Guildford College of Further and Higher Education
Thursday 08 August 2013
History: Guildford College dates back to 1908 when Guildford Technical Institute was founded. The campus at Stoke Park opened at the start of the Second World War in 1939. Merrist Wood dates back to 1945 when the first courses in agriculture and horticulture started. The college in its current form began when it was changed from Guildford College of Technology about 11 years ago. The two campuses merged in August 2003. Farnham Sixth Form College joined the merger in 2007.
Address: The main campus, Stoke Park, is on the outskirts of Guildford, 30 miles outside London. The Merrist Wood Campus in Worplesdon, which specialises in land-based programmes, is three miles away from Guildford's town centre.
Ambience: Stoke Park is set in parkland and extends from the north side of the main campus; Merrist Wood Campus is set in a 400-acre estate of woods, wetlands and grasslands.
Who's the boss? Clive Cooke is the principal and CEO.
UCAS code: G90
What you need to know
Easy to get into? For HNDs and foundation degrees the college normally asks for a minimum of 160 UCAS points, as demonstrated by a National Diploma, A-levels, Access course or equivalent qualifications, or experience for mature students. Some courses have additional requirements, such as a suitable level of riding ability for the HND in equine management, a portfolio for the garden design foundation degree, and evidence of training and experience for counselling. At the interview stage you will be able to meet your tutor and tour the campus where your chosen course is taught.
Foundation Degrees: Animal behaviour and welfare; animal management; golf management; garden design; leadership, innovation and management; counselling; international travel and tourism operations management; applied ecology and countryside management; early childhood studies; hospitality management.
Vital statistics: Student numbers are around 14,000. Vocational HE courses on offer include HNCs, HNDs, degrees and foundation degrees, accredited or validated by institutions such as the Universities of Surrey, Kingston, London South Bank and Greenwich.
Added value: Industry-standard resources and facilities include Salon in the Park (hairdressing salon and beauty rooms) and The Parkroom Restaurant, both of which are open to the public. Pass rates are 5 per cent above the national average. Big on financial, pastoral and tutorial support.
Teaching: The College's Ofsted report, published at the beginning of July 2009, graded the college as good overall, with the land-based learning provided at Merrist Wood Campus assessed as outstanding.
Any accommodation? There certainly is. There are three halls of residence at Merrist Wood, housing 108 students in single rooms with shared bathrooms. Prices vary dependent on student age, level of study and catering options, but average at around £118 per week.
Cheap to live there? The college can recommend somewhere from its register of approved lodgings. The average rent for a room in a shared house is about £90 a week.
Transport links: Both campuses are easily reached by bus or train, while Merrist Wood has a subsidised bus service from the train station. The A3 provides major road links, with Gatwick and Heathrow airports both about 40 minutes away.
Fees: From September 2013 students will be charged £5,250 per year.
Bursaries: Their scholarship scheme offers £800 to outstanding A Level, Photography and Media students with 6 or more As at GCSE. Financial support is available in the form of bursaries and maintenance grants to those with a low household income, young parents, care leavers and students aspiring to a career in the British Army.
The fun stuff
Nightlife: There's a cheap college bar but Guildford is a busy town with plenty of pubs and shops. A huge range of restaurants and bars cater for the majority of pockets and palates. It is one of the most popular places for pubbing and clubbing in the South, but get bored and London is also only 40 minutes away by train.
Sporting reputation: Does not compete in the BUCS league but the ActivZone on-site is available for students to work out and play sport. There's an 18-hole privately-owned golf course too.
Glittering alumni: Matt James, Channel 4's City Gardener, went to Merrist Wood. Celebrity chef Paul Merrett studied catering at Stoke Park.
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