Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Firm Choice Applicant Day


Last Saturday was my applicant day at Liverpool Hope University. This was a really important day for me because it's my firm choice uni and my last chance to visit before I 'hope'fully start in September! (Apologies for the awful pun!) I thought I'd share with you some of the things that happened on the day, and share some tips to help you prepare.

I had been looking forward to it for ages because I absolutely love this uni! I went to two open days - one in June and another in September, and fell in love with both the course and the university itself. On top of this, I have also joined a Facebook group chat for people going there and I was excited about the opportunity to potentially meet some of the lovely people I've been talking to!

The day started off with a general Arts and Humanities Faculty welcome, with the dean of the department welcoming everyone and then sharing with us information about the faculty as a whole (along with sharing the usual statistics and highlighting the university's achievements.)

Following this, I attended a Creative Writing talk and taster workshop. The lecturer talked about course content for around half an hour, where she went into detail about how the course is taught and visiting lecturers, among many other things. One of the things that appeals to me most about this course (and makes it stand out from most other Creative Writing degrees) is that whereas most courses have an extremely heavy focus on the creative aspect, the course at Hope focuses on both the creative and commercial aspect. The course is very new (this will be just the second year it has been run) and innovative and my future lecturer was hugely passionate about it. Following the talk, the lecturer invited us to take part in a creative writing exercise. She handed out piles of postcards around the room and invited everyone to choose one (including the parents!). We had to choose the one that stood out to us the most, and then pick ten words to describe it. After that, we had ten minutes to write about it. The only rules were that we had to include the ten words, and we also had to write continuously. She then invited us to share our writing, which many people did. I absolutely loved seeing the postcards that other people had picked and hearing what they had written. It was lovely to be an environment with people who were just as passionate about writing as I am!


After this, my parents and I went to the canteen area where we were able to spend the meal vouchers the uni had provided on a delicious hot meal. My Dad and I enjoyed garlic chicken and chips, while Mum ate chilli and rice. I thought this was a really nice gesture from Hope: Many people had traveled from all over the country to be there and the weather was miserable, so it was lovely to sit down and enjoy some hot food.

I then had my one to one meetings with my future lecturers in both Creative Writing and English Literature. In all honesty, I was really nervous about these meetings. Although the applicant day letter had described them as an "informal chat", I had no idea what to expect and I wanted to give as good impression of myself as I could. First up, Creative Writing.

I wasn't as nervous about this meeting, because I had just met my lecturer in the subject talk. But I'd had nothing to worry about! We had a lovely chat, with her asking me about what I expected from the course, my future ambitions and then she offered me the chance to ask her any questions I had. Luckily, I'd thought of a couple in advance so I was able to ask her these. We then talked about a few things I'd included in my personal statement, and I told her about this blog. I'd started writing it after I'd submitted my application and so it wasn't mentioned on my personal statement. She also talked in greater detail about how the course is run, and then it was over!

After this, I went to find my parents (who I'd left to explore the campus....) and filled them in on all the details from the chat. It was time for my English Literature one to one, so I found the room and entered. Although the environment seemed a more formal and interview-like than the previous chat, the lecturer was really friendly and this immediately put me at ease. He talked about the course for a couple of minutes, then went on to ask me questions about my personal statement. For example, I had talked about World War I poetry, and this is something I had mentioned. It turns out that he lectures in it and it was great to talk to someone who is also passionate about it. We also discussed different critical theories (such as Marxist, feminist and post-colonial interpretations) as I had also included this in my statement. There was also a student ambassador in the room, and so the three of us were able to talk about the course, and areas of literature that particularly interested us. We then talked about some of the out of college activities I had mentioned, I particular the two pilgrimages to Lourdes I have been on. I really enjoyed this, and we had a laugh talking about all the unique religious items you can find in Lourdes (e.g. glow in the dark statues of Jesus). The chat was then over and had been a lot more relaxed than I had anticipated!

"He who welcomes you welcomes me, and everyone who welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me"
(Matt. 10:40-42)

After this, I met up with my parents again and we went to the English Literature talk and taster lecture. I really enjoyed this talk, particularly the lecture element, as he talked us through three poems from different time periods and explained how the poets had been influenced by each other. It was also great to hear more details about the units we will be studying, and also the field trips that are on offer, as this is not something frequently mentioned in many English Literature talks! 

The only thing we had left to do was to sort out accommodation. One of the lovely student ambassadors took us on a tour of the halls on the main site. Although I had visited Hope twice before, the only accommodation I could remember seeing were the halls that I want to live in - the 'Harry Potter' halls as they are affectionately known. Our student ambassador was really helpful and took us around the halls and we were even able to ask other students their opinions as we went around. It was really nice for my Mum (who used to attend Hope) because she was able to go to see her old halls and even found her bedroom! After we'd looked around them all, we were able to go and book my halls for next year! I'm still finding it hard to believe that it's actually happening!

The day was really enjoyable and it was great to meet a few people who I've met through the group chat, even if I didn't see many of them! Applicant days are jam-packed and there's  a lot of information to take in, so here are a couple of tips to help you make the most of it:

1) Get there in plenty of time
If you arrive early, you have loads of time to find where you're meant to be, register, grab a drink and some food before it all gets started. My parents and I always try to get there with around half an hour to spare in case of any unexpected stops or traffic in the journey.

2) Don't worry!
As I mentioned before, I was really nervous about both my meetings with the lecturers, however, I actually ended up enjoying them! So don't be nervous - just think of it as a good opportunity to get to know your future lecturers and for them to get to know you! Also, not all universities have these meetings so there's even less to worry about!

3) Ask all the questions you might have
This is probably the last chance you'll have to visit the university before you potentially start there in the autumn and so it's really important that you get everything off your chest. Before you leave, ask yourself if there's anything else you want to know, and if you have enough information to make a good decision about where to firm. 

I hope that this has been useful for you, and I hope that you enjoy any applicant days that you have. I would really recommend you attend one because mine was really useful and I learnt so much more about the university. It has really helped me to realise that Hope is the place I want to be studying for the next three years!

Also, if you'd like to vote for me as UCAS blogger of the month I'd really appreciate it :) you can do that here!

Anna x

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