Naturally, University across the water isn’t for everybody. So let me shed some light on arguably one of the best kept secrets on our fair isle.
University on the Isle of Man
Unlike my counterparts across the water, I chose to undertake my university education based full-time on the Isle of Man. A lot of them wondered, “why on earth would you do that?’
It’s a fair question, but the Manx path to higher education has many more merits than may first meet the eye.
Firstly, how does it work?
A Manx-made degree is possible through the University College Isle of Man and their elusive partnership with North-West institution, University of Chester (UoC). This means upon completion of your degree, you hold a full UoC certificate.
Many courses are based at the recently renovated Nunnery Campus on the outskirts of Douglas – away from the hustle and bustle of the main UCM campus. The campus contains a full IT suite, a modest library and a modern lecture theatre – allowing for a more refined, mature student experience.
Courses are delivered masterfully by a wealth of faculty – who have all been cherry picked from industries in which they now teach.
However, the real advantages are slightly more implicit than the aforementioned.
The new normal
Unlike UK counterparts, contingency planning for my University education has been relatively hassle-free. Naturally the great Manx lockdown made an impact, but with infinitely smaller cohorts – Zoom calls were manageable and lecturers were readily available on the other end of the line.
As UK cases continue to rise, UK students are preparing to redownload Zoom. With the freedoms we currently have on the island I am still able to head to a physical campus and enjoy engaging discussion with coursemates and tutors. Coronavirus has had a nominal impact on my university education (so far…).
University can be synonymous with high expenditure and unnecessary debt. Even with IOM Student Awards help with fees – by the end of year three some levels of debt are to be expected.
On the other hand, the IOM path to higher education can potentially cost you £0 (providing you meet eligibility requirements). This, coupled with the maintenance grant offered to students who need it most, means financial stress is reduced to nothing but a concept.
In Chester it’s not unusual to see 199 coursemates attending the same lecture, led by just a single tutor.
When this is compared to my humble class of 4, the difference is truly staggering. Although my cohort is the smallest on campus… class sizes at UCM are generally smaller than their English counterparts.
This means the average lecture is always teeming with discussion and two-way dialogue. Essentially, you can’t hide. So for those (like myself), who find themselves needing a little more externally-instilled discipline, UCM is ideal.
Laying foundation for the future
A huge deciding factor in my decision to stay on-island was the ability to begin my career, 3 years early, alongside education. The flexibility in both time and money that UCM provides, has allowed me to excel at work simultaneously. My boss respects the responsibilities of my course whilst UCM supports my part-time working in any way they can.
Like any, this path isn’t for everybody. But if across the water isn’t appealing to you, just remember: you have options.
The Uni Series is in conjunction with UCM.