This blog post discusses my experience choosing the right university for me. I discuss ways in which I narrowed down this important decision and how much going to the university open days influenced my choice. I hope what is discussed in this post helps you make a right choice but don’t feel rushed into choosing, it is a difficult and life-changing task, so make sure you know it is the right university for you.
University. Have I chose the right course?
Everyone will have diffent answers because chosing a university course is not an easy task. You have to think about the content you will be taught, the modules, the weighing of those modules. Then there is the campus itself, the helpfulness of the staff, accommodation. So it is no wonder that some people find this all intimidating or ending up chosing the course that was not originally for them.
When I applied in October 2014, I originally applied for a joint honours scheme at Derby University in the following courses:
- Creative Writing
- Film and TV Studies
At the time, I felt these two degrees would help me to achieve my ambition—to become a screenwriter but did I make the right decision?
I changed my mind seconds before I was due to enrol. What changed my mind? To answer that I would need to answer what appealed to me about Derby in the first place.
What changed my mind? To answer that I would need to answer what appealed to me about Derby in the first place.
What made me chose Derby was the Open Day. From the get-go, I liked it. The second I walked into the university, I was hit by colours on the floor, a weird but highly accessable layout. The societies looked great. The accomodation was fine and the staff were charming. Every single one of them. It made me feel respected and apart of a community in one day.
Bangor was close for the same reasons but Derby just had that little bit extra that said: This is the one.
Portsmouth was crossed off the list on it’s open day for the opposite reasons. The accomodation smelled. Literally stunk that the poor tour guy felt the need to appologise. The staff were invartly not helpful and constantly reminded you it was a privledge if THEY chose you! Ha!
Farnham wasn’t bad but the accomodation had bars on the window and no moving space. One of the rooms I was supposed to have a class in was also only accessable through stairs which I found concerning.
York— 200 students in one class verse 30 in the other unis. It was intimidating
So it was a close call but it was always between Derby and Bangor, all I needed to do was get the grade. Derby as my first choice.
Both Derby courses offer two screenwriting modules—to be exact, the same screenwriting module. It’s a joint class between those who do Creative Writing and those who do Film and TV studes. This sounds perfect for someone whose ambition is to be a screenwriter.
In fact, all the universities I looked at on UCAS were immediatly rejected by me if they did not offer a module that specialised in screenwriting in any form. Universities from London or whose site was confusing in presentation and navigation was the next two aspects to narrow my choice.
I’m very creative but seem to have a talent for scripts and media production—something I realised while studying my A Levels: Film Studies, Media Studies and English Literature and Language. This is what originially made me want to do a joint honours degree, albeit more in media than in film, only this wasn’t compatable at my chosen university, Derby, so I opted for Creative Writing and Film & TV studies.
But I changed my mind and went to single honours.
This is because I learned moments before I completed enrolment that the key module I wanted to do, Writing for Screen was not available for joints. This is true despite being enrolled on two courses that have that module and the reason for this is understandable. It is so popular on both those courses that they cannot offer it to joint honour students.
When asked at the open day, both subjects said I could do the Screen Writing module as a joint honours and they both said yes. During enrolment day, this answer changed to a no.
I spoke to the lecturers on both courses, asking them for more indepth information of each module. But in reality, I had already made my choice just by the module names. Silly, I know—the talk was to see if the other course could persaude me the other way. They couldn’t.
I looked at the Film and TV modules and one of them was the Moving Image. A subject drummed into me in A-level by both the film studies A-level and Media Studies A-level. So much so that I hated the topic. I couldn’t sit through another 12 weeks of that.
All the modules in the first year of Film and TV studies looked boring aside from european cinema. Mostly theory and not so much practical that I knew it wasn’t for me.
But then I looked at the Creative Writing Modules it was a completely different story. All of which were very practical.The only downside… or so I thought… was Representation, Another topic we covered in all three of my A-levels to the death! But I could cope with that for the other modules.
I couldn’t opperate a camera, have no desire to direct but all the desire to write. What else was I going to do but switch to Creative and Professional Writing as a single honours. So while Creative Writing wasn’t my initial choice, it is not one I regret.
After a discussion with the Creative Writing Team, I switched from joint honours to single honours minutes before I officially enrolled and I can say I do not regret it for a single second. I chose right.
I went to the library to enrol. At started my course.
I was wrong about the Representation module though. It was not boring. The Creative Writing team made the topic seem new and allowed us to look into representation our own way.
I don’t think there is a single module I have taken that I can say I hated in my first year but I can definitely name my two favourites. Audience and Research: Storytelling and Representation.
Gone from a module I dreaded to one of my favourites!
The best thing is that the Creative Writing course does leak into both film studies and media studies.
In the second year, you are taught to interview, to make magazines, have the option to write screenplays and/or radio plays along with researching a topic of your own choosing in your own genre.
My chosen topic was pirates for a novel I want to write, we visited Matlock, Derbyshire’s Record office and there was an old letter addressing piracy which was helpful. You can also choose your own group topic for the magazine, our group’s topic was Disability and I believe it went well.
Focus on Genre and Focus on Writing and Responsibility were my favourite module in my final year.