Why I chose Lancaster

The decision to go to University is not an easy one to make. It represents the first major choice that many will have to make, that will potentially have a major impact on the rest of their lives. Not only this but the wealth of factors that a potential student has to consider can seem pretty overwhelming. I remember my decision to come to University as if it was yesterday- when in actual fact it was over 2 years ago.

My ‘Road to University’ began around the time when I was halfway through my first year at college (around February 2014). I had been weighing up the pros and cons of coming to University for a few months prior to this, and having eventually settled on the idea that yes, this is what I wanted to do with my life, I started thinking about it seriously. But that of course meant that I had to know what I wanted to study.

This was the first major hurdle I had to overcome. For my A-Levels, I had chosen to do Media Studies, BTEC Business and English Language. At that point in time, there was one subject that I preferred to the rest-Media. My teachers made the subject so interesting , and it was also really interesting to learn about the dynamics surrounding something that we interact with on a daily basis. With this in mind, I felt like I would be interested in considering a Media-related degree. There was one area of Media that had always fascinated me- Journalism.

I therefore began to start searching for Universities that offered Journalism. I travelled all around the UK (with the assistance of my parents) to find a University that would be perfect for me, not only in terms of courses, but in terms of the general student life as well.  I looked at Nottingham Trent University, Huddersfield University, University of Salford and Newcastle University. Every time I looked at a University I had my little notebook with me, writing down what I liked about each one and what I didn’t like. Unfortunately, I could not escape the feeling that every time I looked at somewhere, that there was something missing.

This was the point where I had my first serious think about whether I was looking at the right places, or looking at the right course. After a few weeks consideration, I decided that I wasn’t as hung up on Journalism as I had originally thought. It was at this moment where I had an epiphany. I had been getting good grades in Business at college, and I was enjoying the subject just as much as I was enjoying Media. It felt that it was a logical step for me to want to do a Business-related degree.

So once again I embarked on another wide search for Universities offering Business-related degrees, and this journey seemed to be so much easier. I was now much more confident that this is what I wanted to do. I looked at fewer Universities when I was considering Business, looking at both Loughborough University and the University of Edinburgh. Yet no matter how enthusiastic I tried to be, there was still the notion of something being missing.

Then it all changed. One of my friends from home had just graduated from Lancaster University, where he was studying Accounting and Finance. He could not have been more enthusiastic about his time there. We had a long chat about his experiences, both in the academic sense and the sense of his general student life. I felt that I should look into the University and see if his experiences would be well founded.

On my first open day to Lancaster University, I immediately knew that he was telling the truth. As soon as I set foot on the campus, I was in awe. It had everything that you could need, within walking distance of the accommodation- 1 tick.

I then went to hear about some of the courses that were offered, and was in total shock. Not only did the University offer a massive variety of courses, relating to nearly every business sector that there is, they were all based in a dedicated Management School. Even more impressive, was the fact that the Management School was regularly ranked within the top 10 Universities for most Business-related courses in the UK, and within the top 1% globally. Tick number 2.

But obviously it was all well and good thinking that the course was brilliant, but what would happen if I did not like the area where I was going to be staying?  I need not worry. Not only was Lancaster brilliant for having every shop I would ever need, but it was also not a massive leap from a tiny rural village, to a big city- the perfect combination of both. Tick number 3.

There was one last thing that would potentially influence my decision- societies. I knew that I would be doing a lot of studying, but I also knew that I would want to fill my spare time doing things that I would enjoy. My jaw simply dropped when I saw the massive range of societies that the University offered, from Taekwondo to Tea Appreciation. From Anime to Rugby Union. Tick number 4.

Even my parents could see that I was much happier with this University than I had been with all the others I had looked at. It was from this point forward that I knew, this was where I wanted to spend the next 3/4 years of my life.

Having been here for a year already, I can safely say that it was one of the best decisions that I ever made choosing to study here. I have made so many new friends, and I am studying a subject that I love, at a University that impresses me day after day.

Why I Chose Lancaster

Applying for University can be daunting – it presents what for many is the first major ‘fork in the road’ moment in life. Two years ago, I had concluded my nationwide University tour -the infamous hunt for the perfect degree programme and perfect University that my friends and I had become so familiar with – and settled on my decision.

I remember vividly two University open days – Leeds and Lancaster. Both excellent institutes. Both very high up the league tables for Marketing (first and second). Both fiercely competing for applicants, and I was torn. Leeds was everything the inner teenager in me wanted – the bright lights of the big city, far away from home, a reputable night out. Lancaster appealed to me rationally – a safer city, closer to home and most importantly, first in the country for my course.

I fought with myself for months, visited both applicant days and, eventually, firmed Lancaster after speaking to a student ambassador on the open day who assured me Lancaster met both needs – the very best teaching quality and the great student night out that my heart desired.

Not only this, but in my months of torment in deciding on which University to firm, I eventually weighed up the pros and cons of each University, and Lancaster came out on top by a country mile.

Firstly, the Lancaster University Management School rankings are incredibly high – consistently ranked within the top 10 Business Schools in the UK and within the top 1% globally. This gives makes me a student of one of the best Business Schools in the world, which is completely invaluable when it comes to applying for jobs, internships and placements.

Which leads nicely onto my next point – Lancaster has some seriously impressive links with companies who offer industrial placements for University students. As a placement year is something I have always wanted to complete as part of my degree, the way Lancaster approaches this was a hugely influential factor in my decision to come here. I found at other Universities, the general attitude towards industrial placements was ‘you can do one if you want, but you’re on your own in organising it’. Lancaster could not be more different. The Management School has a dedicated careers service specifically for placement students, runs drop-in sessions and lectures, mock assessment centres, interviews, psychometric tests and CV and cover letter workshops to ensure that every student is fully and completely prepared for both the application process and the actual work place. This is something I really value and having such a strong support network throughout the entire process made the idea of a placement year seem a lot less daunting.

The final major benefit of Lancaster which really swayed my decision was the campus. I come from a relatively small area and have never experienced living in a city (in fact, the only time I ever used a bus was when visiting family friends in Edinburgh – talk about country bumpkin!). As a result, I wasn’t convinced about how much I would really enjoy city life – I felt like I would embrace it for the first term but the novelty of not being within walking distance of everything (literally, everything) as I was at home would quickly wear off. Lancaster was the perfect in-between – just out of the city, I would have access to the city life with the comfort of a campus bubble to retreat to.

Here’s me visiting my accommodation just after A level results day when I knew I’d made it, not knowing how my University experience would unfold or where the next four years would take me.

becca-farish-outside-accommodation

Having been here for a year now, I am confident I made the right decision with Lancaster.