Christmas is approaching fast, many UCAS applications will now be complete and some will be receiving offers to their chosen five.
Luckily, much of the hard work in choosing where to go is done. I remember being absolutely overwhelmed by the choice available to me – there I was with a subject I wanted to study, and I could go anywhere in the country to study it. My application to university was a rather late one as I’d only decided to apply at the very last minute. The thought of choosing where to move, away from my family and friends, and completely alone, was one that terrified me. However, upon starting the search, it wasn’t long before I started to feel excited about finding the right university for me.
York was the first university campus I’d visited on a post-offer visit day, and I absolutely fell in love with it the moment I arrived. Despite some of the questionable architecture on campus west, the campus is set around a lake and on a beautifully sunny day I thought it was the perfect setting to study for a degree. I was given a tour around the university with a lovely second year (who didn’t even complain when right at the end of the day I mentioned that I’d like to see the Alcuin accommodation which was a very long walk across campus).
The University has many different types of accommodation to choose from and it’s useful to have a look round some of them to find which works for you best. I was shown a flat in James College. and I have to admit, I really disliked it. Although, this may have had more to do with the cleanliness than the flat itself! As a college it is very popular so my opinion here is probably in the minority. I also saw a flat in Vanbrugh Barbara Scott Court. This was absolutely ideal, described as a tranquil residential location for undergraduates and on first glance it is exactly that. The halls are set around a lawn with barbecue areas and perfect sunbathing spots for summer term. However, don’t let the ‘tranquil’ put you off – if you’re looking to find like-minded people to have a great time with, you will definitely find them here. Barbara Scott and Donald Barron courts provide flats of 6 ensuite study bedrooms with a big kitchen shared with another flat, so before you’ve even been out in Freshers’ week you’ve met a lot of people. The blocks have around 3-4 floors so there is plenty of people to make friends with in your accommodation.
After you’ve been taken in by the campus and the student halls (where you’ll have a heck of a lot of fun), you might also want to consider if the course is ideal for you too. Apart from the campus, there was one very simple reason I decided to apply for Sociology at York. That was the module “Popular Culture, Media and Society” in the second year. The sociology of popular culture has always been something that has taken my interest and I hadn’t been able to find a course elsewhere that incorporated it. I strongly recommend taking this module in second year if it is still available. On my visit day I was able to have a chat with the module convener about the module, his research and Sociology at York in general and this only made me more sure that York was where I needed to be.
I visited only one other university when deciding where to go and this was The University of Nottingham. Maybe I would have liked it had I seen it before York, and I know that many people study there happily, but driving through what felt like a dark concrete jungle I arrived at what looked like a pleasant enough campus. What let it down was the lack of community feeling, a head of department who wasn’t able to answer my two questions and perhaps the most drab looking halls I’ve seen.
I felt it was important to get a feel of the city I’d be studying in too, so later in the year my mum and I visited York for a girls day to really get a feel for the place. Upon arriving in the city centre early in the morning and seeing that Betty’s did not have a queue we decided to take a window seat and have breakfast whilst watching the city come to life. We spent the day shopping and seeing the beautiful city of York and after all that, quite frankly, why would you want to be anywhere else?
The aim of this post is mostly to get you thinking about what you want out of the university you study at. What’s important to me might not be important to you. The perfect university for you may not be York, I hope it is, but when you visit you’ll absolutely know when you see it.