The research is a big thing to take into consideration because if your lecturers are doing good research, you know they’re really up to date. The labs also stood out for me. Kent has several psychology labs with a lot of impressive equipment.
I've always been quite independent, but my degree really developed that skill. If you work hard here, you are going to do well and it’s going to pay off. The first and second years are quite structured to ensure that you get your BPS [British Psychological Society] accreditation. I covered every area of psychology and that allowed me to make a direct comparison and work out what I found interesting. That definitely helped when I was deciding my third year options.
You get more independence, but there’s plenty of support too. There’s a student-led Peer Mentoring Scheme that helps a lot of people in their first and second years. There are also drop-in sessions where you go to a talk about a specific thing, such as essay writing. The lecturers allow time for students to ask questions and they are definitely up for a debate. Also, they have office hours so you can drop in to get advice – it’s a very different relationship to the one with teachers at school. They provide you a lot of support for the essay writing and the feedback is really good. I've definitely seen my writing improve over the three years.
The campus itself is not too large and that gives it a good community vibe. There’s the cinema and theatre, the nightclub, the gym, the library and the study hubs, as well as shops – it feels like a small village, I think. During the first year when you've just moved from home, it is nice to have a place that’s yours.
My favourite venues are Caffè Nero and Dolche Vita. I go to the gym a lot and I’m quite passionate about that. And I think that really helps with the studies to be honest – especially when deadlines are coming up.
They have a lot of work-related schemes. Last year I took part in RES which is the Research Experience Scheme, where you get to be a research assistant on a current project. The work can include everything from data analysis to interviews.
I worked on a research project that is looking at the effects of creating dementia-friendly gardens in care homes. It's in collaboration with the charity Age UK; there are 30 care homes so far and they're all going to be transformed. So that was a great thing to take part in. There's also the Work Experience Scheme, which is similar but with external organisations.
I’m also a student representative within the School of Psychology. It’s good experience and you get to see behind the scenes.
I feel like my School have been really helpful in advising me, particularly my project supervisor. They also have a lot of external speakers in, about one a month. So last year, when I was interested in clinical psychology, I went to one by a clinical psychologist who had done her degree at Kent. And there's also the Psychology Society, who get a lot of speakers in.
Originally, I thought I wanted to work in a hospital. But then, going into the final year and working on a research project with a member of staff, I saw how collaborative research is. So now I'm going for a funded Master’s and PhD.
Any advice for somebody thinking of coming to Kent? Try and build a good relationship with your lecturers. They are often presenting their own research; they really appreciate the engagement.