An Imperial FAQ

I’M FINALLY AT HOME FOR CHRISTMAS! As absolutely fabulous as it to not have to pay £3 every time I do a wash and experience my mum’s home cooking once more, it’s a bit surreal to sleep in my room and walk around my area again… I know I’ve only been away for ten weeks but it’s almost like everything that came before uni is a bit of a blur… Did I ever really live here?? Anyway, crises aside, I probably won’t have anything exciting to blog about over the festive season (unless you’re interested in biology of organisms and general crying about lab arithmetic) so I thought I would do a fun-filled Imperial Fresher FAQ

Is the Imperial Ratio as bad as people say it is?

For those of you not in the know, The Imperial Ratio is the fact that Imperial is full of men. There’s about a 60:40 ratio of men to women. Depending on which course you do, you may not notice this so much – in biology for example we’re pretty evenly split. In some courses however, like computing and a lot of the engineering courses, it’s a lot more uneven. Although it can be slightly weird (I often find myself going to things with friends and suddenly realising that I’m the only girl hanging out with five guys. You get used to it) , the ratio hasn’t prevented me from making an incredible group of lady friends and I don’t notice it too much. What does get on my nerves is guys who complain about the lack of ‘hot girls’ on their courses. Please tell me again how the choice of women on your course is so small and then simultaneously deny the fact that not enough is being done to encourage women into scientific and engineering careers. If you encounter people like this, punch them just laugh and walk away because they’re obviously cretins who shouldn’t have gotten in to Imperial in the first place. /rant.

Is London safe??

You need to keep your wits about you, just as you would in any big city, but I’ve never felt unsafe around campus and South Kensington in general. I’m pretty happy to go between campus/the tube station and halls at night on my own but if you’re going further afield for a night out, you just need to be sensible. Go in a group, don’t leave anyone behind, keep an eye on each other and don’t get into a minicab that you haven’t booked! You’ll have a safety talk during Freshers week in which you’ll be told about a lot of scams that have happened to Imperial students and whilst this may scare you, just follow the advice they give you, don’t take risks and you’ll be fine.

Is the Imperial social life really bad? I’ve heard that people literally just study the whole time and never go out.

Ahaha this is a lie. Imperial isn’t quite as party hard as a lot of other London unis but if going out clubbing is your thing, you’re bound to find people who want to do the same. One thing you will find is that it can be ridiculously expensive to drink out in London so expect to predrink if that’s what you’re in to. Personally, I don’t really drink so clubbing isn’t my idea of a great night out but I like the Union for a cheap sociable drink with friends, and societies keep me pretty busy too. You will be studying hard but if you get your balance established early on, you’re in for a really great, sociable year.

I’m thinking of signing up to the boat society

Ignore everything I wrote above. Rowing will now be your life.

Eat, sleep, row, repeat.

This is a genuine quote from a novice rower on my course. You have been warned.

Living costs?!?!?!111

CHILL OUT OK?! Everyone will tell you that you’re going to be poor and have no money because it is so expensive to live in London. Although to an extent, this will depend on where you live and how much finanicial support you’re receiving, you’re living expenses don’t have to be that bad. Many of the Imperial halls are within walking distance of campus so you won’t need to shell out too much for travel. Take advantage of supermarket own brand. I’m serious. When it’s the difference between paying like £2.50 on Tropicana OJ or 75p for a litre of Sainsbury’s Basics… you know what to do. Set a budget and stick to it. I use an excel spreadsheet to keep track of how much I’m spending on food, travel, leisure etc. This is a really good way to see if you’re going over budget on certain categories (for me this would be cookies. I buy way too many cookies).

What kind of financial support could I qualify for?

I think it’s changing for 2014-2015, but this year, the main financial support that Imperial offers is in the form of service discounts. The amount you’re eligible for increases as your household income decreases. Most of my service discount this year went directly towards paying for my accommodation and the remainder was a cash bursary that went straight to me. I think next year it all goes straight in to your bank account but I’m not entirely sure. There are also a number of scholarships available which you can look at here

I hope that is a sufficient amount of Imperial wisdom for the time being, leave comments if there’s anything I’ve missed that you would like me to cover 🙂

Happy Christmas y’all xxx


6 comments for “An Imperial FAQ

  1. Hi, I’ve got an offer to come to Imperial this year to study Biology, I’ve already got my grades because I took a gap year, but I am torn between choosing York and Imperial primarily because York has been ranked higher for student satisfaction and I’m worried going to Imperial I may slightly miss out on the ‘student experience’ living in London. I just wanted to know how you’re enjoying the course there and how good the support from tutors is and everything?
    I’d be really grateful if you got back to me. Cheers!

    1. Hi there, congrats on your offers! I’d like to give you an honest and detailed answer so I’m going to copy and paste your comment into a new blog post and answer it there so I can give it the depth it needs, hope that’s ok and please comment again if there’s anything else you’d like to ask! Take care xxx

  2. Hi 🙂 do you know whether imperial still accepts candidates who narrowly miss their offer? I’ve applied for biology

    1. Hiya! I’m not sure what it’s been like in subsequent years, but for my year of intake I know a number of people who missed their offers and still got in. My offer was AAA and I got in on AAB. If you’re unsure on results on day, ring the admissions office (quoting your UCAS number) and they’ll be able to let you know. Best wishes! Izzie xx

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