University Life- Isabela

Business, Isabela

University is all about academic knowledge! Wrong!

University life is about you developing as an individual more than anything. The aim is after four years to become not only a graduate, but a responsible, committed and reliable person. Regardless of how much you think you will struggle, maturity will come along the way.

University work:

Part of your degree might include individual reports and some will be the result of teamwork. In unfortunate cases, it can be a learning curve that helps you to choose your co-workers carefully next time. Not everyone’s style of work is compatible, so you might encounter arguments, become irritated with peers, unhappy and encounter stressful situations. This is where planning becomes key, because not everyone will attend all meetings. You will be more concerned about the project than others and even in my case, end up doing someone else’s work. You will realise further on that other students’ perceptions of Uni life and their degree differs massively from yours. Don’t be afraid, lecturers will read every single student and when you will thrive, others will fall.

Accommodation:

The majority of the students will opt to go into halls in their first year. It offers safety and convenience for the newcomers, the international students or the ones moving away from other cities around the country, as well as parents’ peace of mind. I chose to commute from a close village for the first 2 years of my degree and halfway through my placement. For personal reasons, it was convenient initially, but after the first year, the strain of getting up very early in the morning coupled with the many sweaty runs for the bus meant my enthusiasm had worn off. However, I had many friends who found commuting in their cars quite enjoyable and preferred it that way.

Life at university:

Three years at University will become a very complex journey. You will meet new people, make new friends, swap friends, dump friends but you will always look back to great times you might never live again. As long as you have fun consciously and do not go overboard to miss consecutive lectures and deadlines you will be fine. Weekends are to have fun, enjoy them as three years will fly by before you know it!

Choose right:

Choosing the right University is a big decision for each and every student. The truth is, the University goes hand in hand with the degree you want to do and they will always complement each other. Be it a single honours course or a joint honours course (JHS) you get full support from the staff. Think well in advance if you want to combine two subjects because as weird as the combination might be, in most cases, you can do it. And if it goes wrong, don’t worry, everything in life is a learning curve, you can drop or change the subject after the first year.

Diversity at Derby:

There are students coming from all over the world to study at Derby, so you’ll be able to meet individuals with other cultures and maybe even learn new languages. Everyone’s new so that will make the process easier and be able to interact without being too shy to introduce yourself. The more open you are, the easier it will be to adapt to the new environment and integrate yourself amongst the other new students or ‘freshers’ in Uni terms. Speaking of ‘freshers’ as a student, you have discounts through your University cards, stores like Topman, Topshop, New Look and others will give you discounted rates for essentials like clothes, food and even haircuts!

But remember:

On the other side, as a new student, you are bound to forget that you will have stuff to read, homework to do and other similar things in advance of your lecture so make sure you check your e-mails! Every two days at the least, but even before you start a new game of Candy Crush or check Facebook a million times and still no updates, make a note – Unimail check!

University is not for granted, so make the most of it! Your degree is really important but don’t waste your time sleeping forever, you can gain invaluable experience while studying! Get involved with the Students’ Union and do volunteering to fundraise for charity causes. Otherwise, you can apply to do the Futures’ Award and participate in projects to gain an extra qualification to be put on your HEAR certificate at graduation or use as a talking point at interviews! So many things to do, you can also register to work through the Student Employment Agency for some extra money in your pocket. Casual vacancies come up all the time; so again, check your e-mails so you can grab it first!

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Useful Tips- Isabela

Business, Isabela

If I could give one very important tip to all prospective students would be: ask!ask!ask! And carry on until someone responds because everyone knows something at Derby University. Here’s some examples:

1st year – Panic arises because assignments/coursework are due and referencing is still an issue or IT skills needed. University of Derby has a small department in the Ground floor of the University who can help with that, it’s called the Study Skills Office.

2nd year – You’ve improved a lot but the search for a placement is never ending and no results by December. Is it your CV? Is it your nerves at the interview? Why not visit the Careers and Employment Service to see an Employability Advisor? Furthermore, Derby Uni has the employability service, our own little Employability and Enterprise Hub located in the Atrium so it’s right there for you.

3rd year – Placement was ace, you would have stayed if you could. Or maybe you got a taste of what you don’t want to do. Or maybe you’ve turned into an entrepreneur, you want to work for yourself. Now you see all the marketing projects with fresh eyes, it all makes complete sense so you’re ready to roll – 1 st class degree here we come!

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Accommodation

Emily B

Choosing your accommodation is a relatively simple choice in the first year. Most students who are moving away from home are doing so for the first time and this can be a daunting experience. There is a choice between University Halls of Residence( Halls – University of Derby) or private accommodation. 

Halls

 This accommodation choice is ideal for first year students as it is an ideal way to meet new people. I went into halls for my foundation year as I thought it would be a great way to settle into university life. 

Halls consist of a number of rooms per flat, with a shared kitchen and bathroom with the option of your own en-suite or not. Being put together with strangers from all over the country really helps to maximise your university experience. You can make friends for life at Halls and it’s the easiest choice when it comes to accommodation as all bills are included and it has all the amenities you would need. You get a Halls manager who will deal with any queries you may have to either to do with the people or the site itself. 

All Derby Uni halls are on the Unibus bus route and within walking distance of Uni so are ideal places to live. They are all close to the main town centre whether based at the Derby or Buxton campus. 

Returning students also have the opportunity to pick friends that they want to live with, so if you wanted you could live with the same group for your full 3 years. 

Private Accommodation

You may decide you want to live in private accommodation from the first year. The University has approved private dwellings (Student accommodation in Derby – houses homes flats housing) to choose from which are checked by the Uni to be a certain standard. 

Most students opt for this from the second year, when you have found your feet and made friends that you would like to live with again. 

Bills are not always included with this option so budgeting is essential but you learn many useful skills for  when you do live privately in the future. 

Living with others

Living with people you do not know well or not at all can be tricky. It may take a little while to become accustomed to as it is a big change from living with family. The key thing to remember here is to respect each other! You may not have a lecture in the morning but one of your housemates might, so keeping the noise down after an agreed time is not unreasonable. 

The best way to tackle issues with housemates is to talk to them. If you set up some living arrangements or house rules from the beginning, then everyone is clear on what is acceptable and what is not! You will also have to learn to compromise, this is the fairest way to settle discussions.

It is also essential that you keep the communal areas tidy and clean as everybody will be using this area and it is only fair you leave it how you found it to avoid upsetting your housemates.

But don’t worry, most of the time you will really enjoy living with new people. You may learn something new from them such as how to cook something or they may give you budgeting tips. There is a lot of time to socialise whilst at Uni so getting off to a good start with your housemates means that you will always be coming home to some good friends to hang out with. 

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Presentations at University

Business, Isabela

First and foremost, let’s talk about the format. Mostly everyone uses PowerPoint (yes the old PowerPoint) for creating presentations. Depending on the subject, usually for Business themes and similar projects putting images/pictures in or links to Youtube to make it more interesting and modern. Some other students also try the Prezi online application which is useful for adding collages to presentations. Although I’ve never used it personally, I have come across presentations which looked amazing through Prezi. The other interesting thing about Prezi is that it is very interactive and has effects to keep the audience engaged.

Now, to the nitty gritty of presentations. In general, people run away from delivering presentations for of two main reasons: lack of confidence which leads to panic and group work.

Let’s start with the latter and elaborate. Teamwork is different from groupwork. Groupwork will be what you do most of the times in class, exchanging ideas and opinions and working together to finish a certain task. The same applies to teamwork but it’s more conclusive, because in order to become a team you have to blend together so the finished result is high quality work and everyone has contributed effectively. The issues arising with groupwork is that not all of us are compatible, some will want to lead, some will be unreliable, some will end up doing more work than others and so everything will be part of a learning curve. However, if everyone puts in the same effort, the grades will reflect the hard work and you will become an ace team!

The 5 most important tips I can recommend for presentations are:

  1. Prepare well in advance: make sure to rehearse the presentation with the team at least 3 times. This helps you gain more confidence as well as being able to know if you go over the time. Most presentations are timed for about 10-15 minutes so you should stick within that time limit, rather than go over and not be able to say important information.
  2. Think of a confident start to the presentation – the first few words always make an impact, so you can engage the audience from the beginning because otherwise they will be bored straightaway and they will pay less attention to the rest of the presentation.
  3. Make the transition between everyone’s parts as swift as possible so everyone gets to say their part without having an awkward silent break in between.
  4. If you feel better have cards to help you while presenting. Some lecturers allow it but do not come with an A4 piece of paper as it’s more likely you’ll lose your way trying to read off the paper. The cards should contain small structured sentences just to help you remember key facts.
  5. Know your stuff! It’s the best starting point to any presentation to understand the subject. Research well around it and prepare for any possible questions. Then, you will be more relaxed and it will come across during your presentation!

Here’s some further information to make you more comfortable before your presentations:

http://careers.theguardian.com/top-tips-for-improving-your-presentation-skills

 

Further tips in regards to how to structure a presentation:

  • Don’t use more slides than needed. You will notice in time that slides need to be concise and short, instead of wasting time using too many transitions.
  • If you can, use visual imagery such as photos, graphs and charts which show that you have made some research around the subject.
  • Do not overload the slide – the content shouldn’t be too little nor too much, just enough to make your point.
  • Key rule: ensure your presentation can run on any computer. Prepare to have compatibility issues, take a memory stick with you as well as sending it off to your e-mail.
  • Use simple fonts rather than becoming overwhelming so everyone from all over the room is able to read it. On the other hand, use contrasting colours for text and background so it’s easy to read but not too striking. Work on the balance of colours before the final draft of the presentation.

I hope these tips will help you with your future presentations!

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Let’s talk Marketing!

Business, Isabela

As prospective students, you all might have different ideas about what marketing means and why you want to study it. You will probably be even more surprised to find out through your degree that marketing hasn’t got a clear definition; it’s described in many ways by a variety of theorists who have studied its aspects and adapted the theory according to the context.

Marketing is more complex than anyone would think, myself included. The degree is fascinating and brings the geek out in me! So why am I writing this blog post about marketing as you are all going to learn about it anyway in your courses?

Well, sometimes, people want to know more details about their course, in order to become more enthusiastic or disappointed in the worse cases. The main reason why I want to talk about it is because I can relate from a student perspective. There are three main things that I feel you need to know or be interested about:

  1. Creativity – You don’t have to be the best at art or design to study or do marketing but you need to be able to spot the difference between a bland presentation and vibrant packaging that makes you buy the product even if you don’t need it.
  2. Vision – Understand the market and the values of the product or service, how would consumers see it and why should they buy it?
  3. Communication – Some of us are born leaders, some are team workers and some of us are the geniuses in the company that think of the stuff other people have missed. We all fall into a category but you probably don’t know it yet.

I hope it’s all starting to sound exciting because that’s what I was hoping for when I started writing!

I’ve heard someone say recently marketing is not glamorous but hard work and I disagree completely! Surely there is no particular job in the world that doesn’t involve some kind of work, it might seem more glamorous than others but that’s probably due to peoples’ opinions and some marketing involved.

Marketing can be applied to almost anything and everything, from toilet roll to America’s Next Top Model because they all need some kind of connections to make themselves known. Some will be on the supermarket shelves and others in magazines. For me, marketing is about getting out there, even if you work for a catering company, electricity company, automobile company or in the clothing industry it doesn’t matter. You are the front face that customers want to see.

Surely Facebook and Twitter are the most used social media sites for our generation but imagine how many companies use them to promote their business and increase sales. It might not seem straightforward but it’s true, customer service has moved nowadays into the online era. We, as Marketeers need to move at the same speed with the technology and that’s the best bit about the job. We never stand still and do boring jobs but we move along and have fun with the times!

So, can you see now why Marketing hasn’t got a definition? #coolMarketeers

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Snippets about my favourite module

Isabela

My favorite module

Copywriting and Creativity

In order to make you understand why I love this module, I think it would be best if I gave you an overview about myself and my degree so far.

Even before starting University, I knew that my ultimate goal after finishing my degree would be to go into the Public Relations sector but the University of Derby at the time, didn’t offer the course. So I enrolled on Marketing and Advertising Management instead because it was the closest one. I started this course motivated enough that it will give me a good understanding and basics of what goes into Public Relations as well as offering me alternatives, in case I wanted to stick with marketing and/or advertising.

The first year gave me an overview of what business includes, such as human relations modules, marketing and economics. These were shared with all the other single and joint honours business students which made it more interesting because they were already really good at finance and accounting. I personally enjoyed it a lot as it was a reverse learning process.

The second year stepped up in terms of the knowledge and expectations.  At this point we understood marketing and it was our chance to prove our potential and apply it to the marketing and advertising modules. I could say it was a test but it happens all the time in real life and we had the chance to improve along the way. A lot of support was in place and I could see that we needed to work harder to achieve those high end grades.

My third year consisted of the placement but I won’t bore you with the details. Please see the ‘Placement’ post and the reasons why you should go for it!

Now, in the final semester of my final year, everything is completely different. I’ve changed a lot from the first year and I feel a lot more prepared to go into work life. I have the knowledge and skills to take on projects and see opportunities like never before. At this stage, we’re turning into professionals, just like you would see on job descriptions nowadays: ‘Graduate Marketing Assistant’. Well, this is us, the future Marketeers and you will see for yourself once you gradually overcome every year of your degree.

My favorite module was ‘Copywriting and Creativity’, because it links in so strongly with the ‘Public Relations’ job I want to have. It’s a great module because it shows what you will be doing if you choose to work in advertising. Seems simple initially but it’s not, from writing print to doing a TV Campaign we have a lot of work to do. Regular meetings with clients, re-working the campaigns again and again plus the risks you’re taking in case the outcome is not met. I love this module because it fits in with everything I envisaged as my future job! You degree is not just about taking in information. Make sure to really analyze yourself and see what your passionate about and where you fit best. You will enjoy your degree a whole lot more if you do this plus I’m sure the job opportunities at the end will reflect that too!

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10 Things I love about University <3

Isabela

There is no particular way to describe University, unless you think about the physical aspects, i.e the building campuses or the room layout. In my opinion, University can be categorized as a state of mind, because every student will see it differently and therefore impact on their lives in a unique manner. So, what would I say it’s so special about University?

Well, compared to college, your study becomes even more independent but at the same time it can be argued that people will tend to work more together because they aim to achieve the same grades as you are. One of the triggers to work harder is the financial aspect, which for some it’s a big chunk of the motivation to come out with a good degree.

My Marketing and Advertising degree so far has been 90% coursework, with some group work in the first and second years and complete individual work in the third year. The reason behind that is, I would assume that we all need to get used to working together with people you like or dislike, which will replicate the actual world of work. A lot of learning lessons will come out of it, although you might think you work well with people, everyone has a different style of work and you might not bond together as colleagues but you might remain best friends outside University.

Analyzing the three years of my course so far, I would say the 10 Things I love about University would be:

  1. Academia – For me, the learning outcomes were the most important thing when coming to University. The most interesting thing about becoming a Marketeer or building business acumen is that in order to practice you need a deeper understanding of the consumer psychology, you need essentially to be shown the basics. University is a journey and only going through it you can see how marvellous it is!
  2. Building contacts – This involves both lecturers and colleagues or friends. Your lecturers will become solid references and they will help you even after graduating. There’s always help available at University of Derby, be it your past teachers or in terms of employment we have the Careers and Employment Service. Your colleagues will probably take different routes in life but regardless they will be useful to talk to when you are advancing into other jobs. My advice is keep in touch because they might know some tips or they might know people who you’ll want to connect with for positions in the future. Don’t forget Linkedin – a great tool to expose your skills and capability openly for employers!
  3. Environment – I have been based throughout my degree at the Kedleston Road Campus which I personally love! At breakfast and lunchtime the Atrium is filled with really nice smells from the food counters and there’s a Starbucks and Subway available to grab a drink and something to eat as well as other stalls selling pastries and sweets occasionally. You can always find somewhere to sit and chill in between lessons and it’s impossible not to bump into someone for a chat!
  4. Student Discount – You normal Student ID Card gets you discount in most places, i.e Topshop and New Look but if you get the NUS Extra Card that will give a lot more discount for more stores both online and on the high-street. Either way, you have the privilege of the discount so don’t forget about it.  When you go out do ask if they do student discount because you can’t say no to paying less for your bill. Tip: Chiquitos in Pride Park offer 25% discount to students and the food is Mexican so why not give it a try! #Don’tmissthedeal
  5. Transport – The buses are quite regular, going in between the campuses in Derby, we have the No. 5 which goes towards the Hospital and the Number 6 which goes into town. One trip is approximately 2 pounds but you can get a pass with 10 journeys for less than 10 pounds from the Keddies Kiosk.
  6. Freshers’ and Refreshers’ Week – When I started University 4 years ago I wasn’t aware of the Freshers’ Week and so funnily enough I bumped straight into it on my way to the lecture. There’s a lot of free stuff going round, a lot of discounts and deals for the clubs in the City Centre. Freshers’ Week takes place in the first week of study in September and the Refreshers’ Week same time but in January. Tip: watch out for Domino’s Pizza!
  7. Events – There will be the great nights out you will reminisce in your final year about and there will be the academic events in the University where you will attend to document yourself and network. Similar sessions and workshops will be available, Careers appointments for CV checks and interview practice, they’re all part of the academic life.
  8. Independence – Being able to schedule your shopping trips, making food lists, working and staying late in the library is all part of being independent. Making decisions that affect you in a good or bad way teaches you big lessons in life but most importantly shows you how real life as a graduate will be.
  9. Sharing – This is valid for a lot of categories, it can be sharing knowledge which you will do at some point or another or working in groups will kind of oblige you to show and use your skills. Sharing can also mean living with other students so sharing food or toilet paper. It’s interesting to go through this process because you will learn a lot about yourself and others plus observing what you don’t want to be like.
  10. Social Life- is also quite important in University life because every student needs to keep a balance. For example some students will be away from home and enjoy it but all of us at one point will find it challenging. So make sure you have friends around, try to read a book from time to time, go on excursions, eat out or go to the Cinema. Do whatever you enjoy most, because when you go back to studying, you will feel refreshed and more motivated. Also don’t forget to rest because a tired mind will not give the best of results!

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10 things I couldn’t live without at University (From the student’s perspective)

Isabela
  1. Internet – You need it quite a lot and most of the time.  Nowadays the lecturers will ask that you use Course Resources on the University’s online portal to check the homework, future assignments and any other information. At the same time, you will need it for social media, to do online shopping  for books and other things as well as access to e-mail. In one word, the Internet is ESSENTIAL!
  2. Phone – A fully charged phone is a great help in any situation. You might be late for classes, forgot which room you are or maybe you’re late for an appointment or even getting in touch with friends and family. You need at all times, full stop.
  3. Colleagues and friends – Make sure you have the details of a few colleagues from your course, because if you missed a lesson they will be able to tell you what happened. Same applies in times of panic when coursework deadlines are close and also to work together for group presentations etc. Friends are the same, they will share stuff with you, cry on your shoulder, ask for help and viceversa. They will become your closest family while at Uni, and some will last forever and some won’t but it happens to everyone.
  4. Free time – Take a break when you need it. We’ve all been there, three days to the assignment hand in date and you’ve got lots to do so you decide not to sleep and just concentrate. But this is where you’re wrong, you can’t focus because your mind and your body is too tired. Eat properly and sleep at least the minimum hours, take a walk or go running to take time off and reload with energy. There’s also the extreme of relaxing too much so find the balance you need and stick with it. There are people who work well under pressure and some who don’t. Try to discover what works best for you.
  5. Sleep – Your eyes need a rest, especially if you work on the computer or are reading. There is the processing of information, adapting to the light and trying to produce accurate information to fill your essay. Even if you decide to take a half an hour nap or just go away from the desktop to cook something, breaks are important, don’t ignore them!
  6. Diary and notes – Sometimes you might have four deadlines in one module for various activities, but then you have other modules to worry about plus homework every week. As long as you keep a diary for notes every week you will achieve what’s required and plan when the reading is due. You will then know when to start the coursework and you will feel in charge and not over stressed when it’s not necessary. This will also allow you to have a good social life.
  7. Water, fruit and chocolate – This is my guilty secret. I tend to have fruit or chocolate when I study because I feel like I’m working best. Not everyone is the same, but some students will eat more due to stress. I keep small quantities of fruit and chocolate next to me to keep me going. The internet is full of advice on how to keep yourself hydrated and what are the foods that help your brain work to its full capacity.
  8. Social life – As mentioned previously, put time aside for going out, enjoy a meal with your friends go to the movies or cook something together. University life is not just about studying constantly, is about having fun while you learn.
  9. Student Card – So many times I have been shopping or come to University and forgotten my card. At Kedleston Road you can’t go into the Library unless you swipe your student card. You can sign in about 10 times if you haven’t got it but this is a bit annoying. So I would strongly suggest you keep your card with you at all times, possibly in your wallet as it has less chance to get lost.
  10. Sturdy handbag – We girls might understand this better. As a student you tend to carry quite a lot of books throughout your degree, because you have to do a lot of reading and you either use a plastic bag to carry them or try to squeeze them in your bag. Even without doing this, you might decide to take your laptop with you to stay in the library later on, but you still need a sturdy handbag! #CoolUniLife!

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My journey to Derby University

Business, Isabela

Coming to University can be for some a daunting experience, it certainly was for me! A lot of Universities were offering courses in Marketing but something drew me to the University of Derby. The big glass building inspired trust, reliability and the sense of modernism which were the main characteristics I wanted in my University of choice.

I can still remember my first day at Derby, enrolling as a first year student, butterflies in my tummy and not really sure what to expect. But as soon as I entered the classroom, a sense of certainty took over, the lecturers were relaxed, and we were reminded that we are “here to have fun as well as studying” which have helped the three years to fly by. One things for certain – I’ve never regretted choosing Derby.

When I chose Marketing and Advertising, my future career was clear – a job in Public Relations. So far, so good, by choosing similar subjects I’ve ensured that I’m building a strong foundation to get to the career I want. Though I wasn’t studying a specific PR course, I have absolutely loved my degree!

Business degrees are not simple business, but you are shown all sides to a Business in your first year, you initiate yourself in projects and report to understand Marketing and Advertising in your second year and in your third year, you go full out.  Third year scares everyone, but actually is your chance to prove how much you’ve learned and come out a keen apprentice ready to take on any Marketing job, because Derby University isn’t just a learning opportunity but a skills machine.

One particular thing that attracted me to Derby was the placement option within my degree, which I found enticing and immensely useful. The job market is changing quickly and the more skilled you are the quicker you advance. The placement means that between second and third year you go out in the marketplace and work for 10 months or more to gain the skills you need and see what are your best abilities. However when you come back into third year you’re a changed person. Not only do you know a lot more but you can do a lot more. The best thing of all though is it all reflects in your assignments- when it counts the most out of the whole degree.

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Applicant Day Review!

Business, Isabela

I’ve really enjoyed my time here at Derby and so when I was asked to help with the applicant day, I was more than happy! For me this represented a great opportunity to meet prospective students coming from all over the country, giving me an opportunity to talk to them about life at Derby and my experiences here.

The Kedleston Road campus quickly filled up with people from 9am onwards, luckily there was no sign of snow in Derby as this would have been tricky! One of the things I love is the atmosphere in the Atrium, and it was great watching the reaction of our guests as they walked in to this great space.

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As a subject ambassador, my role was to give an insight to prospective students on what life is like at Derby, not just from the academic side but also about living and working in Derby. Luckily, this all comes quite naturally to me as my experiences here have been great. I could have carried on all day…

Both prospective students and their guests seemed to be full of questions which was great. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I encountered…

  1. For some social life was a top priority so let’s elaborate on that. It’s essential that you have some free time outside your studies to relax and have fun with your friends. Derby is a vibrant city with a lot of places to eat, to party and to chill after a long week. In my opinion Derby gets 10/10 on this one.
  2. Accommodation comes up next, and this is another area that Derby does well in. In order to secure a place in the Halls for your first year at least, you have to apply early. As soon as you are confirmed get in touch with Student Living to secure a place. Derby is well known for having great quality student accomodation across the city. The applicant day is perfect opportunity to take a tour around some of your accomodation options.
  3. The cost of living worries everyone when coming to University. I cannot compare the cost of living with other cities because I’ve only lived in Derby but personally I find it a very affordable place to live (if you’re sensible!). There are a lot of offers and discounts available so you can eat out every so often without breaking the bank.
  4. For some, the range of societies avaiable counts towards the final decision. Luckily, we’ve got a great Students’ Union and so if your desired society doesn’t exist, why not start your own?! As long as you have three representatives you can start your own Society.
  5. Linked with cost of living, I was also asked about job opportunities during your course and following graduation. Again this is an area where you are very much in control, but the university has a great careers service and a student employment agency which is crucial for some!

Don’t forget, the next open day is on Saturday 28th of February 2015! And also keep an eye out for the next Applicant Day – if you haven’t booked a place do it now!

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