When I first applied to university, I knew I wanted to live in Cardiff and study English. However, there wasn't a university that stood out among the rest. That was until I attended an Open Day at USW. I fell in love with the place, swiftly putting it as my first choice on my UCAS application.
I first found out about USW when the University attended a ‘Higher Education Fayre’ at my college. Honestly, I went to the event to pick up all the freebies. However, the USW student ambassadors were so friendly and knowledgeable, I couldn’t help but talk to them. Their enthusiasm over their experiences painted a vivid picture of student life. That first interaction with them put USW, rightly, at the forefront of my mind. It’s the students’ opinions and experiences that really tell you about a university.
After that, I attended an Open Day to confirm that USW was the right choice for me. I’d previously been to another university’s Open Day and left feeling disheartened and confused about my future. However, at USW, I was immediately greeted and guided by student ambassadors, clearly detailing the day. When I had any questions or concerns, there was always someone nearby to reassure me.
One of the things that surprised me was the look of the Treforest Campus. I was initially amazed at how scenic it was. It felt as though someone had dropped the campus in the middle of the countryside. As someone originally from the country, I appreciated, and still do, how much it reminds me of home.
What sealed the deal was how much freedom the course offered. I wanted an English course with a creative writing element, as that’s the field I want a career in. I had been baffled by how many universities with “creative writing” options had very little creative freedom. That was not the case here. Each lecturer explained their role, how the teaching would work and opened the session up for questions afterwards. These presentations were interactive, involving the prospective students sharing their aspirations and what they wanted out of the course. I left feeling reassured that I had some control over my learning and that my degree was genuinely creative.
I’m now two years into the course and incredibly happy with the creative liberty I’ve been offered. I constantly receive mind-provoking creative writing prompts, opportunities to develop my own essay questions and insight into the industry. The lecturers I met during the Open Day have gone to every length to support me. They check in through emails, arrange meetings and are available after lectures for a friendly chat. They’ve sent us competitions to enter, online publication events to attend, and writing opportunities within the university. In a year where extra-curricular seemed out of the question, staff have gone above and beyond to ensure students have the best experience possible.
I’ve been supported by teachers, librarians and admin staff. The initial strangers on my course are now friends due to the creative group projects I undertook. The vast and varying study spaces on campus (always with a vending machine or a cafe nearby) make studying thoroughly enjoyable. Be that rooms for silent independent work or booths with TVs for interactive group work.
I live in Cardiff city centre, so initially, I was worried about the commute. In reality, it’s only 20 minutes on the train between Cardiff to Treforest. The public transport, across the city, is frequent and affordable. So, it’s never been a problem. I have the best of both worlds, the tranquil countryside and the bustling city; everything is on my doorstep.
My experience has been more than I could have ever imagined. Despite the complications of the last year, I know the university has been right at my side. Everyone has been ready to provide help academically, mentally and financially. I’m incredibly grateful to have received this support. Now, I’m at the point where I’m considering postgraduate study, and I look forward to continuing my education with USW. I trust them to provide me with the skills needed to achieve my aspirations.
So, if you want to be a part of a university that offers far more than a teaching experience, then USW is the perfect place for you. You'll feel supported and gain an all-around student experience.