“ BCUC. „
Bucks New University
First of all, this University is now called Buckinghamshire New University, which it changed its name to a few years ago. In this review I will be referring to it with its current name rather than the name it is under on Dooyoo.
Buckinghamshire New University (BNU) is located in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and is a 30-40 minute train ride away from the city of London. I became a student at Bucks New Uni in September 2009 and have nearly completed two years of my three year course there.
When I made the decision to go to University, I knew I wanted to go to one that was in London, or at least near it. Subsequently that's what most of my Uni choices were based on, rather than the possibly more important issues such as University rankings, facilities, and courses. I got accepted into all the Universities I applied to, which were all in or near London, and I had a tough decision to make as to which one to accept. I came very close to choosing one that was in the city, but ending up picking Buckinghamshire New University as its close enough to London, but not actually in it. As I'm from a fairly small city (York) and had only visited London a couple of times, I felt it might be to big a change to move right into the heart of the capital straight away, so Bucks seemed a good location.
For anyone whose heard anything about this University, it's likely that you'll have heard more negative than positive things said about it. A friend of mine actually highly warned me against going as he had just finished his degree there and informed me he regretted choosing Bucks as his University. Anyway I like to make my own mind up about these things, and after my visit to High Wycombe and the University, I decided I would like to go there. It is constantly right near the bottom of most University ranking tables that I have seen but as it has only been a University for around four years, I figured that is may simply not have had chance to gain a good reputation, or make a name for itself as a University. Before it made the transmission into having University status, it was a college for many years (using the name Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, as it is called on Dooyoo.)
The course I am studying is Business Management BA (Hons) and although I feel I have been taught well for the majority of the time so far, this is not one of the courses that Bucks are known for specialising in. Instead, they seem to have a good reputation for the more creative courses, especially Graphic Design. The university teaches some fairly bizarre degrees as well as the more standard ones. These include Business, English, Journalism, Graphics, Sports, Music, Bed Sales, and Jewellery making.
For my course of Business Management, I am normally expected to attend lectures for around 12 hours a week, and study at home for a lot more than that. I was surprised that I have so few lessons despite the fairly high course fees. Having said that, this University charges the same course fees as most other standard Universities, and after speaking to friends from other places, it seems that 12 hours a week is also pretty standard.
When it comes to the quality of my lectures I would say that half of them are interesting, and involve more practical activities or class discussions which get everyone involved. The other halves of my lectures are very boring and involve just sitting and watching a three hour slide show. However I suppose they are called lectures for a reason and so they are bound to be slightly monotonous. Obviously if you are doing a more creative course then there will be more workshops, activities, and practical work. When learning about accounting and the credit crunch, it's slightly more difficult to make the lectures interactive and fun.
As I said, Bucks New Uni is located in High Wycombe, however I didn't mention that there is also a campus in Uxbridge. The Uxbridge campus is only for people who are doing a nursing course, so if you choose to study anything else at BNU then you will be in High Wycombe.
Most of the University got rebuilt just before I became a student there, so half of it is quite old and a little shabby, and the other half is new and modern. The new part has a library which covers four floors, hundreds of new computers, and editing suites. There are also new lecture halls, but even the classrooms and lecture halls in the old building are satisfactory even if they're sometimes a bit dated.
There are currently two options for Student Accommodation in High Wycombe. There are Hughenden Halls which were newly built two years ago and are brand spanking new and very modern. There are also Brook Street Halls which are old, extremely basic, not particularly clean, and generally look as though they haven't been maintained.
Of course I ended up being put in the latter; Brook Street Halls. However, it wasn't all bad, as these halls were cheaper, closer to University and town, and contained more flats and therefore more people.
I have visited the new accommodation many times as I had friends there, and also found them to be clean, spacious, and generally a nice place to live. However, friends I know that live there complain that it is not a fun place to live and nothing ever happens, the flats are clean which is nice, but it also means that some people feel like they can't relax there properly.
Brook Street Halls where I lived, were not a 'nice' place to live, but they were a fun place to live. Most of the flats were shared by ten people, and each flat was in a 'block' so there were always plenty of people around, and plenty of parties going on. For the majority of the time this was extremely fun, but it could be occasionaly annoying if I fancied a quiet evening once in a while and there would be constant noise throughout the night. I felt that these halls were extremely badly maintained and managed, which it turn led to students having zero respect for their apartments and not looking after them at all, which only led to more parties and less cleaning up. A couple of times me and my flat mates had to complain about issues such as one of our showers breaking, and it took the 'maintenance' team about a month to come and fix it.
Students are only allowed to live in halls of residence for their first year of study, and after that they have to find a flat or house to live in. I had a great year in halls, but I don't think I could have stayed there longer than a year!
Prices for living in halls go up every year, and they are currently about £110 a week for Hughenden Halls (the new ones) and about £95 a week for the old shabby Brook Street Halls. These prices include bills and internet, but I think they're very expensive, especially the Brook Street prices. In Brook Street you get a small bedroom, communal kitchen, showers and toilets, and as I said, the accommodation is generally bad quality. The price for rent is certainly a complete rip off, but if you're about to go to University then I would definitely recommend living in halls of residence for the first year as it's the best way to meet lots of new people.
As the University is situated in High Wycombe, the town has played a big part in my University life so far. Although, I have had a good time there, and am happy to spend another year in High Wycombe, it is not the most interesting of places to live, especially as a student. Luckily I have met some great people who have made the last two years an enjoyable experience.
The town itself has a fairly new shopping centre called the Eden Centre (which I have written a review on) and it is probably the town's main asset. It is modern and has many shops, as well as places to eat, and a cinema and bowling alley. The rest of the town and the High Street have a limited amount of shops.
There are some good pubs in High Wycombe, including 'The Antelope' and 'The Hobgoblin' and just one club, which is called 'Pure/Life on Mars.' The club can be good sometimes, especially on student nights, but I wouldn't want to go there more than once a week.
One of High Wycombe's redeeming features in it's proximity to London, which as I said is one of the main reasons I chose to go there. The trains to London are very regular and the journey takes 30-40 minutes. This is good if High Wycombe gets a little boring, as it sometimes does.
As I said before, I have met great people at University who have made my time in High Wycombe enjoyable. I think that you can live in the most exciting city in the world but if all the people there are awful then you probably won't enjoy living there, and likewise, High Wycombe may not be that amazing but I enjoy living there because of the friends I have met.
Last year, certain courses, including mine, were told that we would have the chance to study abroad for a large portion of the second year of our degree. We were given a choice of many European countries including Germany, Holland, Italy and Spain, as well as some locations in the USA also. Personally I think this is a fantastic opportunity not to be missed, and I took full advantage of it, which is why I am now half way through a six month period of studying in France. I was surprised that not many fellow students have taken part in this as it is a great experience.
Anyway I was impressed with Bucks being able to offer this and they have been as helpful as possible throughout my transition to France and French education. Not only was I given this opportunity but it was included in the cost of my University fees so I didn't have to pay anything to take part other than travel and accommodation.
When I return to BNU I will be able to continue my degree the same as my class mates, and I will have had the fantastic experience that I am currently having in France.
The student's union bar is a place I often find myself on various nights throughout the week. As I mentioned earlier, High Wycombe is not the best place for a thriving night life, and so the Students Union proves very popular with myself and fellow students. There is something on every single night of the week, whether it is live music, a fancy dress themed night, or a pub quiz.
The various events, teamed with the fact that it is always free entry for students, the drinks are fairly cheap, and it's where most of the students go, mean that I have a high opinion on BNU's Student's Union.
Clubs and Societies
There is a multitude of clubs and societies already available to join at BNU, or sometimes you can start your own. The ones already in place include many sports clubs such as football, netball and rugby, and as well as other societies, for example YES (Young Entrepreneurs Society.)
If you want to set up a club/society then you just need a certain amount of interest from other students, and the University will provide you with a budget for advertising and events.
One thing I like about this University is the fact that there are always people on hand to help with job hunting, career advising, and CV writing. You don't even have to see anyone as they will do it all by email if you want. There are job fairs at the university every now and then, where local employers who need staff will come and meet students. I have got a couple of job interviews this way and it's a great way to network.
As a business student, I am also very interested in the fact that BNU won 'Enterprising University of the Year' last year, and are always big on helping students out with business ventures. Last year I came up with a business idea that the staff thought was good and was therefore awarded with £500 for it. They also offer other help as well as financial; they can assign you a business mentor as well as put you in touch with other people who will be able to help. There is also an enterprise festival every year, where business professionals are invited to come and talk to students, and various business competitions take place.
I have mixed opinions on my University, but they are more positive than negative. As a business student I have been extremely impressed with the enterprise festival, and the support available to students who want to start a business. I also love the new part of the University buildings as they are modern and have new and fantastic facilities. Another thing I forgot to mention about BNU, is that they give each student £500 per year as a bursary, which is a very helpful bit of money, especially when you're a student.
Aspects of BNU that I have been less impressed with include the poor state of the accommodation and certain parts of the University buildings. Having to live in the city of High Wycombe is another slightly bad point to being a student at BNU, but as I said, I have enjoyed my time there so far.
I would say that BNU is a good University and I don't regret going there, however when I have visited my friends at other uni's it is clear there is much better out there. I would give Bucks 3/5 overall as I think it is improving all the time but still has a fair way to go if it wants to compete with some of the older and more well known institutions out there.
Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, now called Bucks New University, was the Uni I attended and obtained my Degree. I felt that this Uni was for me as it was not a big posh building like some of the others I had seen, and actually felt more like my 6th form college rather than a scary University.
I felt that the lecturers I had at Uni played a big part in the way in which I learned. If my lecturer put in the time and effort into lectures, then it made me feel more inclined to study and learn more about the subjects I was being taught.
Many parts of Bucks New University have now been re-built, so that a better learning environment can be created. I would really recommend checking out this University if you are looking to attend a place of further education. I enjoyed my time there and would go back tomorrow if I could.
If your thinking of going to university, dont chose this one. I stayed at the Chalfont Campus, which is slap bang in the middle...of no where. Meaning if you need to go shopping, or anywhere for that matter, you either need to drive, befriend someone who drives, steal a car, or really on the dodgy campus bus service, which stops at 8pm. Taxi's are ok but they cost a fortune. the nearest city to go out in (thats any good) is Watford, and the train station is about 6 miles away.
On campus you should make sure u stay in St.Giles and not St.Peters. St.Giles are the newer buildings some have en suite rooms and they are all funky and modern and clean.
St.Peters however is known as the party area. The buildings are old and manky and dull, and quite frankly dirty, we had mice in our kitchen. the rooms are bigger than St.Giles, but its like living in a prison still. the kitchens are tiny considering they have to accomdate 8 people, there was a constant fight for the microwave, and dont even get me started on the washing up (or lack of) that the cleaners are supposed to do. Insted they steal your food and help themselves to tea and coffee in your kitchen while they put their feet up and have a fag.
There is a bar (Bar 1) which is quite nice, and a small club type thing (Bar 2) which does host some good nights, but always left me feeling that it was just the start of the night and that i needed to go somewhere, well, bigger! There was sometimes a burger van outside though which was a godsend. There is a small shop where u can get basic groceries from, and a canteen, but its mainly the exchange students that hang out in there. Alot of students come from abroad and tend to cuase more trouble than the natives, i know of a girl that was sexually assualted on her way back from the shop in the car park in broad daylight.
All in all i had a fantastic time there, just a little frusrating that u have to travel loads to get anywhere, and being from a city, I'm used to having everything on my doorstep.
Newlands is the best campus out of the three with to bars and a club on site, but the other two are well worth a look at. Has all u need on site Gym, swimming pool three footy pitch's and places to eat, Just has a good feeling around the place and is now in the top 16 uni's for Business art and law. The BCUC student support is also very good so if u eva have any problems, which u also do, they will be sorted out very fast. eg swopping rooms.
The place isn't so bad, although it is far from good. The main campus isn't too bad- the union is open every night, although it can cost up to £3 to get into. I'm at the Wellesbourne campus, which is a mission to get to if you don't have a car, which you are unlikely to have if you live in halls as you can get chucked out for having one there. Wellesbourne is quite a bit away from the halls up a big hill, so you have to get the bus, which isn't too bad in the mornings, but during the day it has a habit of being late or not showing at all. The halls aren't too bad, so long as you're at Brook Street-anyone who stays at John North is crazy. Halls are not always easy to get into since there's only 500 rooms for the two campuses in Wycombe. I didn't get into halls straight away and had to live with a dodgy old woman for two months who never paid me back my £100 diposit and then changed her phone number. Once you get into halls, they can be quite a laugh (I was in Brook street, I can't talk for John North), so long as you have decent faltmates, most of mine were ok, though one turned out to be a bit of a psycho. There's usually around 9 people in each flat- you share one kitchen and there's two showers & toilets- no baths. It's cool if your kitchen faces the courtyard as then you can amuse yourself all day by throwing things at other people's flats. This may be the highlight of the time you spend in Wycombe. Brook Street Halls are right in the town, close to the bus station, Tescos, Victoria Wine, the High Wycombe Campus and there's a pub next door- not a very nice one, but it's cheap and they give you lots of vouchers for 50p off a pint. John North Halls are at the top of a big hill (the opposite side to the Wellesboune campus- Wycombe town's in a valley) next to the leisure centre & cinema- I hear there's also a John Lewis' and Asda near by- but I tend not to go
up that way unless I'm going home. If you don't get into halls, you really have to watch out for where you stay, there are a few roads that you really should try to avoid moving into- Desborough Road (and maybe Desborough Avenue- though it's not so bad); Green Street; Upper Green Street; Kitchener Road and probably a few more in that vicinity, which is quite a bugger since most of the student houses are situated in these areas. There's not a lot to do in High Wycombe, there are a few pubs. If you want to see live bands, then the White Horse is the best pub, the Antelope also has some bands; There's The Falcon, which is a Weatherspoons- so you know what to expec; there's a Hogs Head; O'Neils- which used to be a Firkin- haven't been there since it changed though; the Roundaout, which is next to Brook Street Halls; The Hobgoblin- very studenty. There are a couple of clubs- Unit 3- haven't been there myself, but have heard it's good, but its only open certain nights, a few people are scared to go there because it's not in the best area, but you shouldn't have a problem. Then there's Time, which used to be Eden. Haven't been there since it changed, mainly as it's over 21's most nights, but if it's anything like Eden- your best to stay away as Eden was a pile of poo. There's also a pool/snooker hall called 'Fast Eddies' which is quite good- you can get some cheap drinks and it's open until late- like 2 or 4am. You need a membership card though. I think that's about it for night life. You can always go to London- there's a direct train to Marylebone which takes about 30mins. The town has all of your normal high street shops- there are a couple of shopping centres- but nothing to get excited about. The uni itself is nothing special. I don't know much about the main campus, except that there are two floors of computers and all of the of
fices for accommodation, finance, etc are located here. There is no student parking. The Wellesbourne campus is a bit of a dump. It's an old school- parking is quite good up there. There is a bar there, but its crap and not open for long- they don't make much money and threatened to close it last year. There are a couple of pool tables in there though and a jukebox. The canteen is a bit mank, though seems to be good for breakfasts. Some of the people at Wellesbourne can be a bit stuffy, they all seem really competitive, but if you can find the right people, you shouldn't have a problem making friends. Some of the lecturers that I've come across are a bit ditsy or boring. All the girls seem to fancy Ray Sylvester- can't see it myself. Look out for Bryan Mace- he's a laugh. The library at Wellesbourne is pretty lame, it's pretty small and doesn't have a lot of books. The computer rooms aren't much better, there are too general access rooms, but a lot of the time it's impossible to get on a computer, and if you da, chances are it will crash on you. Most of the computers have internet access which is free. Word of advice, if you don't have a computer of your own, if you have an assignment due in, don't leave it til the last minute to type up- the computer rooms are always chocka the last couple of days befor work is due.
This university college is quite literally rotten to the core. The teaching standards are poor. Pastoral care is non-existant. Lecturers and seminar teachers do not care about their students and it felt like I was back at school when one teacher ran out in tears declaring how much she hated us! The Students Union bar is so filthy that you don't even have to have more than two drinks to feel ill! The lines for the cider and lager have not been cleaned in four years, since the bar was refurbished. Despite what the brochures advertise, local student accommodation is a health hazard. In my first year, four of us students shared a house approved by the college. The landlord was a cowboy and eventually British Gas came round to shut down our boiler as it was emitting carbon monoxide. I wondered why I had had flu-like symptoms for most of the year. My bedroom was directly above the boiler and I was being slowly, but surely poisoned! We had no hot water or heating for the last few months there. The town in which the college is situated has no venues for entertainment except for a few uncomfortable pubs, and a UCI cinema. Locals are extremely unfriendly towards students. The college itself is run-down and dirty and is badly located with no parking without annual fees. The library is extremely limited. Many books for the course I took in the Social Science Faculty were located at a library at a different campus for nursing about 10 miles away. Considering my course was not taught at this other campus, it was extremely inconvenient and pointless holding vital books so far away from where they were needed. I spent a terrible 3 years of my life there and in hindsight, I wish I had never even seen the place! You'd be better off applying to a real university with proper standards in teaching.