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Aberystwyth University was established in 1872. It was the first college of university status in Wales and it opened in a half-finished hotel on the seafront with only twenty six students and three teachers.
The university scaled new heights (literally!) by moving into new premises on a hill overlooking Aberystwyth town. It was under the aegis of the University of Wales until it became an independent institution in 2007.
There are eighteen academic departments with over twenty five subjects, offering single, joint, and major/minor honours degrees. Courses range from the traditional (fine art, languages, history and sciences) to the modern, e.g. Terrorism, Conflict and Security.
Aberystwyth University enjoys a solid and well-deserved reputation, ranking among the top fifty universities in the Times Good University Guide 2011. It is fourth in the UK for quality learning and teaching and one of the top ten institutions for academic facilities.
Aberystwyth University is a consistent high scorer in student satisfaction and student experience surveys; ranked second in the UK for student satisfaction (National Student Survey) and first for all-round student experience (Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey).
Aberystwyth’s alumni list includes: Prince Charles (admittedly, he was only there for three-months to learn Welsh); Attorney-General John Morris QC; rugby player Jonathan Spratt; Olympian Catherine Bishop; film director Sharon Maguire; the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, AM; and The One Show’s very own Alex Jones.
The main campus, Penglais, is situated only a mile away from Aberystwyth town and overlooks Cardigan Bay. On-campus facilities include: the famous Aberystwyth Arts Centre, a sports centre, music centre, restaurants, bars and coffee shops. The Aberystwyth University Guild of Students’ centre, Underground, is based at Penglais. It has pool tables, gaming machines, a TV lounge, a snack bar and fast food outlets. On-campus there is also a general store, a launderette, a post office and a bunch of bookshops and ATMs.
Aberystwyth is a small, coastal town on the west coast of Wales. Students account for a staggering 66% of the town’s total population. Aberystwyth is nestled between two beaches and has all the trimmings of a seaside town: a pier, a harbour and (the remains of) a castle. It’s also home to a flourishing music scene, several museums and galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants.
First-year, full-time undergraduates are guaranteed accommodation in university-owned and privately managed properties, subject to students submitting residency application forms before 1st August.
University-provided accommodation fees for 2011-12 range from £74 per week for self-catered to £103 for catered rooms. Accommodation can be booked on a term-only basis (31 weeks, excluding Christmas and Easter vacations) or for a full session (37 weeks, inclusive of vacations).
There are ten halls of residence (two catered, eight self-catering) with standard bedrooms (single or twin-sharing), shared bathroom and kitchen facilities; or en-suite bedrooms with shared kitchens.
Pantycelyn and Penbryn are catered residences located on the Penglais Campus. Accommodation charges for these include a fixed-fee for the cost of one meal per day. Meals are paid for by a Meal Loyalty Card, which is issued by the university. The card can be used in all university-owned catering outlets as well.
Four self-catering residences are situated on the Penglais Campus: Cwrt Mawr, Pentre Jane Morgan (Student Village), Rosser and Trefloyne. The remaining four residences (Alexandra Hall, Brynderw, Clarendon House and Seafront Residencies) are located either by the seafront or in the town centre.
Accommodation fees for all university-provided housing include Students’ Personal Effects Insurance and utilities.
The Accommodation Office Residential Services team provides information and assistance for students with families or students with special requirements.
Full-time undergraduate tuition fees will be £9,000 per annum from 2012-13 onwards. However, the tuition fees will remain at around £3,000 for Welsh students.
The cost of living, on and off campus, is reasonably cheap. On campus, the Students’ Guild offers special discounts, loyalty and reward programmes to help ease the financial burden.
On campus, a pint of beer comes in at £2 and the Meal Loyalty Card is a lifesaver in terms of keeping that food bill down.
Aberystwyth University offers a range of grants, awards, bursaries and scholarships, ranging from Entrance Scholarships and Merit Awards to Excellence and Residential Bursaries.
The kind of funding you can receive starts at £500 and can go as high as £3,334. For many of the bursaries and scholarships, you can combine more than one. This means you can end up with financial support in excess of £12,000. Visit the Aberystwyth University website to find out what awards you are eligible for.
You can take your pick of nightlife hotspots offered by the university, Students’ Guild, Aberystwyth town and surrounding areas. On campus, the main hubs for nightlife throughout the week are the Arts Centre and the Students’ Guild; other smaller venues include the Cwrt Mawr Bar.
Bar 9 and The Joint in the Guild centre host themed club nights, fortnightly comedy gigs and live music. The Guild also runs the annual Graduation Ball; a formal, black-tie affair and the highlight of the annual varsity calendar.
The Arts Centre puts on frequent big-name gigs, stand-up comedy shows, film screenings and performance arts shows. Past acts have included Duffy, Girls Aloud, Rob Brydon and Jimmy Carr.
Off-campus, the Aberystwyth town centre is home to around 50 pubs with a number of bars and clubs thrown into the mix. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes with prices to suit students’ pockets, as well as two theatres and a buzzing music scene.
Sporty types are catered for with a wide range of sports. Aside from the more conventional sports like football and rugby, there are plenty of water and adventure sports available, such as sailing, rowing, climbing, paragliding and caving.
Campus facilities include a large and superbly equipped sports centre, two outdoor playing fields and a newly-installed, hi-tech two-lane running track (Mondotrack SX).
The Aberystwyth University Guild of Students has over a hundred clubs and societies affiliated with it. Societies include: the Art Society, Law Society, Glee Society and Tarot and Meditation Society.
Media junkies can sign up for the student newspaper, The Courier, and student radio station, Bay Radio. There’s even a student run television station AberTV, which airs shows about student life and studying in Aberystwyth University.
The Students’ Guild hosts ‘Get Fresh!’ during freshers’ week, which is a programme of activities and information, including freshers’ fairs and themed club nights. They also have a crack team of “Freshers’ Heroes” to help you settle in.
Additionally, freshers’ week usually involves some form of university, campus and faculty orientation and introductions to various university facilities.
The Career Advisory Service boasts a team of twenty personnel, who can provide you with information on everything from job opportunities, internships and placements to employability skills’ training and advanced study options.