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Last year, I made one of the most important decisions of my life: to attend King\'s College. This decision has changed almost every aspect of me as this is the type of University that really impacts students on daily basis.
The first time I applied to University was in the end of 2005. I had attended a French high school abroad and was a top student throughout most of my school career. Although I did have excellent grades, I always had a low morale as my high school was run by an administration which had transformed it into an enterprise. Competition between students was used as a tool to measure their success, but in fact it caused severe emotional problems amongst pupils. Since most of the other girls in the school excelled in every possible area, I was just evaluated as another number in the school computer. I was given little advice to seek university back in Europe, though my family did pay a high annual fee for this school.
As I did much of my university research alone, I did not feel capable of attending a 6 tariff university. I was then enrolled at Richmond American International University-London. I quickly realized the lack of preparation of the lecturers and decided that I must change universities promptly as I would end up forgetting any previous knowledge if I continued there. I applied once more for first year entry via UCAS to six different courses which interested me and decided to simply choose the highest ranking one.
My interest in Kings College began with the widespread reputation of its Portuguese Department. This course may seem peculiar to the person reading this review but it is in fact a course that has gained popularity in the last decades. There are several reasons for this popularity such as the growing relations between Britain and Portugal as well as the possibility of engaging in diplomatic activities in Brazil, a country that has experienced a fast economic growth. Kings is the ONLY university in the entire United Kingdom with a department devoted entirely to Portuguese Language and Brazilian Studies as well as endless possibilities of joint degress with other language and social studies departments. This reputation and flexibility amazed me, and I could only hope to be invited for an interview.
Later on the year, I did manage to attend an interview. The two professors of the Portuguese department who conducted the interview were just as well mannered as they were brilliant. The proximity between lecturers and students is very beneficial for absorption of knowledge, and this is something that Kings may pride itself of. As I had learned by researching previous to the interview, these two professors had published several famous books and held highly respectable honours from the most prestigious universities in the world.
Following my acceptance to Kings College, I realized the easy communication that ran between students and overall administration. Every email that I sent was immediately responded. The enrollment process was also very easy as forms were sent previous to the enrollment day via mail. On the days following enrollment, we received very efficient tours of the Strand Campus and maps are available on the lobby for lost students.
Kings is a very ethnically diverse university, but with a solid history of traditional values. The 13,800 undergraduate students that attend its nine schools range from all backgrounds and form a trully cosmopolitan community. Also, twenty four of Kings subject areas have received the highest score of 5 in national research assessment exercises. The six different campuses have received large amounts for renovation and now boast great facilities for students. Kings was originally founded in 1829 by the Duke of Wellington and by sponsorship of King George IV. Although it was part of the Church of England denomination, Kings College was one of the first UK univerisities to accept Catholics and other religions. This tradition of toleration is emphasized on the first day of classes with an openning talk by a representative of the Catholic faith calling all to religious events of all denominations.
Another interesting part of the history of Kings College is the respectable list of graduates. Amongst those who have studied there are the poet John Keats, Florence Nightingale and Desmond Tutu. This is particularly important to the students who have access to several original publications of former Kings students in the Maughan Library.
The Maughan Library is Grade II* listed Victorian Gothic building in Chancery Lane. The history of the original building dates back to the 13th century where it housed a Christian entity for conversion of Jews to Christianity. Most of the building is fire proof and includes an admirable combination of Gothic and Modern architecture. Access for those with limitied mobility is also present throughout the building with an impressive set of lifts. Collections housed in the Maughan Library include: Humanities, Law, Physical Sciences & Engineering, Social Science & Public Policy, and the College\'s Rare Books Collection. There are several other archive sites for research students that wish to pursue a graduate degree.
There are several reasons for which I would recommend Kings to any qualified student. The university is large enough to have a great diversity, but classes are taught to maximum of 20 pupils. Personal tutors are designated to each student and assist their every needs throughout the entire university experience. The choices of modules is vast and there is possibility to take modules in any other department. The recently renovated Student\'s Union on Strand Campus includes several dinning options as well as entertainment on campus. The variety of low cost activities posted is incredible and the Student\'s Union is always concerned with the well being of the community. According to the Sunday Times University Guide 2008, Kings is the third for the highest average graduate starting salaries. Study abroad options are also very good and exchange is only done with top ranking universities.
Although I have not experienced the on campus housing, there are a few complaints about these. According to other students, there are two sets of building that include relatively good halls (Great Dover Street and Stamford Street Apartments). The other locations are not as priviledged and have very limited resources. There is also another side to this arguement as the University is located in area full of low cost accomodation sites surrounding so that this is not really a burden. As many students have discovered, there are several private halls (with studios, internet connection included, cafes inside the building, etc.) throughout the area that provide rooms for students for prices even cheaper than university accomodation so I do not believe this should be a negative against Kings.
To conclude, Kings is one of the best universities in the world. The work is very challenging, yet the resources are abundant. I would strongly recommend Kings to students seeking long term recognition for their studies whilst living in possibly the most vibrant city in Europe !
I studied at King's and agree with everything you say. I especially love the library. Although I would also have to give a strong mention to the infamous Tutu's!
MizzMolko 13.01.2008 20:09
Hey nice review! A couple of my mates have applied to start at Kings next year - it sounds good! Should have probably put it down as an option for me...oh well, you live and learn! Good review! Eleanor x