'I can only think Luton's image is putting people off'

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Tim Humphries, 22, a third-year media student at Luton University, cannot understand why more would-be undergraduates do not apply for the practical degrees offered by his Alma Mater.

"Luton the town may have a bit of a dodgy reputation but from my point of view Luton is the very best university for me. I'm doing a very practical course and with just four months left to go I hope that having been here and got lots of real experience is going to help me get a job.

"I visited several universities when I was making my application and Luton was the only one I really liked. Choosing a university is a bit like choosing a pair of shoes – you might see them and think they look nice but it's only when you try them on that you think OK, they're just not right.

"I looked round some 'old universities' that maybe had reputations for being more academic and steeped in heritage. But that just wasn't me. I'm much more of a practical person. I want to be a radio presenter. I'm going to come out of here with an audio portfolio that I can show people when I go for radio jobs. That's got to be of more use than a bit of paper saying that I've studied the media in a very academic way.

"I have no idea why Luton isn't more popular. I can only think that the image of the town is putting people, or their parents, off. There's been a lot in the press about racial problems and Muslims going off to Afghanistan. That's got to ring alarm bells with parents, who after all play a big part in where their children go to university.

"Luton's not exactly London but the social life is actually amazingly good. In my first year my feet never touched the ground. The beer is also very, very cheap – £1 a pint – so I always get a shock when I go home for the holidays."