The all important choice!

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When it comes to applying for universities it’s important to have a really good feeling about the places you’re applying for. I found the best way to do this is to visit universities on one of their open days. This was even more important for me than I initially realised as without going to an open day I wouldn’t be doing a degree in Chemistry!

My initial plan was to study Geology with the view of moving into Oil Exploration, however, when I visited the University of Birmingham on an open day I stumbled upon the School of Chemistry, simply because we arrived at the campus before the Geology Department opened and we needed a building to shelter in from the rain!

I was blown away by some of the projects on display; there were hydrogen fuel cell cars, computational analysis projects! It was fascinating. From that point on I thought about applying for Chemistry but was still torn over whether I preferred it over Geology, in the end I decided to apply for both subjects separately. This certainly made writing my personal statement difficult as I had to try and display my passion for both subjects equally in only a small number of words! After a seemingly endless number of draft personal statements I produced something which seemed to fit the bill and, with deadlines fast approaching, I submitted my applications. The wait for responses felt like it lasted forever (in reality it took about 6 weeks to hear back from all of the universities) and I was in the fortunate position of holding 5 offers. Now all I had to do was choose the right one!!

When it comes to choosing where to go and what to study (and ultimately choosing whether University is the right place for you) the final decision rests with you. It’s important not to choose a university or a course based on where your friends are going, or what your parents want you to do because, regardless of anyone else’s best intentions for you and your degree, you’re the person that has to go and do it.

For me, I chose the University of Birmingham because it’s somewhere that I felt I could fit in, a place where I could grow both academically and personally. I put aside the pressures of my school’s careers department and my tutors and picked somewhere I knew I could flourish and somewhere I knew I’d be happy. I’m also lucky that I’m in the position where a lot of my friends also decided to choose the University of Birmingham but I only discovered this about a month before term started and I’d already made my decision by then.

You may not share my appreciation for a campus university. You might think that the Birmingham nightlife just isn’t up to scratch. You could be desperate to try a university in another country! No matter how similar or different your plans are to anyone else’s, what’s important is that they are your ideas and you feel that they are the best for you and your future!

In the next issue I’ll look more into how to apply for placements and share some experiences of writing (and more importantly re-writing) CVs!

Cameron – 3rd year, MSci Chemistry with Industrial Experience, on placement at Phillips66 Humber Oil Refinery in North Lincolnshire