What I’d Wish I’d Known

  • There is a difference between Scottish pounds and English pounds. Though often this is not the case, sometimes each country will not accept the other’s currency—so make sure to get Scottish pounds!
  • If you have a must-have brand (i.e. of shampoo, medicine, granola bars, pencils) then make sure to bring it with you, as there is not a lot of overlap of brands here.
  • A week or two before coming out, go back to the site where you applied for accommodation and complete eInduction (under Pre-Arrival) for your residence hall.
  • Class schedules can change after they are first announced. Check a few days before actually coming here to make sure the timetable is the same.
  • The online timetables can be misleading: some include the tutorial times in separate blocks, but others have them but they look like they’re one big block instead of separate 1-hour ones.
  • There are four sites students should know:
    • the main St. Andrews website (public to everyone)
    • MySaint — the equivalent of myWhitman — where you first go for online matriculation to fill out paperwork and to sign up for classes for advising, holds your personal timetable (excluding tutorials and exercise labs), and links to other sites
    • MMS — the equivalent Cleo — holds all your courses’ links to their Moodle pages, electronic turn-ins, tutorial attendance sheet, course material, etc.
    • Moodle — the equivalent of a professor’s personalized class page — not every course has a page, but if it does then this tends to be where course material and announcements will be
  • Even though you already filled out which classes you wanted to take on your application and you may have found another place where you select your classes online, there is another place you will need to sign up for them again separately (they will send out an email a day or two before the advising appointments to make sure you do this with a link).
  • Though the timetables say each class is a full hour long, classes actually begin five minutes past the hour and get out five minutes before the hour (e.g. 9:05-9:55). Most of the buildings are within a 10-minute walk of each other, and professors do not seem to even blink at students who are running late to lectures.
  • UniKitOut is the site where you can buy supplies for your residence hall (i.e. bedding), and they offer an electric blanket as well—DO NOT BUY IT. Though it does not mention it on the site, these blankets are not actually allowed in the residence halls and will be confiscated.
  • Bring your own water bottle—they do not have a lot of options here!
  • Make sure you get fused adapters—they aren’t kidding when they say they will take non-fused adapters away if they see them.
  • A lot of electric sockets have switches to turn them on and off—this includes the ones in the kitchens to turn on the stoves!
  • White tea is not what you think it is.
  • Pancakes are not what you think they are. But waffles are!
  • People may say attending a ball or a polo match are the must-do’s of coming to Scotland, but I believe the thing you absolutely MUST do is attend a cèilidh. They are so much fun!
  • If you plan on touring Scotland a bit, wind-proof clothing will be your best friend. This includes rain/wind-proof pants and good gloves and a hat.
  • If you are sensitive to light when sleeping, investing in a sleep mask will be very worthwhile. I am not sure if this is true in all of the halls, but at least in Andrew Melville the curtains do next to nothing to block out the sun, and beginning in April the sun starts rising quite early.


For those specifically planning to take E&M:

It would be a very good idea to brush up on the E&M concepts we learned in General Physics II, such as finding the electric field of point charges. Also, though this professor did well in getting people up to speed on this, it is probably worth your time to quickly learn about the Dirac delta function and Gauss’s law.


For those specifically planning to take Techniques of Applied Mathematics:

If you are reading this in, say, 2019 or onward, it is probably worth taking the class. When I took it in 2017 it was still new and many wrinkles were still in place. I would give it a few years before I would consider it worth taking if you have other options. Also if you have taken E&M and/or Differential Equations recently, you will find a decent amount of overlap in this class.


For those specifically planning to take Programming with Data:

If you find it cool to manipulate data in a variety of different formats—Excel, MySQL, text documents—then this class is perfect! However, it is taught in Java, so if you do not have any experience with that it would be worth learning it: For me, I had experience with C++ in CS270, which meant I could take an independent study crash course in Java with one of the professors the month before, and that got me up to speed enough. If you have not taken either some version of C or Java, I would recommend a bit more in-depth of an overview to get you started, but if you have a couple semesters of general programming under your belt, you will catch up easily.