What are you expecting to get out of university? Sure, you’ll make friends for life, you’ll learn to fend for yourself, you’ll probably spend too much time labelling your food in the fridge. These are all givens. But how about the serious side of uni; the teaching, the facilities, the job prospects? If you think you’ll be getting little more than three years of lectures and a cheery ‘farewell’ into the job market, then you’re in for a surprise. Here’s why…
1. Courses are exciting
OK, most students take the path well-travelled when it comes to their UCAS application - medicine being the most popular in 2014. However, for those who want to break the mould, there are some pretty fantastic alternatives. How about a BA in Cartoon & Comic Arts or a BSc in Cloud Computing at forward-thinking Staffordshire University.
Not only are course titles more appealing than ever, the courses themselves are bursting with exciting opportunities. Learning is increasingly taking place in the field; no longer is the library the sole domain of the studying student.
Advertising and Brand Management students at Staffordshire University found themselves pitching briefs to real design agencies in New York as part of their course, for example. Meanwhile, their Paramedic Science peers train using a fully kitted and working ambulance, making for an engaging and accurate learning experience.
2. Tutors aren't geeks
When you are having lectures, you can expect them to come from the cutting edge of industry. In place of cossetted academics, unis are turning to high-profile names from the forefront of industry research and innovation to educate their students. Many of these tutors come into the teaching profession via industry so have a hands-on set of skills to pass on. It’s an approach that ensures students are prepared for the future and ready to enter the workplace. At Staffordshire University, for instance, you'll find guest lectures from experts at Microsoft, Marvel Comics and Epic Games a regular occurrence. Now if that's not enough to get you to a 9am lecture, we don't know what is!
3. Technology triumphed
There's no point staying at home anymore to play Xbox, as you'll find much better technology to try out at university. From 3D printers that are helping aviation students explore components of aircraft, to a fully simulated operating theatre for those studying nursing: universities invest millions every year make education cutting-edge, super-stimulating and industry relevant.
You'll discover all you need to try your hand at TV or radio broadcasting, as most unis have their own radio and TV stations, plus animation in the motion capture studio, and much more. Game design students are especially reaping the benefits of a fast-paced subject. Staffordshire University has teamed up with Epic Games, the developer of the Gears Of War series, to set up the Epic Games Centre which is fully equipped with world-class hardware and facilities for students to use.
4. It will open your eyes
Universities are attracting a more diverse pool of applicants than ever before, meaning on a social level, this could be the most fun, eye-opening time of your life. You only need to look at societies and clubs being run by students - anything from sky-diving and ultimate Frisbee through to the newer additions of a society dedicated to beards. (Beards are officially a thing now, FYI.) You're guaranteed to form some life-long friendships at university, and maybe even meet The One, maybe at Beard Society, maybe at the Students’ Union. Speaking of which, unions have had a dramatic makeover in recent years, and can now be found in lists of award-winning live music and club venues. The floors are less sticky, but the beer just as cheap . Win, win.
5. It might just bag you your dream job
While universities are looking more enticing than ever, the job situation is not. Which is why those valuable connections and skills you gain from uni are all the more important if you want to get a leg-up in the employment sector. A university qualification counts for a good deal with today's employers, as does experience, which students are getting more of on today's proactive course programmes.
Whether it's connecting with guest lecturers, completing work placements or nurturing your entrepreneurial spirit, these are all great routes to your ultimate goal. For one Staffordshire University student studying Creative Music Technology, scooping a placement with the London Symphony Orchestra has undoubtedly given him what he needs to set his CV apart from his peers.
Meanwhile, an internship at Formula 1 went so well for one of his peers that, after graduating, he bagged a permanent job with McLaren Automotive. Dream job alert!
So if you're the type of student that has that dream job in mind, are willing to go the extra mile and want to get the most out of your university course, why not check out what Staffordshire University has to offer. Be the next to achieve the perfect start to your career.