My journey to university wasn’t exactly conventional.

Following the final year of my A – Levels, I took the plunge into starting an English Language and Literature course at the University of Oxford, an experience that everybody seemed ecstatically excited about – except for me. Within weeks of moving away from Manchester, where I had spent my entire childhood, I realised that the place and course were simply not right for me. Moving back home while all my friends were settling in to their new university lives was tough, and my certainty that university was the right path for me was shaken.

However, my parents, determined to get me excited about university life again, brought me to the University of Salford’s Open Day – and that was when everything changed. The difference in the atmosphere on campus was staggering; the people’s attitudes were warm and welcoming; and as someone with a passionate love for music and the media, the facilities just blew me away! My opinion on what makes a university the ‘best place to study’ had radically changed. And not only that…

University of Salford building at MediaCityUK

Project-based Course:

Far from a system where you are reading weighty tomes and churning out several essays every week, Salford’s Multimedia Journalism course offered a much more flexible way of working, which instantly appealed to me, as someone who can’t keep her hands off a whiteboard the second a project is mentioned! The opportunity to work collaboratively with other students and have access to top-of-the-range facilities (‘their green screen is better than the BBC’s!’ was my oft-quoted line!) was a dream come true, and having assignments that were relevant to preparing us for industry work was hugely exciting. This was a place I could put all my previously acquired journalism skills into practice – and get a degree out of it to boot!

MediaCityUK- in the sunshine, no less!

Media City UK:

Having my lectures and workshops based at MediaCityUK is a massive draw for many students on creative, media-based courses – and I was no different. Having visited the Quays with school and college and been staggered by the impressive glass buildings and buzzing sense of vibrancy, the thought that this could be my working environment filled me with anticipation.

With the University of Salford building being nestled between those of the BBC and ITV, you couldn’t be closer to the action, and the views from the third floor of the building were enough to convert me entirely! The newsroom, TV and radio, and music production facilities were all state of the art- so much so that I couldn’t quite believe that we were allowed to touch them! The taste of working in industry that it gave me was so enticing, I couldn’t wait to get started.

With friends at Factory 251

Being in Manchester:

Not that I was envisioning my life at university being all work and no play! Being a ten-minute bus ride from the centre of Manchester was perfect for me- as an avid music lover who can’t go a week without throwing herself into a mosh pit at a rock show, being a stone’s throw from such a vibrant music scene was a huge bonus. And, being a music-focused journalist, I can often get in to shows for free, and it counts as work! Belter!

Being a native Mancunian also gave me the edge when it came to being a self-elected tour guide for my new friends. Taking people for cocktails at The Font that are £3 a pop is a great way to get people to trust in your expertise, and so trips to Afflecks Palace or cafés like Nexus Art café in the Northern Quarter have become a regular occurrence. With so much to explore in Salford as well as Manchester itself, even I am discovering new parts of my city every day, and I couldn’t imagine myself ever living anywhere else!

Peel Park campus in the morning sun!

Close to Home:

I have always been a home bird, and so it shouldn’t have been any great surprise that moving two hundred and fifty miles from home was the wrong choice for me! Twenty miles, on the other hand, seemed much more doable! There is often a pressure when making the leap into university life to ‘spread your wings’ and move somewhere entirely new, completely on your own- but that model isn’t right for everyone. For me, the flexibility of being close to my partner and my family means university life doesn’t feel too overwhelming- and it isn’t too much of a hassle to take my washing home and pick up some food that actually has vegetables in it now and again!

Choosing the university that is the right one FOR YOU is a huge task, and you might not get it right first time- but by coming to the University of Salford, you can’t go too far wrong in my book!