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The best place to be a student
Aston University in general
Member Name: spirit19
Aston University in general
I've just finished my first year at Aston University now doing an BSc Economics and Management degree, I initially applied for BSc Business and Management but there is a common first year so I was allowed to change, more on that later though.
The grades you need to get are highly dependent on your course ranging from AAA for business courses to CCC for courses such as engineering. Aston is said to be a specialist business university, however looking at rankings, it is actually the best university in the country for Optometry (as told by my friend that does Optometry quoting league tables he looked at when applying a year ago) so Aston is a good university to go to for a wide range of courses. My offer was AAA-AAB and I only got ABB s I'm guessing your personal statement carries a lot of weight when applying here so make it good!
Aston Uni is located in the center of Birmingham with most things you could ask for within a 15 minute walking distance. If you live on campus in your first year, which I highly recommend, all university buildings will be less than a 5 minute walk from your accommodation. There is a small shop in the student guild and there are cash machines at the guild as well. I rarely used these though, since there was a Tesco Express about 5 minutes away for a quick shop and a Tesco Metro about 15 minutes away for the weekly shop. Also around 15 minutes away is the Bullring, one of the biggest shopping centers in the country. Not only that, there are loads of shops outside ranging from Cybercandy and Poundland to M&S and Jack Jones. To top it all off a lot of it is completely pedestrianized so there are no cars or roads to cross making the shopping experience even better. If you want to watch a movie there is a little known IMAX movie theater which we discovered in Millennium Point, a building which is just across the road from the university... and it has the biggest movie screens in the Midlands! There is pretty much everything you can think of and want so close by that you will never have a boring day, and who knows, if you explore a bit you might find something new as well!
I lived in New Build Block A1 and I can hands down say it is the best student accommodation I have ever seen. They were only just built a few months before I moved in so most rooms hadn't even been lived in yet, and even now, they are only a year old. It is modern and spacious with ensuite bathrooms and shared kitchens - although slightly pricey, I think it is worth it. You have the option of 7 bed and 5 bed, I lived in 7 bed because it is cheaper, and to be honest, the upgrade to 5 bed isn't that impressive. For those on a tighter budget, Lakeside still provides accommodation far superior to most you will see. The rooms are slightly bigger and the bathrooms are slightly nicer, but you share with 10 people and get a smaller kitchen. Fridge space in New Build is adequate, but in Lakeside it is slightly on the tighter side, but for the lower price is is very much acceptable. Then there is Stafford 'soon to be demolished' Tower. If you want to live there, the 2012-13 academic year is the last year it will be in existence, after that it will be taken down brick by brick *yawn* I was looking forward to an explosion but it won't happen. I have not been in there when sober so I cannot give a truly descriptive account of it, but from what I have heard it is not the best - just liveable. I can't speak for Lakeside or Stafford, but at New Build our kitchen was cleaned weekly and our bathrooms were cleaned monthly which in student life is VERY useful although not so much when they decide to start work early and wake you up at 8am after a night out...
Just a bit about the nightlife because it is a big part of being a student. The nightlife is brilliant! There are tons of clubs and bars with rock bottom prices. The places I recommend are; Monday - Gatecrasher, Tuesday - Risa, Wednesday - HMV, Thursday - Risa/Gatecrasher, Friday-Sunday - Everywhere has good deals and is a decent night out! There are several clubs at the Arcadian as well which is basically a complex of bars and clubs, but the major thing they have is they bar crawls. I would recommend going on Barsity and all the bar crawls at Arcadian - they offer the best value without a doubt.
The library is a great resource for all students. You get free wi-fi, in fact you get free wi-fi all through the campus, and there are hundreds of computers for your use as well as 2-4 printers on every floor. There are hundreds of textbooks, and if you want to save some money there are a few copies of the essential textbooks which you can snag if you get there quick. For those doing a business degree, I highly recommend this, I purchased all the books and soon came to regret it - many are not useful at all and the ones that are even slightly useful are limited by things like using American terminology which we can't use in our exams.
The internet in your rooms was £140 for 12mb/s and £180 for 20mb/s for the year 2011-12 but apparently it will be changed to be included in your rent for following years, although rent will also increase. It wasn't great for me, it was run by StudentCom and frequently (at least 5 times a day) redirected to their homepage, but again that may change. There is also a gym for students which is £100ish for a year. If you want the pool and sauna it will be more but I am not sure of the price. There is a football pitch, badminton courts, squash courts and table tennis available at a small cost every time you use it. The badminton courts are £2.50 to £4.50 an hour and football pitches are £10/hour with deposits required if you want a football/racket.
When you arrive you will be greeted by Aston Aunties who help you move into your flat (I carried one bag up to my 8th floor flat - the aunties dd the rest!) and you are then assigned one auntie per flat to introduce you to your flat/floor mates and to help you out if ever you need. Freshers week is full of partying but also contains a lot of useful information for the future years so attend as many events as possible. The one definite event you attend should be Freshers Fair. This is where you apply to all sorts of groups and clubs from badminton to extreme bbq! Also there is a ton of free stuff to be had so make sure to sign up to anything interesting and pick up anything that's free on the way.
I totally love everything about the university and actually can't wait to go back for my second year! Anyone who plans to come to Aston send me a message!
Summary: Hands down best uni!!!