West London, University of


Overall ranking: 118th out of 124 in the Complete University Guide for 2014.

History: Previously the Polytechnic of West London, it was formed in 1991 from a merger of Ealing College London, Thames Valley College Slough, London College of Music and Queen Charlotte's College of Healthcare. It became a university in 1992. Formerly Thames Valley University, from October 2010 its official name has been the University of West London.

Address: Ealing and Brentford in West London; with some additional higher education courses offered in Reading.

Ambience: Most students are in West London, 10 miles from central London; The focus is firmly on the vocational; close links with employers and good work-related facilities, such as a kitchen showroom, fully functioning training restaurant and nursing simulation suites.

Who's the boss? The vice chancellor is Professor Peter John, formerly deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Plymouth. He has been published widely in academic and professional journals.

Prospectus: 0800 036 8888 or order/download one here.

UCAS code: W05

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Yes. Committed to widening participation, with offers starting at 100 UCAS points. The average range is between 240 and 320 points.

Vital statistics: Big, ethnically diverse institution (only one-third of undergrads are of white European origin) with a large number of students from the local area. 76 per cent are mature students. There are around 48,0000 students in all, many of them on evening, day release and part-time courses - making it the largest university by student population in the UK, aside from the Open University.

Added value: A credit accumulation scheme gives students recognition for the work they've already done if they take a break from studying, drop out or change course. Strong links with further education institutions across the country and several universities overseas. The students' union undergoing major refurbishment ahead of the 2013/14 academic year.

Teaching: 78th out of 124 for student satisfaction with teaching quality in the Complete University Guide.

Research: 109th out of 124 in the Research Assessment Exercise.

Graduate prospects: 105th out of 124 with 53.5 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? Paragon, at the Brentford campus, is an award-winning state of the art accommodation centre for students that opened in September 2006, offering accommodation to 839 students, a mile and a half from the Ealing campus. A single study bedroom costs £136.70 per week inclusive of all utility bills and internet connection.

Cheap to live there? Nope. Average rents for private flats are £100 per week minimum.

Transport links: Free shuttle bus connects Ealing and Brentford. Easily accessible to central London. Tube and trains from Ealing and trains from Brentford.

Fees: The standard fee for full-time home students is £8,500 per year, with a few courses such as engineering costing £9,000 per year.

Bursaries: National Scholarship Programme awards for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, worth at least £3,000 in tuition discounts and other benefits. Music, art, law and various other excellence awards. See here for further information.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Freddie's Bar at Ealing is the main venue, named after alumnus Freddie Mercury. Regular events at the 500-capacity Lawrence Hall including live music and comedy. Annual May Ball. Ealing is a vibrant town with numerous bars, cafés, and nightclubs. A short train ride to central London and a night bus home will sort you out for a more wild night.

Price of a pint: £3.60 on average in London but don't fret, for there are plenty of student club nights and drinks deals at the union bar.

Sporting reputation: Not great- 146th out of 148 in the 2012/13 BUCS league table.

Notable societies: Musical theatre, music and media, fashion and style, dance, radio and photographic societies for arty students. Plenty of sports options available.

Glittering alumni: An eclectic mix. Pete Townshend of The Who; John Bird, founder of the Big Issue; Queen's Freddie Mercury; Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones; members of bands Radiohead, Reef, Tricky and Bloc Party; chefs Chris Galvin and Eyck Zimmer; author Jung Chang and Russian politician Sergey Ivanov.

Alternative prospectus: Check into The Student Room to chat with current, former and prospective students about the real University of West London experience. 

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