So before I start this blog post it is important to say that this is a paid post with the University of Hull. However, I also think it is important to say that I applied to write this post, and was planning on writing a very similar one soon anyway based on my experiences so far at Hull University because it is something that I feel passionately about.
I always thought I was “late” to University. I was a year behind everyone else my age who had applied, as I had to change Sixth Forms half way through my A- Levels and basically start all over again, but that’s another very long story. I went to open days all around the country for about 2 years before making my decision, I hadn’t even decided on the course I wanted to do let alone the University so there was a lot I needed to look into. I went to Edinburgh, Chester, York, Leeds, Kings College as well as Oxford (and a couple of others I’m sure I am forgetting), and of course Hull. I am from Hull’s local area and so had heard a lot about it, but had always kind of written it off because as I was told by soooo many people over the years “the whole point in University is to move away from home, become more independent and try more things” blah blah blah. So Hull’s open day was one of the last I went to, but since I could spend all day there without having to spend hours travelling home I decided to make the most of it and look at multiple different courses.
I was SO impressed by Hull and what it had to offer. From the layout and the dynamic juxtaposition of the very old and the very new buildings, to the Brynmor Jones Library, the Hull University Campus was completely different to what I had imagined. The new Courtyard accommodation had just been finished and it was refreshing to know that as well as the accommodation away from the University; like The Lawns, there was also on campus accommodation. The lack of which at some other universities had intimidated me a bit. I liked the modern style of the lecture theatres inside the beautiful old buildings. I am what some would refer to as a “home bird”, and what others would refer to as “an anxious mess”, either way I realised a lot of what was putting me off university was the idea of moving away from home. In Hull I had not only found a Uni that was close to home, but one that felt like home to be at. I was lucky enough on applying to Hull, to be given an unconditional offer, which took off some of the pressure during my A-Levels too.
I am two years into my undergraduate degree now and all of that feels such a long time ago. I have learnt such a lot in those two years about not only myself but also my local area. To say that I was brought up in and around Hull there was an awful lot about it that I had no idea I didn’t know. Spending more time in Hull has allowed me to experience a lot of great things. The University itself is the 14th oldest in the UK, and throughout much of the city there are a lot of other historical treasures to pay attention to. There is the maritime museum, England; if not the world’s, smallest window (yes, you did read that right, try to contain yourselves) and not forgetting- Old Town. I can confidently say that Hull’s Old Town is one of the best places to go for a wander during the day and for a night out. A collection of unique and friendly bars, pubs and independent restaurants, it is safe and well lit, and very close to the actual night clubs in the area. The Mission, a pub inside of an old church, is an absolute must. It also makes up part Hull’s signature pub crawl- The Fishtrail, which winds around Hull’s City Centre and Old Town. I know you’re not picking your university solely on the nightlife *wink* *wink*, but other highlights include: Newland Avenue, Piper, Atik, and my personal favourite: Welly (get yourself to a Welly Thursday, you’ll never be the same). The University’s Asylum nightclub is also a great night out, and you really know you are among your people when Mr Brightside comes on and EVERYONE stops dead and starts dramatically screaming it at the top of their lungs. There is so much more to Hull than it’s nightlife though, it has three major shopping areas in the city centre, all of which are under cover- and a trip through Hull would not be complete without hearing the fruit man at the market scream at you about the price of strawberries.
Hull’s 2017 City of Culture status continues; at least in spirit, even now across Hull and within the university, which saw a lot of great press from this accolade. People have finally begun to see Hull in a more authentic light, which illuminates the best feature of this city- it’s people. This is a sentiment which extends to University life too. Some lecturers at Hull have been born and raised here, others came to study as students and continued into their careers here, and there are those who have come from across the world for the opportunity to teach in Hull. Regardless of why or from where they have come, they choose to stay; the same can be said of many students. The standard of teaching, the course content and lecture styles are all things that you can look up on WhatUni or another comparison website, but there is a lot that they don’t tell you about what it is like to live and study in Hull. It doesn’t tell you about the expansive panoramic views from the top of the library and watching the sun set over the Humber Bridge from its 7th floor. It doesn’t tell you about the array of societies covering every sport, belief and hobby there is and how these societies meet every week and create instant life long friendships. And it doesn’t tell you about how quickly Hull begins to feel like a home from home. Hull is affordable- one of the most affordable locations in the country, with student rent ranging from £60-£150 a week depending on who you rent from and the style/ standard of accommodation. The cost of living depends on how you want to live, but food, entertainment and other basics like haircuts are more than affordable, and Hull also boasts one of the lowest prices for pints in the country.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been some things that I have struggled with while at university: the change into an independent learning style, the workload and the difference in the way the information is taught. You go from being mollycoddled at A-Levels to being dropped into at least 10 hours of pure information a week that you have to process, take in and remember, and for anyone this is quite a task. Yet I have had nothing but help from Hull; from my AST (an individual tutor you share with 5 other people in your year), to the student Hub, to the independent Student Central. My brother, and so many of my friends chose to go to Hull Uni too, even if they moved out into student accommodation to get the independence people crave from university. I also have some friends who applied to go to other universities and for whatever reason either did not get in, or rejected their offer and chose to come to Hull instead through clearing. Similarly I have friends who did not want to go to university and so had not applied anywhere, and then during the first few weeks of the semester, decided they did want to go to university and applied to Hull in clearing. And I think this is important to talk about. First and foremost- applying to university; be it Hull or anywhere else, through clearing is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about as some people have this pre-conception. You may have changed your mind, only just decided University is for you, or simply had a bad exam, you don’t have to have it all figured out right away. That’s something I am only just starting to realise. It is also important to note that the clearing process is open for a lot longer than you may think. It does not just open on results day as many assume, but has actually been open from the 5th of July this year and A-Level results day is not until the 15th of August (I’m telling you that like you don’t all have countdowns on your phone). It is also open until some time within the beginning of the first semester, giving you enough time to join the course you want to and still have time to catch up.
Another concern you may have about applying through clearing is the accommodation. I know it is a common misconception that if you apply to university through clearing there will be no accommodation left, let alone anything good, and you will have to live in the cupboard under someone’s stairs. In reality you needn’t worry. So long as you apply to Hull before the 1st October you are guaranteed accommodation in one of the 2,300 rooms on campus. Since I applied, nearly 3 years ago, Westfield Court has been built, drastically increasing the campus’ capacity for student living, be it self catering or semi-catered. There is a contract length and accommodation type for everyone, so that is one less thing to worry about. The added bonus of living anywhere on campus being that you are never more than a 10 minute walk (5 minute run if you’re really pushed for that 9am) to your lectures. My final tip on clearing, again whether you are applying to Hull or not, is to do more of what you are doing- RESEARCH!! If you’d rather look at some official information on the subject than some random girl called Jess’s ramblings, or your parents would, the university websites are the best places to look. I have linked Hull’s website and their clearing pages below. They also have a specific page of guidance for parents, see, I’ve got everyone covered. You may also benefit from reading other people’s blog posts just like this one and finding out what they have to say about their experience and if they have any advice. Uni is one of the most talked about topics across all forms of media and the information is out there for you to make the most informed decision FOR YOU.
And out of all of this that is the most crucial thing, that this is the right decision for you, whatever that is. I can tell you how student employability (both during their time at university and once they have graduated) in Hull is one of the best in the county. I could tell you about the incredible new gym and sports centre that has just been built and is cheap and offers even more leisure options for students. I can tell you how easy the clearing system is to navigate and that it is a real opportunity for all prospective students from all manner of situations. But it’s up to you to find all of that out for yourself. Get yourself to open days. Read up online. Talk to anyone and everyone you can who’s been to uni and consider your options. Just make sure you make Hull Uni and going via clearing one of them.