Hello current, past or future Edinburgh Napier students!
After a long break from writing (during which I got my MSc and started my career in media advertising!), I am back with some more stories and insights about my experience as a student in Edinburgh. Recently, I have been receiving quite a few Facebook messages asking me some recurrent questions, so I thought I’d make a (Frequently) Facebook Asked Questions post for those who are considering the idea of studying at Edinburgh Napier University. This will be Part 1, which will be then followed by Part 2 for more insights. So, here we go!
1. How did you apply to Edinburgh Napier University?
Back when I first applied (almost six years ago..cannot believe it!), I applied through UCAS, which is the Universities and Colleges Admission Service. The process is still the same. To apply, you will need to sign up and select the universities you’d like to apply to (back then, I think I could apply to a maximum of three different universities). You’ll be then taken through an application process – which will last a few months from start to end – during which you will be required to supply specific documentation to support your candidacy e.g. proof of grades achieved, references and so on. Despite the whole process can be rather long, once you get all your documents sorted you’ll just have to wait and cross your fingers 🙂 I still remember the feeling I had when I received the final UCAS letter, the one that contained my fate…! Saying that I was nervous is very reductive, but when I found out that I was (conditionally) admitted, I almost stated crying of joy! The condition I had to satisfy was my final high school grade, which I knew I would have got. So that’s when my adventure really begun.
Note: If you’re a non-EU student, things differ a bit (especially in terms of finance as you’ll be required to pay university fees, unless you earned a scholarship). According to The Complete University Guide,
- International students from a non-EU country can submit an application to UCAS at any time between 1 September and 30 June in the year preceding the academic year that studies commence.
- However, most students apply well before 30 June to make sure that places are still available and to allow plenty of time to make immigration, travel and accommodation arrangements.
If you want to learn more about UCAS and the admission process, then you should visit their website asap so you won’t risk to miss the next application deadline.
2. How did I like studying at Edinburgh Napier University?
This is probably the easiest yet the hardest question because I could either answer with one word or with a 20 page essay! The one word would be ‘Unforgettable’ and the 20 page essay’s title would be ‘The Best Years of My Life’. And no, I am not exaggerating. If I could, I would do it all over again starting from tomorrow. I remember my last day as I remember my first one, and so many others in between. I met some really, really great friends during my years at Napier and I shared with them some some of the most incredible experiences. And what’s more, even just the fact of living in Edinburgh was enough to keep a constant smile on my face. I really do believe that there’s no other place like Edinburgh in the world. Perfect balance between that big city feeling and that cosy town. Being a student in Edinburgh was the best thing I could have hoped for, and in particular studying at Edinburgh Napier was just fabulous: great modules, great classmates, great campuses resources, great opportunities and great lecturers. I strongly suggest it to anyone who’s looking to get quite a practical university experience to get ready either to get into the workforce or pursue further education afterwards.
Disclaimer: The experience will be as good as you want it to be, and it goes beyond the University’s responsibility. In my opinion, it all comes down to your attitude is the right one, meaning that you’re going to be taking your course seriously with the goal of performing well, then things will hardly go wrong.
3. What do I suggest in terms of accommodation?
That’s probably the most recurring question I get. I previously wrote a blog post specifically about it and you can find it at Looking for (private) accommodation in Edinburgh? – that might answer some of your questions. However, based on my experience the general rule for accommodation during your student life is: try to get into students accommodation for your first (and maybe second) year, but then try and move into a private accommodation for your final years. The reason for this general advice is because during your first year you are likely to be full of energy and always looking to meeting new people and doing things. Students accommodations offer a great opportunity to socialise, live close by your campus and are also generally very closely located to popular students attractions e.g. Riego Street‘s accommodation, which is in between Fountain Park, GrassMarket, Bruntsfield and Lothian Road (all very popular student locations for different reasons). However, after your first year you might want to start focusing a bit more on the academic side of the university experience. I’m not saying that you should neglect that even during first year, but things are going to start getting a bit more intense as you progress and at times living in students accommodation might not give you the rest you are actually going to need 😉 Of course, it’s all very subjective so my advice is to try and understand what your priorities are for each year and to go from there 🙂
Disclaimer: The experience will be as good as you want it to be. In my opinion, it all comes down to one’s personal attitude to learning and developing, which goes beyond the University’s responsibility. Of course having captivating lecturers and interesting content is important, but if you think that that is the deal breaker for your university experience, then I’d probably disagree 🙂
4. How is the quality of the courses offered by the University?
Despite I am pretty familiar with the courses offered by Edinburgh Napier, I don’t think I’ve heard enough feedback from different courses to give a general answer to this question. However, what I can say based on my personal experience is that my course was exactly what I wanted it to be. I had great lecturers, a good mix between practical an theoretical education, the chance to study abroad and to get work experience. However, I also worked hard to get all that, as nothing came easy – which is fair enough, so you can prove your lecturers and yourself that you can achieve anything you want as long as you really want it. Another great point was the combination of guest speakers and lecturers, which gave us a good break from the usual classes and some interesting industry insights from the within. One of my favourite guests came from The Leith Agency, a creative agency based in Leith. Having someone taking us through the advertising industry with some fun anecdotes about the process of coming up with The Big Idea was simply inspiring and really gave us a feel for what we could expect with a job in the creative field. Overall, I was very satisfied with the quality of my course, but if you’re looking for more information about a specific course, you might want to find someone who took it through the Facebook group for International Students (even if you’re a local 😉 ).
5. For non-English speakers: Was it hard to get started with the language?
I would not say that things were hard, but challenging, yes they were. Especially because during all those previous years spent on English classes I had never ran into speakers with a thick Scottish accent…! However, after the first month or so you are going to start understanding everything: the accent, the most common expressions, and so on. My main preoccupation at the time was making sure that I understood whether there were any assignments due for the week after, and if so, what we were actually supposed to do. So what I used to do was cornering my friends (in a friendly way hah!) after class and asking them about assignments and such. I definitely found myself spending waaaay too much time on certain assignments that would have just required 10 minutes for a native English speaker to do, however, since I was not familiar with either the subject or the specific lexicon used, things took me a bit longer at the beginning. But that is expected 🙂 Particularly, since our class was relatively small (about thirty people), our lecturers knew us by name and kept track of our personal development so there was no sense of shame in going and ask for more details after class.
Looking back, my first two to three months at Edinburgh Napier University were pretty frustrating for me in terms language, because I thought that my English was not improving as fast as I wanted to. However, one day I just stopped and found myself actually no longer having to think in my own language to then translate into English – the transition just happened systematically, day by day, month after month, without me realising that my brain was actually sucking so much information every day. Which explains why I was always so exhausted during the first few months..! Things definitely fall into place naturally, so if this is the only reason for you to wonder whether or not you should start studying at Edinburgh Napier, then start packing because that’s not a good excuse! 🙂
These are only few of the recurrent questions I get from people enquiring about studying at Edinburgh Napier. If you do have more questions, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to write another FAQ post. Have a great day! 🙂