When I was originally looking at Universities I had no idea where I wanted to go. So I decided to make a list of the things I ‘needed’ out of a University and a list of the things I ‘wanted’.
I started this process by looking at a map. I am going to be honest, my Geography skills are truly appalling- from this I decided how far away from home I was willing to go. As a complete home bird, I decided that three hours was the maximum for me, which automatically ruled out a fair amount of Universities. University was rather daunting to me and the idea of being able to get on a train and be home within the day was greatly appealing. Of course, this is a personal preference and it’s most important that wherever you choose to go, no matter how far, you’re comfortable.
This leads smoothly onto the next thing on my list- transport. Having visited King College London, I realised that the hustle and bustle of London and the constant use of transport to get to and from lectures and seminars, was not for me. I loved the idea of the full on, hectic and movie-like lifestyle of London, but I actually found it rather overwhelming. This was where I started to realise that I quite liked the ‘bubble’ campuses, where everything was close together. Of course, I was open to using trains, buses and even tubes, but I didn’t feel that London was for me. Certainly, as a second year, checking out transport is crucial- living in Leamington Spa this year means that using a bus is part of my normal every day routine. With this, there are at least two big train stations to get home quickly. Transport is definitely worth considering when choosing a University. At this point I had narrowed down my search to Royal Holloway, Oxford Brookes, Exeter, Southampton and Warwick.
Employment Opportunities and League Tables.
Certainly, these are not to be forgotten. Warwick is currently 8th in the country for the Complete University Guide of 2017. Even when considering where you would like to study your degree, it’s a good idea to consider the opportunity that specific University can give you. Not only does Warwick have great Graduate Employment, but also has a number of events which welcome employers into the University. Also, unlike some other Universities, Warwick is in a great location for employment- with easy routes to Birmingham, London or even more locally- Coventry and Leamington.
Can I see myself here?
Having lived in Southampton all my life, it seemed silly not to check out Southampton University. There are so many benefits with going to a local establishment, rent can be cheaper, less student loans and of course transport is easier when you don’t live too far away. However, there are also disadvantages- you don’t automatically form the relationships with your flat mates (of course you can with those on your course) and it’s not as easy to go ‘out’. Whether that’s clubbing, going to the pub, a restaurant or even chatting with a friend to the early hours of the morning. So I would highly recommend considering these when choosing your University. I personally was not put off by these disadvantages, in fact the University itself just didn’t feel right. My parents were certainly pretty keen for me to fall in love with Southampton University- we did two open days. But everything was very familiar and not overly exciting as a result. I just couldn’t see myself there.
I was so nervous about University and leaving home, but visiting the University of Exeter made me love the idea. They were so enthusiastic, everyone was so friendly and the whole campus was green. Just so pretty, with lovely big trees, huge buildings and beautiful accommodation. Plus it was within my three hour radius. I fell in love with Exeter and I could see myself there.
First Impressions of Warwick
Despite absolutely loving Exeter, Warwick was my second choice because I felt I could see myself here too. Though it wasn’t as green, Warwick was, and is, the perfect ‘bubble’ campus. I loved the mixture of buildings, the coffee shops and restaurants on campus and the open spaces to socialise- people studying at Warwick seemed really happy.
Why am I at Warwick now?
Exeter offered me: A*, A*, B for my History degree, and I was on track to achieve this. However, when it came to exam results, I didn’t reach them, instead I got A, A, B and an A* in my Extended Project. Though Exeter offered me a History of Renaissance Course, I rejected the offer as I had been offered a place at Warwick. There was absolutely no sense of disappointment as, over the summer, I had had a lot of time to think, and was actually starting to question my choice. Warwick was higher in the league tables than Exeter, had better student satisfaction and much higher levels of Graduate Employment.
I have a genuine belief that things happen for a reason, I am unbelievably happy at Warwick, I love the course, the campus and the surrounding area. I consider myself super lucky to be here.