Sometimes when you walk away from an open day at a university you feel as though you’ve seen everything you went there to see and can make a decision based on that. But other times you can walk out feeling underinformed and underwhelmed.
Most universities have a similar structure of an open day, they give you a tour of the accomodation, show you around the rest of the campus, give a detailed talk about your course and show you where you would be studying for the next three years.
Personally I didn’t come on an open day until after I had decided that I was coming to Staffs, and I had only seen half of the campus when I traveled up for my interview so had no idea what to expect. I think that some of my biggest worries were not liking the accommodation and not being able to find anything in or around the campus. I know that my mums biggest fear was that the area wasn’t safe, but I think she was reassured by the Student Ambassador that we spoke to!
Things I wanted to know
I was initially worried about the accommodation at Staffs, as I came through clearing so wasn’t even sure I would be allocated a place in halls at all (I was fortunately!). But I was concerned about where they were, and how close they would be to everything else. As it turns out the halls are slap bang in the middle of campus, near the LRV and Verve and the SU shop. I also wanted to know how close the nearest supermarket was, along with the shopping center (Hanley town center is a 10-15 minute walk), and the tour guide was able to answer all of my questions easily!
What I would do differently
Because I didn’t make it to the open day before I knew I was going to Staffs there are a lot of things that I would do differently. The first thing is that I would go to the talk about Journalism, because I seemed to have a lot less information that my course mates when we started, especially about how the course was structured! The second thing I would definitely do is have a look round the facilities, you will end up spending most of you time in there, and it will probably help you to not get lost on your first day! I also advise asking the Student Ambassadors, or their equivalent at other universities, as many questions as you possibly can to learn as much as you possibly can about the course, and the university. I also wished I had asked about the on site improvements, as I didn’t realize how much was going to be done to improve upon that campus, which is still ongoing with our move from Stafford now taking place!
FAQ on Open Days
How close are the local supermarkets and town center?
The intu Potteries center, Sainsburys and a 24 hour Tesco is a 15 minute walk from Leek Road Campus, with an ASDA and Aldi about a 20 minute walk away. The intu centro is also being expanded on, to include more restaurants, stores and a Cineworld.
What is the nightlife like on and around the university?
The student nightlife is good, I will always be the first to recommend a Gobble night out! We have Refresh on a Friday as well, along with student night in Hanley on a Monday. If you fancy something a bit more chilled out then there is more than enough pubs to go around!
What are the lecturers and facilities like?
I can only speak for the lecturers in the Journalism department on this one, but they are fantastic. They are always on hand to help you out, with anything weather its course related or not, and are never too busy for you. I also believe that the facilities are second to none, and the areas on campus that may be lackluster are now getting a makeover by 2016, and the plans are looking amazing, which is hard for me to say because I wont be here to see it completed :(.
How is the accommodation paid for and do you get your moneys worth?
The accommodation is paid on a termly basis, with all bills included in the overall charge. I believe that we are not overcharged for the halls that we have here, and that you get more than your moneys worth. I never had much to complain about living in halls and since moving into a student house it made me appreciate it so much more!
What are the differences between the accommodations?
There are three different types of accommodation at Staffs; Leek Road Halls, Leek Road Houses and Clarice Cliff. Leek Road halls are blocks of 3 flats, each with 11-12 people in them who share a bathroom and a kitchen between each floor. Leek Road houses are exactly what they sound like; houses which hold 3-5 students in a house with all the same workings as a regular house would. Clarice Cliff is also halls, but is a 5 minute walk further than the rest of them, with 4-6 people in each flat, and an en suite in each bedroom. Both Clarice Cliff and Leek Road Halls have wardens usually in each block, which are 2nd or 3rd year students, hired by the university to be on hand to help with anything that you may need.
My course used to be based at Stafford what does that mean?
The university is currently in the process of moving certain subject and courses from Stafford to Stoke-on-Trent. All this means for prospective students is that you may have to move in either your 2nd or 3rd year to Stoke to continue your course, but new facilities are being built and installed to enable to move to go smoothly by Summer 2016.
What is the area like? Is it safe? Is there security on campus?
Everywhere has crime, but I feel that Stoke gets a worse reputation than others. As a student living here myself I have never had any trouble of any kind since moving here, and living in my student house in Hanley either. I have never felt unsafe coming home from a night out or walking to university, and there is a high level of police presence which helps that. On campus we have PC Simon Stone who is there to alleviate any concerns students may have about their safety, and will help them if needs be. There is also campus security, which every student is given the number too the day they move in, and it is also stuck on their individual notice boards in their rooms, so it’s pretty hard to forget!
If you decide that you want to book a place on an open day, or just want to have a chat with someone about clearing and universities, Charné, Taofiqah and myself will all be avaliable up until August to show you around or have a chat with you! Just give this number a call if you’re interested; 0333 331 5310.