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Tell us what you think about your college/uni (£200 up for grabs!)

Last post Tue, Mar 13 2012 14:13 by Tim.Relf. 62 replies.
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  • Wed, Nov 23 2011 15:54 In reply to

    Re: Tell us what you think about your college/uni (£200 up for grabs!)

    A review of the University of Reading, from former student James Green.

    Once again I am disappointed that such an important international agricultural establishment such as the University of Reading has been left out the Farmers Weekly top 10! As a graduate from the University and employed within the UK agricultural sector, I can endorse the department as being one that is very highly respected throughout the industry.

    The School of Agriculture, Policy and Development is renowned for its continued research and development on a vast range of topics and issues that are affecting today’s and tomorrow’s farmers. Research is a major part of the school and as a student I always found it good to know that work carried out by lectures and staff would be helping to make a difference and feeding the world population of seven billion. This published research and hands on knowledge enables information to help students with third year dissertations. All staff are very approachable and you can find an open door policy is normal.   

    Having already studied a National Diploma in Agriculture at Writtle College, I knew that when it came to working towards a degree I wanted to study at a university not a college. Reading offered this with an 18,000 student population studying a broad range of subjects; while at the same time presented a large commercial dairy herd and an arable research unit which were used in the teaching of the course.

    Without my degree in Agricultural Business Management I would not have gained the skills that I now use in my daily work as Farm Manager for Roding Valley Farming Ltd, Essex. Being able to tailor my modules enhanced my career path and meant I accomplished my ambitions with the course.

    How can one finish without mentioning the most important part of university - student life! Well I think it can be said that I have never known anyone to complain! Nearly all agric students end up becoming a member of the Agricultural Club which is run by a committee of second years. On a weekly basis there is a social get together and numerous events in fancy dress, such as the Christmas party. The most important occasion in the calendar, is the Agricultural Conference. This is one of the biggest student organised conferences in the country and sees three outside speakers discussing a particular issue. The club also has strong links with Harper Adams and Newcastle, who meet annually for rugby and ploughing matches.

    So next time there is a top 10 of universities or collages please don’t overlook University of Reading. It is ranked at the top in many other league tables and is difficult not to miss.

    James Green, Roding Valley Farming Ltd, University of Reading Graduate 2010

    Deputy Community and Farmlife Editor at Farmers Weekly
  • Wed, Nov 23 2011 16:01 In reply to

    Re: Tell us what you think about your college/uni (£200 up for grabs!)

    A review of Aberystwyth University by Agriculture student James Turner.

    The Basics
    Sitting at the heart of the university is award winning and internationally recognised ‘IBERS’ (Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences). In addition to Agriculture and various schemes such as agriculture with animal sciences or countryside management, which are offered at both degree and foundation degree levels, there are also equine studies, conservation and countryside management courses on offer. For agriculture in particular it doesn’t get much better. The IBERS farms include over 1000ha of land directly around the university. Here the university farms beef, sheep, dairy and arable enterprises. The farms have recently benefited from a 1 million pound investment into a new parlour and shed to improve the farm and its 700 strong dairy herd. Aberystwyth came top of the table in this year’s Student Satisfaction Surveys land-based section.

    What the students love about it?
    Aberystwyth is an amazing place that is centred on the students. The town is well equipped with an outstanding array of bars, restaurants, pubs and clubs. It doesn’t matter where you live in Aberystwyth because you are almost guaranteed to be able to see, if not hear, the sea. Residential halls on the seafront offer the most amazing views of the Irish Sea and if you are into water sports then Aberystwyth is the place you need to be.

    Can’t all be wonderful, can it?
    It can be a long way from home. The nearest city is around two hours away so if you don’t have a car then things can be difficult. However, there are good train links between Aberystwyth and Birmingham.

    A students (or recently left) student’s experience.
    Coming to university from another well known agricultural college I was pleasantly surprised to see how things were done here in higher education. Lectures and staff all have bags of knowledge and experience and are all welcoming, enthusiastic and helpful. They are here to help you succeed and they make that fact known. Everything here is at your fingertips. All aspects of farming and rural industries are covered. At Aberystwyth you are sitting on the doorstep of the National Park and if you drive less than 5 minutes out of the town you are in the middle of the most amazing landscape with hundreds of Red Kites flying over head.

    Social life and extra-curriculum activity?
    Think of any subject, sport or activity and the Guild of Students has it covered. Social events run daily and play a huge part in university life. The Guild has a well equipped Union with a number of bars and facilities including shops, hairdressers and jobs service. Regular events go on here with mainstream bands and DJ’s. The town offers the ultimate pub crawl which most society and sports clubs tackle on a regular basis.

    Anything else?
    Yes lots, but far too much to write here. Past students include HRH Prince of Wales, Tom Singh (founder of New Look), President Kabbah of Sierra Leone, Dr Joe Borg and rugby player Carwyn James. Aberystwyth is a fantastic place to live and study. It is bilingual, vibrant, exciting and has the friendly atmosphere that you need to be successful in a subject you love. You really need to see it to believe it.

    Deputy Community and Farmlife Editor at Farmers Weekly
  • Fri, Nov 25 2011 12:30 In reply to

    Re: Tell us what you think about your college/uni (£200 up for grabs!)

    A review of Brooksby Melton College by lecturer and former student James Fryer


    I studied as a student here on the National Diploma in Agriculture back in 2000-2004 since then I have never left. I have worked here full time since successfully completing my course in 2004.

    Agriculture at the college took a dip in numbers and for a few years it didn’t run at all, but we are proud to say that our numbers are growing from year to year again and we have some keen and enthusiastic learners on both level 2 and level 3 programmes. We pride ourselves on our practical hands on approach, giving students endless opportunity to get involved with showing cattle, sheep and pigs at fat stock shows and agricultural shows all over the country. This year we gave students the opportunity to select piglets from our pedigree welsh herd and prepare them for the showing season. It was an action packed year taking us to Staffordshire show, East of England county show, Lincoln show and the great Yorkshire. Not only did we win several breed champions but we won the overall pig of the year final in Yorkshire.

    We have on the farm around 500 ewes which all Agriculture students get involved with overnight lambing duties, we have suckler cows split into  spring and autumn calving herds, this provides extra practical experiences for learners to get involved with.
    Students this year have visited local farms and agricultural businesses , they have had talks from local organisations and had practical hands on demonstrations from knerveland and John Deere. They have also been involved in the estates ELS/HLS programme putting up over 1000m of fencing and planting 500m of hedge .

    It’s a friendly and relaxing college set in beautiful grounds in the heart of rural Leicestershire. The college has an estate of 750 acres made up from arable land, grassland, spinney’s, woodland and gardens.

    James Fryer, Lecturer in Countryside/Agriculture, Environmental Industries

    Deputy Community and Farmlife Editor at Farmers Weekly
  • Sun, Nov 27 2011 22:06 In reply to

    Re: Tell us what you think about your college/uni (£200 up for grabs!)

    Bridgwater College

    I am a first year Level 3 agriculture student and I think that the Cannington Centre at Bridgwater College is truly the best place to study this course and any like it.  Having completed ‘A’ levels for two years previously at another college, coming to Bridgwater is a breath of fresh air for many reasons.

    The College is full of great people with students and staff willing to go out of their way to help you and make sure that the time spent here is a great one!  Having grown up on farm agriculture was always close to my heart and even though when we lost the farm, the way of life remained important to me. I believe that going to Bridgwater is the best way to get on the ladder and have a laugh at the same time.  The course is a lot of hard work but there are plenty of practical sessions and the specialist areas are covered extremely well with as much outdoor work as possible. 

    The facilities at both the farm and accommodation are state of the art.  The farm is good fun and a perfect environment for learning with great farm staff, happy animals and a lot of chances to get hands on experience. The farm has pigs, sheep and dairy which give a broad overview of livestock farming even to students who didn’t have much of an idea like me. The milking  parlour is computerised with minimal chances for mistakes and up to date with all the latest renovations on the market.  The new Claas tractors are easy to drive (even to me with little experience) are also up to date.  All agriculture students will stay in residential at some point in the year to do farm duties or just to board in the college.  The rooms are very comfortable with good facilities. It gives you a chance to experience the night life  with the town not too far away or you can use the college bar to make new friends and get to know your class mates better. 

    All the guys and gals at College are friendly, kind and are a good laugh on a day to day basis. The best thing I found is that every one of them including most of the teachers are down to earth and treat you as an equal despite your interests and farming experience.

    The College also offers extra activities to enhance your free time such as an excellent rugby team who get great results and have fun at the same time.  Links with the College’s other campus help you combine agricultural study with a host of other academic qualifications including ‘A’ levels.

    I could go on but I think you get the point. If you want to gain excellent knowledge of land based industries and have a good time as you do it, try Bridgwater College.  I assure you, you won’t regret it.

    Matt Woollaston

  • Thu, Dec 1 2011 12:21 In reply to

    Re: Tell us what you think about your college/uni (£200 up for grabs!)

    A review of Aberystwyth University, from Sarah Baker

    I am a mature student and have been out of education for 15 years. So it was especially important to me to find the right university. Aberystwyth is ideally situated as a location to study the rural science, as it has some of the world's most dramatic geology which creates the most beautiful rural landscapes in the UK.

    For a small friendly rural location there is a fantastic social scene and night life with the town boasting over 50 bars. However, for me it was speaking to other students, looking on the National Student Survey as much as choosing the right course. Having friends that had studied with IBERS (Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences) enabled me to peek behind prospectus.

    IBERS employs the largest collection of land based scientist in the UK with continuing investment, we have new building and even some new staff to add to the wealth of teaching staff. The staff are friendly and encouraging, often taking the time to give a little more and push a little harder. You can even catch them for a coffee in the common-room.

    So if you're looking to be stimulated and willing to be involved, if you looking for great facilities or breath taking views consider Aberystwyth University. But don't take just my word for it check out NSS (National Student Survey).

    Sarah Baker
    FdSc Countryside Management
    Aberystwyth University

    Deputy Community and Farmlife Editor at Farmers Weekly
  • Thu, Dec 1 2011 12:23 In reply to

    Re: Tell us what you think about your college/uni (£200 up for grabs!)

    A review of Harper Adams, by Adam Hope

    I am currently a third year student at Harper Adams and I am studying BSc Rural Enterprise and Land Management. Currently I am out on my years work placement. Having recently read the review written about Harper, I felt the need to voice an opinion about a few points some very good but also some which I feel are wrong.  

    Harper Adams has a great feeling and aura around the campus at all times whether it is a Wednesday afternoon with people out supporting the sports teams and enjoying the social life or the following Thursday morning and people are feeling the effects of the enjoyment! The work placement year is one of the main reasons that I chose to study at Harper Adams and its the strong network of connections that the university has within the industry that gives, us the student, the best possible opportunities.

    When you say that the campus is "quite remote. if you've not got your own car could feel stuck in the middle of nowhere and bankrupt yourself on taxis." I have to say this is very wrong and yes there is no disputing the fact that the campus is remote, but with shuttle buses being provided by the university, a strong car share scheme and local taxi firms being very very reasonable ( it costs £4 for a car to go between Newport and the campus, so 4 people in a car that's £1 each).

    If you are studying a rural based subject then where is better than to learn about it than living in the rural environment and the benefits of it can not be measured. Harper lives by its motto and its a great place to study with a great environment it go around it!!

    Adam Hope
    Third Year BSc Rural Enterprise and Land Management

    Deputy Community and Farmlife Editor at Farmers Weekly
  • Thu, Dec 1 2011 12:31 In reply to

    Re: Tell us what you think about your college/uni (£200 up for grabs!)

    A review of Aberystwyth by Weneda Garshon

    At a young age, I developed an interest in agriculture. I wanted to know more about the environment, the animals and plants. I am currently studying agriculture and countryside management in Aberystwyth.

    My aim and goal of travelling this far from Nigeria to Aberystwyth is to gain adequate knowledge and find solutions to solving the economic crises, food scarcity and poor agricultural practice in my country. This is due to the total dependence on minerals for survival. I am currently studying agriculture and countryside management.

    I have chosen this university because it’s a long established university with a long and noble tradition of research and teaching in agriculture, and because it seats at the top of the National Student Survey for agriculture in UK. Also, Aberystwyth is the only place teaching agriculture in the UK with a copyright library, boasting more books per person than anywhere else on earth; and I believe Aberystwyth can help me greatly in achieving my goal.

    Night life in Aberystwyth is awesome, that I couldn’t resist going out on my first night of arrival. The union bar is so iconic that it provides all the required facilities of most night outings, with its spectacular arrangements, good music, space, drinks and security. It beats most night clubs.

    Aberystwyth generally is a student town - the majority of the population are students. Also, if you're interested in hiking, wildlife, and country views, Aberystwyth provides such, including the sea front views and mountains.

    Aberystwyth towns, shops, hospitals, bus station, and libraries, are 5-20 minutes walking distance from and to the university which is economically efficient for a student. What more do you require as a student in solving and finishing up of course works with the National Library of Wales there to help you find the required materials, having every book ever published in UK.

    The cost of living is low and the lifestyle of the villagers is awesome. The churches are like a community of relations providing the best comfort when  needed. When I was sick the hospitality provided by the doctors and the student support team was like that of a mum and dad’s comfort. I will say Aberystwyth is a home away from home, because it meets the everyday demand of a student in a new environment.

    The university staff are caring, lovely, kind and accommodating to questions, such that they meet up with the student demands of satisfaction in lectures, giving detailed explanations and understanding to asked questions and topics. It’s not about the recent surveys and results established that Aberystwyth is number one in student satisfaction, these is because it’s Aberystwyth number one priority to do so. They don't stop at satisfying you - they bring out the best in you.

    Weneda Garshon
     

    Deputy Community and Farmlife Editor at Farmers Weekly
  • Thu, Dec 1 2011 12:33 In reply to

    Re: Tell us what you think about your college/uni (£200 up for grabs!)

    A review of Aberystwyth by John Warren

    This section is obviously designed to solicit opinions from agricultural/rural students about their colleges. But members of academic staff also make very real choices about which institutions they work at. As with our students we don't make these life choices without a great deal of research and consideration. For one thing we would hope to stay in post for rather longer than the three or four years of a degree course. The views of lecturers might therefore just be of interest to prospective students, furthermore, unlike most students, staff, often have direct experience of several institutions, from studying, researching, working or being external examiner.

    IBERS at Aberystwyth University is institution number seven for me. So why is Aber the best of the bunch that I have studied at, worked at or visited? Of course I had a great time as student, although sowing wild oats (quite literally) as a post-doc could not compete with the delights of breeding chocolate at the University of the West Indies (an Institution missing from the FW list). But for me Aber, has to be the pick of the crop!

    There are simply loads of league tables and statistics that bombard a prospective student. But, what information should you look at when trying to decide which college to study at? Well the National Student Survey is a good place to start. There you will find that IBERS Aberystwyth is top for agriculture and related degrees. Our graduates are more likely than any others to say they made the right decision in their choice of college. No one collects the data for staff, but I am sure the same is true. And I am absolutely sure that the two things are related. Happy academics equals happy students. Forget all the other things we boast about: the fact Aber has more books per person than anywhere else on earth, or the farm facilities, the new building, the world leading research, the gob-smacking rural location…

    When picking a place to study or work, I always say – look at the coffee room. In Aber, everyone has coffee together from the freshest faced undergrad to the dustiest old professor. Everyone talks to everyone about everything. Aber is the friendly place. Why would anyone want to work or study anywhere else?

    John Warren, Senior Lecture in Agri-Ecology

    Deputy Community and Farmlife Editor at Farmers Weekly
  • Mon, Dec 5 2011 14:53 In reply to

    Re: Tell us what you think about your college/uni (£200 up for grabs!)

    Here's an email sent to FW from Dr Robin Jackson, Deputy Director – Landbased, at Wiltshire College Lackham:

    Lackham has a long and highly regarded record of delivering quality agricultural and farm mechanisation training and education.

    Now part of Wiltshire College, the Lackham campus still retains the atmosphere of a traditional agriculture college, as the campus is principally given over to landbased courses.

    This landbased focus for the campus, along with a dedicated team of staff who have a real passion for teaching agriculture and farm mechanisation, motivates and inspires students to come to Lackham.

    However, we have not been complacent and whilst respecting the history at Lackham, we ensure that our students are able to develop skills and knowledge using the most modern resources, such as diagnostic engineering and GPS precision farming technologies, to enable them to successfully progress into employment within an innovative sector.

    The Lackham campus is set in the heart of the College farm which covers 688 hectares. All our agriculture and farm mechanisation students significantly work on the farm throughout their courses.

    They regularly participate in intensive fieldwork campaigns, such as the maize campaign and a 24-hour ploughing marathon, and also become involved in crop and research trials. The farm demonstrates good commercial practices, making a real profit, but is structured around the needs of students. This enables our students to learn about commercial production on a successful arable and livestock farm which experiences the same challenges as every other farm.

    The farming enterprises include a dairy unit of 170 cows with replacements, pedigree Limousins and pedigree Hereford herds, finishing beef of approximately 250 head per year, 240 calves are reared in batches under contract, 800 ewe sheep units (organic and conventional), a small poultry unit, pigs raised under contract and a deer park with breeding herds of Fallow and Sika deer.

    The arable/forage unit grows a wide range of crops for the animals and for sale. These include wheat, barley, oilseed rape, forage maize, crimped maize, grass for grazing and silage.

    A full range of modern machinery and tractors is used and kept up to date to complement the farming practices; this ensures our agriculture and farm mechanisation students can be confident that they will enter employment or our Higher Education courses fully prepared.

    As one of the many successful universities and colleges offering agriculture, we are pleased that so many students still choose Wiltshire College to secure their future.

    For a round-up of quirky rural news see my blog Field Day
  • Wed, Dec 7 2011 15:00 In reply to

    Re: Tell us what you think about your college/uni (£200 up for grabs!)

    What makes Aberystwyth University my perfect choice I am a mature student and have been out of education for 15 years. So it was important to me to find the right university. Aberystwyth is ideally situated for rural science, with some of the world’s greatest geology set amongst the most beautiful rural landscapes the UK has to offer. There is a fantastic social seen and night life with the town boasting over 50 bars.For me however it was speaking to other students, looking on the National Student Survey as much as choosing the right course. Having friends that had studied with IBERS (Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences) enabled me to peek behind prospectus.IBERS has the largest collection of land based scientist in the UK with continuing investment, we have new building and even some new staff to add to the wealth of teaching staff. The staff are friendly and encouraging, often taking the time to give a little more and push a little harder. You can even catch them for a coffee in the common room.So if you’re looking to be stimulated and willing to be involved, if you looking for great facility’s or breath taking views consider Aberystwyth University. But don’t take just my word for it check out NSS (National Student Survey).

    Sarah Baker

    Countryside management

  • Fri, Dec 9 2011 16:05 In reply to

    • Wilsh1
    • Not Ranked
      Female
    • Joined on Tue, Sep 14 2010
    • Staffordshire

    Re: Tell us what you think about your college/uni (£200 up for grabs!)

    Hi Rachel! The Harper Adams SU has made a special video to show how Harper stands out from the rest.... because we believe that it is the best!!

    Please see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YEnWbHlnGA

    Many Thanks

     Harriet Wilson

    check out what I have been getting up to on the College Calendar blog! http://www.fwi.co.uk/blogs/college-calendar/
  • Fri, Dec 9 2011 16:43 In reply to

    Re: Tell us what you think about your college/uni (£200 up for grabs!)

    Here is a series of reviews from students and staff at Harper Adams University College -

    Sophie Seddon: I am a first year  food, nutrition and wellbeing student. I think the main thing that made me choose Harper Adams above any other university  was the unique teaching style, facilities such as the bamford library and the Regional food academy and the excellent learning support team within the Faccenda centre.

    Amy Bekooy: Harper is like a second family. There really is nowhere like it, it's special. It's welcoming, vibrant and one of a kind, I wouldn't change a thing. It truly is my home away from home. If I had to do it all over again, I would choose Harper in a heartbeat.

    Lucy Baker: It's a place where you move away from home and feel totally at home! The Ultimate Uni Experience!

    Sue Wilkinson: Being a mature student, it took me a while to 'fit' into student life, but am definately pleased I came to Harper, rather than go to a larger more urban university, as I've got to know so many wonderful people here - and the support available is just fantastic!!  Harper Adams is also set in beautiful surroundings - it is a real pleasure to be able to study here.

    'Harper' is special as it has fabulous resources available here - which help motivate students to become involved and make friendships with others - whether by taking part in the various sports teams, joining one of the many clubs and societies, or socializing on campus at 'The Welly Inn' and then moving into the SU Main Bar where weekly 'themed' dance nights are organized on Wednesday nights - and therefore a chance to 'strutt your stuff' on the dancefloor and get everyone involved and having great fun. :-)

    Harper means a wonderful location, there is a true 'harper spirit' feel about it here - a sense of belonging, and unprecedented support and guidance to help students achieve their goals.

    Claire Robertson-Bennett (staff): I've worked in lots of places but never anywhere that I've felt so at home as at Harper, and a real sense of pride, belonging, and wanting to do my very best for it. My Dad and I were talking to my six-year-old son about what he wanted to do in the future. My dad said he'd like to see him grow up to have a rewarding job somewhere lovey, and Luke piped up "Yes, like at Harper!" I'm really glad that my son sees his Mum enjoying her work and feeling positive about her workplace, and hopefully that will set him a good example for the future.

    Janine Heath
    Harper Adams Video Journalist
  • Tue, Mar 13 2012 14:13 In reply to

    Re: Tell us what you think about your college/uni (£200 up for grabs!)

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