Why I chose Physics at the University of Birmingham

Published: Posted on

Hi my name is Emily and I am a second year student studying the Physics MSci course. There are many reasons to choose the University of Birmingham, as I did over 2 years ago. It’s a Russell Group member which has been home to 11 Nobel Prize winners (2 in physics, which I study). It’s the only university in the UK to have a train station on campus. Home Alone 2 star Tim Curry went there.

There are many reasons to choose the University of Birmingham, but when I was at school I ignored them all (except the train station). Whilst applying to universities through UCAS, I took the cold, robotic approach one might expect from a physics student. I googled rankings and league tables for physics and, after some cross referencing and elimination, deduced an average top five. By the application deadline, the same day as the googling of ranking tables by some coincidence, I had only been to one open day.

Eventually, my potential 3-year-homes transitioned from vague ideas, each consisting of about 3 unintentionally-associated mental images (a monk, a seagull, a popular convention centre that had once held a caravan show I’d been to), to places I’d seen with my eyes. Some universities requested interviews on campus, whilst others, including Birmingham, offered applicant days, where applicants can visit the campus and the accommodation.

The process through which I decided to study at the University of Birmingham is comparable to that used to steal food from a family home by one fabled criminal. Like Goldilocks, I was unconvinced by my first experiences. I went to interview at a first university, to find its facilities dated and its train-station game lacking. I visited more, to feel loomed over by huge buildings and insufficient greenery. Some didn’t even have a campus. You could be discussing quantum field theory in a study space neighboured by a Nandos and a betting shop. You could be doing your weekly shop next to the location of your next lecture. When did it end? Was global domination on the table?

When I first arrived at the University of Birmingham for applicants day, however, suddenly I felt comfortable – it was like a chair of obvious high quality. There were calming green spaces: the Vale, the Green Heart, University Square. Grass was welcomed, as was I. UoB has been helpful ever since I used the offer calculator on its website (utilisation of the internet is a real strength of the university) and still is now, when I (strongly) need careers advise. The architecture spans the ornate and the innovative, yet it’s familiar. And as a campus university, it puts business and pleasure in the right places. Within the first hour, I knew it was my first choice. This was somewhere I could live.

My method, as inhuman as it was, meant that when I knew I wanted to study at Birmingham, I also knew, aware that UoB is one of the world’s top 100 universities (according to QS), that it was a good idea. The great teaching, graduate prospects and student satisfaction were a given. For once, my judgment aligned with that of thousands of others. I still benefit from this delicious blend of good reputation, and the inviting campus and staff that persuaded me. There are many reasons to study at the University of Birmingham, but that blend is mine.

Photo of the green heart with Old Joe clock tower and the library in the distance
I loved all the green spaces when I came to the University as a visitor
Photo of Old Joe clock tower against clear blue skies
The famous Old Joe on a sunny day