Why did you choose Loughborough University?
The fact that the University is a campus based one really appealed to me because I figured that it would mean I wouldn’t have to venture too far to my lectures, something every student wants to avoid! Secondly, the different study options available in the Social Sciences department meant that I had the choice to undertake my degree how I wanted to; at the time I applied, I was set on doing a Study Abroad placement but now I’m leaning more towards a sandwich year working, so you really have the option to be flexible in what you want to do. The Social Sciences department at Loughborough is also one of the best in the country, which will help in later life when getting a job.
Originally, I applied to do Communications and Media at Loughborough but on results day, having achieved an A in A Level Sociology, I realised that I wanted to carry it on in my degree because it enabled me to learn things from a variety of disciplines, from History to Politics, Psychology to Religion. Thus, doing Sociology gave me the chance to carry on doing Sociology, whilst still being able to take Communications and Media, as well as Criminology modules, meaning I was able to learn a wide variety of topics that I felt interested in.
What do you enjoy about your course?
My favourite thing about the course is being able to take a variety of different modules, so it is able to suit a variety of interests. For example, in first year, I was able to choose Communications and Media, Social Psychology, and Criminology and Social Policy modules, which are three things I am highly interested in. Other options included Languages, Politics and Human Geography, and the choice increases during second year, so there really is something for every kind of Sociology student.
My favourite module on the course so far is the second year module Forensic Psychology. I enjoy it because it is gripping and, dare I say it, scary, which makes learning about it all the more interesting. We get to learn about a variety of topics, such as criminal and victim characteristics, different offences, punishment and treatment. The lecture is really interactive and engaging through videos and audio clips. Furthermore, there are a lot of relevant examples and ways to link the module into society today, which helps you to understand the ideas presented. For example, one of the topics we did was about child abuse and paedophilia, and the week after we learnt this, there was a Channel 4 documentary on it, meaning we could apply what we learnt to real life.
What do you think of the teaching quality and facilities?
The teaching quality of the course is just phenomenal; The Times ranked Loughborough University 2nd for Sociology in 2014 and it really shows in the teaching. The lecturers are all outstandingly knowledgeable on the topics and can answer pretty much every question you have. Often, the lecturers will be the ones who wrote the books you are using in your learning so it’s pretty cool to be able to have them share their ideas first hand. Although, it is a bit surreal to be critiquing a book that was written by your lecturer who then marks your critical analysis!
The lectures are also interesting because they are often interactive, with videos and ‘Sociological Interludes’, meaning you don’t get bored! The Social Sciences department is also developing the more widespread use of ‘Lecture Capture’, where lectures are recorded, meaning that if you need to go over a topic again for revision or just to clarify information, you have the freedom to do so. The labs are in smaller groups than the lecturers, so it gives you a chance to work in a more small-scale environment, so you can get more individual feedback, almost like a class at school.
Have you had any support from the University?
The department were supportive and helpful from the very start of my journey at Loughborough. During my adjustment period of switching from Communications and Media to Sociology, I was abroad on holiday so I thought it would be difficult to make all the necessary arrangements, but the department were so accommodating and friendly; it definitely showed me that this was where I wanted to be. Also, lecturers are always available through email, so they are able to answer any questions or concerns you may have. The University also offers a whole host of facilities for students, from English Language support to Counselling services, and they are always happy to help.
Have you done a professional placement?
I am planning to do a placement year in work in my third year and I hope to put into practise some of the skills I have learnt on the course as well as in extra-curricular activities. For example, one of the roles available for Sociology students in a research trainee at the HM Inspectorate of Prisons, meaning you get a chance to use the statistical analysis skills you have learnt from the very first year into practice, and they specifically require you to have done a module using the specific data analysis package that the course provides.
Additionally, the placement year will enable me to get a feel for working life (outside of my typical student retail working experience!) and the placements that students on my course can apply for is so varied; I have course friends applying into HR roles, others applying into NHS roles and others into Marketing. This is not only because of the wide variety of topics covered in the course, but also the extra-curricular activities you do. For example, I am involved in the LSU media team as well as being a Programme Rep for Sociology, and I think that a placement year will enable me to develop the skills I have learnt from these roles, as well as building connections and networking for future jobs and the career I want to pursue (the media industry is notoriously difficult to break into unless you have the right contacts).
What would you say to someone considering your course?
Definitely come to the open and visit days. It gives you a chance to look around the campus, talk to course leaders and meet current students to give you an idea of what the course entails. If you can’t do that, join the Social Sciences department group on Facebook, where you can pose questions to current students as well as potential students who may be in the same position as you. Make sure you read the course profile as well so you have an idea of the modules you have to take, as well as the ones you can choose.
How do you find the social atmosphere on campus?
The social atmosphere of Loughborough definitely adds to the Loughborough student experience. There are so many activities to join, literally anything you can think of! Most of the social activities you can join are offered through the Students’ Union, but this doesn’t mean they all revolve around going out and drinking. There are so many things you can do outside of this, such as volunteering, taking part in various societies, sports, etc. In first year, there’s a freshers’ bazaar where you get to see all the societies and clubs you can join and I really recommend putting your name down for as many that interest you. You don’t have to be a member of all of them, but just signing up will give you more information and you get to meet a new crowd of people with similar interests!
What do you enjoy about being a student here?
The best thing about being a Loughborough University student is the fact that you are studying at a place with such an amazing reputation, in many areas of society, and this means you meet so many different people from all walks of life, from all areas of the world.
You also get to take part in so many things and get so many opportunities that you wouldn’t get elsewhere. For example, there are often big sports games and competitions held on campus, which you can volunteer to steward and help out. It is said an awful lot, but being at Loughborough is really the time of your life; the University really values its students and want them to have as many opportunities as possible, and you really do get to be involved with a lot!