It’s hard to put a finger on exactly why I decided Bath was the university for me. For some, it’s the close atmosphere on campus, and for others, it's the course content that appealed to them. There’s always a lot of talk in university admissions about whether you are right for a university, but how do you know if a university is right for you?
Campus vs. City
Growing up in London made me bored of city life. I’d gotten so used to taking the tube and seeing Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park that city life lost its charm for me. I wanted something different, something smaller. I didn’t want to spend an hour travelling to lectures or pay for overpriced coffee.
So, from the beginning of my university applications, I knew that I wanted to go to a campus university over a city university (if you’re unsure about the difference, here’s a great post to read). I wanted the typical university experience with a sense of community, where everyone knew each other, and strong friendships were formed.
I loved Bath’s campus when I came to see it at an open day. It seemed that with everything on your doorstep, life could be more relaxing. Going to the launderette and getting groceries would no longer be a hassle. Missing an ingredient from a recipe? A two-minute walk to the Fresh shop on campus and you’ve got a great meal tonight. Catching up with friends? Just drop a quick text and you’ll be at their door in an instant.
However, for some people, campus life can start to feel insular and mundane after a few months. I never had this problem, as having most accommodation blocks within a short walk of each other meant I was always meeting new people. In addition, with Bath, the campus is a short bus ride from town, and getting around is easy.
There is a plethora of restaurants and bars to spend your evenings in, and while the nightclubs themselves may be smaller, they are worth checking out. Even though there may be better nightlife and events in city universities, city travel is expensive and time-consuming. That 30-minute train journey in the city would probably take more time than a queue in Bath.
Style and Atmosphere
The overall atmosphere of a university tends to be an aspect that many overlook when applying to universities. Oxford’s Gothic architecture might be appealing to some, but others may prefer the more contemporary look of Warwick. I prefer a more modern style, with lots of greenery.
Bath’s campus was a solid blend of green space and modern buildings, and I knew I could see myself living here. However, I’d say that the accommodation blocks are quite inconsistent – the differences between Polden and Westwood are quite stark.
It’s not just the area though, it’s also the people. It goes without saying, but the type of people at your university will make or break your experience. No university would be complete without its fair share of stereotypes. Leeds students favour tote bags and vintage sweaters whilst Loughborough students will wear their gym clothes everywhere. There’s a funny post that highlights the supposed stereotypes of each university here.
As for Bath students? They tend to have a reputation for being ‘posh’ and ‘sporty’. Think Jack Wills, hockey sticks, and rugby lads. There is a bit of truth to that – the athlete population here is quite big, but then Bath is renowned for sports. On the other hand, the ‘posh’ stereotype doesn’t exactly hold here.
According to the Tab, the 2019 cohort had 27.1% privately educated students. This figure isn’t high at all, meaning the ‘posh’ stereotype may be exaggerated. This isn’t to say I haven’t met some ‘posh’ people though - I’ve made great friends with some of them. The point here is to take these stereotypes with a pinch of salt.
When I came to the open day, the current students were friendly and eager. There seemed to be a wide variety of people from different cultures and backgrounds, and the stereotypes I’d heard about Bath flew out of the window. When I moved into halls last September, I met people with different facets - there were athletes, musical theatre fans, business enthusiasts, and coding maniacs. I didn’t just feel like a student at university, but a student at Bath. There is no better time to be yourself than at university.
Student Satisfaction and Rankings
According to the National Student Survey 2021, Bath achieved an overall satisfaction score of 86.06%. In addition, Bath's rankings and reputation are high in a number of university guides in the UK, reaffirming its place as one of the best universities in the country.
Bath holds a lot of accolades, but how much weight do rankings hold when it comes to admissions? My teachers always said to overlook league tables when choosing a university. But when universities advertise all the honours they’ve received, it can be tricky to choose between them.
Perhaps it’ll be better to give a retrospective view on this - having just finished my first year at Bath, I can see how these rankings are justified.
I had lots of support from my lecturers, even going as far as 1:1 help through Zoom calls. I’m doing a placement in my third year as well, and the Careers team held bi-monthly sessions for help with CV writing and job applications. I’ve found that there has been so much support from my department, especially during the pandemic, and it’s easy to see how Bath has achieved the accolades it has.
Even just after a year at Bath, I couldn’t imagine going to university anywhere else. I’ve found friends for life and the city is a second home to me. For me and many of my friends, it feels like the right university for us. Belonging at Bath now feels like second nature, and I’m looking forward to the next few years of my time here.