Go to Essex open day
Everything about Essex seemed ok so I thought this might be where I ended up
Today I went to the open day at Essex University. Essex was on my shortlist along with Reading and Southampton so I wanted to at least visit one or preferably two of these places. Essex was pretty far away (around two hours drive), but luckily my mum had agreed to dive me to any open days I wanted to go to (thanks mum!).
Essex was a campus university. When making my initial choices (link) all the universities I had selected were city universities, but now that my choices were somewhat limited, a campus university would be fine. When we got to the university we were given some literature about the university, including a prospectus which I quickly rifled through to find the course I was taking. In addition to a prospectus I was also given some leaflets on accommodation and the facilities on campus.
Accommodation might possibly play a big part in where I decided to apply in clearing. Most universities allocate accommodation with preference to those who put it fist on their UCAS form. As I was applying through clearing, it was possibly at some universities I might not be able to find on-campus accommodation at all. Luckily Essex guaranteed accommodation to anyone who applied for it before 10th September, so if I did apply at Essex I would be likely to get accommodation.
After this we and a whole bunch of other clearing people were taken on a tour of the university by a third year student. First we were shown general stuff like bars, shops, banks and other facilities on campus, and the student (I can't remember her name) answered loads of questions. Then she took us to see some of the accommodation there.
The first accommodation we was in one of the Towers. Essex University has 10 or so tower blocks around 20 storeys high, they looked really old and manky from the outside and in some of the corridors but the rooms were quite nice, certainly better than the one I saw at my Oxford interview. The towers were divided into flats; each flat housed around 14 students, who shared a kitchen, living room, toilets and showers. This all seemed alright and nicely every room on campus has network access, so I would be easily to keep up with my website.
The next accommodation we saw was in South Courts. Here four or five students shared a kitchen and living area but had en-suit shower and toilet facilities. Apart from this, the rooms in both places were very similar. Rooms with en-suite facilities were around £20 more a week, but there was also the choice of rather I would rather be with around 14 or 5 or so people in the same area. We were told but the student that lots of people liked living in the Towers for the reason there were lots of people around.
After seeing the accommodation we went to see a few of the sports facilities, which I wasn't all that interested in, then it was possible to see subject tutors and ask them questions.
I was a bit nervous about this part, because I hadn't really had a chance to study the course and wasn't sure what sort of things I should talk about. In the end I met with two tutors, one for maths and one for economics. I pretty much started asking the same question to both: I've read the prospectus, can you tell me a bit more about what the course involves. From this I was able to go on and ask questions about topics, or the structure of the course. I also asked a few questions about how easy it was to change courses and things like that. I was also given another booklet from each tutor telling me more about the maths and economics courses.
I found that I got a pretty good feel of the university from going to the Essex open day. It was certainly good to see two types of accommodation, and the student I was with was able to answer a lot of questions. Essex certainly seemed like an option, though I didn't really know all that much about the course. I thought I would try and check out another open day, so would go to Reading if I got the chance.