ! 10 Things to do when you visit ------------------------------- 1. Go on a tour on the Uni , get a feel of the atmosphere , and the location . 2. Ask to see the Halls of residence , you'll live their for 4 years remember , so make sure the living areas aren't sh*t holes !!! 3. Speak to students , ask what their likes and dislikes are about the uni . 4. Visit with a friend or relative , spend the day there ( it's a break from school at least ) , and even stay over and visit the bars etc . Get a feel for uni life . 5. Visit the academic school , and ask for a tour with an under- graduate , they will fill you in on the syatem . 6 . Speak to the academic tutors about the couses avaliable , and ask how easy it is to change course , incase you feel you're not 100% sure what course you want to do . 7. Visit the activites/socities fayres or the union , find out what else there is to do besides study ( thats the best bit ) 8.Go on an offical open day as they often hire coaches to ship you around if the uni is not a campus . It saves getting lost and a lot of time ( drinking time ! ). 9.Go with a set of questions you want to ask , written down , so do don't wish after you had asked something you didn't . 10. Only decided to put a university on your UCAS form if you are really sure you liked it . --------------------------------------------- I did all of the above and chose St Andrew's, it is a great uni with a cracking atmosphere . Don't take my word for it ,
find out for yourself .... Most degrees at St Andrews are 4 years Arts - MHons Science Bsc I moved out of Hall in second year , and got a flat with friends , which was a little more expensive but well worth it . All the uni course advisors are really helpful and the uni has a great student support service . St Andrews has a great union and plenty of sports and activites from utimate frisby to joining the TA . The Christian Union also give out Hot Crossed Buns at Easter .... Yum
Okay - so I can't quite find the right category to put this opinion in...here goes anyway. St Andrews is one of 8 Scottish universities and has as long and distinguished a history as Oxbridge. It is of course infinitely superior as it has the advantage of being on a very beautiful part of the Scottish coast - in fact the beach scenes of 'Chariots of Fire' were filmed there in the late '70s. (Yes - I was there then!!) It is also unique in other ways - it has a far smaller student population than many which allows its students to mix with undergraduates in many disciplines instead of just their own; the students also integrate well with the townspeople. The lecture halls and university buildings (well the older ones) are situated all round the town - and if you are lucky you could get a view of the Old Course. The university offers a wide range of courses and it noted for its academic excellence throughout the world. Many overseas students study there and fall in love with the place. The town has much to offer in the way of entertainment (more these days!) and culture - more per square inch than many a spot. I loved the time I spent there and on returning recently for the Millennium Ball (20 years since graduation) I was surprised to find that although there were may superficial changes the atmosphere was as serene as ever. Anyone studying there now - lucky you. And if you're hesitating don't. It's great.
St Andrew's university is the oldest in Scotland , with over 580 mixed years under it's belt . Even before it's existence , however , the city was a formidible seat of learning . The reputation as a place to study was heightened in the 13th century on completion of the great catherdral , then the largest struture in Scotland , which became the conerstone of the country's religious and intellectual life . In recent decades the student population has risen to more than 6,000 graduates and postgraduates . This rapid rise has been instumental in keeping St Andrew's at the top of the university tables , but has also created localised problems of space and accomodation . New resisdences have been springing up and the old ones refurbished , so that there are now 11 halls ranging from tiny and charming like Dean's Court to the enormous gigantic hotel-standard New Hall . Similarly academic buildings have sprouted from nowhere with the North augh site just outside the city devoted to science subjects . Arts subjects are housed near the Quad and on the Scores and divinity at St Mary's College. Even though the physical constraints of the city's size mean that further expansion is near impossible , it is hard to see the university failing to maintain it's excellent reputation in the coming years .