As a fourth-year student reading for a BSc Honours degree in Agriculture at Harper Adams I feel dwarfed by the answers to the question: ‘What do I think about my university/college?’ Starting from my very first impressions of Harper, almost five years ago, when I rather innocently turned up to an open day with no real thoughts on what to expect, I have never looked back.
As soon as we arrived we were met with the ‘Harper community spirit’, not one unfriendly or unhelpful person, it was impossible to get lost yet large enough not to feel crowded. University statistics and pictures cannot possibly do this justice. I found, as did many other students that you have to actually visit Harper to see what it’s all about.
Lecturers at Harper are second to none, their enthusiastic flair and diverse experience in agriculture is the main reason as to why we all love lectures so much. The facilities used for lectures are fantastic, including the new food academy, laboratories, environmentally friendly library and new SU building. Lecture content is a mix of theory and practical, making the on campus farm essential. Throughout my three years of lectures, at least 20% of the time has been spent on farm. This is something that most other Ag universities cannot compete with Harper on. Having a basic farm a couple of miles away is no good to a final year student. With the farm being the centre of most dissertation subjects, students need to have safe, unaccompanied, nearby access to it whenever they need it.
Harper offers students a 93.8% chance of employability when they graduate. This was the deciding factor for me when I applied for a place. Going to university is no longer about reading up on your favourite subject. Increasingly high studying costs mean that a degree has to pay. Prospective students looking at university choices can no longer afford to ignore these statistics.
The placement year at Harper is in one word FANTASTIC. Nothing can prepare you more for your final year, in terms of motivation and concentration than a ‘taste of the real world’. One year of hard work gave me invaluable industry contacts, career related experience and a reference to put myself ahead of all of those graduates who only have a degree.
Finally, there is no way I can miss out mentioning the famous Harper spirit and social life. With events such as fresher’s week, end of term balls, Agric block fixture, societies and clubs and the notorious Wednesday nights out, it really is hard to find time to do your work! The SU at Harper are fantastic, they devote all of their time to getting everybody possible involved in social events and making sure they go exactly to key, something you won’t find at larger universities. Sometimes I feel that yes, maybe Harper is a little small, but on the other hand why do I feel the need to waste my over financed student loan on expensive city nights out when I have the rest of my twenties, and an unexploited, hopefully decent wage (thanks to Harper) to spend on this?