I have to agree with simona my experiences here havnt been that great but not bad either. The internet site they have designed for the university is poorly designed and had to navigate around. Two years in a row i missed the first week of university because the student office failed to put my timetable up properly. How do you do that twice in a row? I had to retake a module for a whole year. In my retake students were asking the teachers for the answers and they were giving the answers 'on the sly'. This is favourtism. I refused to cheat. Now because the bank dont know im here for another year i need a bank letter from the university. Wow what hell this has been. Went in two weeks ago the woman said ill get a letter in the post. Didnt recieve nothing so went in last week, this time i filled out a form and they said it would be ready on monday. I went there and the student office is closed because apperently there doing reassessments. 1 woman came out and she seemed helpful but then wow the woman that actually does the letter came out and started giving me attitude, 'oh im sorry were closed i havnt got time to do your bank letter'. Are joking?? The staff dont know anything about anything. They didnt even know that the student office would be closed on monday. So thats 3 wasted trips of my time going to kingston. On top of that she spoke to me like im in the wrong. Not helpful in the slightest. And with the other comment about people copying work. If you like to do your own work and love your work when you do it. Dont come here otherwise youll be harrassed for your work.
Students are being bullied by senior staff members (sorry, they do not deserve to be called academics) and young lecturers have a 'wandering eye' on female students. Extremely poor teaching and course quality in general. Honestly, stay away from unis like this one.
There is a rampant culture of plagiarism at Kingston University. Many students just copy each others work and hand them in as their own. No one gets into trouble over this, cause they want everyone to pass or the staff will lose their jobs. All of the modules I took were really easy, and the marks were very high for almost everyone, even if they barely did the work. There is a lot of racism and sexism at the university. Staff members don't treat minority students well, and women are frequently ogled by male lecturers. Muslim students are not allowed to make up work during Ramadan or other holidays. And many of them are marked more strictly than white students. I found this site that tells about how students and staff are treated, and I recommend that anyone considering coming to Kingston reads this site carefully. It's http://www.sirpeterscott.com. It's a pretty funny site, but it has very useful information.
Many, many years ago (back when the dead sea was still only sick...), I was 18. Like many 18 year olds, I went to university. A couple of years later, I was 20. And like many 20 year olds, I dropped out. I wasn't ready at the time for the commitment and hard work that a university degree requires.
Fast forward a whole bunch of years. Now, I was in my 20s. I had a toddler and a husband. And a yen to learn again. As I lived in South West London, I (not unsurprisingly) looked for part-time university courses within my local area.
Kingston University, in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey had a course that seemed to fit the bill. They called it Combined Studies, and it was specifically designed for 'mature' (don't you just love that word) students. The classes were in the evenings, and in the evening you could even park on campus (this is important - parking in Kingston is a real female dog).
Introduction part II
As mentioned just a paragraph ago, Kingston University is located in leafy Surrey. It is an ex-Polytechnic, given university status in, I believe, 1992. According to its website (www.kingston.ac.uk): "With about 14,500 students, it is the largest provider of higher education in south west London." (However, only around 1100 of those are part-time). So, it's new, and it's big.
Structure of the Course
The course was called Combined Studies - this implies an element of combination. You studied two subjects - either as a major/minor or as a joint degree. At the end of it, if you completed all the required credits, you receive either a BA or a BSc (depending, of course, on what you studied). Depending on how many credits you chose to complete, you could receive this either with or without honours. There are also intermediate qualifications for completing 'levels' (equating to years full time - i.e. Foundation Level is one year full time - usually two part time, Intermediate would be two years full time, possibly four part time and so on).
Halfway through the five years it took me to complete my degree (I had exemptions, since I had studied in university before), the Combined Studies course was merged into the Faculty of Human Sciences, I think it was called. This meant that the choice of courses in the evening was severely curtailed, and that all exams now took place during the day. This did not make me happy, and I did complain, but to no avail. Still, I finished.
So, each year, I forked over around £500 (in my first year, I only paid around £200 because both my husband and I were unemployed).
So, having chosen to study English Literature 'with' Education, I was on my way to a BA. (The 'with' means that I majored in English and minored in Education).
What This Review DOESN'T Cover
Well, remember the words 'mature' and 'part-time'. I won't be discussing the night life (I'm not a clubbing gal, myself), nor the student union, nor the halls of residence. None of these came into my sphere of awareness, as it were. Depending on the year, either I drove to uni from home after spending the day with my daughter, or drove to uni from work. Then I drove home (occasionally stopping at The Spring Grove pub on the way - it's behind the Penrhyn Road campus - nice Youngs pub).
I am completely unqualified to discuss Kingston's sporting facilities - I am not sporty - I avoid all forms of exercise, and I was, I repeat, an evening part time student. The sporting facilities never impinged upon my consciousness.
I am not going to describe every campus in detail - I only attended two of the four of them, which I'll describe briefly. However, I never attended either Knights Park or Roehampton Vale, so I know absolutely nothing about them.
Nor am I going to discuss Kingston town centre, except to say that it has a large, pedestrianised shopping centre with a large mall (The Bentalls Centre), a few pubs, a nightclub (never been), and restaurants. It's basically an upper-middle-class shopping precinct, complete with a Costa Coffee and LOTS of bookstores. There are good transport (bus and train) links to and from Kingston (both to London itself and to other suburbs). There are three large parks not far away - Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Hampton Court Park. They have deer. And trees. And other park stuff. Enough said. I'm not a tour guide!
Campus - Penrhyn Road
This is the main campus. It's big. It's concrete. It's ugly. It's on Penrhyn Road (a ten to fifteen minute walk to the town centre). This is where I studied English Literature. It has a canteen, which I rarely used. This is because they had a coffee bar specifically for mature students, graduate students, faculty and staff. No youngsters. You got real ceramic cups and plates. There were comfy chairs. I got coffee there before class.
The classrooms, are, well, classrooms. That's what they look like. Which is just as well.
Course - English Literature
The English Literature portion of my degree pleased me for the most part. I felt I got a good education, mostly with caring tutors (some part-time, some tenured). Foundation English Lit included an introduction to drama, an introduction to poetry, and an introduction to the novel (you only had to take two of the three - I skipped the novel). After that, you could choose from narrower fields - amongst others, I took a Shakespeare class, Romantic poetry, Post Modern poetry, and critical issues. I thought Fictions of Appetite was silly (don't ask!)
Campus - Kingston Hill
The Kingston Hill campus is pretty - it has trees and grass and halls of residence. It's the one that appears on brochures, as it LOOKS like a campus.
Course - Education
Here is where the education faculty is situated. I would like to point out, that the education portion of my degree was NOT teacher training. It does not claim to make you a teacher. What it was supposed to do is give you an insight into English education - the laws, theory and practice. It would be a preparation, if you wished it to be, for a PGCE.
However, I said it *would* be. I can't say enough about the education portion of my degree. It was awful. Truly awful. It was disorganised, badly staffed and badly run. Marking of papers seemed to be arbitrary, with no consistent standards.
I took Comparative Education. A lecture on American education was timetabled, labelled 'lecturer to be advised.' Oh, it was advised, all right. Ten minutes before the lecture was due to start, I was asked to lecture. Me. A STUDENT. For free. I did it, but what did I learn from it? Humph.
What Did I Achieve?
After five years (in July 1999), I came away with an Upper Second Class Honours Degree in English Literature with Education. In December 1999, I sat through the most boring graduation ceremony in history. For the privilege of attending my own graduation and inviting my family, I had to pay £16 a guest ticket, around £35 (I think) for cap and gown hire, another £35 for photographs, plus tube and train fares to and from South Bank. Humph again.
What Do I Think?
Despite my dissatisfaction with the Education course, and despite the ugliness of the Penrhyn Road campus, and despite the changing around nearly every year of the structure of the course (daytime exams, a reduction of modules offered in the evening, a change to the credit accumulation system yadda yadda yadda...), all in all, I'm glad I did it.
With ANY university - be it Harvard, Oxford or Kingston, you get out what you are willing to put in. I worked hard, and, for the most part, that hard work was rewarding and rewarded.
The staff was, especially in the English faculty, committed and knowledgeable. Most of them, anyway. I didn't always agree with their viewpoints, but many deserved, and got, my respect (the Education faculty is another kettle of fish).
So...do I recommend Kingston University for the more mature student? Well, yes and no. It IS a bit of a lottery - which faculty you get, which courses will be offered in the evening, what you choose to study. But, if you live in South West or West London, it offers a convenient, decent education. So it's up to you. Good luck!
I write this as a final year undergraduate on the BSc(Hons) Computer Information Systems Design course at the Penryn Rd campus of Kingston University. Kingston generally is a nice town as the other reviews all agree. My only disagreement is that parking in surrounding roads is actually possible if you know where to look and are willing to walk 8-10 minutes (depends what time of day you try to find a space). As for the university itself, the main campus is fairly bland looking although that won't bother many people. It is extremely multi-cultural (like many London universities). At the main campus, I would estimate that 50% are asian, 5% oriental, 15% black and 30% white (the school of computing courses are only about 10% white). At the other two campuses, Kingston Hill (business and law) and Knights Park (art and design) most people are white. Although there is a ratio of 51% female to 49% male, since the main campus has all the technology courses there are significantly fewer girls at the main campus and more at the others. I decided to apply for Kingston mainly because I didn't want to move away from home and it was a 10 minute drive away. However, I have since regretted not looking further afield since my A-level grades were way above that of the other students on my course (who had three D grades on average due to the heavy reliance on clearing). There are many serious consequences for joining a university with below average quality students if you are above average. Firstly, the teachers are of lower calibre than at more prestigious universities, they do not always know their subjects well and there is a very high student/staff ratio (according to the Times it is 23 students per teacher which sounds about right from what I have experienced). The most serious problem for the able student at Kingston is the way that students are assessed. On my course (and most computing school courses and possibly in the other
faculties too), there is a heavy emphasis on group assessment. While group work is useful in developing team skills, when you are assessed for a module as a group (typically 3-5 students working on a group project), you are given one group grade. This grade will enevitably reflect the average quality of the work from the various group members. So if your work is A standard and the other group members' work is C or D standard you will probably all end up with a C grade. This is a mechanism used by the university to enable its vast numbers of students who would not otherwise pass the year with individual assessment to pass at the expense of more able students whose grades are dragged down. The only option that I had to avoid having my grades dragged down was to do all the group assessed coursework myself. This has meant that I have already done 3 degrees worth of coursework! Most groups of say 5 members have 2 or 3 students doing all the work because the other members are too lazy/too busy/not clever enough to make a useful contribution. It is scandalous and is a good reason for anyone who is expecting to get grades above the entry requirements not to apply to Kingston if they care what class of degree they are awarded at the end of their course. In the first and second years of my course, half of all the modules had between 50-100% group coursework as the assessment method. In the final year, through careful choice of option modules I managed to limit group assessed coursework modules to just one of my eight modules but this severely restricted my choice of module options. Frankly, half the students who made it to the final year have relied on others doing their work for them through the group assessment system and their grades bear no relation to their ability.
Kingston University is situated on the outskirts of London in the picturesque and welcoming county of Surrey. There are four campuses that form Kingston Uni. They are Penrhyn Road, Kingston Hill, Knights Park and Roehampton Vale. I am more familiar with the Penrhyn Road Campus because that is the one that I study at and that is the one I will be sharing my opinion with you on. The Penrhyn Road Campus is situated in the heart of Kingston. It is located on a main road called....can you guess? Yes! Penrhyn Road! This campus is in a prime location where everything of interest is within walking distance. A ten minute walk from the uni can take you straight to the shopper's paradise! Kingston Town Centre is renowned for the Bentalls Shopping Centre which consists of many popular department stores and famous retail outlets. The Centre also has a floor dedicated to the Food Village where shoppers can stop at for a quick bite. WARNING: The Food Village is not suitable for average students. Prices are unreasonably high. Surrounding the Bentall's Shopping Centre are many famous designer shops, coffee shops and eateries. However, students may prefer to shop in the market square which is behind the main town centre. You can find some very good bargains there and pay half the price you would do if you were to buy the same thing from some of the 'designer' shops which are within half a mile walking distance! Amid all the City like features of Kingston Town Centre, there are some very picturesque features, especially by the riverside. The River Thames runs along Kingston and it is a picture of beauty in the summer months. Frequent boat rides run during the summer and I believe the prices are quite reasonable although I have not actually experienced it myself- YET! There is no shortage of nightlife in Kingston either. The most famous venues being The Works (formerly known as Volts) and Options. Options is split in to a cinema
and nightclub and there are often many special uni gigs held there. The Works is more of a mainstream club that attracts many people from outside the local area. The design of The Works is simply fantastic! It is very spacious and consists of two floors. The lighting and laser effects are really something to be desired! Having said that, £4 million was spent on the re-development of the club so inevitably it will be pleasing to the eye. A new multiplex cinema and bowling alley is being built as part of an entertainment arcade bringing one more attraction to Kingston. I just hope that it is completed before I leave Uni! Ok hopefully I have painted a nice picture of Kingston for you and you are perhaps envious that I study in a Uni with such pleasant surroundings! (Or maybe not!) Well, now lets talk about the actual university itself....The Penrhyn Road campus is not the most delightful works of art but at the end of the day, it is not supposed to be! It is a building designed for students and one where students feel like students. The Student Union is not the best SU by far but who cares?! As long as its got a bar, seating, dance floor and entertainment (pool table, slot machines, etc..) then what the hell?! You cant expect to get a Student Union bar designed like All Bar One or Yates! The canteen is nothing to rave about and the food is very expensive considering it is there for students. Cases of food poisoning from there have been known...However, everyone still congregates there at lunch times and there is a really nice 'buzz' there most of the time. I must give credit to the library computer facilities. The University has spent a lot of money on the library recently and it has been money well spent. All Kingston Uni students can access computing facilities in the library and make use of the free printing facilities. The only down side is probably the queues for computers which can get frustrating at times
, even more when it comes nearer to deadlines! To me it is not the architectural layout of a university that makes it pleasant to study at, it is the atmosphere and people. The atmosphere at Kingston is very welcoming and pleasant from my experience. People are friendly there and there is such a diversity of people in terms of nationalities and culture. If you are considering to go to University then I would strongly recommend that you check out Kingston University. I know that I have only discussed the University's facilities and its surroundings but I would like to add that academically, Kingston has a very good reputation and is very much recognised. Having said all that the best reason why you should come to Kingston University is simply because I AM THERE! (Joke!)
This uni is situated in a lovely area, Kingston-upon-Thames (near the River as the name suggests) and is split up into three main sites, and one slightly separated by the others that is for art/design students. The main sites are in different parts of the town, but there is a free bus service provided by the university that you can catch every 20 mins, and which will also drop you off in town in you want to go shopping. It is an expensive area to live in, but where isn't nowadays! The courses on offer here at Kingston cover mostly every area you can think of, with the recent addition of a nursing block. The lecturers are very good from my experience and all the staff are friendly and willing to help with any problems you may have. Outside of studying, there is plenty to do around here - with clubs and pubs for a night to forget work and have fun - or for a more relaxing occasion there is Richmond Park within walking distance, and of course you can always go for a walk down by the river. Don't forget that Central London is a short distance away by train or bus - so if you have the extra money to indulge yourself there's plenty to do there, as everyone knows. The only problem with this uni is the parking facilities. The main site, at Penrhyn Road, has NO parking facilities for students and it is very difficult to find parking spaces in the surrounding area (it's all residential parking now). The other sites do have car-parks for students but there are not enough spaces for everyone so you'll have to get in early! I have just finished a Bachelors degree at Kingston University and have decided to stay on here to do a Masters. So I guess that's confirmation enough of my opinion of this uni, and yes I would recommend it to people!