Whether born far from the capital or within earshot of Bow bells, the prospect of studying in London can be both thrilling and daunting. The city boasts just shy of 50 higher education institutions, a student body in the hundreds of thousands and a multitude of courses. But behind the big numbers lie individual opportunities. Diversity in culture and education is the city's strength, says Professor Dr Maurits van Rooijen, Rector and CEO of the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF). "It offers a more complete range of education than most countries," he says.
This has benefits for students of every discipline. Amber Fullwood, originally from Cornwall, recently graduated with a BA in practical film-making from Met Film School. She says London gave her access to resources - equipment, crew, locations - but also professional guidance. "I've been lucky enough to come face to face with some of the world's most inspirational filmmakers who have given honest, thought-provoking advice."
The city is modern and forward-thinking, adds Lisa Neeley, the school's director of student affairs and postgraduate admissions, "characteristics which align themselves well with the creative industries and artistic pursuits". Film students don't need to squat in Leicester Square's Odeon, either. "Accessible public transport means that the cost of living can be greatly reduced by living a short commute away in the more affordable suburbs."
Equally accessible are the financial and tech centres that can be the launchpad for successful careers. "Proximity to the London financial centre is good for job hunting, internship opportunities, and active alumni networks," explains Professor Sandy Pepper from the department of management at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). "Many of our management students go on to work for consultancies or banks, most of whom have offices in London, or increasingly find their way to the emerging Silicon Roundabout tech cluster in east London."
There are study options to suit every kind of student. For example, fast-track business degrees can be completed at Croydon College in two years, incurring lower costs than some degree courses. Or for those looking for something a little different, there are independent institutions such as New College of the Humanities (NCH), which has a small student body and emphasises one-to-one study. Kelsey Fisher, admissions adviser at NCH, explains that students develop within the context of the institution, but also within the context of the city. "They may engage in a one-to-one tutorial on the execution of Charles I, before taking a short Tube ride to Westminster to stand where that event took place."
Simply being in the metropolis can expose you to similarly novel experiences, both academic and recreational. "As a medic, you come across conditions and pathologies that you may only see fleetingly in other areas," explains Mark Pendrey, who studied medicine at King's College London School of Medicine. "Plus, sport in London unis is great."
For UCL maths graduate Robbie Swale London student life is unique, offering the chance to "discover all the nooks and crannies". It can be made more budget friendly with student discounts, and he argues that London students have diverse - and fun - part-time job options. "I worked for a football stats company, which was pretty much the dream: sitting in a room with other students, watching football."
Polly Zwolinski studied English language at King's College and graduated last year. Studying in the capital can be pricey, she admits, but you're not alone. "You get to know the good, cheap places and you all cobble together to make it work." Plus, the motivation the city provides is free. "It spurred me on to get a job," says Zwolinski, who now works for a marketing and communications company in central London. "I saw everyone on their way to work and it made me really want to be part of it."
The city's role in the student experience may be nebulous but it's always significant, says van Rooijen. "The message I repeat year after year is: treat London as your classroom. Don't think learning is something you do just by listening to a lecturer - allow London to enrich and broaden your mindset."Reuse content