Hi! I’m Emily, an almost graduate from the University of Manchester! I’ve spent the last three years studying Ancient History and Archaeology and was asked by the lovely Lauren to give my musing on my uni of choice!
Picking a university is probably one of the first big decisions most young adults face. Do you live at home, close to home or far away from home? The open days provide an insight into what life will be like for you at that university but also reminds you that soon you will have a lot more independence, even if you choose to stay at home. It can be a very daunting time and lets face it, humans don’t tend to make the best decisions when overwhelmed. So, if this post helps at least one person then it has done its job.
What I considered
When picking universities you pick 5 through UCAS. I picked two close to home, Manchester and Liverpool, one based on being amazing, Warwick and then another two just because they offered the course I wanted to do as not all universities offered it. I have to admit as well that I did not put much consideration into picking in terms of what the course could offer me, what topics they did, who the staff were and what they had done in their academic careers and I wish I had. Although I knew roughly what the course I didn’t prepare as much as I should have at all.
Warwick Vs Manchester
Open days are something I didn’t take advantage of and I really recommend going to them. Warwick I didn’t visit until picking my 5 and Manchester I didn’t even go to until I had submitted my UCAS form and finished college! Warwick was an amazing campus (and is home to my all-time favourite historian) and it was like it’s own little world. Jobs on campus were given to students and every student was made aware of any jobs going regularly. Everything was glorious. Manchester was too. I’ll admit I was a little poorly as I had been out the night before celebrating the end of exams and it was an early start but everyone was so welcoming. The only intimidating thing about Manchester was the campus is slightly jotted about the city…it isn’t a closed off campus. However, it was beautiful. I wanted to go to Warwick because of the reputation it had connected to it. Manchester, on the other hand, did have a very good reputation for the course I wanted it but it was also the place my grandparents studied and met. Having been raised by my grandparents this made it a sentimental place. It was also close enough to be able to go home to them on a weekend at the drop of a hat. I felt immediately at home in Manchester as a city also. This is something that put me off attending an open day at Liverpool. I just couldn’t love the city.
Why I’m glad I chose Manchester
I am incredibly happy with my choice of Manchester and the 31st May was my last day there, which is somewhat saddening. Never have I met nicer teaching staff as a whole than the archaeology department, and the ancient history department was full of incredible academics. The city itself is an amazing place and I think the recent attack speaks out largely for the city. It is lively, convenient, easy to get around and navigate, and friendly. Living there is easy due to the convenience of everything being either walking or bus distance away and buses are incredibly regular. The course itself has also been incredibly enjoyable. There has always been at least one topic that caters to my specific passions as well as one to allow me to explore an area that isn’t necessarily a strength of mine.
Negatives of Manchester
Despite the love I have for my university and city there are some downsides. Mental health is something that this university, like most institutions, isn’t very well equipped to deal with. They offer counselling and mitigating circumstances for the more severe cases but little things, like all of their staff not being 100% understanding, sometimes got in the way. Away from the university Manchester is a very busy place and for some this could be off putting. Luckily, it was a vibe that I loved.
So, I have rambled quite enough haven’t I, so I figured I would wrap up with a couple things that you should consider when picking not only a university but the place you’re going to call home for your studies.
- Do you like the city?
- Does the course offer all the topics you enjoy?
- Are the staff passionate and actively researching as well as dedicated to teaching? (some lecturers are only bothered about the funding that comes from teaching)
- What facilities does the university offer- libraries, gym, counselling…?
- What are the living conditions like in both halls and student homes?
- Living costs.
- How far away/ how easy is it to get back home?
- Parking- if you drive.
- Can you envision yourself being happy there?