If you’ve decided you’re going to university, you’ve probably spent the good part of a year now considering your options.
There was always a distinct difference between people during this time – there were those that knew exactly which five universities they were going to apply for, and those that didn’t even know what course they wanted to do, let alone where they wanted to do it. Luckily, I was the former, and I had been seriously considering Staffs a year before I even had to apply. I found the course to be the part I was unsure about. My original UCAS application was for BA (Hons) Journalism, but I had second thoughts around March time and emailed their admin team to ask if my application could be changed to BA (Hons) Photojournalism. It was done so efficiently that I didn’t even get notification it had happened, and just found one day that my conditional UCAS offer had switched courses. The ease of this transition already put Staffs in high esteem for me.
Now that I have experienced the whole of my first year at Staffs, I am happy to report that I made an excellent decision. Stoke-on-Trent is my second home, and I hope that this time next year, you see it as yours too. Here are the main reasons why I think you should choose Staffs.
1. Everything on campus is in the same area
This may sound odd, but let me explain.
One of the biggest differences I noticed between Staffs and most other universities is that every building that makes up campus is in the same area of the city. The furthest walk you will ever need to take, if your lectures were in the two buildings furthest apart from each other, is not even 15 minutes. This is the same for the accommodation around the university as well. This wasn’t something I realised until I went to visit friends at their universities and realised that they lived in residential blocks that were situated randomly in their university’s city and had to walk through the busy streets to go to lectures. Having lived in the Clarice Cliff Court accommodation block, my whole walk was through the campus itself. This is the same for Leek Road Halls/Houses as well.
I found this to be quite a shock. But, if you are like I was at first, you are slightly apprehensive about moving to a city on your own and navigating yourself around, and I think Staffs is one of the safest and best campuses you can live in.
2. The facilities are modernised all the time
Coming from a technology-based course, it is important that the facilities you have at your disposal are state-of-the-art and don’t seem dated, not limiting you in any way. Staffs are fantastic for this. I can’t speak for all courses, but on Photojournalism, you have access to all the latest computers and editing software that is needed for the photography aspects of the course, as well as a store full to the brim with cameras and equipment that you can rent out whenever you need to. If you need something (within reason) and the department doesn’t have it, they will aim to order it in for you or make it available permanently. You never feel like you are lacking in anything. Better still, the technology is updated all the time, so that it can reflect the reality of the industry you are striving to go into. This is something that the university prides itself on, and I think it does a pretty good job.
3. Fresher’s Week is so packed, you won’t be able to do it all
One thing that really impressed me from the offset with Staffs was the two weeks of Fresher’s and the variety of activities on offer. I’m sure by now you’ll know about the legendary Fresher’s Fair, where you can get yourself some freebies, Domino’s pizza, and buy the giant posters that you can use to decorate your new bedroom! But this is just one of the highlights of the calendar. There are so many things going on around campus at this time, all with the aim of getting you to meet new people and explore the campus, and I can assure you that these weeks will be some of your favourites ever! Pottery classes to get you engaged with Stoke’s heritage, move-in parties and even an exotic animal meet-up – you will never be short of something to do as a Staffs Fresher.
4. You have the full support of the university every step of the way
Some of my friends went through tough times during their first year at university, and I think that their experience would have been different had they been at Staffs. There is so much support within the university. My main tutors this year helped me with everything. Even when I was asking stupidly simple questions about photography (I was such an amateur before starting the course), they never made me feel like I couldn’t ask for help, and supported me when I hit a few bumps in the road. On a wider scale, there are so many people you can get in contact with easily if you need help, from Student Union advisers to Mick the Vic – the university’s legendary chaplain (who doesn’t care if you’re not a devout Christian, so don’t feel like that isn’t an option for you if that’s the case). There are also free counselling sessions available all year round at the Student Enabling Centre, where no issue is too small and you will never be turned away. It may sound cliché, but they really do support you from beginning to end, the whole time you are studying at Staffs.
I hope this has helped you make an informed choice about your university, even if Staffs isn’t a first or even insurance choice for you at the moment. Don’t forget – there’s also the option of clearing, so it isn’t too late to choose Staffs!