The annual Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCAs) highlight the incredible work carried out by institutions for their students. Due to Covid restrictions, this year’s awards were not collected on uni campuses as usual, but instead based on submissions from institutions, which were then judged by our special student panel.
2021 WUSCA winners
Do yourself a favour and go to another college which is organised, has finances and care about their students. This college felt like a low cost money making scheme, designed to speed through the education process as quickly as possible with little to no help from any teachers. Work was unmarked from the start of the course and when it became time to give grades to universities it was not possible. A great deal of stress was endured by everyone, our questions were left ignored and has resulted in around 40% of the class dropping out
Firstly, I was on a science course but there’s no option to pick this. There was no effort put into any of the lessons, and for a course that is meant to prepare you for uni, it certainly did not. The amount of work is not suitable for the amount of help recieved from tutors, emails for help are ignored, work not marked until after uni deadlines and huge amounts of staff absence. The staffs response is to blame the class. On top of this I found it hard to balance work and studies, when I asked for advice I was told to lie to get universal credit.. Canteen was alright though
PowerPoint and a YouTube video every single lesson if the teacher was there
My college experience was one of long hours, hard work and great fun! If you want something enough you'll put the effort in and what you will get back from the system is everything you need to soringboard into the real world.
Working with current in industry techs to get a real understanding of the real world
I enjoyed the freedom, creativity and interdepartmental collaboration on productions and projects.
At the time I was there is was before the refurbishment so things were a bit tired however I believe now they are all up to date with equipment
Great experience, it was there if you needed it
I’ve loved all aspects of my course & feel it will give me such a good grounding for when I graduate. I will be sad to leave as I’ve made so many great friends. I’m sure we will all cross paths again at some points. This course really is great & offers such a strong grounding for working professionally in the industry.
My course offers practical hands on experience with people working on the industry. This is invaluable & is entirely transferable to actual work in the industry.
I liked everything about my course. It offered great practical & academic learning.
The facilities are fantastic especially having an actual theatre on site to practice all recently learnt skills.
All tutors have previously or are still working in the industry so the support is fantastic.
The experience has been positive, I have gained a lot of experience and had a lot of opportunities within the course to improve and work towards being the best that I can. It is very much about how much work you as an individual wish to put in, if you are passionate enough about what you are doing you will excel here.
We have lessons on singing and dance technique (Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Contemporary) that are streamed according to experience and ability, so that everyone is able to learn at the pace and level that they need as an individual, and how to apply those skills into songs and sequences throughout our many performances over the course. The performance opportunities are endless, with a minimum of 4 internal and external shows each year, including: a full-scale musical, an agent showcase in London and Brighton, as well as student run performances and cabarets, and the opportunity to perform at MOVE IT. We also do a lot on audition preparation, looking at monologues, acting through song and an 'image' class on how to prepare yourself to stand out within the industry. As well as all this, there are also several opportunities to collaborate and learn from other courses studying in different aspects of theatre, such as performance production, lighting and sound engineering, hair and makeup, probs building and costume.
The tutors are incredibly supportive, giving constructive feedback and really working for each individual to push them to their best level. The only downside would be that there is not a lot of one-to-one time, particularly with singing lessons to focus on everyone individually for a long amount of time.
We have 6 dance/theatre studio spaces, including 2 studios that can be transformed into performance spaces with lighting rigs, and a fully equipped and transformable theatre that can be adjusted to house a wide variation of shows and seat arrangements, as well as fly props from a rig and use of fire/'explosions' in shows.
We have one-to-ones with the tutors once every term to dicsuss progress on the course as well as general well-being, though this can be more if needed- tutors can't be available 24/7, should you need to discuss something they will always try to fit you in to help. Should you need it there is also an onsite councillor that you can book in to see.
It has been good overall. Up and downs to be expected as the hours are long and a lot is expected of you. The training given is of a high standard and prepares you well for your career.
There is an "Industry Week" in which industry professionals come and talk to you or provide workshops. For my discipline I also had the chance to have a brief 1:1 meeting with a couple of people regarding my CV and interview technique. In our final year, we are required to undertake work experience in our filed in the industry.
The teaching is very hands on. There are sit-down classes too, to get all the information across but there's always the chance to put what you learn in the classroom into practice in the theatre and to work on shows throughout the year. The down side is the essay part of the course. But you are required to do this, as it is what makes it a degree. We had a big discussion about it at the end of my final year and it was agreed that the teaching for this module needed to be improved. There are many times that you can have group discussions about your course and the tutors listen and take on board what you say. Even if it's too late for you personally, it will be in effect for future students.
A fully functional theatre and studios with all the equipment needed for training.
You receive regular verbal feedback and at the end of each module you receive written feedback and marks. There is a Learning Support Department if you need it, although from my experience they are a bit slow to sort out support. There was no counselling services when I attended, but a petition to get some happened and I believe it's in progress.
Overall I have learnt and developed many skills that I know will help me in the future. I have throughly enjoyed my 4 years at Northbrook after also being on the level 3 course. We have given opportunity to perform at a variety of professional venues including at the excel centre in Move It! (Dance exhibition)
We get many opportunities to work with industry professionals, some including ex students and find out what the industry is like. We have weekly dance classes and some mornings we will have an hour to specialise on a certain area of dance. At Northbrook, we get weekly singing workshops and acting workshops to help us develop our techniques.
It is really good to have the amount of contact time we do with our tutors. They always have an open door policy to their office as well so if we had any queries we could go and ask them. We all have a great relationship with our tutors. They push us to do better and we always have the full support of them.
We have a lot of chances to rehearse in a spacious studio when we have shows coming up. There are 7 studios, two of which join to make a studio theatre. There is also a 160 seat theatre which has several performances in it every it.
Over my time so far here I’ve developed hugely as a person and a performer. I’ve learnt more about myself and my abilities and have been able to get a more realistic view of my future, meaning I can start to plan this while still studying. I’ve made amazing friends and connections and learned valuable skills needed for the industry. This is really drama school training at a university price - the training is absolutely up to standard and I feel confident that after I leave here I will have the skills to pursue a career in this industry.
We have an annual agents showcase where agents are invited to watch us perform, and have a lot of opportunities to meet and work with industry professionals, meaning we all have good connections upon leaving the course.
The teachers are all experienced and knowledgable. They treat everyone fairly and are a perfect mix of understanding to people’s personal issues and firm when they need to be. We have a great relationship with them and everyone feels comfortable around them, meaning classes are relaxed and positive.
We have five sprung dance studios with full body mirrors, as well as an extra amount of classrooms that can also be equipped as acting studios. The library is open long hours with a great range of books and computers for research.
We have termly tutorials to assess our progress and discuss any issues with our teachers, but we are also welcome to talk to them at other times about anything that may be affecting us. We always recieve constructive feedback that helps us to grow and the teachers give personalised feedback to everyone - they know everyone really well. The university offers counselling sessions for those who need it as well.
I have been here five years, starting with college level, I came in not knowing anything about the theatre world or about theatre tech in general and now five years later, I’m confident, keen, ready and prepared for the real world within the theatre industry. This is thanks to the tutors pushing me, helping me and guiding me through the right directions. I would definitely recommend this course at this college to other people.
One our our units requires us to carry out work experience of any length of time which allows us to make new contacts.
The teaching is really great, they treat you on the same level (like an adult) and the teachers feel like your friend rather than your teacher which is a good thing.
The facilities are great. We work in a proffesional theatre venue with professional high tech equipment which prepares us for the real world.
I have amazing support from my tutor and even from my previous tutors here however I thing, support from other areas/departments is not great.
My time at Northbrook was very enjoyable. The tutors and staff were very friendly and made everyone feel comfortable. All the students on the course were very passionate which allowed everyone to work to the best of their abilities and improve over time.
My university helped me better my knowledge in the career I am passionate about, improve my CV for future employers and gave me work opportunities through contacts and work experience.
I loved working in the theatre doing practical work and wished there was more of it. However, I do understand there has to be a certain level of course work too.
The theatre's stock of lighting and sound equipment was second to none. It allowed students to be as creative as they wanted. The theatre had everything you needed to prepare for the industry.
The support was excellent. If ever I was stuck on course work etc. then I would receive the help I needed to better my work.
Overall I have learnt so much since starting my course. Not only have i grown as a person but as a performer and I now have to confidence to improve on my skills and my self every day!
We get to meet ex students all the time and discuss what different industry roles are like. During industry week we get the opportunity to take part in different workshops with different industry professionals. We get lots of opportunity to broaden our skills with regular dance classes, singing workshops and coaching, and help with our Acting skills. Our teachers also organise discounted headshots which would help us in the industry. Finally, although it is a musical theatre course, our tutors have previously allowed students to have more directorial/event management roles should they decide that that's what they truly want to do.
I love how much contact time we get with the tutors. We're always working on something and we get a lot of support to do the best we can do in everything we do. What I like least about the course is the imbalance between Acting classes and the rest of the course. Although dance and singing technique are the hardest to master I feel that a few more acting classes would benefit us greatly.
We have an excellent theatre which can be transformed in so many ways, and is kitted out with some excellent equipment! We also have lots of available studios to work in however they are often filled up with classes during the day. The studios are open late aswell so if you wanted to get a chance to rehearse, choreograph, or work on your own projects then you have more than enough opportunity to do So! The canteen is overpriced but do serve some good food! The library/LRC is good but sometimes they close before I've left rehearsals which can be a little inconvenient!
The feedback we get for our Units are very detailed and will often tell you where you went wrong. Tutors are always willing to organise a five minute chat with you about grades or personal issues or just to answer some questions! I've not been myself, but I've heard some excellent things about our on site Counsellor as well!