Category Archives: featured

Applying to Westminster through clearing

By Humaira Iqbal, BA English Literature

In June, I officially finished my second year as an English Literature undergraduate at the University of Westminster. Of course, on results day, I was nervously refreshing the page, waiting for my results to come out as quickly as possible. And that’s not the first time I did that. Two years ago, I was doing the exact same thing as I impatiently waited for my A Level results to show up on the page. I was so nervous, and even after I got my results, the nerves were still there as I didn’t really know what was about to happen next. I saw the BCC on the page and I was happy. I just passed my A Levels with grades that were pretty decent.

Now, I had my place at university in Manchester and that conditional offer just had to be accepted. But something was playing on my mind. I remember sitting next to my Mum and saying “What if I went to university in London?” I’m from Manchester and had been living in Manchester all my life. But I wanted a change. I wanted to have new experiences and I wanted to meet new people. As my Dad was already in London at the time, everything slowly began to fit into place.

“What if I went to university in London?”

I discussed it with both my parents and they were extremely supportive. I then had a good think and knew that this was what I wanted. My mind had been made; I was to go to university in London.

As I’d never seriously thought of leaving Manchester for university before that day, I didn’t really know that much about universities in London. However, I did know about one. A family friend had recommended the University of Westminster to me and had told me it was a great place.

A family friend had recommended the University of Westminster to me and had told me it was a great place.

So, that same day, I did a quick search for English Literature at Westminster and once I was happy with what I saw, I rang the Westminster clearing hotline. I explained my situation, shared my grades and was given instructions on what to do next. Following those instructions, I then applied to study English Literature at the University of Westminster through UCAS and that was that. Within a couple of weeks, I’d got my place at university and was already planning all the things I’d have to do in London. It really was that easy.

That “what if” turned in to “I am” and here I am years 2 later, with only a year left until I get my degree. And it all happened through clearing. It all worked out for the best and now I can’t imagine being anywhere else; the University of Westminster plays a huge part in my life now.

If you’re thinking of applying to Westminster through clearing too, (and I highly recommend it!), give us a call on the clearing hotline and we’ll be more than happy to have a chat and maybe even offer you a place. If that’s the case, then we’ll see you in September!

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Student’s guide to a productive summer!

It’s exactly 5 weeks and 4 days before classes start again at University of Westminster! We are just a little bit excited to see everyone again and settle back into our central London life.

For Humaira, our resident student blogger, this academic year will be her last at the University as she is about to start her 3rd year! Here are her tips for a productive summer:


You probably don’t really want to be reading this, I know. You’d rather go on your holiday and spend the Summer going out with your friends or relaxing and enjoying the sun. And you can do that. Of course, Summer is about taking some well-earned time off from essays and exams – but that’s not all it’s for. You’re probably reading this because you realise that you have a few months off and although you’re taking advantage of the break from university, you also want to make use of that time and maybe even do something that could benefit your future.

So, here are some suggestions to make this Summer a productive one:

Do a Summer internship

Know what you want to do once you graduate? That’s fab!

If you are looking for internship opportunities, contact our careers team and they will be able to help!

Get an internship and get some experience in that field, you might find that you don’t really enjoy the field or, on the other hand, you might love it! Even if you don’t know what you want to do after university, getting an internship and getting some experience in a field that you’re interested in is one of the best ways of figuring out what the right job is. Not only that, but you gain skills, you gain valuable experience, you gain contacts and if you do the job well, you might even secure a role after you graduate (show the company why you’re an invaluable asset to the team).

Take the time to study the field you want to go into

Along with doing an internship, researching the field you want to go into allows you to learn more about the experience and skills you might need to work on in order to secure a job in that area. Finding out exactly what is needed to prepare for potential roles will help you build your professional profile and make securing jobs much easier! There are many ways to do that. You can, for example…

Follow successful people in your area

They must be doing something right! Successful people are great to keep up with, as you learn what they do differently and what you can do to be successful too. Social media are the easiest way to find out more about influencers in the area you are interested in. But identifying professional organisations, going to talks and job fairs and reading trade publications are all good ways of learning more about those who already work in the sector you hope to join too. But remember, no matter what you do, always always put your own spin on it so a company or organisation knows why they need you and not someone else.

Start your reading for next year

I am starting my final year of University after the summer. And with final year comes the usual reading…but there is a lot more of it and it comes with a big dissertation/project, too. To manage the workload, starting to read early is the best way to go. And if not early, then at least earlier.

Contact your tutors and ask for reading list advice.

Once you know what classes you will be taking after the summer, contact your tutors and ask for reading list advice. They will be able to point you to the most challenging texts or books which are the best starting point for the module; the sort of reading that is best done in advance. If you plan ahead, the reading list will be much more manageable once the academic year starts.

 Go to talks/lectures that are of interest to you

You never know who you could meet. As well as making what could be important contacts, you’re spending your time finding out about things you genuinely take an interest in, so that’s surely no waste of time. You might also stumble across ideas and topics you were not familiar with (and perhaps find inspiration for the dissertation….). London has so much to offer, also during the summer! For events inspiration, check out TimeOut or ArtRabbit.

Plan your dissertation

If like me you’re about to start your final year, the summer is a great time to start planning your dissertation/final project. Dissertation means work! And a lot of it! But it’s also an amazing opportunity to focus on the topic you are interested in and develop it in a way you want! But did I mention the work…we’d better get started early!

Take a course or two, sharpen those skills and maybe even learn some new ones.

Last Summer, I went to a coaching course and came out the other end as a qualified Master Coach. This means that I am now a personal life coach, a business executive coach, and an accelerated learning and training coach! It was time consuming, but it was genuinely worth it. I have a qualification I can use in my career and a range of new skills which will be useful at both uni and work!

Get a job

A job means income, skills, something to fill your days, an opportunity to meet different people and hopefully even make new friends, all that whilst adding to you CV. There are so many benefits of getting a Summer job. You might even be able to stay on part-time when you go back to university in September, depending on your employer.

Last but most definitely not least, don’t overdo it and remember to actually take a break and recharge the batteries before another busy, challenging but exciting year!

 

image from the University of Westminster Archive: Women’s gymnastics on the roof of Little Titchfield Street (now our University Library) c. 1929

 

An English student’s guide to coffee (around Regent Street campus)

If like us, you are one to procaffeinate (avoid doing anything until you’ve had a cup of coffee), then Kirsty’s cafe guide is a must for you!  There are some really excellent places around our Regent Street campus that are a must for all coffee lovers!


I spend a lot of time in cafés. A silent study room is great for focused work but sometimes I need some stimulation. The whirr of conversation can be quite comforting and it is energizing to write surrounded by people. Cafés helped me to settle into London. It can be a crazy, lonely, and ruthless place. But it is also full of surprises. Exploring cafés taught me how to slow down, to take a walk in a new part of town, to take a minute and embrace the crazy.

Here are some of my favourite cafés, with the best coffee (approx. £2.80), near our Regent Street Campus (Fitzrovia/Soho/Oxford Circus) to get you started. But I encourage you to be adventurous!

Curators Coffee Gallery

http://www.curatorscoffee.com

51 Margaret St, W1W 8SG

My favourite café near Regent Street. Curators is a great place to work because it’s bright with comfortable seats. I go there for strong coffee and the music. It does get busy but then everywhere in central London does. As far as I know, they don’t have Wi-Fi, but that does minimise distractions! I catch up with my dissertation supervisor here too.

TAP Coffee

http://www.tapcoffee.co.uk

193 Wardour St, Soho, W1F 8ZF

TAP on Wardour St is great after a seminar at Wells St (they have a few shops, Wardour St is my favourite). It’s got great natural light. Very easy to zone out here for some reading, use the Wi-Fi for some research/writing, or catch up with friends. Great windows for a breeze on warmer days.

Kaffeine

http://kaffeine.co.uk

66 Great Titchfield St, W1W 7QJ / 15 Eastcastle St, W1T 3AY

I go to Kaffeine (Great Titchfield St) in the morning before a library day. It’s around the corner from Little Titchfield St and they do seriously good banana bread. It’s a bit cramped and seating isn’t the best for working but they do have a brilliant collection of magazines, if you need a break later in the day. I go for Little White Lies film magazine – many of the films featured have screenings at Regent St Cinema. They also have a shop on Eastcastle St, just around the corner from Well St.

ScandiKitchen

http://www.scandikitchen.co.uk

61 Great Titchfield St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 7PP

A Norwegian friend (and fellow UoW student) introduced me to ScandiKitchen. It’s an excellent place for lunch serving good coffee and open sandwiches, popular in Scandinavia. Can usually get a table before the lunch rush starts (any time before 12:30). There is also a Nordic grocery at the back, which is cool.

Be adventurous:

Bloomsbury Coffee House

http://www.bloomsburycoffeehouse.co.uk

20 Tavistock Place, WC1H 9RE

The coffee house is very popular among students – it’s a great place to study. It’s in the basement of a townhouse in Bloomsbury, one of my favourite areas of London. (20-minute walk from Regent St).

The Poetry Café

http://poetrysociety.org.uk/poetry-cafe/

22 Betterton St, WC2H 9BX

The Poetry Café is closed for refurbishment until spring 2017. But this is a very quiet space to do some reading, and they have brilliant poetry events every week. I also volunteered in their offices above the café during my first year. It’s a lovely place! (20-minute walk from Regent St).

Kirsty Watling, 3rd Year BA English Literature

at  University of Westminster