Imperial is a wonderful place to be. There is a buzz fueled by student quality. It’s an environment that enables ideas to be bounced around easily and makes group work pleasant. As well as people's intelligence they also have diverse backgrounds, making it a truly global university. The international aspect of Imperial has truly enabled me to develop as a person.
Imperials' academic reputation is well known but what has surprised me is how welcoming a place it is. We've got thousands of undergraduates so you're going to find some like-minded people. We have a variety of student societies; at some point we had the most out of any university. I have also had the opportunity to continue learning outside of stem through the “horizon” courses, I’ve really enjoyed studying politics this year.
The course is brilliant, I am delighted I chose it. In year 13 I really enjoyed all my a-levels (maths, physics and chemistry) and didn’t want to stop when I got to university. But with the nature of a materials degree you get a healthy mix at a high academic level. We study such a range of things: polymers to metals or mathematical modelling to fuel cells. This leaves so many doors open when searching for a career, you can go into hands-on engineering or cutting-edge research and that keeps this exciting and reassuring.
Another thing I like about the course is how it teaches you to tie different modules together, things that at first seem very different have key underlying principles that gives you the complete picture and makes problem solving easier. That makes you very attractive to employers who love the ability to understand new concepts quickly and connect them.
The staff are friendly and fantastic people outside their world-leading research. They come from a range of backgrounds and have strong voices in the department. They serve as powerful role models for students that I’m not sure you get everywhere with top universities.
You have the chance here to really take opportunities. For example, Imperial runs a brilliant UROP scheme that allows undergraduates to get a taste of real academic research, and its paid! It really puts what you study into perspective and gives great lab experience. I know students at Cambridge who really want to do it, as it is such a useful thing to do.
I think there is a strong community within the department, you're developing friends in all the years. Their advice becomes a useful resource for your study. The fact that they know more about the university than you also help. There is also a brilliant materials student society, which I am part of. They run events, both academic and social, and that's always a great place to start when you come to the department.