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Looking to study at a mid-size university with lots of extracurricular activities on offer, and the chance to meet people from all over the world? Essex could be for you!
The University of Essex at a glance:
Colchester, Southend, and Loughton, Essex, UK
Undergraduate course length
Departments include Acting; Law; History; Literature, Film and Theatre; Philosophy and Art History; and Events and Hospitality.
Students who want to get involved in extracurricular opportunities like volunteering, internships, or joining one of 130 societies.
Students looking to apply for medicine, dentistry, or veterinary studies, which are not taught here.
Fari, Student Recruitment and Marketing Assistant and former Essex student, shares what it’s like to be a student at the university.
What is the University of Essex?
The University of Essex has about 18,000 students, based across three campuses and remotely via online learning.
We are ranked Gold for our teaching excellence framework, and we were University of Year in 2018. We’re also No. 1 in the UK for our dance and drama department, but there’s something for everyone here.
We call ourselves the home of the daring and brave, so we want our students to make a difference and change the world!
Why apply to Essex?
One reason to apply to Essex is that when you leave here, you don’t just leave with a degree. You’ll find loads of volunteering opportunities, societies, leadership opportunities, and internships available here, which will build the skills needed for entering the world of work.
The Big Essex Award keeps track of any extra activities you’ve taken part in, and these will appear on your transcript when you graduate. In this way, employers will be able to see what other skills you’ve gained, giving you an edge when applying for jobs.
Essex is also a super welcoming place for international students, with students and staff from over 140 different countries. We’re currently ranked in the top 25 universities in the world for international outlook. We also have 20 different cultural societies on campus, plus easy to get your own society set up here, so your corner of the world can be represented if it isn’t already!
Who isn’t the right fit for Essex?
Students looking to study medicine, dentistry, or veterinary studies won’t find those courses taught here at present, so we’d encourage you to look for those courses elsewhere if that’s you.
Any application tips?
Your Personal Statement is the most important part of your application. This is where you can make yourself stand out as an individual.
At Essex, we’re looking for people whose goal is to make a difference in the world. So if you’ve participated in volunteering opportunities, or a programme that’s a bit different, we encourage you to include this in your application.
Anything other people might think is unusual but you love about yourself - include it! We’re keen to see your passions, and a passion for life itself, so don’t assume anything is too ridiculous to include.
What’s the location like?
We have three locations spread across Essex. There’s Colchester, the largest campus where the majority of the courses are based; that’s set in 204 acres of parkland.
The Southend location is where most health courses, as well as some business and acting courses are based. This is a city setting, but based right by the beach, perfect for long seaside walks.
Finally, there’s the East 15 Acting School in Loughton, where drama and performance courses are taught. Loughton is on the edge of London and based on the underground network, so it has direct links into the West End. Plus, many of our lecturers have connections to the West End too.
What facilities does the University of Essex have to offer?
All three of Essex’s campuses have a theatre, where both professional companies and students showcase their work. Students get access to discounted tickets to watch performances here.
There are over 40 different sports teams and societies for you to get involved in at Essex. We have a sports arena and centre, which includes indoor badminton courts, a basketball court, gym, and climbing wall. If you live in the Colchester halls, your rent includes gym membership too.
For those looking for societies in other areas, we have 130 for you to join in total, from different cultures to arts and other subjects. There are loads of fun activities going on across campus, giving you the chance to meet like-minded students. We also have a market every Thursday in term time, with local vendors selling delicious things like fresh fruit and vegetables, Norwegian cakes, and Caribbean food.
Our teaching facilities include a STEM centre with a marine biology lab, where students can work with some of the marine life they are learning about. Our academics are all currently working in their field or recently retired, so will often be sharing their research with you in your classes.
Our library team has worked hard to make sure 97% of the books available on-campus are also available online, making remote learning easy. The library itself features one of only two Paternoster lifts in the UK, which are lifts which go up, down, and around continuously, so it’s lots of fun trying to quickly jump on and off!
What is the accommodation like?
Your accommodation at Essex depends on which campus you’re based at.
The Colchester campus has a large range of options, from shared bathrooms to ensuite, double to single rooms, and studio flats. All accommodation is self-catered. Our accommodation team can facilitate any adjustments you might need, and single gendered flat options are available if this is your preference.
Southend has a block of student accommodation, all ensuite or studio flats. It’s located right around the corner from most campus buildings, and again, all options are self-catered.
The Loughton campus does not have halls, but there are lots of options locally, and students tend to commute in from London or live in house shares in the city.
How does the university meet the needs of students with different accessibility requirements?
At Essex, we’re keen to make sure everyone has the same opportunity to study, and to get the best out of their degree. All three of our campuses are wheelchair accessible, with signposts to accessible routes.
Our wellbeing and inclusivity team are here to support you if you feel things could be made easier for you; just drop them an email, and they can make a plan.
There are lots of scholarships and bursaries available here, which cover a range of different situations. Even if you think you might not be eligible, take a look at our website as there may be one for you.
Our finance team can support you with budgeting and planning how to use your money. In addition, you can apply for a hardship fund if you are really struggling to pay; it’s fairly straightforward, and the team can talk you through the process.
Finally, we’re well aware that studying can get stressful, so we offer wellbeing activities like ‘pet a puppy’, where you can cuddle a puppy during a study break; and nap pods, which pop up in the library during exam seasons.
Want to explore more UK universities? Remember, Unifrog’s Shortlisting tool can help you put together a list of great potential courses.