Advantages Very hip, excellent facilities for each subject area, people on the whole very sociable and friendly
Disadvantages It's in Elephant & Castle!! Not much of a 'community' feel due to it being in London, terrible Freshers arrangements
Having just dropped out from LCP (or LCC as it's now known) I'm going to try my best to give an unbiased opinion, and although at first impressions you may not think I'm the best person to write a review having left, bear with me because I do have many good things to say about the college too!Firstly, I want to stress that the college itself was not the reason for me leaving - I was unfortunately put in the dullest and most unfriendly student house this side of the universe, which greatly affected my decision, and after thinking it through the course I had opted to do (B.A. (Hons) Journalism) was not for me and I simply just didn't feel at home in London in general. This doesn't mean it won't be the place for you however!
The college is very artsy, not at all like a traditional university, so if a campus uni is what you're after then run away, run away now! However, if you're searching for something a little different, LCC is a great place. There are so many interesting people milling around, some fantastically dressed art students - don't forget that this is what LCC predominantly is, an art school. It reminds me very much of the Tate Modern, which is one of my all-time favourite places in London, all high ceilings, bright lighting, neutral colours and some absolutely breathtaking displays of student work from time to time.The building itself is fairly run down in places, especially with regard to the godawful Tower Bock, which upon being told that 'over the lecturers dead bodies' would we ever be taught there, it turned out that this was actually where the majority of our lessons were held. Bit of advice - arrive at the lifts 20mins before your lesson is due to start, or get fit and take the stairs because the lifts are incredibly slow and nearly every student in the college wants to use them the same time as you...call it Sod's Law. On the other side of that, however, there exists the delight of the brand(ish) new multi-million pound Media/Graphic Design Building, which although is fairly clinical has great facilities and strangely fits in with the rest of the college despite being light-years ahead of it in terms of style.
The subject tutors I encountered were on the whole extremely knowledgeable about their teaching subjects. However, and this is a big but, if they did care about you as an individual, and your progress in the college, they didn't show it very well. You may argue and say that 'it's only 3 years' and 'how can they remember and care about everyone' but the feeling that they cared at all after college was finished for the day was, for me at any rate, definitely absent. The other staff at the college were...interesting...to say the least, especially with regard to the kitchen and reception staff who seem to be divided into two groups - 'those who can't even string a sentence together' and 'those so pissed off ALL THE TIME that you fear for your safety even asking for a cup of tea/directions/a jacket potato'. So not too good on the ‘miscellaneous staff’ front, however if you remember your ID card every day and get to the canteen before most of the food has run out (like I didn't) then you shouldn't have to encounter them too much.So, Elephant and Castle as an area...well, there's no getting round the fact that it ain't no oil painting. And the shopping centre is plain depressing, apart from the small record shop on the 2nd floor where bargains can be found in about any genre of music if you're clever. Oh, and there's a fascinating book shop in there somewhere too, which is definitely one to look out for. Apart from these, there really isn't anything good in E&C apart from the excellent transport connections out of the place, and if I’m being honest I'm going to have to admit that I never felt 100% safe there, especially in the ever-confusing underpass system, and when it got dark early as it does in Winter. This is only my personal opinion, however, I knew many people who felt very different to me, and on the plus side the market outside the shopping centre can be great if you’re prepared to search through the tat to find the treasure. It is worth it when you do!
If I had to single out one piece of information I would say is the most important of this whole review, it’d be get in halls, get in halls, GET IN HALLS. I’m sure I don’t need to repeat that again, but as LCC was actually my second choice through UCAS there were no spaces in halls for me, and so I had to get private accommodation. I may have been exceptionally unlucky with my choice of house, however in general I found it very difficult to meet up with other students on my course due to them all being from other areas of London, and for me my course was the only contact I had with other students. Being in halls, though, means that there are always students around and that also on a night out you always have someone to return home safely with – something very important to consider when organising going out in a city as huge as London is. Also, I personally felt as if I missed out on the whole Freshers, getting to know people thing due to not having any contact with university life outside the course. In halls, however, everyone talks to everyone, and the fact that you’re all in the same situation means that even if you don’t get on with certain people, the laws of probability say you’re bound to find others to make friends with. I know plenty of people in the University of Arts halls who are having the time of their lives. So to recap, halls=good.Talking of the whole Freshers experience, this was definitely one of the worst parts of my experience. Of course, Freshers Week or Freshers Fortnight or whatever is only a small part of your 3-year university ‘career’, however there was one, yes one, official Freshers party, two and a half weeks after we had actually started the course, and it was in Farringdon which is ages away from the college in Central(ish) London somewhere. It would be easy to criticise the university for this, however it was actually the effort of LISU (still named after the old London Institute tag) or in other words the Student Union. Although there were about 3 other ‘nights’ in various London clubs aimed at UofArts students, I have to say that one Freshers party is pretty lame and made the whole event of me starting university less of a, well, event, as it is hyped up to be by just about everyone. To the Student Union’s credit, however, there were plenty of varying, interesting societies and sports to get involved in if you so wished, and the Freshers Fayre, whereby corporate businesses shoved numerous different discounts and free things at you, was great. Also, the on-site bar is dirt-cheap (well for London anyway) and really modern & studenty – an excellent venue for some after-lecture drinking action.
And so to the end. Although I did end up leaving my course I would say that it is mainly due to the way I am as a person. A little info; I’m from a small Westcountry town with a massive community feel to it, and so in retrospect London was possibly the absolute worst place for me to come, as it is basically the opposite to all that I know and have ever known. I had had lots of experience with London beforehand due to having various members of family living there and visiting them, but at the end of the day it was just that – visiting. Living there is a whole different ball game, believe me, and I’m sure that I experienced some sort of culture shock even though I never thought I would. And I would have to say that anyone wanting any sort of community feeling should steer well clear, as because the University of Arts incorporates not only LCC but the London College of Fashion, Central Saint Martins, and both Chelsea and Camberwell Colleges of Art it is difficult for there to be any feeling even remotely community-like with the exception perhaps of being in halls. However, if you’re looking for an interesting and different-from-the-norm place to study, and perhaps are not too bothered about feeling part of a community and have maybe had experience of a large city environment, then LCC could be for you. Either way, think it through carefully (as, again, I didn’t.) I hope this review has helped you in some way, shape or form.p.s. Although I have put that I do recommmend the college, it's mainly because they won't let me be indifferent, grr...if I were to reccommend, it would only be to the right person, and so you've basically gotta figure out if the right person is you!
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