So, last time I wrote some questions that I thought would be useful for the people looking at Open Days, and I said I would provide the answers. Here there are, from a second year Physics perspective!
About the Uni – ask these in the Union, or to the students in the department
1) What opportunities are there for (insert your favourite activity here!)
At Cardiff there are a wealth of societies, and they’re often very involved, with socials most weeks and sometimes other activities too. If there’s something you’re interested in and it’s not there, get a group of 20 together and you can start your own society!
2) How many societies are there, and what is the average cost to join them?
Over 160! The price depends, there is a joining fee for the Union of £10, and the Athletic Union is £15. The societies set their own fees, to be appropriate for the things they do. Some societies also have a weekly fee for activities, usually only a few pounds. If you want more information about fees, look on the Cardiff students website here.
3) If I am not interested in drinking, what will be offered to me in my Freshers week?
Some societies run non-alcoholic socials, which will be publicised on the website and at the Fresher’s Fayre, which is on the first few days of Fresher’s Week. The Union also runs events during the day which will be also be non-alcoholic.
4) If I find I am struggling or I get homesick, who can I turn to for support?
The Student Support Service is on Park Place, and they are very helpful when ever you feel alone or like you need some help.
About the Course
5) What makes your course different from any others in the country?
6) What is the coursework/exam breakdown for each year?
It really depends on the module. Some modules are 100% coursework, some are 60:40 exam: coursework and some are 80:20.
7) How are the years structured?
Each year has 10 modules, with 120 credits available. First and second year are split with 5 modules in each semester, one 20 credit module and the others 10 credit. There is the option of taking an optional module per semester, which can be outside the Physics department (as long as it fits into your schedule!). Depending on your course, whether you do the BSc or the MPhys changes how your third year will be. There will be modules to do, but also a third year project which spans the whole year. It is similar in forth year, with fewer modules and therefore a higher weighting on the project.
8) How many hours outside of the lectures would I expected to work per module, and how many modules are there?
There are 10 modules per year, with 5 per semester in first and second year. It can be slightly different in third and forth year, since the project counts as several credits.
9) Will I be expected to buy my own core textbooks, or will they be provided?
The main textbooks on the course will be provided in first year. Others are available in the library.
10) How many people will be on my course, and how is that split gender-wise?
There are approximately 100 in the year, and the split is maybe 80:20 male:female. In my year, anyhow.
11) How many contact hours will I get a week?
18 in first year and second year, fewer in third and forth year.
12) How are tutorials structured? How many people will be in them?
In first year, there are academic tutorials every week for an hour, and then a personal tutorial once a semester for 15 minutes. In second year the academic tutorials are once a fortnight. There are 3-5 people in each tutor group.
About Accommodation- ask at each Halls you visit
13) How many can be accommodated in each residence?
It depends on which one you go to; in Cardiff there are 17 residences for undergraduates. There are different numbers accommodated in each one. I was in Senghennydd Hall last year, which has 103 residents. Look here for a complete list of accommodation and facts about each one.
14) Who is guaranteed accommodation?
If you have a place at University, then you have a place in halls. Rooms are allocated on a first come first served basis, but you can email the residences office if you want more information.
15) Where is the laundry room and the reception?
At Senghennydd Hall, the laundry room and reception were located at Senghennydd Court, which is over the bridge. At other residences, the laundry room and reception are usually based in the middle of the residence, on the ground floor.
16) Approximately how long would it take to walk from here to: a. town, b. the course building (insert whichever you are interested in here!)
From Senghennydd Hall and Court it was 10 minutes to most places, but it definitely varies from place to place!
17) Which GP am I going to be expected to register at, and will I have a choice?
Since there is a huge influx of students at the start of each academic year, each hall is allocated a GP and all the residents are expected to register there. Some residences will ask you to register before you can get your keys; some will let you register at your earliest convenience.
For any disabled students
18) What provision will I be able to get from the University?
It depends on your individual need. You can apply for Disability Students Allowance, and you can download the form for that off the DSA website. Once you have been awarded DSA (which you can apply for before you get to uni) then you can approach the Disability Advisor at Cardiff, who will help you implement the things that you have been awarded in DSA.
19) If I have specific exam needs, will I be able to continue as per my care plan from Sixth Form?
It depends on what your exam needs are: the university has specific rules for exams. The university will help you sit your exams, giving extra time and medical breaks if you need them.
If you have any more questions, or want some more answers, feel free to comment! 🙂