IT services are not very good. The Virtual Learning Environment was always slow or crashing causing lots of hassle. No one was helpful when the VLE caused problems. IT staff not friendly at all.They fine excessively for just about anything and the dean who handles appeals is unsympathetic and narcissistic. He even fines you for returning your university laptop just one minute late.Not the friendliest place, especially among those associated with IT.
I will graduate from Lancaster University in July, So I have decided to give this in-depth review for future 'potential' students. I know how hard it is to choose a University 3 years ago I was doing the same therefore I have separated this review into sections these are; Lancaster University (overview), Location, Transport, Collegiate system/Accommodation, Subjects, Lusu Union, International students, Student Services, Social life, Security, Great BONUSES they offer/Campus & Personal opinion.
Lancaster University (overview)****
Lancaster University is a top 10 University in the UK and in the top 1% in the world, it offers a wide range of to study from Foundations, to HNC Foundations, to Bachelors of Arts, to Bachelors of Sciences, to Masters, to MBA's, to PHDs... Lancaster University has a collegiate system (more info given below) and had a diverse community of students. In fact out of the 12,000 students 1,500 are internationals hence the fact I have had the wonderful opportunity to make friends with Nigerians, Americans, Australians, Egyptians, Indians a Vietnamese students! In 2013 it currently stands that 94% of students who graduate from Lancaster get into employment within 6 months of graduating. Most entries in to Lancaster are AAAb students (at Alevel).
Lancaster University is based in the North of England in the city of Lancaster, it's has Manchester and hour train ride away and Blackpool and Preston twenty minute train ride away (or a 1 hour bus ride). The University itself is based around a 3 miles from the City centre. The surrounding location is largely greenery (we are near the lovely forest of bowland); Lancaster has a farming community so on your journey there you will pass a lot of cows and sheep, however do not worry once you get to the 360 acre campus the only animals you will encounter are the friendly Lancaster ducklings!
*Bailrigg Lancaster, Lancashire LA1 4YW*
I wanted to put transport and location next to each other as Lancaster may be located in the Outside of the city, but thanks to the Universities fantastic partnerships with the local stage coach bus company, public transport is widely available and frequent. On weekdays buses come to and from around every 10 minutes, the University campus has an 'underpass' which is built below the university special for all the buses to arrive. I live off campus currently and have 3 buses (2, 2A and 4); very close to my house they all take me to campus. I also have the 3, X1 and 42 which is a bus stop slightly further (3 minute walk) and those buses also take me to the university, as said before the partnership between the university and stage coach is great and as a result I can honestly say that I have never seen such a fantastic bus service as I have done in the city of Lancaster.
There are also close links with Taxi companies and Lancaster University, they have built a little rank for taxi's to pick up students us, since the campus is very big I use to worry about Taxis not finding my area within the University, however most taxi drivers are local and get most of their business from students and therefore know the campus well. Depending on the time and day fare varies after 12 fare increase etc.
The train service to Lancaster is decent, just an average looking train station in the middle of the city then you can get an X1 bus from the city to the University personally I just call a taxi and have it waiting for me usually cost around £7.00 to get on campus. Trains come to Lancaster from a wide range of places so I would not worry about train transport.
Cycling route, Lancaster University have worked with the council encourage a cycle route for students, I cycle and feel safer on the route than I do the main roads, I feel it is a fantastic that the University encourages and supports its cyclers. (Look below for Green Lancaster for further cycling pro tips in Lancaster University)
So for transport I would rate Lancaster 5 out 5, they cover all the areas, there are always buses from 6am to midnight, on some weekdays there are N1 buses at 3am for those studying in the University library till late and want to get home afterwards. I have recently broke my laptop in a cycling accident and I have to travel to University more or less every day to use the library resources for my dissertation and I personally believe they do a fantastic with transport.
Lancaster have a collegiate system, so when you apply to the University to choose a college (well you chose a first option and a second and get assigned to either one). The colleges allow you to have a strong identity within and I personally am a Bowlander (Bowland college) and am extremely proud to be so! However we are all united as Lancaster University students first and foremost! If you chose to live on campus which most first year's do, you live within your college area and your accommodation each college has a bar which I feel is quiet handy most of the bars are updated and look pretty nice (Bowland bar is the most recently renovated and looks lovely)! There is 'banter' especially amongst Lonsdale and Bowland college as they were the 2 first colleges to be built! Bowland coming first I might add! But overall it is amazing explore the colleges more in-depth before you chose, you want to make sure you pick the right one (There are 9 each with their own president and JCR (sort of a council group which are elected by the students in the colleges themselves).
Each college have a variety of accommodation from single flats, to share town house, to ensuite rooms. When you apply for a college you are applying for accommodation as well. Expect high quality student accommodation, price varies from £80+.
The collegiate system has been with Lancaster since the beginning and something I feel gives that uniqueness to Lancaster University as only a handful of Universities including oxford and Cambridge have this style.
College info: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/study/teaching-and-learning/collegiate-system/
Lancaster University have such a wide range of subjects from Sciences to Arts to Languages to mathematics. From the traditional Law to Computer science, they really have a lot. I study within the Faculty of Health and Medicine (Each subject is put into a Faculty or School), my faculty are very helpful and are supportive, and they have recently moved bases to a new faculty which looks amazing! Although I graduate this year, I am planning on returning next year to study Msc Management; the management school is actually one of the best in the country and arguably is the best. I would say overall Lancaster offers most courses people want and a variety within example being if you want to study within the business area you can study; business studies, business economics, business analytics etc!
The University offers foundations for international students so if you have not studied Alevels or what is required you can study a 1 year foundation which allows you to gain the relevant qualification needed to apply for a degree at the University, if you don't get the grade necessary then there are close links with other universities which they will put you in touch with.
Course Search: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/course-search/
The Union works through JCR as mentioned above JCR are like a group of student counsellors elected by each college, they are unpaid and take issues from there members to the LUSU Union who are paid and voted in by the whole University (salaries up to £20,000 per year). All JCR and Union leaders are current students. I personally think Lancaster Universities Union is fantastic, they speak for us and while I have been at University, I have seen the student voice be stood for by the union we have prevented Job losses from our Lancaster Admin team just by showing voicing our opinion in General meetings, our Union sticks by us and is strong force for us. The Union also have a mini co-op supermarket which is called LUSU Central, they have another Small Shop called LUSU Shop, they have LUSU Vinvolved which allows students to join in volunteering in and outside the UK, they have LUSU housing which is a fantastic housing group who help 2nd years who are not allowed to live on campus, get housing. There is also Lusu Green which is a small organisation which encourages eco-friendly 'stuff'!
As said above Lancaster has an amazing diversity of International students, I also wanted to mention our links with China and Nigeria, in fact Lancaster have an entire Foundation school in Nigeria and one in China. If you are international don't worry, the university caters to your needs! There are societies such as the new South Korea Society, which allows South Koreans to meet and socialise and also allows people like me to understand your culture more. A lot of shops cater to international needs so for example the on campus spar has a lot of eastern Asian sauces and foods.
I think it is very important to have a good service for students within the university which is why I felt the need to mention the amazing student base services within Lancaster University, if you are stuck on finance, something to do with disability, counselling anything the base will support you or direct you to the correct area. We have a fantastic counselling service, which has recently been expanded after positive feedback from the students, Lancaster University is well known across the United Kingdom for having high rates of student satisfaction and I have personally seen that while I have been here!
Lancatser University offer £1000 busary to students from low income families and £1000 busary to students who recuieve 3 A's in a level (British students). Students who may be struggling with finance can apply for a loan from the University (If student finance is messing around).
The Union owns a club known as the 'Sugar House' which is actually an old converted sugar mill! There are many pubs in Lancaster and around 10 clubs, students have bard to each college, social life is as you expect with all universities, expect a lot of partying and drinking....if you're not interested in that then know there are loads of alternatives such as a cinema within the campus, quiz nights and various societies offer various get together which do not involve being drunk all the time. I would also like to point out Lancaster is one of the safest campuses in the United Kingdom I have never had a bad night out at Lancaster although on one occasion I found my bike screws loose when I left my bike overnight at campus! Once again due to the amazing relationship between the University and Stage coach there are free busses to clubs on set dates to take and bring back. Drinks are decent in price at clubs, slightly more expensive in bars on campus but affordable.
As said above Lancaster University is one of the safest campuses in the United Kingdom (top 3), there is a security lodge on campus who deal security matters, on top of that there are porters in every college for security. They often do rounds across each type of accommondation to ensure students are fine, if for example you are unhappy with the noise level you can use the internal phone system (from within your rooms) to call porters and they deal with it. I feel very safe at Lancaster and would state it is a safe place to study!
Great BONUSES they offer/Campus******
*£20,000,000 state of the art GYM...membership is around £150-300 per year for students we get a massive discount, the price might seem steep for students, but honestly the gym is exceptional, I have been a member for a year, I love it I play squash, use the cardio and weights room mainly, top of the range!
*9 Colleges which you can apply to join
*9 Bars (which serve food as well) one for each college
*3 Woodland trails within the 360 acres campus
*Outdoor Football pitches, Rugby pitches, Hockey/Basketball courts (Indoor as well for some sports)
*High Range outdoor Barbeque for student usage (Free)
*Food Outlets: Gregg's, Subways, Spar, Lusu Central (sell co-op food), Lusu shop, Pizzeta restaurant (Italian), Pizzeta cafe, Sultans standard takeaway), Chinese restaurant, Wibboly Wobbily Burger Bar, St. Johns Hospice charity shop, Robinsons News Agents, Ice cream store! (Amazing Ice cream )
*Santander and Barclays banks, Blackwell's bookstore, Lusu Involve (Volunteer project) Lusu Housing (off campus housing support office), Lusu (Union office), Lusu Green (Unions eco friendly office encouraging eco-friendly 'stuff' such as free biking maintenance & selling bikes).
*Free Sainsbury's bus once a week for food shop (Take and bring back service)
*Close links with Transport (bus) so Buses regularly every 10 mins maximum term time.
*24/7 Library on weekdays Weekends 7am-12 midnight (Has great wide screen computers and inside 1000 computers.
*24/7 Learning Zone (Chill out area for studying in)
*24/7 Computer Labs (7 in total scattered around the university).
*200+ societies and sports groups to choose from...Boxing, Amnesty International, Chinese, Football, Basketball. (Good range of sports for both girls and boys) I am personally joined to the Boxing society and for £3.00 for 2 hour sessions which are amazing, I cannot say how fun and useful for my fitness it is. I am also part of the paintball society and every 3 months we drive to differing places and go play!
*Lancaster University's wind turbine provides approximately 11-17% of the University's energy requirements. (Pretty cool I think!)
*Two amazingly fast internet connections.
*Internal phone system, every room with the college has one so you can call your friends for free!
I love this University and I am happy that I will have the opportunity to return, Love the people the environment, the amazing diversity, the standard of teaching is unbelievable, Lancaster University is growing in reputation every year and I proud to be a student of Lancaster University. They offer amazing support and offer an amazing variety of subjects, I would recommend you come to an open day if you are interested! This University has changed me, I was so nervous when I walked through the doors...today I am truly opposite. A truly amazing University!
This review is based on my own knowledge which I have gained during my 3 years at Lancaster University (2007 - 2009). I've tried to make the review flow as much as possible, but this is difficult due to the large number of overlapping topics.
Life altering decisions are difficult to make. There's no doubt about it. Deciding which universities to apply to is one of those difficult decisions. You're half way through you're A-levels and on top of all of the usual stresses such as coursework and exams your asked to start planning the next 3 years of your life - madness! Biology was my favourite subject so I thought that it would be wise to do a degree in 'Biological Sciences'. I stupidly didn't put much thought into which universities I applied to, I just picked the ones which sounded interesting and hoped for the best. Then it was just a matter of applying to those universities and waiting for the offers to roll in. I got rejected from Durham and Bristol, but got conditional offers (whereby you need to get certain grades) from York, Sheffield and Lancaster. I decided that the grades required to get into York were too difficult for me to achieve, so that left me with Sheffield and Lancaster.
I went to open days for both Sheffield and Lancaster, looking around the cities, the accommodation, and the Biology departments. Sheffield looked ok, nothing special, but ok. The accommodation looked old, and all of the departments were spaced around the city as opposed to being all together. Lancaster on the other hand looked fantastic; from the accommodation to the biology department I thought that it looked brilliant. Lancaster is a campus university, meaning that the university accommodation and departments are separate from the city itself, and all close together. However Sheffield was just above Lancaster in the league tables for biology at the time, and lots of my school friends were applying to Sheffield so I thought that I would put Sheffield as my first choice and Lancaster as my reserve choice.
My exams came and went, and soon it was results day. I was horrified to discover that I didn't meet the criteria for either Sheffield or Lancaster. Upon phoning Sheffield I was told that my grades were not good enough, so I was pretty upset. I pulled myself together and phoned Lancaster, and they said that I had a place! I wasn't particularly happy as it wasn't my first choice......that is, until I started receiving information packs from the university.
**About Lancaster University**
Lancaster University is set atop a large hill just outside of Lancaster city itself, and is surrounded on all sides by picturesque landscape. It is a campus university with all of the universities facilities together in one small 'university village'. Central to the university is 'Alexandra Square' which links most of the University together. Lancaster University operates a collegiate system with 8 colleges; Fylde, Country, Furness, Pendle, Lonsdale, Grizedale, Bowland, and Cartmel. There is also the Graduate or 'Grad' college.
Choosing one of the 8 colleges is one of the first things that you do when you know that you definitely have a place at the university. In the welcome pack there are a few pages dedicated to each college trying to sell themselves to you. Choosing a college is not an easy choice, but I would advise you to join the one which appeals to you the most. You apply for 2 colleges, so that if all of the places are taken up for your first choice, you have your second choice to fall back on. I chose Fylde, which has the reputation of being the sporty college. I myself do not really play any sports, but I chose Fylde due to the accommodation, and the way that it sold itself in the welcome pack. During 'Fresher's week' you are encouraged to support your college and after a while you get pretty patriotic towards it. Each of the colleges has a different location, accommodation, and its own unique bar (Fylde's has just been renovated). Some colleges are also bigger than others.
So you've done it, you've left home and your off to university. But what do you do when you arrive? When you arrive you will be directed to you college office where you will be given your room keys and a very friendly student guide will take you to your room. Your guide will show you around your flat and encourage you to unpack. Once you have unpacked (or during the unpacking process) you start to meet your flatmates. This will no doubt be a strange time as you feel that you want to make a good impression, but find it difficult to be yourself as your parents are still there. After a while the parents will leave and then you are left to your own devices.....that is until your 'fresher's reps' arrive.
Fresher's Reps are 2nd year students (or above) who will be with your flat every night of fresher's week. They will encourage you to meet people and have a good time. The fresher's reps that I had were fantastic and really helped me to feel at home. In fresher's week there are lots of big nights in the college bars, and in town. My fresher's week was one of the most fun weeks of my life. Don't worry if you don't drink much or are tea total, you will still enjoy yourself immensely. Many of the people that I met in my fresher's week are still my close friends after 3 years of University.
In your second year you are given the opportunity to become a fresher's rep. I was a fresher's rep and enjoyed it immensely. It gave me the opportunity to meet more people and give my fresher s as good an experience as I had during my own fresher s week.
Fresher's week is not only about drinking and having fun however. It gives you the opportunity to learn your way around campus, enrolee for your course, visit Lancaster City itself and familiarise yourself with your surroundings. There is also a 'fresher's fair'. There Fresher's fair is where you sign up to university clubs and societies (see later). There are loads of freebee's given away and the whole thing is great fun.
**Accommodation - on campus**
Lancaster University has some of the most up to date accommodation of any university within the UK. Almost every college now has some brand new accommodation (and some also have some older accommodation too). 1st year students are guaranteed a place on campus, as second and 3rd year students are encouraged to live in town. When I came to Lancaster in 2007 I moved into brand new en suite accommodation. The buildings from the outside look beautiful and modern, and this theme continues inside. Upon walking through the door you are greeted with the choice of either a lift or stairs (I lived on the top floor, but only used the lift when I had heavy shopping or was too drunk to take the stairs :P). There are 2 flats on each floor. Each flat has 8 en-suite rooms and a large shared kitchen. In the kitchen there are 2 fridges, 2 freezers, 2 cookers, 2 sinks, a microwave, a toaster, a large table with 8 chairs, a large cupboard, 16 small cupboards, 8 drawers and a bin. As you can probably imagine the kitchens were pretty big (big enough for parties!) and everyone has ample storage space. Also, everything in the kitchen is good quality and modern.
The rooms are modern and quite large, and when you first step into the room ideas run through your head of how you can make the room 'yours'. The rooms contain a single bed (with lots of storage space within), a medium sized wardrobe, a desk with broadband access, a large double window and an en-suite bathroom (toilet, shower, sink and mirror). Even with all of your belongings in the room still has quite a lot of storage space. The rooms are also very quiet. You can't hear anything above or below you because the floors are very thick.
There are only 2 niggles that I have about the accommodation. The 1st is the fact that there are no washing machines. Instead you have to take your washing down to the few washing rooms on campus. This can be difficult if you, like me, leave doing your washing until you have no clothes left, and end up taking all of the clothes that you own down in one go. The 2nd is the price. My room in my first year cost me £90 per week, and this has gone up every year.
Most students decide to live off campus in their second year as it is cheaper, and offers a different experience to living on campus.
**Accommodation - off campus**
There are lots of different places to choose from when choosing where to live off campus. Most people opt to rent out houses owned either privately or by the university. These cost between £40 and £60 per week depending on how grand the house is, but don't forget that you may have to pay bills on top of that. I have found that private houses give you a far better house for your money than university owned houses (owned by Lancaster University Students Union - LUSU). So try to avoid LUSU housing.
Another option is 'Chancellors Warf' which is located towards the top end of the city centre overlooking the canal. This is also university owned. I had considered this accommodation for my second year, but upon looking around it all reminded me of an army barracks, so I decided against it.
I was lucky enough to stumble across some accommodation called 'Cable Street'. This is privately owned student Accommodation which has won the 'Student Friendly Business' awards several times. From the outside the accommodation looks beautiful, but on the inside it varies. Each flat is unique and in my first year we were late to market and so got one of the smallest, worst flats that they had. But in my 3rd year I changed flats to something which was much nicer. Generally flats vary in size between 3 - 6 rooms per flat. Most of the rooms have double beds and most flats have a lounge as well as a kitchen (separate or as a kitchen diner). The price of the accommodation is about £70 plus £150 per year for bills. This may sound like a lot, but you get a lot for your money. Firstly you are literally a 2 minute walk away from Sainsbury's and Somerfield, so you can get all of the offers which save you a lot of money over the course of a year. Also you are about 5 minutes walk away from the city centre. Secondly you get the summer free - on campus you have to leave by around the 1st of July (I think), whereas at Cable Street you can stay until September - free of charge. Then there is the office. In the office you can print (in colour) and photocopy for free. They will also bind your dissertation for free. There are cans and bottles of chilled drink that are also free along with sweets biscuits, cake and other goodies that you can help yourself to while you wait in the office. The office staff are also very friendly and helpful. The office organises free parties (around 3 a year) whereby you are taken to a club and given free entry and free drinks all night (:D). There are also other benefits from living in Cable Street such as discounts at bars and coffee shops. There is a handyman on site that will deal with any problems that you may have. You want some more shelves? Just ask him and he'll put some up for you. You want a chin up bar installed on your doorframe? He'll do it! To top it all off the owner has just had 'medieval stocks' installed outside the office as a voluntary punishment to people who are rowdy and cause disruption (throw eggs and tomatoes at them etc.). As you can see, Cable Street is a fantastic place to live!
Remember though that when living off campus you have to get the bus into University every day (about a 30 minute journey), and you'll have to pay £180 for a 3 term bus pass. Although to be honest it's probably cheaper to get a 2 term bus pass, as you probably won't go on campus that often in your 3rd term.
I enjoyed both living on and off campus, but I find that meeting new people is easier on campus.
**Anything else to know about campus**
Just a quick word about the shops and facilities on campus. There is a 'Spar' and a 'Central' which sell basic groceries and are very expensive when compared to Sainsbury's. The range of products in these shops are quite limited, but it is certainly possible to get everything you need from there. Most people opt to go to Sainsbury's, and there is a free bus service to Sainsbury's on a Wednesday. This is good, but walking from the bus stop to your room with 2 weeks worth of shopping is difficult.
There is a large library on campus where you can borrow all of the books and journals that you will need for your studies. The library is also very quiet so can be used to revise for exams. Next to the library is a 'Waterstones' where you can buy academic and general reading books, as well as stationary.
If you want to buy lunch on campus there are several places that you could visit. There is a 'Greggs', a 'Wibbly Wobbly's' (burger bar), and numerous café's, pizza parlours, fast food restaurants etc. There are also collage café's within the college bars.
The sports centre on campus has a range of facilities such as a swimming pool, tennis courts, netball pitches, football pitches, a weights room, a fitness room, a female weights room, squash courts and a large hall. The sports centre also has classes that it puts on such as circuit training (excellent fitness), aerobics, bums and tums, boxercise etc. the sports centre costs about £120 for a full membership or about £30 for a half membership (you pay every time but at half the normal price). I had a half membership which suited my needs. The number of people I know who bought the full membership only to use it once or twice is crazy - so think carefully about whether it is for you.
Around the campus are lots of huge fields which are ideal for BBQ's in the summer, and a duck pond which is ideal for relaxing. The duck pond is currently being extended. Around the duck pond are numerous species of ducks, geese, rabbits, chickens, and other water foul and pond life.
Even though Lancaster is quite a small city, it has some of the best nightlife that I have ever seen. In addition to the college bars are the pubs and nightclubs in town. The main clubs are:
- Sugarhouse - good on a Friday or Saturday night. Decent music, good prices, newly renovated.
- The Carlton - only on a Wednesday, it's actually in Morecombe, cheesy music, cheap drinks, and the perfect place to go in fancy dress.
- Elements - best on Mondays, cheap drinks, lasers
- Revolution - good music, good atmosphere, expensive drinks
- Hussle - cheap cocktails, very small, can be fun but smells like feet :S
- Cuba - cheap drinks, crowded, awful DJ - I hate it but many people like it.
- Toast - poor DJ, poor atmosphere, and the worst club in Lancaster in my opinion.
There are also plenty of pubs and bars. For example Wetherspoons (there are 2 of them), fibber McGee's, Mint (excellent cocktails), The Friary, The White Cross, The Water Witch and many more.
The city is very friendly towards students and there are a lot of student offers and student nights.
**The City Itself **
Lancaster is not a big city, but I feel that it has everything that you could want.
Shops include: Sainsbury's, Somerfield, Farm Foods, Marks and Spencer, Home Bargains, Game station, Game, Boots, Body Care, Wilkinson's, HMV, WH Smiths, Poundland, Waterstones, Thornton's, The Body Shop, Ann summers, BHS, Next, Burtons, Top man, Accessorise, River Island, Officers, The Early Learning Centre,, Holland and Barrettes, KFC, McDonalds and many more.
There are also a lot of good restaurants such as: Verdes, Bella Italia, Pizza Margarita, quite simply French, Marco's, Crowes, and many more.
Lancaster also has a castle which is currently used as a prison. I would recommend going on one of the castle tours as it is very interesting and well worth the money. Next to the castle is an old church and also a roman bathes (which hardly anyone knows about).
**Places around Lancaster**
If you get bored of Lancaster, and you fancy a change then you can visit the Blackpool pleasure beach, which is great fun. You could also go hiking or camping in the Lake District. Then there is Morecombe bay. It a nice place to go for a walk, or if the weather is good then it's a nice place for a BBQ. Also if you want to do some serious shopping you could go to Preston, or to Manchester.
All of these places are a short train journey away.
At Lancaster University you can do a major subject and 2 minor subjects. I chose to do more modules in my major rather than doing a minor, as I felt that it would benefit me more than doing an unrelated subject. As I previously mentioned I did a degree in biological sciences. Biology is one of the subjects which gives out 'subject awards'. A 'subject award' is a payment of £1000 per year. This really helped me towards my living costs. The biology department is excellent with lots of teaching facilities, labs etc. The lecturers and staff are also excellent. The lectures are interesting and are delivered in an interesting way.
For biology there is a big workload, but that's to be expected. The workload increases in the 2nd and 3rd year, but not to such an extent that it gets overwhelming. In the 1st year I missed lots of lectures due to being to hungover to go. Also the 1st year just seemed to add to what I knew from A-level biology and did not introduce much new content. Missing lectures in the 2nd and 3rd year is ill advised as the 2nd and 3rd year count towards your degree classification. You also go into far more detail about specific topics, and it is imperative that you attend the lectures. You have your exams shortly after Easter. The exam period is very stressful, but there are support networks in place if you are struggling.
From my friends I have found that the universities other departments are also excellent. I do not know enough about them however to go into any detail.
A point to note about University is plagiarism. At A-level for a piece of coursework you could just copy entire paragraphs out of a book and no-one would bat an eyelid. At university you have to write everything in your own words. You will be taught how to do this so don't worry. You also have to reference where you get your sources from which takes a lot of time and it has to be done in the correct format. If you fail to reference your work properly you will lose marks.
I am dyslexic (makes writing this review rather difficult!) and I had access to student support. They are very helpful, but I found that I would rather do things myself rather than constantly get help from student support as I want to be independent. I was also able to get 25% extra time for my exams, which is a great help, as otherwise I would not have been able to finish any of my exams.
**Sports and Societies**
At the fresher's fair you will have the opportunity to sign up to numerous sports, clubs and societies.
In terms of sports, clubs and societies there are: rugby, football, darts, hockey, trampolining, pool, cricket, korfball, ultimate Frisbee, American football, netball, basketball, squash, badminton, the mountaineering club, Archery club, fencing, karate, taekwondo, sailing, skiing and snowboarding, to name but a few. Below is a useful like about sports, clubs and societies:
I for one did not sign up to any clubs, sports or societies. Instead I signed up to one of the only organisations at the fair - the 'Liverpool University Officer Training Corps' or 'LUOTC' which is part of the Territorial Army. I would highly recommend talking to the people at the stand (dressed in army uniform) about this as it is one of the best things that I have ever done. You are not signing your life away - you are not liable to be called up for service and if you don't enjoy it then you can leave at any time. You get to learn basic military skills such as weapons handling, section attacks, platoon attacks, map reading, military knowledge, battlefield casualty first aid etc. Also you get to do adventure training such as kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, scuba diving, skiing, hiking, skydiving etc. The whole point is to teach you leadership. In the 1st year you are introduced to leadership. In the second year you 'learn' leadership, and in the 3rd year you 'perform' leadership. As with anything, you get out of it what you put into it. If you can't make a training evening, or weekend away then that's fine, as it is designed to work around your university studies.
You train on a Tuesday night - 7-10pm, and go away on a weekends training (7pm Friday night to 2pm Sunday afternoon) every 2 weeks. There is also an annual camp at the end of the year which lasts for 2 weeks. The best thing about it is that you get paid! I got paid £45 per day to do this. This doubled as a part-time job for me at university, and during a year I earned over £2000 - which is a lot of spending money! I have been on paid skiing expeditions to the French Alps and also paid diving expeditions to Cyprus!
We also have our own bar. The prices are £1 a pint and £0.50 per shot - so it's the cheapest bar around! We have regular socials, and we have a reputation for having a good time.
In order to join you have to sign up at the fresher's fair. The next step is to attend an assessment day, and then an assessment weekend. There are basic fitness and medical requirements, but I can assure you that these requirements are not difficult to meet.
It sounds too good to be true, but it isn't. Its an excellent way to improve your CV as you can gain recognised leadership and management qualifications. Its also a brilliant way to meet new people and try different things. To be honest, I don't think I would have enjoyed my time at university as much as I have if I had not joined LUOTC.
If your interested, then here are some links:
That's all that I have to say about Lancaster University. I hope that you have found this review helpful. If you want to ask me any questions about Lancaster University then please feel free to message me.
Lancaster University is a campus uni, which means everything you need is in one place - accommodation, shops, bars and of course your department buildings. The campus is just on the outskirts of Lancaster city and it's surrounded by beautiful country side. The accommodation is all new and is some of the best in the country. Also Lancaster works of a college system, so you belong to a college, which is where you live. Now I was never that interested in the colleges but if you want to get involved there is a lot you can do with your college, from sports teams to nights out.
I think the societies at Lancaster are brilliant. There are so many to choose from eg, dancing, sports, music, religious and many more. Plus if you don't find the right one for you, you could start your own and get funding from the student union. This adds another dynamic to the good social life at Lancaster too. So not only could you socialize with your college (and each college has its own bar) or with a society but there are plenty of clubs and bars in town.
I have to be honest though Lancaster is not huge and some of the night life is based purely on students, which is great for students! However compared to a big city like Manchester there is less choice. Also shopping can be limited but never fear, Preston and Manchester are not far away! I personally liked the smaller scale and I came from a large city myself. It feels a lot friendlier and safer here, plus I think it looks stunning.
The city is filled with old buildings, with a castle and roman baths. You can see the Lake District on a clear day, as well as the sea at Morecombe. So it's a lovely place to be.
Finally I will talk about the university departments. Like all uni's Lancaster is better for some subjects than others. Subjects like Psychology and sciences are good, but also more artistic subjects like music or theatre studies. I would suggest as with any uni, to research thoroughly what each department offers and how it runs. I was very happy with my course however it wasn't smooth sailing and my course changed more than once over the course of three years. Now this can't be applied to each department as they all run independently but this should be something to consider when choosing a university.
Anyway, I hope you find this information useful. It really is a good university with a good reputation and the close social life makes it easy to make friends, which is what makes university so great!
Lancaster University is in the north-west of England in the north of Lancashire. It was started in 1964 and situated all on one campus three miles south of Lancaster city centre but just minutes from junction 33 of the M6. The university is split into 8 undergraduate and 1 postgraduate college on campus. All staff and students are placed in the colleges (you are given the choice) so rather than starting with 3,000-4,000 other first years, you start with say 400 other new students in your college so it is easier to meet people and make friends.
Lancaster is increasingly good academically in all the University rankings. There are many 5 and 6 star rated departments and the Management School is one of the best in the country. In The Times Good University Guide 2009, the university appears at number 19. This is the highest in the north-west above Manchester and Liverpool which is a relatively recent shift. There is some opinion that high quality research is the reason for this rather than high quality teaching and that the university is less interested in this. The university tend to offer traditional subjects, although some noteable departments have been lost in the last 10 years including Chemistry and undergraduate Women's Studies. Recently the School of Health and Medicine has opened which is a new direction for the university and great for diversifying its offerings.
It's worth considering which accommodation you want and let that influence your choice of college. For example, virtually all of Bowland College is older and cheaper while all of Lonsdale and Cartmel colleges are new and expensive. Most other colleges are a mix. At the moment there is a wide range of accommodation ranging from roughly £60-100 per week for a room in shared corridors. Some of the accommodation is quite old, although these rooms tend to be larger, not ensuite and cheaper. The newest accommodation is all en-suite but costly and the rooms tend to be small. Corridors vary from 26 sharing communal kitchens to 4 people. First years who accept a place (i.e. not insurance choice or through clearing) are guaranteed accommodation on campus. However, many second and third years are also living on campus now so some first years who do come through later on don't get a place on the campus. There are also some family townhouses on campus which are very popular.
There is an accommodation office for finding safe places to live off campus in shared houses but there are also lots of flats in town built specifically for students. After all with the main site of University of Cumbria also in Lancaster, there are hundreds and hundreds of opportunities for student accommodation for groups or singles and the university does own a few buildings in town on the canal called Chancellor's Wharf which only Lancaster University students are housed in. Town tends to be very friendly towards students, as Lancaster is quite a student town.
***Food & drink***
There are lots of eateries on campus including Indian and Chinese restaurants, a pizzeria and latenight burger bar, a homemade burger bar, a chip shop, Greggs bakery and Diggles with its lovely sausage sarnies. There are posh cafes that students tend to avoid and staff tend to love but in equal numbers, cheap student cafes typically called cafe bars. You can buy virtually any type of food on campus and much is good quality and of reasonable price such as the two homemade vegetarian soups from Souped Up sold in the LUSU shop every week day.
There is no central union bar, but rather every college has its own bar although most are now owned and operated by the university which has upped the costs. However, most of the bars are quite nice and kept well- although others would disagree. Many are also staffed mainly by students- the way it should be.
There is an on-campus post office, bookshop, library, sports centre (due to be rebuilt very soon), lots of launderettes, travel shop, Barclays and Natwest, a newsagent, SPAR shop and other smaller shops, a charity shop, a computer shop, flower shop, hairdresser- all on the central Alex Square or nearby. The university also has an NHS doctors surgery, pre-school centre, pharmacy and private dentist on-site. The university owns its own nightclub- the Sugarhouse in town.
Travel to and from the university is very easy, during weekdays and saturdays during term-time buses run every couple of minutes into town via various routes. Sundays are less frequent. Out of term time lots of buses still run during weekdays for staff, but many less at the weekend. There is a specific bus which runs from Lancaster railway station called the X1 and this varies from every 15-30 minutes depending on day and time. Students and staff can buy a heavily discounted travelcard termly or for the year. The National Express to London also passes through campus!
Andy Serkis- think Gollum and the evil Frenchman in Little Dorrit
Jason Queally- Olympic gold medal winning cyclist
James May - Top Gear
There are others, but they aren't as good!
***General last bits***
Lancaster Uni is generally regarded as a very good university, very friendly and tolerant. From experience it is a very positive place to study and work. Some might feel it's a bit quiet but there is a lot to do in terms of clubs and societies, getting involved in student politics, volunteering etc. One point to note is that (mainly) due to the Management School being world class and the good research record, there are students studying at the university from over 100 countries and it is particularly popular with Chinese and Greek students, so highly multicultural which helps make a place where everyone is accepted.
I was a student at Lancaster University for 4 years - 3 years undergraduate and 1 year postgraduate - and I really enjoyed it. I studied Religious Studies at BA and MA level. The university itself is a collegiate college which means that it is split into a number of colleges on one campus rather than being just one great big mass of people. This made for a really nice community feel as you could get to know people in your college more easily as you would be living in the same area on campus. This also meant that you met people from all different courses rather than just knowing people studying the same subject as you. I lived on campus for the first year in Cartmel college in one of the accommodation blocks - lovingly referred to as the ghetto blocks - which have since been demolished to make way for more modern accommodation. Although our rooms were pretty basic there was a great sense of camaraderie on the blocks and I really enjoyed living there. My course was absolutely great with top class lecturers - Lancaster University has one of the best Religious Studies courses in the country. I really learned a lot while I was there and enjoyed it so much I stayed around to do an MA. I would thoroughly recommend this university to anyone as it has a great atmosphere and some very good lecturers.
Lancaster Uni has a lot of pro's, and a lot of con's. I'll go through the pro's first, then go onto the bad side. And you can all make up your own minds! **PRO'S** Academicaly, this is a great uni. I features in most Uni Top 20 lists, and in a recent list in the Telegraph, it was ranked 12 in teaching quality. The Management School is reported to be the best in the country, but as I am a Women's Studies and Philosophy student, I couldn't really comment! The Theatre Studies department is fantasic, and the resources available are to professional standard. I can't really comment on any of the other departments, other than to say that all the resources available are extremeley good, and all are too a very high quality. The uni itself is a campus uni, with halls of residance and all the departments in the same area. You can walk from one end of campus to the other in a round about 15 minutes. Another fantastic thing which I should mention at this point, is what is known as the spine. You can get pretty much anywhere in the uni on a covered walkway, which is known as the spine. This may sound like a little thing, but believe me, when it is throwing it down with rain (which is invariably is), this is a godsend! It also allows for the infamous 'roofrun' - a run from one end of campus to the other on top of the spine. I'll mention at this point, I have never known anyone to actually do this! The halls at Lancaster, have a fab edge to other unis, namely the colege system. As in Oxford and Cambridge, Lancaster operates a college system, whereby all students are allocated a college (you appky for the one you wish to be in, but competition is quite competitive.), and your halls of residance are located within the college. Inter-college rivalry is quite strong, especially in sports, as each college has it's own sports teams, as well as a joint uni one. Their are 9 colleges in all - Graduate, Pendl
e, Grizedale, Fylde, Furness, Bowland, Lonsdale, Cartmel and County. Each college also has it's own bar, meaning you have a fab 9 bars on campus! This results in some fantastic bar crawls on a Friday night, the only problem being trying to find your way home again! Graduation also takes place in colleges, meaning you will graduate with the people you lived with. I guess this can be seen as a pro or a con! Each college also has its own Christmas ball, and a summer extrav, a huge summer party, where different bands play. This year, Pendle had the Cream DJs, County had Idlewild, and Grizedale had Space, to name but a few. As for the halls themselves, they vary greatly. Some of the halls, ie/ Pendle, are really nice, and offer En Suite facilities for £62 a week (this is what I went for). Cheaper rooms in Grizedale are around about £45 per week, but are not half as nice, and are reputed to have been modelled on a Swedish prison! There is an absolutrely huge library, which is really simple to use, but impossible to find anything! Reserving books is really simple, and can be done online, and at the library itself. There are 3 forms of loan - Short, Popular, and Long. Short Loan books are lent out for 24hrs, but for every hour, or part of an hour which they are overdue for, you are fined £1. This sounds awful, but it's a godsend if the book you need is in high demand! Popular loan are lent out for 7 days, with a 50p fine for every book which is a day overdue. Long loan are lent out for a month, with a 25p fine if they are overdue per day. Books can be recalled at anytime, which can be a pain, but this also means it is fairly easy to get hold of the books you need. The sports facilities at Lancaster are great, with a basic, but good gym on campus, and a huge amount of classes available, including yoga and belly dancing. Membership at the gym costs either £16, which is basic membership and you have to pay a subsidised fee each time you use
the facilities, or £165 (?), which everything other than classes is free. Shops on campus include Waterstones, A Pizza take away, A Kentucky Friend Chicken-style take away, a cookie shop, Barclays, Natwest, a curry house, a travel agency, a newsagents, Spar, and 2 union shops, to name but a few. It is really easy to not have to visit town! Lancaster is also very close to Morecambe, a tacky 1980s seaside town. To be honest, it's not a nice place. But it is great if it's a sunny day. There is also a cinema and bowling there. As for nightlife, well I think this should be in pro's, and con's! The nightlife isn't great. Simple. But it's okay. You do have a good laugh, and even though I'm not a big fan of pop and dance music, you learn to get on with it, and have a good time. There are 3 main clubs in Lancaster - Liquid, Elemental and the Sugarhouse (owned by the union). There is also the Carelton in Morecambe, which has a huge student night each Weds. If you want to go out every night, you do it as follows - Monday - Liquid Tuesday - Elemental (£1 a drink) Wednesday - Carelton (£4 quad vodka and NRG drink) Thursday - Elemental (Ladies drink free_ Friday - Campus bar crawl Saturday - Sugarhouse Yes I've done this, and yes it killed me! The music played in these clubs is mostly pop/cheese etc. However Thursday nights at the Sugarhouse is alternative night which is pretty good. ALso, the rock and alternative music societies run a lot of trips to gigs and clubs in Manchester. I guess I had better mention something about the studying as well! At Lancs, in your first year, you choose 3 subjects to study, then choose 1 or 2 to carry on to do in your second year. The good thing about this is that you keep your options open. The bad thing is that you have to study and revise at least 1 totally irrelevant subject. For me it was great, as I totally changed course! **C
ON'S** The weather sucks. Being so close to the sea means it rains ALL THE TIME! But you get used to it fairly quickly, and you buy a fab umbrella. Competition for places in halls is very very high, due to more and more people coming to Lancaster. Getting back into halls in your 3rd year is nigh impossibly, unless you are a forgein student! There are however loads of student houses available close to uni, so it's not too bad! Shops wise, Lancaster sucks. Topshop/Topman, Boots, Argos, and a couple of designer places, and that's pretty much it! However Manchester and Preston are close by, and really easy to get to on the train, so all is not lost! With each college having its own bar, there is no one students union. I don't mind this, but I do kind of miss it. I live near Keele uni at home, which has one huge union bar, which is great. But Lancs bar crawls make up for it! The public transport drives me MAD! It's not the cost, its the time it takes! There are no direct buses from uni to town, so whilst it should take about 10 mins, it takes about 20. But after a few weeks, you're used to it! I should mention at this point, a lot of the clubs do a free bus home after you've been out, which can save you LOADS of money on taxis! Well, to be honest I think that's it. I will probably update this if I think of anything more I can add! As you can see from my list, the pro's definately outweight the cons, and I would definately recommend this uni to anyone! Read your prospectus, come and visit, and bring a brolly! And more questions, please don't hesitate to email me
Choosing where to go to university is a tricky business - unless of course you're a pre-destined Oxford/Cambridge applicant, or you have a line of predecessing sibblings/friends/lovers who have all studied at a particular institution and claim it is the best. However, for the rest of us slightly less fortunate beings, the choice is so vast, it can seem quite bewildering. When I was a spring chicken of a Sixth Former, I didn't have a clue. I visited numerous Open Days, marking ticks and crosses next to my list of must haves - top of the list being - is there a shop nearby that will provide me with my daily dosage of chocolate, are there enough fit blokes for me, and can I fit said fit blokes in my Hall of Residence bedroom. Yes, I was a shallow, superficial Sixth Former, what can I say. After a number of dissappointing visits to various universities around the country, time fastforwarded to one bitterly cold day in March and I found myself stepping off a coach into the city of Lancaster. And I just knew, instantly, that this was the place I wanted to spend the next 3 years of my life. I didn't refer to my list once, it was just a gut feeling. The fact that it was both countryside and city rolled into one - the beauty of the Lake District in one direction - the thrill of Blackpool pleasure beach and the night life of Manchester in the other. And the more I saw that day of the city and the campus itself, the more my gut feeling was confirmed. It was with great relief that I rushed home that night to fill in my empty UCAS form. When I finally arrived at Lancaster, suitcase, teddy and stereo in tow, and my heartbroken sister left home alone with the evil parents (Yes, Katy, you were heartbroken, admit it...), I was forced to stop looking through my rose tinted glasses. So thus follows 'The reality of life at Lancaster University.....' *************Accommodation **************** At Lancaster (
and I think it's the same with most other uni's), all 1st years are guaranteed a room on campus. I initially thought this would be great (and it retrospect it probably was a good thing for me) - no parents, no moaning, no nagging, just hundreds and hundreds of young people having rampant raging fun, eating dinner at 2 in the morning, going to bed at 4 in the afternoon and turning up to lectures all slurry, wobbly and glazed with alchohol. Living on campus is very important, if, like me, you are rather shy and quiet. It can be very difficult, but when you're forced into an environment where you're constantly surrounded by other people, you tend to come out of your shell just that little bit. The university is split into 8 colleges - Bowland (easily mistaken for high rise council flats, and where several students have jumped to their death....nice....just avoid this one if possible), Cartmel, County, Furness, Fylde, Grizedale, Londsdale and Pendle (where the rooms are ensuite and the views picturesque). The archietecture of these buildings is far from beautiful. The colleges were built in the 60's, which should explain a lot. Very tacky and ugly and almost an insult to the beautiful greenery which surrounds them. I spent my first year in County College. Here, you are given a room on a corridor of approximately 15 or so other students. You share a kitchen with these people and toilets and a lovely row of showers that tend to bring back terrifying memories of PE lessons at school. All this sharing of facilties means that you get to know people very quickly and making friends isn't too hard. That's the upside of campus accomodation. The downside is the actual quality of the facilities you're using. If you're used to your home comforts, you'll have a huge shock when you're faced with the harsh reality of campus life. County College in particular is a pretty grotty place to live. Although fo
r me, the grottiness was mainly due to the people I was living with. The kitchen was always dirty because no one ever cleaned up after themselves, the showers were always filthy - the plug holes blocked with pubic hairs (hmmm, nice), and the corridors were forever littered with empty beer cans and pools of lumpy carrot sick. (excuse the graphic description). We did have cleaners who would come several times a week to give the place a quick wipe over, but it was never enough. I'm quite a clean and tidy person so the mess and dirt really used to annoy me. Especially when I was eating my breakfast next to an ashtray and cigarette smoke was continually blown into my face. But being me, I wasn't going to say anything, so I gradually stopped eating in the kitchen. I got my dad to bring a small fridge/freezer from home and I kept all my food in my room. I'd advise anyone to do this, whether their kitchen is clean or not. Students get desperate - when they run out of money and they come in drunk in the middle of the night, starving hungry.....well, let's just say no food is safe in a student kitchen. The actual bedrooms (come living/eating area - because believe me, that's what student rooms become) are of a reasonable size. You are provided with a bed, wardrobe, table, a few book shelves and a sink and mirror. The sink is a godsend - means you can make tea and coffee without leaving your room, and if the thought of making that long trek to the grotty 'school' showers fills you with dread - you always have a cleaning alternative. Hmmmm, and then there's always the time you need the toilet in the middle of the night and you really don't want to have to obstacle jump the drunkards slumped in the corridor just to relieve yourself.....Well, desperate student times call for desperate student measures. Or maybe I'm just a filthy young girl who doesn't know better. Besides the sink, the best thing by far, in
the County bedrooms are the wonderful window seats. If you ever have visitors staying over (and they're not the kind you want to share your rather narrow single bed with) - the window seat is perfect as it's the length of a sofa and actually far more comfortable than the proper bed you're provided with. Now, my room was on the 3rd floor so fairly high above ground level - and I used to love wiling an afternoon away - lying on my window seat in the sun - with the hills stretching out for miles in the distance. Although beware - nature may be beautiful to look at but it doesn't always smell too good. Leave your window open too long, and the smell of cow dung will waft into every corner of your room. Not a good hangover remedy, believe me! On the whole, living on campus is something I'm glad I did but I wasn't sorry when the year was up. I was far far happier in my 2nd year when I lived in a house with 2 people of my choice. The constant 24 hour a day shouting, shrieking and loud thumping music can get a bit much after a while, especially when you're trying to study for an exam or you've got a migrane and nobody cares enough to lower the noise level even just a little bit. Student houses are generally what 90% of 2nd years opt for. The other 10% choose to continue living on campus. Student houses in Lancaster are amongst the cheapest in Britain. I paid £35 a week in my 2nd year, but there were decent houses going for £28 a week if you looked hard enough. The Student Union's Housing Office supplies a yearly list of all prospective landlords and basically, if you're one of the first knocking on their door (usually sometime in February), you're going to get the best deal. It's best to go through the Student Union rather than local advertisements as you're guaranteed no dodginess. Landlords prey on wide-eyed innocent students and will try their best to lure you into renting their rat infested damp ri
dden cesspit of a house, because, "hey, you're not gonna find anything better - that's student accomodation for you" (said in dodgy northern accent). Run fast from these people. Run to the safety of that Student Union. *******Entertainment & Night Life******* A good night out can be had both on and off campus. Each college has their own bar and most evenings they tend to be full of students desperate for their beer, desperate for any excuse not to have to write that dreaded essay. The drinks are fairly cheap - when you're a student you tend to get everything cheap so make the most of it. And by this, I'm not encouraging you to down one drink after the other until you're completely paralytic and can't string two sensible words together. I know this sounds obvious, but be careful with your drink. There'll always be a desperate male (or female) searching for someone to take advantage of. It never happened to me personally, but just remember that drink makes the most unattratctive people seem strangely beautiful and you'll find yourself in situations you'd steer well clear of if you actually knew what you were doing. The student bars are fairly basic, nothing spectacular - but if it's just your drink you're after - then you'll be happy. Quite frequently, Colleges will organise special themed nights and hold karaoke competitions. There are fancy dress parties, 60's discos, and sometimes obscure indie bands who no one's every heard of will twang their guitars and bang their drums for a few hours. The people on my corridor at County tended to live in County bar. As it's open from lunchtime till late at night, there's always a drink to be had. And sometimes you just need one after a particularly dull and strenuous lecture. I'm not much of a drinker myself, and it did annoy me at times that student life has to revolve around alchohol. I join
ed a number of societies while I was at uni - karate and horseriding to name a couple - and their idea of a group social was a weekly bar crawl, staggering from one bar to the next, downing several pints at each stop. That was fine for a couple of weeks. But I always longed to do something different - to spend a night at the theatre, or the cinema, or just to do something normal like have a meal in a restaurant. It took a while for me to find people willing to do this kind of thing. But I did eventually, and I was a lot happier for it. There are several very good restaurants in the centre of Lancaster. My favourite is the Golden Dragon, a delicious chinese restaurant where the food is top class (and not too expensive). There's also your Italians - Bella Pasta's always a good choice. They do a selection of scrummy chocolate deserts aswell - perfect! If it's still drink you're after, there's quite a variety in Lancaster, from your large 3-storey rowdy student hangout to your smaller, more authentic kind - where you'll have the chance to mix with the locals - and get away from the persistant crowds of students. Lancaster isn't exactly thriving on the club scene. When I was at uni the only clubs were The Sugarhouse ('the shagger') and The Warehouse ('the meat market') I'm not a big fan of clubbing so if I'm not objective enough here, please forgive me. I only ever went to The Sugarhouse, where the music always seemed to be rubbish and there was a distinct lack of decent men. You didn't have to get dressed up to go there either, so students would just turn up in their jeans and sweaters. It's that's not really what I'd consider a proper night out clubbing. It might have improved since I was there last though, as it was several years ago now. If you travel further afield, the clubs do get better. Liverpool and Manchester aren't too far away and the uni often
arranges coach trips up to clubs such as Cream. *************The Campus************** Lancaster University is situated on the top of a big hill, overlooking many of the surrounding areas. On a clear day, in one direction you can make out the dramatic mountains of the Lake District, and in the other you can see Morecombe Bay - both of which are simply beautiful at sunset. The university is a major part of the City of Lancaster. In fact, during the summer holidays when all the students have gone home, it's like a dead city. The streets are literally deserted and everywhere is eerily silent. I stayed up in Lancaster one summer, so I know this for a fact. I thought it would be nice to live as a local for a while, but it's not long before you find yourself almost missing the hustle and bustle of student life. As the main employer of the city, the university provides the focal point for entertainment, culture and sport. On the campus site, you will find The Ruskin Library, The Peter Scott Gallery, the Nuffield Theatre, the large and well equipped Sports Centre which provides a wide variety of classes, such as archery, karate, trampolining and badminton, has a large swimming pool and 3 large exercise studios. You will also find the Chaplinancy Centre, numerous cafes and restaurants, several major banks, hairdressers, laundrettes and a subsidised cinema (come lecture theatre). Everyone knows students are lazy. And if I was anything to go by, they'd be right. Lancaster is the lazy student's haven. You roll out of bed in the morning and your lecture theatre is a 2 minute walk away, your bar is next door and your chippie a few steps further along. Everything is literally on your doorstep. There will come a time however, (believe me, there will) when the whole living on your doorstep surrounded by a consistant flow of boisterous students will get that little bit too claustrophic, and you'
ll feel you just have to spread your wings and explore somewhere else. **************The City*************** The Centre of Lancaster is only a 15 minute bus ride away, about 20 minutes on a bike (if you're fast and don't use brakes) and a 45 minute walk. Well, you might have binged on chocolate the night before. Not that I'd know anything about that.... If you're used to London - like I am now - you'll be pretty disappointed with both the quality and quantity of shops in Lancaster. Clothes shopping is especially difficult - although there is a small TopShop and several cheap (and sometimes nice) varieties of Lancaster's answer to Select. You'll find the usual M&S and BHS - and there's also an indoor market that apparantly is quite good - although the smell of fish always put me off ever taking a proper look. To be honest, you could probably go in every shop in the whole of Lancaster, try on a pair of jeans in every clothes shop and have a cup of tea in each cafe, and still be home in time for elevensis (as my grandma would say). If you're a shopper, your best bet is to leave Lancaster for the day and head for Preston. It's about a 30 minute bus ride away (depending on the traffic), and although not half as beautiful as Lancaster, it's where you're going to find all your beloved shops. If however, the thought of being stuck on a bus is just too much for you to bear, you could take the time to explore Lancaster properly, and leaving the main shopping area behind, you will actually find several unique little shops hidden away, just waiting to be discovered. I found many unique and original christmas and birthday presents in these shops - beautiful candles, little mirrors, dream catchers and all kinds of strange reflective hanging things that brighten up the dullest of student rooms. Shops aside, the City of Lancaster is steeped in history and atmosphere. C
ertain parts of the city are completely untouched by modernity - the streets are cobbled and twist and wind around thatched cottages with tiny tiny doors (door built for the Tiny People - like me!). Sometimes (and this doesn't only happen when you've been at the vodka), you forget what year it is, and it's almost as though you're living hundreds of years in the past. Threading through the City of Lancaster is the canal, and it is pure bliss on a summers day, to sit by the water outside one of the pubs (The Waterwitch being a personal favourite), drink in hand and the sound of the water gently swishing as a canal boat passes by. If you really feel like spoiling yourself, you can book yourself onto one of the canal boat rides - the more luxurious ones provide you with a slap up meal. Perfect if you're on your first date and want to impress. Because a treat like this will certainly keep that lady coming back for more. If it's culture and history you're after, you'll want to head for Lancaster Castle. You probably won't need a map to show you where this is, as it is a defining landmark and stands high at the peak of the City, almost impossible to miss. It's a proper fairy tale castle - the kind you read about but never believe really exists, and it's history is fascinating. In 1612, during the regin of James I, the renouned Pendle Witches were tried, convicted and burnt at the stake just outside the Castle. Eerily, every year on Bonfire Night a spectacular firework display is held at the Castle, and a burning fire crackles and madly flames at the spot where the witches were burnt. Visitors are able to enter the castle and although in the main it is now used as a prison, it is still possible to see the dungeons, the 'drop room' (where prisoners were literally dropped from quite a height into the pits of the dungeons), and the 'hanging corner' where hundreds of condemned prisoners wer
e publically hanged. *********Getting Away from it all********** Sometimes you just feel the need to escape altogether. I know I did. My essays were piling up, I'd been kept awake yet again by a rowdy group of drunkrards parked outside my door, and I'd just had enough of students, locals, people in general. I think it's very important, especially when living on campus, to find time for yourself. You'll need to find your own thing which is just yours - mine was cycling. I would set off for the day, a rucksack with food and water on my back, and head out into the hills with my trusty bike. The wonderful thing about Lancaster is that a mere 10 minute cycle will take you straight into the heart of the countryside. Here you'll find complete silence, peace. Oh, and the odd sheep. But they're usually harmless. The Lune Valley is particulary beautiful, the Crook o'Lune in particular. Cycling is great exercise, it clears your stressed hungover mind, and when you return at the end of the day, you'll feel completely refreshed. I totally recommend it. You'll also be able to eat that chocolate bar without feeling too guilty. ******************************************** Being a student isn't easy. Even though most people say that your uni days are the best of your life, I'm much happier now than I ever was when I was at Lancaster. However, I'm glad I chose to go there. I always wanted to live in the countryside and yet not be too far from a town, and Lancaster provided me with that. It's a beautiful city that really has a great deal to offer. Oh yes, and the lectures aren't too bad either. (strange how I forgot to mention the studying!)
I visited this university last week for its Annual Open Day with a view to possibly going there in 2002. The campus is very impressive, with everyhting you could need (just about) on one site. There are various shops, banks, eating places and other facilities all within 5 minutes walking distance from most residences on campus We were also shown around the accomodation which was basic, but not shabby or dirty. It was what I expected from university accomodation and will look OK once you have your own things around you. The bathroom facilites were good as well (1 shower between 2 people plus a bath). As well as the facilites, I was also interested in the teaching methods for my chosen subject, English. I spoke to one of the English professors who was very helpful and was able to answer all of my questions without any problems. The English Department itself has good facilities, with a large library and various societies attached to it. However, the library was not as large as in some other universities. According to the professor I spoke to, the typical entry requirement is three B grades. You should also know that Lancaster operates a slightly different degree system based on the American college system. You choose a subject to 'major' in in your first year, along with two other minor subjects. At the end of the first year, you drop one or both of your minor subjects and focus on your major. However, you can change one of your minors into your major after a year if you can prove you can achieve high standards in that minor. Of course, universities often show off their best facilities on these kind of days and you will actually have to live there before you know what it is really like, and the nightlife might be another factor that will disappoint social people-not many clubs to be seen. However, if you like the countryside and want to go to a campus rather than city university, this could be the choice. Go take a look (
campus tours take place every Wednesday).
Ive recently applied to UCAS, and have recieved an offer from Lancaster university, and although it is only my 2nd choice, i am accepting the place. The university itself, is of a high quality, residancy, quality is high, the city itself although relatively quiet, is fun with many activites to do, bars, pubs, clubs, eateries. The pleasant environment, makes it ideal for the student. I would reccomend it to anyone wishing to apply, and indeed for Geography, which has excellent facilities. The main site of Lancaster University is located at Bailrigg, on the southern outskirts of the city of Lancaster and about three miles from the city centre. The campus is set in 250 acres of landscaped parkland and on a clear day the view extends north to the Lakeland fells and west across Morecambe Bay. At the heart of the campus is Alexandra Square (named after the University's Chancellor, HRH Princess Alexandra). This provides a focus for the life of the University - the central administration building (University House), the Students' Union offices, the Library, and shops and banks are close to the Square. The University is very much a part of the city of Lancaster. The University is one of the major employers of the area and also shares with the local community its cultural and recreational facilities - theatre studio, art gallery, concert hall, multi-denominational Chaplaincy Centre and large and well equipped sports complex. The numerous bars and eating places on campus are open to students and visitors alike. The colleges are a highly distinctive feature of campus life. There are eight undergraduate colleges on campus and one postgraduate college. All members of staff are college members and many are actively involved in collegiate life. Each college has its own individual character and are busy centres of social, recreational and educational activity. Most colleges have about eight or nine hundred members and all on-c
ampus accommodation is located within the colleges which makes it easy to get to know people and gives a sense of belonging to a supportive community.
I'm a second year law student at Lancaster. YOu get kicked out of campus after your first year, and have to find accomodation somewhere. I've got some personal experiences to share. - Start early, about week 4 of term 2 is as late as you should leave it, ideally try and sort it out in December of term 1. The Housing list is published in week 4, term 2 and all the quality accomodation goes in about a week. Get a group together and get out there. Places are available near the "Waterwitch" pub and on the road leading to uni. Beware though, rent is as high as demand, and landlords may ask for exorbitant 50 week contracts. - Ask all the current members of the house about the landlord/lady. One of the members might not know what is going on, or just palm you off with a one word reply. Our landlady was terrible - it took her a month to get the boiler fixed (this was in January and we froze). Her name was Jean, so if you get her ber warned. - Don't believe all the rumours about Skerton. I've lived there and it's not violent and has a very nice local (Skerton Hotel) with a great pool room. However, there is another reason not to live here if you don't drive. It's miles from university and takes about 45 minutes to "bus it" in. On the plus side, Skerton is near the sugarhouse, liquid and elemental and also Sainsburys. On another note, don't come to lancaster if you're into big clubs. There really is no place that plays dance music, except chart dance played by Liquid at the weekend, when it's full of locals. Preston is near, with Club Sugar playing UK garage, recently hosting So Solid Crew. Preston isn't exactly close though. Clubs in lancaster operate the "Cheese Principle": Girls like Cheese, boys like girls. Having said that Going out 5 nights a week isn't uncommon with loads to do if you like drinking and girls. Monday: Liquid/Sp
rings Tuesday: Elemental Wednesday: Carleton (wicked place, easy to pull) Thursday: Good for alternative music - Sugarhouse for Indie, Warehouse for Metal Friday: Sugarhouse, Liquid, Alex (pub downstairs open until 2am, club upstairs plays rock/metal), Avoid elemental - full of underage locals. Saturday: Umm, same as Friday, but sugarhouse plays better music at "Sundays for Sleeping".
I am in my second year at Lancaster uni and I do have to say that coming to Lancaster is the best thing that I ever did. The atmosphere on campus, and also in town, is friendly, easy-going and fun. I don't know a single person who doesn't enjoy being at Lancaster uni, on occasions it does get a bit annoying that Lancaster is so small and that there aren't more things to do, but at the end of the day there are plenty of things to do and as long as you have your friends with you then you'll have fun. The college system seems a bit archaic at first, but the advantages of the college system are that you know EVERYONE in your college, which adds to the atmosphere, and the inter college rivalry isn't taken seriously, although County is the best....no. really. It is. The college system also means that there are college trips to places, like Alton towers and nightclubs, but not good ones, clubs like Tokyo Joes in Preston which is a bit shit, but the drinks are cheap which is all that counts... Also every year in the summer there are Extravs, which are like mini-festivals held by each of the 9 colleges, the tickets are about £10 for each one and they are on for three days, so three colleges have them on each day, its like THE law that you have to go to your college's extrav and they are amazingly good fun, bands play, beer is drunk and a quality time is had by all. The fact that Lancaster is a campus uni means that it has everything on campus, such as banks, shops, pizza places etc and the best thing is that there are 9 bars on campus, which means that cheap bar crawls can be had by all! wicked! If you are deciding whether or not to come to Lancaster then stop thinking about it and do it. It'll be the best decision you've ever made. I know its the best thing I ever did.
When my daughter graduate from Lancaster two years ago, she had experienced a wonderful three years at Lancaster University. It wasn't even her first choice, but right from the outset they made it clear that they wanted her and that meant a lot. From the initial correspondence from them, which was friendly and welcoming, to the final graduation ceremony which had everyone in happy tears, Lancaster cared for her and helped her to grow in so many ways. She now has a very good job in London but still keeps in touch with the many good friends she made. We visited her frequently and were always made welcome. There is even an 'Alumni flat' in the grounds which you can hire for one or more days. They are more than happy to accomodate parents and family here. The Lancaster site is wonderful. It is like a small village with its own shops and banks and almost every one of its colleges has a coffee bar or restaurant on ground floor level. It seems a very SAFE environment and this matters a great deal. As you enter the grounds, you see a duckpond to the left and as you wind your way up the road to the campus, you have to watch out for the rabbits. In the grounds were (and probably still are) a peacock and a rooster, commonly known as 'the devil rooster' by students. It's things like this that, I hope, provide a picture of Lancaster for prospective students and their parents. The course she did (Music) was excellent and the staff were all so supportive of her. She was given many opportunities to do activities which she would not have got otherwise. If there has to be a criticism of Lancaster it is that there is not a great choice of housing in the town for students' second year out-but it is one of the cheapest universities in the UK for accommodation. I would recommend this university to anyone who was not determined to go to a 'city' college. It is high in the overall rankings for English universities, is ve
ry good on the pastoral side, has very good learning resources and is a joy to live and study in. What more could a parent, or prospective student, want? Go there.
I am not a student at Lancaster University but I have applied to go there for entry in 2001. So why I am writing an opinion on it then? Well after seeing the prospectus I decided that this was the place I wanted to go, however, not being too hasty I arranged for a guided tour, I had this tour on Wednesday December 6th. I was shown around the University by a current 3rd year student. He was helpful and explained all questions that I had. But what did I learn that earned this review for the Uni. Well Lancaster has 9 colleges. They are not strictly colleges in the sense that they are all different, but they are 9 different places on the University Campus where the Hall of Residence are situated. Each of these has it's own Personality and the rivalry is made by inter-college sporting/social event competitions. All have their own JCR and bar. At Lancaster, as it is not within the City, everything is on site, this includes accommodation for all first years, a Spar, Cafes, Bars, Restraunts, Take-Aways and a subsidised Waterstones meaning all Course material can be bought at a much cheaper price. Accommadation is priced at a very reasonable £42-47 for a standard room, this includes all bills - wate, gas, electricity, heating. I was shown Pendle college rooms. These are the newest on the campus, but this did meant they were the furthes away from the centre of the campus. The rooms are of good size, and there are 8 people who share the kitchen, and two toilets and showers between them. These are cleaned, by a cleaner as part of your rent money. Inside your room you get a bed, wardrobe, desk and shelves. You have a phone link which is connected to all other rooms. To use the internal phone network you pay nothing for all charges, if you wish to have access to an outside line you will have to pay £35 a year. This does not have access to the college network of computers and internet, this will be a £60 a year. For this you get 24
hour access from your room to the college network and Internet without having to pay the phone charges. The University has ample computer facilities for those who do not have, or can not afford a computer of their own. There are two floors of the Library that have computers, and several labs for use as well. The Library has thousands of books to choose from which probably goes some way to explaining why it ranks so high for research. Sport is also prominent at the University, this is evidenced in the number of societies that are available, both at competitive and fun level. Now my mind is fully made up this is the University I want to go to. ~Update~ Courses, I almost forgot. At Lancaster you study up to three subjects in your first year, this includes two additional subjects as well as the one you applied for. At the end of the first year you take tests in them all. If you gain 45% or more you are able to carry on with that subject. During the second year you can choose a combination of two subjects or swap degree courses to any that you have passed. Also, any marks gained in the first year will not go towards your final degree score. This is an excelllent idea as it allows for settlement after a large transition from school to University, and it also allows for changing your mind part way through the course - top University.
Most people act surprised to hear there is a university in Lancaster, when hearing this they then assume it is a converted polytechnic. There is a university in Lancaster and it really is rather good. The first impression of the campus is of functionality. It is not going to win any architecture awards,granted, but people really have thought about what they are building. There is a very happy, purposeful air around the campus as the friendly students go about their business. All the disadvantages of living on a campus university have been countered, whilst drawing on the advantages. The flaws of the university are the motorway which is a little close for comfort, and the looks of many of the buildings. It really does do well when it comes to teaching the students also. It scores consistently highly in all the surveys done and has left its problems of overspending behind. The town is big enough and close enough to mean there are benefits, but the distance from it means there is minimal crime and noise. Overall, a great place to be, if a little unheard of