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
I studied for 4 years at York St. John, having studied an undergraduate and postgraduate here. I student my postgraduate degree here because I loved my undergraduate and wanted to continue my education with lecturers I knew, with amazing facilities and in a city I loved. I wouldn't change anything about my time here!
There is a dedicated careers team with an open walk in office in our main reception building. They offer advice and send regular emails about local jobs and graduate roles at the University if you sign up for it. The sports department have great links with local businesses for work experience and local professional teams for experience, research and prospects of paid opportunities. I managed to work in academy football, semi-professional rugby league and amateur futsal. The experience I have gained with these teams has allowed me to grow as a researcher and a professional in different environments and roles.
My class sizes were small and this suited me fine. The small sizes allowed lectures to know you on a more personal level and could be easily contacted at regular intervals. I really enjoyed the practical approach to teaching and the use of state of the art equipment to prepare us for the world of work. The academics on my course emphasised the production of valuable research, aiming to publish our final research thesis through a peer reviewed journal and even paid for attendance to research conferences.
I think our Students Union is a beautiful building with regular events to keep students engaged and entertained. There is certainly something for everyone, with quiz nights to karaoke. The three appointed presidents of the Students Union work hard to help all students. They run campaigns and open sessions regularly to improve student satisfaction and safety. There is a heavy emphasis on sports participation within the Students Union, with a growing interest in societies. While societies had been given less help in past years there was a noticeable push to support societies recently. As a committee member for a sports team, I found the Students Union to be accommodating of simple requests but more difficult when the request was not something they had encountered before. This required additional explaining from the committee to gain the Students Unions approval.
The universities facilities are brilliant!! As a sport student, and having participated in sport, I had access to our wonderful Haxby Road site which had multiple all-weather pitches, grass pitches indoor facilities and a strength and conditioning suite. Additionally, on our main campus there were biomechanics and physiology labs. Having access to these facilities meant that I was taught in industry accredited labs and state of the art facilities that mimicked real-life situations. Having access to lots of different equipment allowed me to research multiple different areas and learn to use equipment that is required within the professional world. The University Library spanned three floors, with a mixture of group work space and quiet areas. This gave me options that suited my needs and desired study methods. There is an onsite gym that is small but cheap and effective.
York is an outstanding city! I absolutely loved my time in York. There is always something to do when you go into town. A mixture of bars, museums, shops, and other attractions will keep you busy all year round. The city itself is beautiful, the minster is stunning and walking the city walls in the summer was one of my favourite things to do. There are lots of festivals that go on in the city centre throughout the year; my favourite are the food festival and the Christmas market.
There are a large variety of sports and societies, especially considering the small size of the university. I have seen multiple new sports and societies be founded in my time at York St. John, which shows it is ever growing. The sports teams have a mixture of competitive and recreational focuses, with societies also adding a non-competitive element. Sports and societies are encouraged to complete charity and volunteering events during the academic year. This keeps the university busy with regular events that raise money and increase engagement between sports. charity events were always a great social event that helped me meet lots of different people at university. The sports and societies also hold loads of fancy dress events all year round. Getting dressed up and going out was a definite highlight of my university life.
The academic support is brilliant. I always found my academics to be easily contactable and ready to help. There is also an online booking system where you can schedule meetings with academics when you want to talk. Personal support was definitely well ran at York St. John. There is financial, academic, mental health and careers support available from the reception area. They run regular drop-in sessions most days of the week and hold additional events throughout the year. I accessed several of these and found the support staff to be kind and helpful.
Have done the best possible given the circumstances in some cases but still cant stick to their own deadlines when it comes to providing information, also communication with the SU needs to improve.
Before Covid-19 the University and course was brilliant, however it became a bit more difficult afterwards. This was due to the fact that drama is a practical degree and we had to change a lot of our assessments to virtual or written assessments. The staff have been very supportive throughout, however, and I have still very much enjoyed my time here. The facilities at the University are great- the library is brilliant and we still had access to it and the only library during the lockdowns. All of the staff throughout the Uni are very supportive and helpful. On my course, we have had a lot of workshops with different artists and companies and these have still continued throughout the virtual learning.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has got in the way of many of the student lifestyle. However, the university has made a conscious effort to provide remote opportunities and social events which has been a nice touch
York St John university offers students a lot of opportunities including a summer internship program (paid!), student ambassador/on campus student jobs, work experience placements and insight days. They also have frequent careers advice days where you can get one to one career support. They even provide lifetime careers advice to their graduates!
My course since the pandemic has been taught predominantly online, however we still have access to the filming kit and studios at particular times.
For my Media Production degree, we have pretty good facilities: TV studios, a range of cameras, sound kits, edit labs, etc. There is everything a student cinematographer/ editor could need!
My university provides excellent support. I have additional learning needs and I have had access to brilliant services including mentoring, study skills sessions, assistive technology training, and mental health services. This is one of my favourite things about York St John - they really do care about their students.
There is a good support and care from the Academic members to engage students online. I can’t wait to study on campus. Although my overall learning experience is positive but I am not very much happy why the students have to pay the full international fees if we are studying online.
Online but very personalised. One to one talks and support.
I've had a strong start. I'm finding my course very engaging and I'm really enjoying picking up some new content and getting to know some staff and fellow students. My accommodation experiences have been a bit off putting but I cannot fault the university for the actual course. Staff have been friendly and helpful and I'm really engaging with the content. I feel as though there is a lot to take in at first but there is guidance to help adjust to the pace of things. York, as a city, is very beautiful and rich in history and culture. It is very student friendly and has a lot to do (as well as lots of shops, restaurants and bars).
My course is currently a blend of online teaching and on campus teaching due to the pandemic. I've found that a lot of unis are strictly online so I do find it good that they have found a safe way of being able to have some face to face teaching which is (in my experience) more engaging than just online stuff. They use Microsoft Teams to host some lectures and seminar sessions and I know that my course (psychology, I can't account for others) has a weekly 'social' in which we can discuss/vent about the course and our week in general which has made it easier to make friends on the course. Tutors and module leaders have been very easy to keep in contact with.
Students Union is a nice night out. They have protective measures for Covid-19 which means we can be safe but they are still making a good effort to make some events and societies available. It is a good atmosphere on the whole.
I was unlucky enough to be put in one of the flats that hasn't yet been refurbished. The ones that have been look great tbf so I wouldn't let this put you off but mine has had several issues in the very little time I've been there. I've had maintenance issues such as a lack of hot water and a broken radiator as well as more minor issues such as a hoover that fell apart, a dirty oven, a broken fridge door and a lot of cosmetic damage. I won't get too much more specific as I know that all flats will be refurbished eventually so this won't necessarily be a lasting problem. I've had no cleaner in the flat since we moved in which is a bit concerning now that it's October. Very little contact with accommodation staff regarding the issues we have had. The location couldn't be better. Its a 10 minute walk away from the uni and about 20 minutes away from the city centre. There's a few local corner shops which have been good for essentials such as milk and bread and not as overpriced as you'd expect. Also there's a bus stop directly outside for faster travel to the city centre and train station so I imagine that's useful for students with physical impairments or if you just can't be bothered to walk (like me). I've felt very safe to be honest, the windows have been replaced since previous photos so are thicker and don't open too wide. I'm on the ground floor too. It's quite fenced off and the most I've had is random people staring as they go past on the public footpath which is mostly just kids. The facilities are okay but could be better. Two washing machines and two dryers are quite difficult to share with the entire residence but it hasn't been too bad as long as you time it right (I'd advise buying an airer for your room). There's recycling bins, general waste and food waste. As well as charity donation bins. Parking strictly requires a permit and there is a warden that occasionally walks around so I'd be careful if you have any guests but I've heard this is common among most accommodation places. I don't have a car so I haven't had any problems with this. The social side is quite good. It's been more of a challenge due to Covid restrictions but everyone who I've met is super friendly and talkative and we have a big Facebook group chat. The RSAs (third years who live on site) are good at answering questions too. It can get quite noisy (perk of being on the ground floor) as the doors are heavy and there is a lot of stomping, slamming and scraping noise but you do learn to block it out. The ground floor isn't all doom and gloom though because you don't have to drag shopping upstairs. The price has been reduced whilst works are still ongoing. It is one of the cheaper accommodation options but it is a case of you're paying for what you get. Also, it's all ensuite. I'm paying for a standard ensuite room and it isn't a bad size either. To put it simply, if you're a sociable person who doesn't intend on spending too much time in your flat or if you're looking for an affordable option, City Residence might be the place for you. Otherwise, I'd advise having a thorough look around and read a few more reviews before making a decision on living here.
The university does have good and modern facilities. I'm doing Psychology and there's a lot of specialist equipment which we have access to. There's a lot of TVs everywhere too which is a random thing I've noticed. The library is a bit restricted because of Covid but there is a click and collect service and lots of E Books available but I've heard that it's usually really good. I'm still new so I'm in the process of exploring it myself.
York St John is in a good location, most accommodation is less than a mile away and it's just on the edge of the main city centre. Good shops and takeaways nearby.
The support has been quite good from academic staff. They have been able to signpost us to other support services if they can't help but most of the time, they have been able to help firsthand . There has been a lot of interactive sessions and there are options to ask questions/discuss things anonymously for some who may be put off in fear of judgement. There are wellbeing services for mental and physical health and a lot of guidance has been given during the Covid pandemic.
Lecturers seem to care but cant really do anything to help as they dont really have any power. not much support, you have to do everything yourself and the well being team are good but hard to get through to. You're just a number in this uni. Everything is good until you slip up and nobody can help you and you have no clue on where to start.
I thought the students union was just a bar until i moved university. Didn't realised they help you uni stuff. The bar is good though. £1 pints on some days and the bouncers are pretty sound.
The Grange wasn't too bad. They told everyone to ID people before you let them into the building but nobody did. Drunk people making noise, banging walls and setting up fire alarms most nights kept me up. the rooms were standard long box rooms that were bland even when decorated. the locale wasn't to far from uni and the city centre, and the cost wasn't too bad. Cleaners threaten to fine you if you dont clean the kitchen properly but never did. Security were alright to be fair. did their job and weren't as bad as you expect them to be. Constant ringing of the hallway lights made you insane.
The university is only a 5 minute walk from the grange and still pretty close from all the other halls. Its ok if you're walking before 6pm because after you're either being stopped by police because you match the description of a burglary that took place down the street or you're being interviewed after being mugged. There is only a few shops you can go to in the location which is good if you like to get finessed by bossman when you have to pay £5.61 for 4 pints of milk and a pack of ramen noodles. the take outs in the area are ok when you first try them but all taste the same all around york.
Didn't really look at societys but you get free pizza if you go to the fair and get asked if you want to dress up as history people and swing swords at eachother.
I did my first year at another uni, Solihull College & University Centre, in Birmingham. I couldn't rate that place highly enough. I'm in the last semester of my second year at York St John currently, and honestly I'm finding it really hard to continue coming here right now. I'm finishing my degree no matter what happens, but I just really feel like this university, like so many other big universities these days, is a business. I pay them and they don't care what happens to me as long as the fees and loans are paid to them. I'm just another number. I wish that was different. One thing I will say is that they do offer good trips and stuff.
Not at all whatsoever. This is probably their biggest problem; because they are a big university I am just a number to them and they couldn't care about what happens to me when I graduate. For example, I asked to use some pretty standard and basic kit that they normally only let third year students use (which is another stupid part of the course, their kit loan system) so I can make something I am genuinely passionate about that would 100% help further my career and they basically told me that if it doesn't contribute to the course itself then no, I have to go pay to rent kit from elsewhere, or buy my own. Using the kit I am paying my tuition fees to get access to should be a given- it doesn't matter what project it's for- if I'm making something the university should be supportive of me.
There's not enough realistic, practical film making. Also EVERYTHING is group work unless it's an essay, which is frustrating. It's not even like it's optional and you can 'crew up' based on the abilities and specialisms of other students- you just need to work in groups. Also it can sometimes feel pointless being there in general as one day nothing could get done. There are also seminars that have been repeated word for word, making me even question if I was in the wrong classroom (which I wasn't), why did I commute three hours for that? It's hard to list things I really like about how things are taught, honestly. Theory stuff is fine.
I don't have any interaction with the Student Union whatsoever. So not very engaging..?
As mentioned, their equipment loaning system for camera/ etc. is awful. The amount of paperwork you need to do it insane and more than at other universities and it seems purposefully awkward. For some reason, also, instead of just letting all film students use the kit the university has to offer, first year students get DSLR cameras, second years actually get tripods and other cameras (i.e. Canon C100), sliders, small lights and mics, then third years get stabilizers, other cameras and who knows what else.. I have seen some brilliant cameras floating around that I have been told to pretend I didn't see as they're 'not for us'. Then what the hell am I paying for? The library is pretty good, no complaints about that.
I don't live in York but the university is pretty central.
I don't take part in any.
I have seen posters for mental wellness activities but support from tutors in lesson time is non existent. I feel like just a number and it's hard to stay motivated when I feel like none of the faculty cares about my progression, career path, etc.
A lot of events, but you have to be the one to actively search for them
Comfortable and pleasant. The lecturers make the topic interesting
comfortable and inviting. Wished was more obvious about student representation
extremely nice facilities, especially the library I use it daily
N/A. However, as a commuting student there is a variety of different and interesting shops to visit
A variety of societies/sports even if I am not a part of it
they run placement sessions, have an office where there is great support
the level of information can be very varied
Average all over
not bad, just need to check up more often
great variety, just not the best communication