profjb
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So after two years and a change of prospectus, accomodation and course program i'd like to go into some of the expectations a lot of UCAS students have coming into university and a lot of expecations of what first year students believe the 2nd year will be like.
I hope I can compare expectations to reality and give a bit of insight into University life.
Just note this is my own opinion and not fact .

UCAS applicants

An open day can be entirely different to your experience
The uni I'm at has open days almost every week and I came out of my open day there thinking the campus was pretty, quiet which I liked and the accommodation was good.
I found that the 'pretty', 'quiet' area of campus was miles from my accomodation so I spent very little time there and to put it kindly my accomodation was a bit rubbish and having lived in off campus accomodation it's been much better and much more convenient to do basic tasks such as washing clothes etc... That's not to say everything was rubbish and overall had a pretty great time in my first year, just not in the ways I expected to. A good start is to ask students what they think of the place and ultimately ask for there honest opinion.

Advertising, mainly pictures and videos of a university are normally swayed to give the best impression
Lovely summers day, lots of people out and about, sitting in the grass eating there hummus with a biodegradable spoon.
What they didn't mention was the asbestos xD.

Location does matter
Unless you have a car/bike, are willing to pay petrol for it and have a paid for parking space at your accommodation you need to check if you'll have to pay £200+ for a train ticket back home. Going to a university in Aberdeen after living in Portsmouth probably isn't a good idea even if you did get an offer. I'm not saying you can't, just please consider it.

Accommodation isn't everything but you should seriously consider it
Uni halls are normally only for your 1st year, if you draw the short straw then it's not going to end your world. Generally I found I got along very well with my housemates but ultimately consider what the students think of each group of halls, they will probably be more honest about that than there own courses and y'know what quite often there right.

Note for UCAS applicants
Overall I don't want to say lower your expectations because that sounds a bit glum and not entirely accurate, it is what you make of it really but if you are to grasp anything don't think of university as your only option and certainly try not to narrow your mind so much that you have your mind set on only 1 university and anything less is not worth it.

1st years newbies

2nd year is hard
I expected 2nd year to be harder. Yep, It was a massive step up from 1st year, you will definately have to try a lot harder and instead of preaching 40% through the corridors the 2nd year acctually counts. Have fun!

Accomodation
So the worst piece of advice I ever received from an estate agent was and I quote 'You might not like the people you have chosen to live with, i'd wait until April/May'. 1/2 of this is kind of right but after a single term together you probably have a good idea of who you would want to live with if your in uni accomidation and your choosing to live with people in your accomodation (which I would highly reccomend) for second year.
Please for the love of god don't wait until April/May unless you plan on living as a couple or on your own as a license isn't required by the property manager to provide a 'student' living environment. We where very close to having to rent out expensive single rooms throughout the city seperately which where not even guarenteed at the time.

Course changes
Course changes don't have to be difficult. Shock horror!
In most universities you are able to apply to change your course within the first week of 1st term for another more appropriate course if you fit the requirements. There can be a number of reasons for this, the most likely is you are unhappy with the course, give into consideration though that a course may vary widly between modules and years. For e.g. if taking Electronics you may hate Maths but love the coding element, weight your options.
Even after the first week or after the 1st year you may still have options. What matters is you enjoy the course, after all you will be writing a dissertation or equivalent at the end of the course so you need to know your stuff. Generally dropping out of uni to re-apply later will look bad on your UCAS application.
Also note that switching between variants of your course may be applicable and I managed to change from a straight Electronics course to a Music Tech variant in my 2nd week and it was the best decision I ever made at uni so far.


forenote
i'd love to hear other peoples opinions on this and if they agree/disagree with anything i've said as these kind of things can get quite opinionated.
Last edited by profjb; 2 years ago
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999tigger
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(Original post by profjb)
So the university ive been to for the majority of my first year has recently released there new prospectus and it got me thinking about the expectations of university and the actual reality of it and how not to fall in a bunch of traps I fell into when choosing my university. This is also kind of geared towards current UCAS applications in a format that might be able to help you.

So to put it blunt I've composed a list of all the things I've found out so far in my first year. p.s. I can't live a 1000 lives, this is only my experience. Take it with a pinch of salt.

An open day can be entirely different to your experience
The uni I'm at has open days almost every week and I came out of my open day there thinking the campus was pretty, quite which I liked and the accommodation was good.
I found that the uni was a clubbing hub and that my accommodation to put it kindly was a bit rubbish and I'm looking forward to getting my own house next year. That's not to say everything was different and overall i've had a pretty great time so far but not in the ways I expected. A good start is to ask students what they think of the place and ultimately ask for there honest opinion.

Advertising, mainly pictures and videos of a university are normally swayed to give the best impression
Lovely summers day, lots of people out and about, sitting in the grass eating there hummus with a biodegradable spoon.
What they didn't mention was the asbestos xD.

Location does matter
Unless you have a car/bike, are willing to pay petrol for it and have a paid for parking space at your accommodation you need to check if you'll have to pay £200+ for a train ticket back home. Going to a university in Aberdeen after living in Portsmouth probably isn't a good idea even if you did get an offer. I'm not saying you can't, just please consider it.

Accommodation isn't everything but you should seriously consider it
Uni halls are normally only for your 1st year, if you draw the short straw then it's not going to end your world. Generally I found I got along very well with my housemates but ultimately consider what the students think of each group of halls, they will probably be more honest about that than there own courses and y'know what quite often there right.

Note for UCAS applicants
Overall I don't want to say lower your expectations because that sounds a bit glum and not entirely accurate, it is what you make of it really but if you are to grasp anything don't think of university as your only option and certainly try not to narrow your mind so much that you have your mind set on only 1 university and anything less is not worth it.


forenote
i'd love to hear other peoples opinions on this and if they agree/disagree with anything i've said as these kind of things can get quite opinionated.

Some good insights and it works both ways. I would definitely suggest doing research, being aware of uni spin and visiting with a friend so you can see the place, but have someones opinion to fall back on and that you can rely on.

I think accommodation is variable, but Im surprised more people dont tic general availability and cost.

Good advice though, OP.
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Blue_Cow
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(Original post by profjb)
So the university ive been to for the majority of my first year has recently released there new prospectus and it got me thinking about the expectations of university and the actual reality of it and how not to fall in a bunch of traps I fell into when choosing my university. This is also kind of geared towards current UCAS applications in a format that might be able to help you.

So to put it blunt I've composed a list of all the things I've found out so far in my first year. p.s. I can't live a 1000 lives, this is only my experience. Take it with a pinch of salt.

An open day can be entirely different to your experience
The uni I'm at has open days almost every week and I came out of my open day there thinking the campus was pretty, quite which I liked and the accommodation was good.
I found that the uni was a clubbing hub and that my accommodation to put it kindly was a bit rubbish and I'm looking forward to getting my own house next year. That's not to say everything was different and overall i've had a pretty great time so far but not in the ways I expected. A good start is to ask students what they think of the place and ultimately ask for there honest opinion.

Advertising, mainly pictures and videos of a university are normally swayed to give the best impression
Lovely summers day, lots of people out and about, sitting in the grass eating there hummus with a biodegradable spoon.
What they didn't mention was the asbestos xD.

Location does matter
Unless you have a car/bike, are willing to pay petrol for it and have a paid for parking space at your accommodation you need to check if you'll have to pay £200+ for a train ticket back home. Going to a university in Aberdeen after living in Portsmouth probably isn't a good idea even if you did get an offer. I'm not saying you can't, just please consider it.

Accommodation isn't everything but you should seriously consider it
Uni halls are normally only for your 1st year, if you draw the short straw then it's not going to end your world. Generally I found I got along very well with my housemates but ultimately consider what the students think of each group of halls, they will probably be more honest about that than there own courses and y'know what quite often there right.

Note for UCAS applicants
Overall I don't want to say lower your expectations because that sounds a bit glum and not entirely accurate, it is what you make of it really but if you are to grasp anything don't think of university as your only option and certainly try not to narrow your mind so much that you have your mind set on only 1 university and anything less is not worth it.


forenote
i'd love to hear other peoples opinions on this and if they agree/disagree with anything i've said as these kind of things can get quite opinionated.
I can relate with the point about advertising material Edinburgh uses a lot of shots of the city in their promotional photos and a rather beautiful shot of Old College (the one that has a nice patch of lawn in the middle), but in reality, unless you're studying Law, none of your lectures are there
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profjb
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Updated the thread with my experience after the 2nd year.
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