I am currently a third year Mathematics student at Royal Holloway University of London. It is a stunning, tiny campus with good train routes into London and Reading, among others, and a very large shopping centre in Staines quite close by. It is a nice blend of old buildings with nice scenery and modern, technical buildings, and it works quite well. It is also rated quite highly, when I started it was 15th in the UK and 119th in the whole world. Also, being a University of London situated quite far away in Surrey, you get all the perks of UofL but none of the drawbacks.
In my first year I stayed in Butler halls, while my girlfriend stayed in Founder's halls. These are the two complete polar opposites on the luxury scale!
Accomodation starts off with Founders Halls. Here you will get a room on a single-sex corridor with around 50 other students, and only one or two bathrooms. Needless to say they are pretty disgusting, but you can get catered accommodation for around £3000 for the year. Well, it's not exactly catered, but you get a 50% discount on food. You can choose to have your own room or you can choose to share with someone else for a reduced rate. There is no kitchen area, only a very small pantry that is really only suitable for making a cup of tea or slice of toast.
Next up you have the "medium" accommodations. These are more expensive than Founders, and you get a nicer room (with en-suite at extra cost), along with a very nice kitchen. You normally share with about 8 others on your corridor, with a communal kitchen at the end. You will get a shelf each in the fridge/freezer, and a cupboard or two. There is a sink, 4 hobs and an oven, so it can get a bit crowded at dinner time when everyone is hungry. However after a couple of weeks, you get to know roughly when people eat so you can adjust - for example, my halls were deserted until about 7pm, and at 8pm, it was packed.
At the top end of the list you have Williamson, Tuke, Butler etc. which are the absolute best of the best. They have a large double bed, spacious desk and plenty of storage, along with a good sized en suite complete with shower. It was complete luxury and, to be honest, quite unneccesary, especially at a staggering £5500 for the year, however you can knock off a grand if you agree to move out during the holidays. Note this is only available at some halls (I didn't get the option with Butler) and even then, I preferred having my room available to study in during the easter holidays.
With all halls of residence, you are allowed to eat food in the dining halls. It is laid out very well, with every component priced seperately, so if you don't want something, you don't pay for it. However if you are in "catered" accommodation, you get a 50% discount, meaning you can get a meal for a couple of quid, max. Royal Holloway also uses a "cashless" system, where you load money onto your ID card and use that to pay for things, get into your accommodation etc. Replacement cards are £5 if you lose them.
For your second and third year, you need to either commute in if you live close enough or rent a house nearby. The university is between two towns, Egham and Englefield Green, both of which are in walking distance to the university. Egham is closer to the shops etc, and has the train station to get to London, but is pricier. Englefield Green is probably too far to walk to the shops, but if you already have a car, it is ideal. Prices are from £350-600 per room per month, with most rooms being around £400.
Now on to the course. Unfortunately, I am dissappointed. I received very little feedback, and when making course choices for the following year there is not much information around. I asked a lecturer about his course, only for him to reply "I haven't written it yet!" So they expect you to make what could be a life changing decision with no information. Helpful! They also refuse to mark any past papers because "you need to work it out for yourself".
Now, my girlfriend studied Biomedical Sciences and they were brilliant, offering detailed feedback and guidance, so I'm not sure if its just Maths or not.
The facilities at the university were good. There are two large libraries for all your studies, with lots of desks and computers. There are many computer labs, and the library will loan laptops too, so you are almost guaranteed to find some way to do your work. The libraries are split into several sections for group work, quiet work and silent work. The library is well stocked, and in the rare event that you cannot find a book, being a university of London you have access to libraries of other universities. There is a small cafe type area in one of the libraries where you can buy some food and drink. While it's convenient, it is slightly more expensive than the campus shop, which is overpriced anyway. Opening hours are very generous, opening until the early hours of the morning. During exam season, one library opens 24 hours a day, five days a week, with the long opening hours on the other two days. In the rare event that someone is being too noisy in a silent zone, you are able to report them via text message, to alert library staff anonymously.
So, in conclusion, Royal Holloway is a beautiful, small campus with a wide range of accommodation, but it's course leaves a lot to be desired.
I attended this university for my undergraduate degree, and here is my review of the place:
Appearance and Surrounding area:
The campus is situated in the quiet town of Egham. The main feature of the university is the castle type building called Founders. It is an absolutely breathtaking building...from the outside anyway, and those who've read Harry Potter may compare it to Hogwarts! It is surrounded by equally breathtaking gardens, that when you walk through gives you a feeling of being in Narnia especially with all the lampposts milling about. The garden parts are generally quiet and peaceful and are a lovely place if you just want to take walk and contemplate life, or when you want to sit outside and read a book.
About twenty minutes walk from campus is Egham station and the town centre, which is relatively small with very few shops, it's more like a tiny tiny village. Some of the main shops/eateries it has are Tesco express, Clintons, Superdrug and Subway. There are also a few other smaller shops. Surprisingly it has no Waterstones or WHSmiths, atleast it didn't have them last year, I don't know whether that has changed or not. However about 5 minutes train ride or 1 hour walk (yes I did try that!) is Staines, which has a much bigger town centre with all the major stores, restaurants and a cinema, and is where most students go to do their shopping etc.
The campus has a number of places to eat, mainly Founders dining hall, and the Hub which is situated further down campus. They also have a few café's and bars such as The Stumble inn and Medicine which has special nights kind of like union nights. Of course there's also the Student Union whose union nights are on Wednesdays.
As for travel, there are buses running from campus to the station, and buses going from campus to off campus accommodation that belong to the university. The station as mentioned before is only about 20 minutes walk from campus, some of the main stations the trains go to are Reading, Windsor, Clapham Junction and London Waterloo. If I remember correctly fast trains to London Waterloo run two an hour, and slow trains again are about two an hour. If you catch a fast train you can be in London within about 20-25 minutes.
The campus has a small shop, for all your immediate needs, some food and drink, first aid stuff, magazines, stationary, Royal Holloway hoodies, etc. There are also book sales that take place near the union every Tuesday or Thursday. There are a number of Libraries which allow you to borrow books, dvd's, cd's etc, with an online renewal or phone renewal system, have to be careful with the dvd's because you have to renew them every 24 hours if you go even a minute into the next hour, I think it's a £3 or £4 fine per late hour. The main Library is founders, which is huge, and parts of it are very beautiful to look at. One of the things I liked was finding books that were over a hundred years old in the library. They also have quiet areas for study, and also computer areas within the library, although there is also a computer centre if you needed to use a computer or printers or photocopiers. The careers centre is worth looking into, it can help some but not everyone, but they have books, files, careers advisors and so on to help you out with your career choices or writing your cv and so on.
There are a number of extracurricular activities to get involved in, such as sports or societies. One interesting thing I found out in my last year, would've been more useful if I'd found this out in my first year, is that you can earn quick cash by doing psychology experiments and economics experiments, and there are always experiments going on that you can sign up for online. Often the psychology experiment pays £5 in cash for a half hour experiment. The economics experiments tend to pay according to how much you win during economics games, so once I managed to earn £30 in cash for an experiment that only took about 30 minutes. The only problem with economics experiments is that there are not many of them, so you have to keep an eye out for them. The Royal Holloway online message board usually keeps you up to date with all of this information, but you must try and sign up to the mailing list for economics experiments, they sent out an email saying they are accepting people to everyone on campus, but sometimes they just put it on the message board. Again with psychology experiments you have to sign up to the psychology system, there should usually be a message at the beginning of the year on the message board on how to do this. If not, just email the Psychology and economics departments to ask to be signed up to this, afterwards you can choose what experiments you want to do. This is a great system, you should usually be able to earn about £200 in cash overall, within a year if you sign up to both.
Campus accommodation is a tricky one, I lived in founders, the castle bit, which was cool if you don't mind sharing the disgusting loos and showers which have hair in them, and the floor is always wet. The radiators have a mind of their own, which basically means that during winter if you're one of the unlucky ones you will have to wrap yourself in a duvet the whole time you are in your room, whilst also wearing your jacket, scarf, gloves, bobble hat, but its not too bad so long as you've always got a mug of hot chocolate in your hands at all times.
On the plus side of living in founders, most of the time you get hot showers, so you might just want to live in the shower instead of your room. Also of course the highlight of living in founders is that you get to say to people that you have in fact lived in a haunted castle! And if your one of the lucky or unlucky ones (however you wish to see it), you will see the ghost of little boy wandering the corridors...oh and it's the cheapest option.
Now the other slightly more expensive options such as gower, wedderburn and I think reid and tuke and butler etc etc, allow u to have small luxuries such as your own bathroom, and a kitchen that is only shared by six people rather than about a hundred people in founders. There is some more accommodation across the road on the other part of campus called penrose, which also have very similar facilities to the above lot, but they have shared bathrooms, but its only shared between 4-6 people, however it is less safe as I have heard that there have been break-ins etc in that part, so if you do get accommodation across the road, only take it if you have an upstairs room as it's just safer that way. But of course the downside to all these places is that they are not haunted! The most important thing is to make sure you apply for accommodation as soon as you've applied to the university, so you'll get what you want.
A great university, I had a good three years there. Hope all the above helps any of you who are thinking about going there!
Royal Holloway, University of London is a place where I spent three largely happy years.
Please don't be fooled by the name however - this college is not in London and it takes 40 minutes on the train to get to London Waterloo. The nightlife is largely non-existent with only the Students' Union facilities and a few local (and over-priced) pubs in the vicinity. The SU in recent years has also really started to capitalise on this domination on the market, enforcing policies such as 'once you leave the SU on a function night, you can't come back unless you buy another ticket' (forcing you to stay there all night from an early time so you have to buy your alcohol from them). Taking into account that there is no free cashpoint or the facility to take card payments at the venue, one can rapidly establish what a unfair system this is.
The College itself has moved from strength to strength academically, with a number of departments that regularly feature in the top 10 in league tables. It also offers fantastic sporting facilities and on site playing fields which the majority of London colleges simply can't offer.
The main problem with the College is it's frustating location with nothing in the local area for young people to do.
I am currently a student at Royal Holloway University of London going into my second year. Views of Royal Holloway are always mixed, however in my opinion the university has a lot to offer. I lived in Butler Halls last year which were amazing first year accommodation. Although there were a few problems with the heating throughout the year it was nothing major and you cant expect a brand new building to have no problems with it. The grounds of Royal Holloway are beautiful. There is plenty greenery with many flower-beds all over the campus. Obviously the highlight of the campus is the amazing Founders building. It is absolutely stunning but inside and out. Not all of the rooms inside are amazing but there are a few that are amazing. Royal Holloway has a great atmosphere and a very friendly feel to it. I would recommend it as university to anyone who wants to live near London but not right in the hustle bustle of the city.
From someone currently at Royal Holloway, here's a nice, honest review for you! I'm currently a First Year living in Founders Hall.
There is no doubt about it - Royal Holloway is a stunning place. Founders Building is absolutely beautiful (from the outside - more on that later!), Founders wood is gorgeous, especially at the moment in the Spring, there are some impressive-looking new buildings being built, and the Uni has an excellent academic rating (some recent suggestions of it dropping to 25th place in league tables are, apparently, an error)!
Now for the bad stuff...
Avoid Founders Hall like the plague (or you may well catch the plague from Founders!) My reasons for saying this are numerous:
- Most meals will be from the dining hall, as Founders is a catered hall. However, pantries are provided (include a kettle, microwave, toaster, fridge and sink) for preparing snacks etc. These pantries are, quite frankly, disgusting, unsanitary and dangerous. They are cleaned Monday - Friday, which means that after they are cleaned on Friday at 10am, they are not cleaned again until Monday at 10am. As you can imagine, some students do not seem capable of cleaning up after themselves (not RHUL's fault) but no disciplinary action is taken on these people, and no changes to the cleaning regime have occurred (this IS RHULs fault!) If the HSE came in and checked the pantries, I'm 100% sure RHUL would have a major health issue on their hands. I contracted salmonella last term. Although I can't prove it, I have suspicions this was caused by the lack of sanitary conditions in the pantry. There is not even the option to prepare snacks in your rooms, as no personal kitchen equipment is allowed (mini-fridges, kettles etc) in rooms.
- Some equipment in the pantries is unsafe - our kettle on 2nd Floor East, for example, is broken. Exposed wiring + water....a good idea?
- There are (large) insects of some description living in the 3rd Floor East pantry. Many people have said they look like cockroaches, although this hasn't been confirmed.
- My floor was without hot water for 6 days at the beginning of this term, and have not had water for a total of around 2 and a half weeks so far this academic year. When one student complained about this issue, she was told "well, it's an old building")
- If you go down to the First Floor, where the offices are located, the bathrooms and pantries are newly refurbished. RHUL seems to care more about its staff than the students, without whom the university would not exist.
- Noise disturbances at night are not dealt with properly by security. It has taken them 20 minutes to respond to call outs in the past. One time when I went to the security desk in reception to make a complaint about noise, the security man mumbled "bl**dy hell, I've only just sat down" as he got up from his desk. They then fail to log noise disturbance issues (they are supposed to pass on details of all noise disturbances to the Wardens so that troublesome students can be dealt with). I called Security out countless times last term about the person in the room next door (who I am convinced is nocturnal and insists on playing his music on full volume at 4am) and not once were my complaints passed to the wardens.
- Some rooms are so hot it's uncomfortable to work and sleep in them, as pipes run through student rooms and some radiators are non-adjustable. My friend now either has to work with a fan on, or comes into my room to work because his room is so hot. He has complained and has been told "there's nothing we can do about it". This is in January. What's it going to be like in his room come summer?
- There is never any soap provided in the toilets. I thought this may be the case, and so brought my own with me, but this isn't exactly promoting hygiene, especially when the toilets are shared between approximately 50 students.
- Sanitary bins on the girls' floor were not emptied between October and January. When they were overflowing, one girl went to complain. After being passed to 4 different offices, she was finally told that if the bins were overflowing, she should take the lid off and press the contents down with her hands.
I would suggest that Founders is a beautiful building (I believe it is Grade 1 Listed) and therefore should be treated with respect and maintained to the highest possible standard. If it is no longer fit for use as student accommodation, it should be converted entirely into office/admin space and other halls should be built to replace it. Excuses like "it's an old building" are simply not acceptable when you are paying upwards of £1000 per terms to live here.
With Founders, even the phrase "you get what you pay for" does not suffice. Yes, Founders is the cheapest hall on campus, but this does not mean they can treat the students living here like they deserve to live in squalor.
When choosing a University you consider these vital things; 1). Course, 2). Accomodation, 3). Services on Campus, 4). Cost, 5). Bars and 6). the local towns. Holloway scores highly in most areas.
1). Royal Holloway offers a great variety in courses from languages to history, sciences to business studies and management. Not only does it offer great courses in themselves, but it also offers you many options with regards of how to study your choice of course. Fro example, on the languages front, they offer many different forms of modules and combinations, which allows you to study a great variety, and make the most of your University education.
2). Royal Holloway also offers a great amount of high quality accomodation which is reasonably priced and has a variety to suit everyone.
Founders offers accomodation in the stunning old buliding, which is the crowing centre piece of the University. The rooms in Founders are small and there is not alot on offer except the room itself. Founders is a catered Hall and has communal bathrooms. Founders is ideal for those who do not mind having a small living space and is one of the cheapest Halls on campus; £200-£2500. Accomodates 479 students.
Gowar and Wedderburn Hall is a self-catered hall which is modern in appearance and facilities. Rooms are en-suite and are designed in flats of eight rooms, sharing a communal kitchen. This is a nice hall, although it is one of the most expensive; £3000-£4500. Accomodates 564 students.
Penrose Court is a self catered hall for 200 students. This Hall provides a mix of flats and houses which share communal bathrooms and kitchen facilities. Price range; £2500-£3000.
Williamson Hall (113 students) and Reid Hall (187 students) are both catered Halls each have single study bedrooms with en-suite facilities. Both also provide laundry facilities. Prices for both range from £2500-£2900. Disabled Adapted.
Runnymede Hall is a self catered Hall for 441 students with single rooms and en-suite facilites. It is arranged into flatlets of 6 to 8 rooms with a communal kitchen area which acts as a meeting place. Laundry facilities are also avaliable and Runnymede is Disabled Adapted Accomodation. £3500 - £4300.
Kingswood is a catered Hall for 415 students. This Hall is located about a mile from the campus and a bus service is provided. There are squash and tennis courts, a dining room, TV/common room, PC lab, laundry room and a Spanish themed Tapas bar known as 'Pardos.'
Kingswood is divided into 2 Halls, Kingswood I provide single and spacious twin rooms divided into male and female areas with shared communal facilities. Kingswood II cotains flatlets of eight or nine single study bedrooms with shared pantries. En-suite facilities are also provided. £2300-£3600.
3). The Campus provides dining facilities, 2-3 bars, Students Union, Sports facilites and a bus service to Kingswood. Overall the services provided are excellent, although sporting facilities are not as good as other campus'.
4). Cost varies from year to year. Accomodation cost is listed above.
5). Bars are good, with TV and sky. Many are used as meeting places at lunch and between semnars.
6). The local town itself is disappointing providing little services. However, London is a short train journey from the town and there lies the great shopping facilities and night life.
Overall, Holloway is a great University, and for those who are after a fun and comfortable time at University, Holloway has it all!
Some of the reviews written about RHUL are nonsensical, some spot-on, most (as always) a mix. Basically:
The good points;
I'd be surprised if the campus is the biggest in England as quoted in one of the reviews (is it really bigger than e.g. Birmingham?), but it is possible. It is certainly a nice, leafy countryside campus; highlights being the dwarf deer that are occasionally seen, the Thames parrots, and the seemingly never ending stream of rabbits in the spring/summer. Founders building is gorgeous (at least externally!) and stands up well against any university building in the country. The campus is RELATIVELY close to London (see below). Various pretty locations are nearby (e.g. Windsor Great Park, Virginia Water, Windsor Castle etc etc).
Faciltiies for IT etc. are fine as far as I can tell, the library is a bit naff but no worse than most other second/third tier unis I would guess. New Halls have just been built, and there are various plans for other new academic buildings which should be welcome (if and when built). RHUL does have a reputation for harbouring champagne swilling hooray henries, and to a certain extent this is justified (there are more BMW's on campus than there are bricks in Founders at times). However, like any other uni, there is a mix of people (albeit in different proportions) and everyone will find their niche. Whoever was moaning about availability of Halls is an idiot- there is AMPLE space in halls for EVERY fresher and for many final year students too. If you apply through the normal UCAS process (ie not clearing) you WILL get a place in Halls if you want one (and if you can afford it...).
Academically, RHUL is....OK. I haven't looked at the league tables recently but I guess it is still top 20-25- respectable. The quality of teaching and research is good in pretty much all departments, and as far as I know excellent in almost all science depts, drama and a couple of others. The atmosphere is by all accounts pretty friendly, the lecturers generally have a bit of time for you, and everything goes smooth (although this is only what you would expect as a basic from any uni). You are not going to be lazing around all day but you won't get stretched to exhaustion either. As always, you get out what you put in.
There is NOTHING out here, and I mean NOTHING. The off-campus nightlife is almost non-existent; there are a couple of clubs in Windsor (which aren't very good- expensive, can be grotty, lots of squaddies- Windsor is not as nice as on the postcards!) and one in Staines (EXTREMELY grotty, haven't heard much about it recently so it may well have been closed down by the police). Cinema available in Staines (the nearest one used to be feltham). Nearest ice rink Slough (much too far away and totally overrun by chavs). Not sure about swimming pools, bowling alleys etc if that's your thing- there are none in Egham tho- probably the far side of windsor at the nearest.
The reviewer who said the union is one of the best in the country must have been on acid when he went there; it is not. Good union nights are wed and fri; these cost about 4-5 quid to get in and £2 plus a pint thereafter. Drinks are slightly cheaper in the union than off-campus, but not much. Unlike any other uni I have been too (I am a job shy post-grad; this is my third place, plus visits to friends' dosshouses etc.) there are almost NO special offers or drinks promotions (pound a pint etc.). Everything is full wack, all the time. This is not cheap. Union security staff can be a bit over the top, but consequently there is rarely any trouble in there- much of the security paranoia is to keep the locals out, but compared to most uni bars (where you can just walk in if you look vaguely like a student) security is obsessively (stupidly?) tight. This may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it (and whether you tend to swing your shirt round your head whilst 'dancing' the drunken boogaloo after you've sunk 5 or 6 snakebites of an evening (not a good idea in an RHUL union bar, although absolutely de rigeur elsewhere)). Moreover, the union bars (Tommys/Stumble/Medicine) are virtually empty every night except wed and fri, when they only begin to get busy at 9-9:30. On the weekends there is absolutely no-one to be seen in any union bar (and I am not joking)- the campus is deserted.
Politically, the union does absolutely nothing- it is purely a social organisation, and not a brilliantly run one. However, the newly refurbished student bar (Medicine) is plush and seems to be attracting the punters a bit more. Always bear in mind that beyond the union, there is no nightlife whatsoever; Egham is little more than a village, and Englefield Green IS a village; there are only a handful of bars/ restaurants, some of which are not very welcoming to students. The only shops are in Egham (1 small Tesco and an Iceland); to get back to campus is a 20-odd minute walk up a hill, laden with shopping. These are also the nearest large shops to Englefield Green (a 35 minute walk up the hill (to get to the forest estate). To get to the shops proper (big tescos, big sainsbury's, other high street cloths shops etc.) in Staines or Ashford, you are looking at a bus/train journey (a hassle + not cheap) or a car (very useful to get about in such a rural area, but not cheap at all).
RHUL IS good for sports however; there are a lot of student societies, all the teams have a good rep in the London area, and, importantly, most of the sports facilities (which are adequate-good) are on campus and therefore very accessable. A plus point if you're sporty.
Do not be fooled by the leafy campus into thinking that Egham/Engy is a wholly nice place to live; it isn't. Both are Chavtowns, pure and simple. There have been numerous (VERY numerous) incidents of students being harassed/attacked by the locals, on and off campus (one girl was seriously assaulted on campus a little over a year ago). Much of this abuse has a racial slant, and foreign or non-white students may experience particular problems. By the same token, we are not talking Moss-side style crackdealers or whatever; most of this is annoying low-level harassment rather than full-blown violence, but the locals can be very aggressive. I don't know anyone who hasn't had some kind of problems, myself included. The guy who mentioned BNP/NF activity in the area may actually be right , I have heard similar (unverified) rumours. Certainly the locals do not take kindly to students in general- and students are not hard to spot around here.
This area is VERY expensive. Do not think you will save money by living away from central London; the guy who quoted £300 a month plus bills rent was about right, and that would not be considered hideously expensive by any means. Bear in mind that the lack of shopping/transport/drinking options bumps average weekly spend up also. On the upside, you will get London weighting on all loans etc. I have to wonder however whether the extra spend is really worth it though, bearing in mind that all you get really is a quiet rural location.
Halls are good, but not cheap. Expect to pay around 70 quid a week for an en-suite room; accommodation in Founders is rubbish (shared bathrooms (between about 5 I think) etc.) but slightly cheaper at around 60 a week (I think, although check the website for exact figures). The rooms in Founders are not that nice, although some (Turret rooms) are, and if you're very lucky you might have a view over London in the (far) distance. Forget catered accommodation unless you are the Sultan of Brunei; it is horrendously expensive and the grub is rubbish. There are to my knowledge no 'formal' dinners a la Oxbridge, Durham, Bristol etc. Most things on campus (e.g. the absurdly stocked college shop, refecteries etc. ) are VERY overpriced- but there really is virtually nowhere else to go (see above).
London is REASONABLY close by, i.e. it's closer than Newcastle (but maybe not as easy to get to...). The prospectus is right; the fast train gets to London Waterloo in about 40 minutes- not bad, but not great, and the London-Reading commuter line is surely one of the worst in the country. It seems to have improved recently, but I still try and leave about 30-40 minutes extra leeway in case of delays/cancellations/replacement buses etc., especially at weekends. Also note that the train station is about 15-20 mins walk from Founders and about 30-odd minutes from Englefield Green, where many of the students actually live. Pricewise, I think an all zones travelcard is about £6-7 with a YP railcard, £10 without, and travel to London plus ONE zone 1 tube journey is about £15 before 9:30 am on a weekday (remedy: get up after 9:30). In my experience, very few students regularly travel to London. Royal Holloway is University of London in name only; don't bet on experiencing much of the capital whilst you are here, but it is potentially available nonetheless.
At night time, the last train to Egham from Waterloo is 11:32 I believe; miss it and your best option is either a train from Paddington to Slough, which run later (and then at least a £15 cab fare home from sunny slough) or the nightbus to Heathrow airport and then a 6 mile walk home along the M25- not recommended.
In purely academic terms, there is no doubt that RHUL is a top 20-30 university, but it is emphatically not in the same league as (Oxbridge apart) e.g. Imperial, UCL, Durham, Bristol, LSE, Edinburgh, Warwick, Exeter, York etc. Do not believe anyone who talks about 'a University of London degree'- it means jack___. Employers will be interested in what college you went to, what class of degree you got, and nothing else (prestige matters more than current league table position in my experience): in reality, the 'University of London' is a largely abstract entity that really doen't exist anymore, if it ever did. Bear in mind that UC and Imperial both tried to pull out of the University of London federation a couple of years ago (they are still trying; when they do go, the idea of the Uni London will probably quietly die anyway); in reality, all the colleges are completely separate (there are something like 30 colleges and institutes in the University of London- can you name them all? (answer: no)). Pay no attention to the prospectus when it talks about Uni of London degrees- employers don't, and notice that UCL, Imperial, LSE etc do not often advertise themselves as being 'part of the University of London'.
Ultimately, RHUL is a small college that few people have actually heard of- unfortunate but true. It is NOT as prestigious as other Unis with similar academic requirements, and if you have the grades and go to a more prestigious place (e.g. Durham, Ed, Warwick, UCL, Imperial, any other from the list above etc.), you will probably make yourself more employable automatically- nobody likes to think that, but I'm afraid it's true. But that's not at all to say that a RHUL degree is in any way worthless- it isn't; it just isn't AS GOOD. For an example, have a look at what campuses big companies tend to visit for during recruitment fairs etc.- I have yet to see any come out here.
As mentioned elsewhere, you will either love or hate Royal Holloway; if you are not too short of cash, and are basically after a quiet life away from the cities, then it may be for you. The standard of teaching is good, and the atmosphere is OK around the place in general (on campus, that is). But in the final analysis, I just can't really think of any reason why RHUL is actually a good place to study, relative to many other similar places around the country. I can't help but think that maybe some of the other glowing reports have perhaps been written by people who have never actually attended another university with which to compare this place (word to the wise: going to university- any university- will ALWAYS be fun!!!(regardless of whether it's actually a good uni, relatively speaking)). Ultimately, there is not really much that's actually BAD about RHUL, the whole package is just...mediocre. Think carefully before deciding to study here if you have a choice, but if you get a good vibe about the place, then go for it-that's all I can say really.
Royal Holloway is one of those places where you will love it or you hate it - fortunately I am one of the lovers of this place (RHUL)
RHUL is situated in a little village in Egham, Surrey, about 40 minutes train journey from London - conveniently placed on top of a hill which even the Everest conquerors may struggle getting up.
Let us get one thing straight first of all. When I applied for the University to arrive September 2003, it was 9th in the league. This is a great acheivement for a rather unknown University - and coming 9th out of about 130 is a superb quality. It slipped to 15th in 2004.
The educational facilities in RHUL are top-notch. Research wise all subjects received a 4 or above (4 is very very good) and a lot of subjects particularly in the sciences got 5* - the highest possible.
You cannot talk about RHUL without mentioning Founder's. It is a SPECTACULAR building which takes your breath away. However I barely used it in the first year, because my lectures were not situated there. It is worthy to note most of the usage in Founder's is administration. Although, you can have accommodation there.
Although Founder's is beautiful, as is a lot of the surroundings of campus like the woodland area, do be aware that there are places where it "could be improved". For example, I lived in Athlone Hall last year (which is now being knocked down) and it is by no exaggeration to say that you can stretch your arms out and easily touch the corridor walls. It was based also on a Swedish prison. Charming......
However, the new building (Gowar and Wedderburn) is stunning - it is much more of a make up than Athlone and other "new halls".
The accommodation is very expensive let's be honest. I pay currently £300 a month for my rented house in Englefield Green (will talk about that later) which is considered fairly cheap for the area. Some are catered, some are not catered, some have double beds, some don't, they are all so variant, but special mention to go to Gowar, Wedderburn, Reid, to being arguably the best ones, and Williamson to being the worst.
Customer service to the halls was not great either - there tended to be a long delay before tending to people's problems and you would hope that spending so much on accommodation would provide you with better cover.
London is not far away from the University - it is 40 minutes to Waterloo via train, however the last train is at 11:30 so you MUST be aware that you cannot have a night out in London unless you have adequate cover to get home or plan to stay over the night.
Other nearby places are Staines, Windsor, Virginia Water. Staines is the place you would go to have some retail therapy or go to have a nice meal out in a restaurant as the restaurants in Egham are not brilliant - Windsor is obviously famous for its Castle, and you are not far from the great parks to relax, sunbathe and enjoy some quality time in.
For sport fans you will be intrigued to know Twickenham is very nearby, about 20 minutes, Ascot is also very close by, and all the London football clubs are very easy to get to. Virginia Water also hosts a famous golf competition (the name I forget).
On the note of sport, RHUL is said to be the best in London for this - There are so many facilities and societies you can join, from badminton to dragonfly karate you can enrol in them all - at some cost obviously but it is a good way to get out at nights and meet new people.
Other societies away from sport are things like religious societies, dance, discussion about games, history etc etc etc all again a great way of meeting people.
The IT facilities in RHUL are supreme - there has been a recent investment in the computer/library facilities and it shows. There are computers in the library, Queen's Annexe, Computer Centre, and all department buildings have computer facilities in them - of which you have your own username, e-mail address, hard disk drive, and access to department websites and library facilities.
There are several social places you can go on campus in the evenings. These are mainly:
Crosslands - a pub/bar/relax area where you can sit in the Founder's building between lectures having your breakfast/lunch or have a social gathering in the evening in a pub atmosphere.
Tommy's Bar - this bar is right next to the SU - and although pretty small, is quite nicely built and is very popular with the students
Student Union - this is the ultimate hangout place for the clubbers. Almost every night there is an event on - all about £3-£5 to enter (which is considered very high) and tending to mostly be RNB or Hip-Hop and the like music. Sometimes they will do era events, or Xmas parties, Halloween, etc.
The Stumble Inn - Located on the other side of campus, this is also a very popular meeting place - hosts of the pub quizzes it is the typical uni pub.
Medicine Bar - the strangely named Bar is in fact the newest and most impressive visually by far. It was renovated in 2004 and boasts about 5 TV's to watch the sport on, 8 pool tables, 2 fruit machines, 2 quiz machines and an amazing seating area that takes your breath away and feels extremely high class.
Nearby pubs are Monkey's Forehead and the Happy Man, both alternatives to Stumble Inn.
The second year people and most third years live off campus about 10 minute walk away in Englefield Green - generally a split of elderly people, students and chavs. The gangs around the place are generally just irritating HOWEVER there have been attacks on students before in that area.
On campus, as well as the departmental buildings, you will find a college shop which sells all the things you need but is slightly overpriced, a bookshop (Waterstone's) which will sell all the books you will need for your course. A sports area, where you can work out, or play sport in general is also there. A church is found in Founder's building, along with a doctor's office available to all registered students. Within 15 minutes of walking you arrive at Egham town centre, which has a Woolworth's, Tescos (lifesaver!), hairdresser, Boots, post office, fish and chip shop, pizza shop, chinese and indian restaurants, and THREE Ferrari shops..........
OVERALL - RHUL is one of those universities you will love or hate - if you are a club lover who loves to be out and about the place livin' it up every night this is not the place for you - however if you are one of those people who likes a calm, friendly atmosphere and quiet surroundings this is generally the sort of thing you would like.
Founder's does take your breath away - but it is like judging a book by its cover, you need to look at what else the University has to offer.
The key things to remember is that RHUL is 15th in the league (9th in the previous year) on an OVERALL level - and all the departments received a 4 or better in its research and teaching level.
The University is best in London for its Student Union and its sporting facilities.
It offers a University of London Degree which is considered to be amongst the best in the world.
RHUL is located in Surrey - the most expensive county in the country.
RHUL is very friendly atmosphered.
RHUL does not offer any sport degrees.
First things first - Royal Holloway IS stunning. Correction. Founders building is stunning. The Queens' Annexe portakabin is not. So here is the problem. Royal Holloway attracts the kind of people that go to a university just because it looks nice. Add that to a fairly high profile drama department and a high intake of materially-endowed foreign students (mainly Greek, Arab and Chinese) and it is superficial luvvy-with-BMW heaven. Mobile phones were in abundance here before students had even heard about phone cards. Second hand shops? You have to be joking. Only Armani and Versace here. Yes, it is part of the University of London and you would have qualified for a London-rate grant if they still gave them out in any quantity. The college management also use that as an excuse to charge London prices for accommodation, of which is so lacking they can't house a good proportion of the first year and I knew 7 girls that shared a room for a few months. Mattress hell. Speaking of hell, there's the parking...being in the countryside, a car is really helpful (especially as the last train from London leaves before midnight). Egham is a small town with 5,500 students in it. Needless to say, the small village roads and average of one car per two students makes for some local disgruntlement. Let's say that the police aren't going to raise an eyebrow if you say your car's been keyed by a neighbour. Egham is also known for it's National Front presence, although this can't be any worse than say, Tower Hamlets. It's saving grace is that it IS only 35 minutes on the train to Waterloo, whilst still being in the countryside. Great for gigs, clubbing and shopping. That would explain why the university is deserted on weekends... Some people never make it to London because they are busy 'chilling out' meaning they are so laid back, they are falling over backwards. Yea
h man. Also, stunning Virginia Water and Great Windsor are within a stones throw and the shopping metropolis of Staines...country pubs are in abundance (Royal Ascot, Happy Man etc) but restaurants can be pricey. Students are more at home on campus in the Stumble Inn, Union Bar or Crosslands. Another bonus is that muggings are rarer than in the city, so drunken wanderings home are less hazardous. Back to the restaurants...Special mention to the Egham Brasserie - my favourite Indian restaurant. Ever. Decent prices too. BTW - some people actually go for the courses. If you really want to do that specific course and can afford it, go for it. Otherwise, you could do better. But hey, it's beautiful, right?
I went to look round Royal Holloway when I was chosing my 6 universities to put on my UCAS form . My first impression when I arrived was WOW - it looked so lovely , lots of Red Brick buildings and lawns . It is ideal for anyone looking for culture and history behind the university that they wish to study at . Royal Holloway was about 20th in the University Times Guide when I looked round and I was certainly impressed . They do a huge varity of coures and offer lots of extra - curricular activites too . Also being on campus means that you never have far to travel between your accomodation and lectures ,ideal if you have 9 o' clock lectures . However if you want to live out then it is expensive being so close to London . I'd certainly recommend Royal Holloway to anyone wanting to go to a traditional red-brick university .
If you are thinking of going here then do, you won’t regret it. It is well placed and is spectacular to look at. You also have the advantage of being at the University of London without having to be in London. The setting is amazing and you are walking distance of Windsor Great Park. There are numerous pubs, the Happy Man was always a student favourite. And the Stumble Inn on campus is very popular. The place tends to empty a bit at the weekends as a lot of people go home, but that is probably to be expected anywhere. It is also populated with a lot of ‘Ok Yah’ types but there is a fair mix of people. It is very laid back, too much so for some people, but perfect for most! The main disadvantage is the cost of living, it is in the middle of commuter belt so it is very expensive to rent anywhere. But if you can afford it go.
Royal Holloway is the biggest university campus in Britain and dare I say it the most beutifull university in the world. Even though it name is rellated to a prison it looks like a palace fit fo a person of my high standard ( no really I do have high standards). If you have seen the prospectus you will see what I mean however this is not a well known university even though it is in the top 30 and has some really good courses to offer.For a closer look I would go to the university itself and see it in its splendous near Slough . The open day is in September and as I have written this great article I would advice you to book first.