A mum has explained why her teenage daughter gave up a place at Oxford University to study in Leeds.
Sophie Hastings explained that her daughter Rose* was met with expressions of 'outrage' for giving up the chance of what many people see as a golden ticket to a successful future.
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"It ensures, in theory at least, incomparable access and a smooth ride to a glittering career," Ms Hastings wrote in The Guardian.
Rose, from London, chose Leeds because it offered something different - 'a new city with a vibrant culture of its own, students who aren’t all from the south, sharing a house with eight people, cooking on a shoestring, cheap beer, a part-time job.'
Rose also found Oxford's 'aura of white privilege off-putting and the lack of a viable music scene cause for concern', her mum said.
Rose told her mum: “The British uni experience is one of the few things we’re good at. Oxford is amazing, but it’s not that.”
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The University of Leeds also has a well-respected History of Art course, Rose's chosen subject.
"The history of art degree at Leeds is radical," explained Ms Hastings. "Taught at the university’s School of Fine Art, alongside cultural theorists and practising artists, its specialisms in feminist and postcolonial histories are up Rose’s street.
"Given the UK’s child and adolescent mental health crisis and alarming rates of student suicide, it seems wise to prioritise happiness over kudos."
*Rose is not her real name.