Choosing a university – second time’s the charm

Hisham came to study BSc (Hons) Computer Science with us after originally starting a degree at a different university. Here, he shares his advice on how to choose a university and degree, and we think he knows what he’s talking about considering he’s done it twice!

Hisham, 2nd year BSc (Hons) Computer Science

You’ve probably looked at the title and assumed that I’ve dropped out of university right? I don’t blame you! The truth is that I’ve transferred from another university directly onto the 2nd year of my course. That means I’ve gone through the process of researching my course and university to decide where to go not once, but twice!

There were several things that I considered when I originally set out my university choices. University of Bradford was in fact one of my first choices, but things just didn’t work out how I originally intended them to.

Some things that I considered when making my choices were the locations of the university in relation to the available accommodation, the local amenities, the cost of the accommodation itself, the ranking of my course on the league tables and the recommendations of friends and family.

I ended up going to Liverpool John Moore’s University. That doesn’t mean I didn’t want to go there – it was one of my choices after all. In fact, I enjoyed my time in Liverpool a lot… at first.

The end of an era

The year started off well – I was enjoying my time with my new flatmates, my course and most importantly I was succeeding academically. However, the euphoria that came with experiencing university for the first time didn’t last long for me.

As much as it pains me to admit, by the time January came around I was hardly attending lectures. Not because I wanted to play PlayStation and not because I wanted to go out and enjoy myself. I’d wake up on time for my lectures and instead I’d just lie there until they had finished.

I began thinking about all of the things I thought I didn’t like about being at university – that my peers seemed unwelcoming, that it was a city-based university and all of the buildings were some distance away from one another and that, on a less serious note, I didn’t feel comfortable wearing my Manchester United top! I thought it was just me being silly though and pushed it all to the back of my head.

I really did try my best to study and recover my grades and thankfully it paid off in the end. I started to enjoy my summer and I felt like myself again. I even started to look forward to going back to university again. I saw something regarding clearing and it was as if a switch in my head was flicked.


A new beginning

I made the decision to try and change my university. I researched all my options and there were a variety of things that attracted me towards the University of Bradford. Firstly, it is a campus-based university which is something I hadn’t experienced before. As well as this, the accommodation seemed relatively cheap. The defining factor was how good the communication was in my application process and the support that I received from my soon-to-be tutors.

As a Muslim student, the wide availability of halal meat has been a much-welcomed bonus. It was something that I struggled with in Liverpool! I have also found the people (both in the university and around the city) more welcoming and friendlier than I did in Liverpool.

Having entered directly onto the 2nd year of a course that’s slightly different to what I was studying at Liverpool John Moore’s University (Computer Studies to Computer Science), I am fearful. I’m worried that I’m going to be behind everyone else in my lectures.

However, I have spoken with tutors and will be taking the necessary steps to rectify this.
Despite all of this, one thing is for certain – especially when compared to Liverpool. Bradford feels like a home.

My second home

I am definitely happier studying in Bradford than I was in Liverpool. This means that I have felt much more positive about my future and my career plans. I have thoroughly enjoyed experiencing a campus-based university and getting involved with the University.

Something that the University of Bradford has that Liverpool John Moore’s University doesn’t is the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR). It is all about being ‘more than your degree’. It’s something that really appeals to me and I have thrown myself in the deep-end.

I’ve gotten involved in volunteering with a local company where I can expand on my work experience and build my employability. As well as this, I have become a Careers Ambassador for the university.

I have experienced first-hand how useful the careers service is – they have helped to improve my CV and guide me through the process of securing a placement. As a Careers Ambassador, I get to represent them and assist them in providing a service that I believe every student should be making use of.

Securing a placement for next year has been really important and I am currently attempting to do so. The Careers service has helped me to learn about steps in the process that I was previously unaware of – such as psychometric tests and assessment centres. All of this has been very useful and I feel confident about the year ahead.

I’d like to end with a bit of hard-hitting advice. Everything works itself out in the end. No matter which university you decide to go to and no matter how difficult you are finding your course. I’ve had my struggles last year in Liverpool and I made the decision needed to better it. Sure, I’m struggling with my course at the moment, but again I’ve started the process to sort this problem and again I will better it. All it takes is the right mind-set and a good support system.

Just make sure you explore your choices when it comes to deciding what you want to do. Look into every factor there is – the open days, how welcoming the tutors are, the module guides, the rankings for your course, the local amenities, whether it is a campus or city-based university, the price of accommodation or travel and most importantly whether you believe you can succeed there or not.

Fear not though! You always have options. There’s always another route you can take. If you end up in the wrong course; you can change. If you end up in the wrong university; you can change. If university isn’t even for you; there’s other career paths you can take. I am the personification of there always being options!

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