History: South Downs College opened in 1974 and has undergone extensive building work over the last few years.
Address: The Hampshire town of Waterlooville, just north of Portsmouth, twenty miles from the South Downs College.
Ambience: A large and lively FE college, with great social facilities and a top teaching record. A single site campus on the top of Portsdown Hill, overlooking the city of Portsmouth. The college is fully wheelchair accessible.
Who's the boss? Lyn Surgeon has been principal since April 2012.
Prospectus: 023 9279 7979; download a prospectus here.
UCAS code: S42
what you need to know
Easy to get into? Yes - keen on widening participation. For HE courses, students are expected to have a relevant Level 3 qualification. For mature students substantial work experience in a related field is likely to be accepted.
Foundation degrees: Just the one, in business and management, validated by the University of Portsmouth. Most HE provision is in HNC/Ds. The college also offers a PGCE.
Vital statistics: The largest college in Hampshire, offering 46 different A-level subjects and more than 100 vocational courses to 5,000 full-time students and thousands of part-timers. Courses at all levels up to HND and foundation degree level. Professional training also available.
Added value: Mock aircraft cabin for cabin crew training. Developments include a fitness centre, purpose-built music facilities, hair and beauty teaching salon, new teaching buildings. Free-to-play Xbox Live consoles in the Coffee House, plus three other refectories with features including 50 inch plasma screens and a cyber café with high speed internet access. Awarded Beacon status in 2006. The Catering and Hospitality Curriculum area has just been named as a Centre of Excellence and the College Restaurant has been awarded an AA College Rosette.
Teaching: Rated outstanding by Ofsted in 2007.
Any accommodation? None provided by the college.
Cheap to live there? Yes - local rents average around £55 to £70 per week.
Transport links: There are buses to and from Southsea, Fareham, Gosport, Bishops Waltham, Liphook and Clanfield and trains to Cosham and Havant.
Fees: Vary between courses with many FE students being eligible for fee exemption. No fee information is currently available for 2013.
Bursaries: No specific bursaries or scholarships offered, but students may apply to the college for financial assistance if needed.
the fun stuff
Nightlife: Expect a multitude of bars, clubs, cinemas and casinos. The newly opened Gunwharf Quays near the dockyard is a US-style mall with a vast range of shops, bars and restaurants.
Glittering alumni: Marc Wooton, who starred in his own comedy show on Channel Four; Emma Barton, actress, formerly Honey Mitchell in Eastenders; Rupert Hill, actor; Adam Rutherford, dancer, toured with Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake.