£9.2k is a lot of Money
University is expensive, in a nutshell, that’s the best way to sum it up. Most students leave university with £50k worth of debt, and with interest that could become up to £75k in the 30 years before it is either all paid back or written off. It is better to view university as an investment in your future and picking the one right for you is neither an easy choice nor a particularly well informed one.
When I was searching for a University, I spent a year of my life travelling around the country, as far as Manchester, Bangor and Nottingham, and of course Derby.
Better than Bedford
My hometown is Bedford, Bedfordshire. It is a commuter belt, a mid-sized market town with very little going on in the way of professional job opportunities and the
University of Bedfordshire’s Bedford campus is rather small and doesn’t have the best reputation in the
town. Most big businesses looking to move to the area would tend to choose Milton Keynes, as it is a new town with a much more business-friendly atmosphere, or simply move to London, as 40% of UK businesses are based there. Bedford was not a town where I saw my future developing, and wanted to find somewhere not only to study but to also relocate and start to develop my career.
Job Relevant Degree
I decided early on that I wanted to study something that was ‘future-proof’ and also directly related to a job, not something like English or History, which may look very good on a CV but is not direct training for any job, other than a writer or historian, respectively. At first, I investigated studying computer science, but once studying this for a year at college, I realised it wasn’t something that I wanted to do, programming is a task that I find both tedious and complicated, and decided that I would rather do something that was more customer-facing like website production or graphic design. After some online searching, I found the course ‘Digital Marketing’. At the time, only a few Universities in the country did this specific course, although nearly every University does Marketing in some form or another. After researching this course more and more, I found that it was perfectly matched to my skills set and interests and that it was what I wanted to do.
I attended open days at Manchester Metropolitan University, Nottingham Trent, Coventry and Bangor. Although these had impressive facilities and highly qualified lecturers, their class sizes were enormous, and I felt that one-to-one support would be something that I would find difficult to get. When it came to Derby, however, I contacted the course leader directly, and she took time out of her busy schedule to personally show me around the University and went to the trouble of finding me current students to talk to and ask questions, at a time when there was no formal open day. I saw this as a sign that the University staff genuinely care about their students and their individual reasons for study.
Outside of University
The city in which the University stood was another major factor in my decision. I had time to walk through the city centres of the aforementioned places. Although some were impressive, there wasn’t any city centre I liked as much as Derby. It is big enough to have everything that you’d expect, such as the Intu centre, nightclubs, pubs and shops to cater to every type of person but was not so big that there is a need for a huge concentration of police, due to ‘undesirable characters’, to be as politically correct as possible. This was something I noticed about Coventry in particular. Bangor, it seemed, had the opposite problem, it is located on the far west side of Wales, miles away from any major town or city. It struck me as somewhere that was dull and uneventful.
Derby then was the best matched University and best-matched city for someone with my experience, and if you are looking to study there, I would definitely look into applying there.