Choosing what university you want to attend is one of the biggest decisions you will have to make in your young adult life. It’s a matter of committing to the course you want to study, choosing where you want to live and considering what other opportunities the university has to offer. With all these in mind, this is how I decided to become a student at Surrey.
Throughout my first year of A Levels, I was conflicted as to whether or not I should attend university. Academic study had really taken its toll, and I was struggling with the idea of staying in education for another three-four years after A Levels had finished. What made me choose to attend university was the idea that I could finally specialise in my favourite subject (Music); getting to learn more in depth about something I was so passionate about excited me, and this would be made possible by doing a degree. University was also the opportunity for a real change: as someone who grew up in a small town, moving out and living with people from across the globe felt like the perfect step towards adulthood and experiencing the real world.
So why did I choose Surrey? Well, funnily enough, Surrey wasn’t in my five UCAS choices. After accepting an offer from my first choice, attending the applicant day, and then realising that I hadn’t chosen the right course or university, I was back at square one. Thankfully, UCAS offers the chance to apply for universities one by one if you have declined all of your first five choices (this is called UCAS Extra), which meant I could keep searching for that perfect university. This also meant, however, that when I could only apply for one university at a time, and therefore didn’t have an insurance option.
In a bit of a panic, I requested prospectuses from a large variety of universities in the south. Surrey was a university that I had never heard of, but it caught my eye due to how close it was to London and how high the Music Department was in terms of ranking. In terms of extra curriculum, I found out that Surrey had a huge sports park, in addition to offering hundreds of different societies for you to join. After doing my online research, I wrote to the Music Admissions Officer and organised a meeting as well as booking a campus tour of the university.
The first thing that really drew me in was how stunning the campus was: the lake was particularly beautiful and the surrounding trees on campus made the university really stand out. Whilst on the campus tour, I got to see how lots of the accommodation was very close in proximity to the library, lecture theatres and PATS (Performing Arts Technology Studios). The fact that the university also had a club on campus made it even more appealing as I wouldn’t have to travel far for freshers week. Moving somewhere on your own can be really daunting, so it was great to know that I wouldn’t get lost since everything was quite close together.
After viewing PATS and seeing all the practice rooms, edit suites and performance spaces, it looked like a great place for my chosen course. Making sure the university provides high quality equipment and spaces for your course is really important, and often can’t be done without visiting the university. It’s equally important to talk to the people who will be teaching your course: I got a great first impression from speaking to one of the lecturers which helped make my decision to study at Surrey.
Once I had spent the day at Surrey, I had made up my mind that this was the university I should apply for. Now being in my second year, I am still so glad I chose Surrey as I have made many great memories, met many amazing people, and am still developing my knowledge/skills on a subject that I have always loved.