Cost of Living:
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Without repeating many of the valid points made in the positive reviews of this course there are a couple of things I would like to add.
Yes, the equipment and facilities are great, the majority of lecturers are helpful and will offer advice and guidance and you will be expected to carry out a lot of self-study. But although this course is one of the largest run by Staffordshire University, I could almost count the number of people I can see going on to successful careers in the industry on one hand. I must stress that this has nothing to do with the course or the teaching, but in my experience there was a sense of apathy amongst students. However for those of us who did care about the course, our learning and our future careers have managed to gain a great deal from going the extra mile and the University will back you every step of the way.
During my placement year I set up a video production company using a grant supplied by the university. An office and business advice was provided free for a year, and I continued to have free access to the film equipment during this time. This kind of support does not exist everywhere and it proved very helpful in getting my company off the ground, which I am pleased to say is still going 2 years later!
My advice is to use your 3 years to make as many films as possible while you have free access to all the equipment, you will definitely miss it when you graduate! During my first summer I was allowed to take a few cameras on a 3 month tour of Europe which would have cost thousands in rental fees, you just have to make sure you have got the correct insurance. Get to know as many of the keen students as possible and surround yourself with the people who are talented and focused. You will find them by going in to a lab at 9am about mid-way through each semester!
As a town Stafford was not designed with students in mind. The night-life is poor (although this means there are fewer distractions) but there is a Wetherspoons where you can drink your loan away. The student bar has its moments but is generally quiet, mainly down to it being a technology campus where most students just want to lock themselves away and play World of Warcraft! However the cheaper cost of living (in my final 3 years I was paying £35 per week rent on a large room!) allows you to travel to Birmingham, Wolverhampton or Stoke. Many days were spent eating at Big Wok until fit to bursting point before heading over to the Birmingham Academy to see a band, and if you run you can still make the last train home!
I think the final decision will come down to what you want to get out of university. I would have loved to study in a large city but my reason for spending 4 years of my life and lots of money was to gain a good degree, not party 24/7, which is what you can get from the Film Production course.
Written by Warped_Dan on 13th Nov 2008