Kings College has a myriad issues ranging from administration down to class organization. I found the school to be primitive in its organization though it has been around for a long while. Their IT systems and facilities are riddled with malfunction and the faculty generally seems clueless.I came here from New York on high recommendation and wondered at first about the lack of confidence local students had in the school's reputation. After one semester, I am quite sure I understand.If you cant get into Oxford or Cambridge, think very carefully about where you decide to go. The Kings reputation may have gotten slightly manipulated in a generational game of telephone.
KCL is a sprawling institution with tentacles all over London. In addition to the school on The Strand, there a campuses (possibly campi?) at Waterloo, Denmark Hill, and at St. Thomas's and Guy's Hospitals. Furthermore, there are Halls of Residence (Hors) in Hampstead, a library that puts Magdalen College Oxford to shame and plenty more besides. King's College London is a grand university - it has the borrowing power of Greece. However, none of this information can really be a guide to a prospective student - what really matters when making decisions about courses and colleges are the following: How good will my education be? How employable will I be? How skint will I be? How much fun can you have? I shall endeavor to answer them all as accurately as possible. HOW GOOD WILL MY EDUCATION BE? This is actually a difficult question to answer. In fact, there are some poor departments at KCL. The politics and public policy department is brand new and so will take several more years to find its feet and deliver the best possible education. Some older established departments such as History and Law are consisitently rated world class and in the national top five. Furthermore, the medical departments are world leaders with a training facility that has access to three hospitals. Several courses at KCL are linked via the Univeristy of London to the other constituent colleges (e.g. UCL, LSE, QMW). The access and range of study options for these courses are among the best in the world. The University of London consistently attracts top academics because of its position in London. Lawyers are attracted to the proximity of the inns of court, historians to the Institute of Historical Research etc. League tables can be a good guide to courses and the quality of education, yet it is probably important to be a little wary of them. As an undergraduate research results are not as significant as teaching ratios. HOW EMPLOYABL
E WILL I BE? Very. Figures on graduate employment are very high for KCL. According to the University of London milkround spiel, London graduates tend to be more mature, self-assured and 'worldly-wise. I suspect this is becuase they have spent their final three years of education in a fascinating metropolis, rather than a field in the midlands. HOW SKINT WILL I BE? Very. It is bloody expensive to live in London and the london allowance on student loans does not really satisfy the descrepancy. Finding cheaper ways of doing things is essential - a student travel card is essential. Getting a job is a good way to cover costs. There are documented cases of students going on the game, or becoming dealers to cover their education expenses. I worked in John Lewis. HOW MUCH FUN CAN YOU HAVE? It has to be said that commuting to college makes you feel like a Londoner who just happens to be studying rather than 'A Student'. This has its advantages, pretty soon you forget that you are a student and then it is just a matter of time (and funds permitting) before you are brunching at Christophers on Wellington Street (by King's), taking drinks at the American Bar (further down the strand) before bimbling off to some london club for martini's and a habanos. The answer to the question is FUN UNLIMITED, you can do the student thing, mix with the stars or take life easy. All is catered for - it is London afterall. On all this there is one solemn caveat that I place upon these words: University, where ever it may be, is only as much fun and as valuable as you make it.
I was lured to King's after having been told by my tutors at Oxford that it had a good reputation in my chosen field of study. Looking forward to spending a year in London as a student, I believed them. Sitting here, in the twilight of my year here at King's, part of me wishes I had gone elesewhere - anywhere elesewhere. However you look at it, King's dingy locations scattered around London are hardly as inspiring as Senate House or even the niche that LSE occupies off of Aldwych. However as it is character and not looks which are important, lets not condemn King's on this basis. Rather, it should be criticized for its bureaucratic villainy. Nothing is easy at King's, nothing ever runs intelligently. I may be coloured by the number of letters King's made me write to fuel their lust for pointless administration which it has subsequently claimed have got lost in the post. Or it could be the fact that they recently incorrectly debited me for my accomodation and then did all in their power to obstruct its swift and apologetic return. At King's you are a number - and if you're lucky, your number will not also be that of another person (as happened to a friend recently during his exams). All in all, there is a culture of mediocrity in the college which can't help be transmitted to the students. The personal touch is lacking. Teaching (presumably the raison d'etre of instutions of higher eduction) tends to lose out to unhelpful preoccupation with personal research and the propagation of administrative foliage. Without giving Oxford too much credit, at least the dons there tended to manage both quite well. So if you are lured to King's by its touted programs or its supposed thriving student activity - don't bother. Apply elsewhere. Even if you find problems there, at least you won't be paying obscene amounts of money to live in London for the privilege. While you may not belie
ve administrative incompetance could not affect your life this much - fair enough, but don't think that King's redeeming qualities (limited to your particular course of choice) necessarily outweigh them.
I find it hard to show much enthusiasm for Kings College London. Coming to the end of my time here I am a bit of a bitter man. (Although my student times have been some of the best I've ever had.)The story is that I joined Guy's and St Thomas' Medical School before it was taken over my Kings. As a consequence I have seen the havoc and confusion that the huge beast that is King's College has caused. I have seen the systems that had worked for so long being wrecked by the desire to build a new Biomedical Science School at the Guy's Campus at London Bridge. This meant the closure of the old medical library DURING EXAMS and it now means that as so many people are around Guy's now it is impossible to find a computer or somewhere to work. There is so much travelling around between different campuses that it just takes the piss. One minute you're at St Thomas', one minute you're at Guy's and the next you're in Denmark Hill at King's Hospital. Not to mention the Waterloo and Strand campuses. The whole point is that travelling in London takes time and is not cheap. The administration on the course in hopeless. News does not travel in the post or e-mail but by a series of rumours which work their way round. The academic registry have not got a clue. Socially there are two real students union clubs. One is at the Guy's Campus called "Inverse" and is usually a reasonable night out if lacking a bit of character. The other is the Strand Campus and the club "Tutus" which is actually quite a good laugh and good for me because it is usually full of tasty women! Sporting wise there is a lot of confusion as there are really two King's teams for most things ie. King's College and GKT (the medical school). There is a lot of confusion about who can play for which team. Don't get me wrong, I have loved my time here but I just have noticed the deteriorat
ion in administration since I became part of King's College
I never thought I'd end up actaully going to King's to do a science degree, infact when I put it down on my UCAS form I'd never heard of it before.I apllied to four places to do medicine , and even though I hade three a's and work experience got rejected. So I ended up in sunny old London Bridge on the 20th of September, enrolling for Biomedical Sciences BSC. I've got to say it does look very impressive when you first arrive ( just don't visit the Strand ), and I tried to put my disapointment to the back of my mind and lokk forward to what was ahead. I have actually grown to really love what I am studying, and I am almost relived I didn't get in to medicine now.The teaching is excellent, especially cell biology, and the facilities are without fault. You really get the feeling that you lecturers and tutors want you do well. First year halls of residance 15minutes walk from convent garden, can't be bad either, although getting on the tube to go to Waterloo at ten to nine in the morning does really test your nerve. I went to an average community school and a sixth form college, and arriving here to be faced with hundreds of public school kids ,some who are ridiculusly rich, is probably the weirdest thing about coming to Kings. There are definatley some snobs about, but 99% of the people you meet are genuinley really nice. Would I choose to come here if I had my time again? Yes, I think I probably would.
I chose King's College becasue of it's good reputation, and after visiting it for the first time, it's impressive, high- tech buildings equipped with the latest computers and equipment. Of the 4 campuses, I find that Waterloo and Guy's campus are the most pleasant and modern. Worst of all is the Strand campus, a network of old and new buildings, very grim and easy to get lost in. The teaching overall is very good, but also depends on what course you are doing. This uni is for students who achieve quite high A level grades e.g BCC is the average minimum to get an offer of a place. The advantages are you are in the heart of London, loads to do, very good facilities, very modern, the disadvantsges are that London is too expensive (extortionate at times), overcrowding, pollution and the fast pace of life.
Academically sound with good to very good education. Good social life and probably one of the best alongside with UCL in London. Excellent sports facilities, good departments, building, lecturers. Poor industry links, but good job prospects with a degree from this uni. Get in = good job = good money from this uni!!! Halls are good for Medics and average for the rest of the uni! Thats life! In competition with UCL, it falls down on academics, but much better social scene!
King's College London is a sprawling institution set in several sites in central and Southern London. It is a member of the elite 'Russell Group' of universities and can be considered one of the best in the country. Its Strand campus is situated in the heart of London close to any possible amenity (and I include bar plural) that you could wish for. A mere gnats cough away is the tourist trap/trendy boutique of Covent Garden and it's hemmed in pleasingly by the river. As I am a current student at King's you are free to accuse me of bias; or anything else you like for that matter. I'll try to be objective and pass on anything I know (which isn't enough unfortunately). Due to King's distributed structure I know significantly more about the Strand campus than any other. This is due to the fact that all the humanities people gather there whilst the other campuses are for science or medicine only. The strand campus has an impressive case of Jeckell and Hyde schizophrenia. If you walk along the strand you will see amid the beautiful buildings the ugliest hunk of concrete that modernist architecture ever created, and you will say, with pride in your heart - That's King's! If you enter by the side via Somerset House you'll see a lovely Georgian building with a concrete monolith stuck on the side. With a humorous inevitability History and the humanities are in the concrete monolith. The monolith's second claim to fame, after being the ugliest piece of architecture on the Strand is it's catastrophic lift service. The lifts never come, and if they do the doors close so quickly that you'd better be prepared to dive through the doors, like a Hollywood action hero escaping from a blazing room. On balance it's probably better to take the stairs. The third impressive fact about the whole Strand campus is trying to find your way around it. Due to its modular structure (i.e. they stick lots of rand
om bits together) it's one of the most impressive warrens of blank corridor's that I've ever come across. The most humorous area to try and get to is the Computer science bit. You can't take the main lifts, no, that would be too easy! Instead you have to walk down the main corridor and take a random left-hand turn into what looks like a broom cupboard, you may notice the lift in the corner. This lift is the best thing about the whole journey as, well, it's sideways, and very, very thin. When you get to the top (assuming you fitted into the lift, I've never found the stairs) you'd better not turn left as this'll take you to a dusty area only ever used in the summer to teach foreign students English. Assuming you made it don't assume that either your classmates or the teacher did, the only people who know where to go in the building are at reception. And they won't tell you. All of this has made the Strand campus sound like a benighted hellhole and, well, mostly it is. But apart from all that there are other areas of King's. Most of these are strange and medical but they deserve a mention. Guys Hospital at London Bridge is one of the big medical campuses. It's half way through a massive redevelopment, luckily for me the bit they've done first is the teaching area. This means that whilst patients lie on trolleys in corridors I'm sitting in a spiffing modern computer room with a scorching Internet connection! The others are slightly dodgy, there's a big area in Denmark Hill where I believe they do dental and mental medicine. It's not at all nice, muggings and break-ins etc. From next year the Libraries will have a new home, the old Public Record Office (the first fireproof building in the world I am assured, it's always nice to know?). This looks like it's going to be very nice indeed but they've slashed the book buying budget by about 90% to help pay for it. Being a history st
udent who is supposed to live in libraries this is good in one way (they promise a café) and bad in another (there won't be anything to read). So a mixed blessing but I'm sure it'll be the new Tate Modern and everybody will go ooohhh! You lucky person! The terror that is King's is ameliorated by all the wonderful things that London can provide within about within 200 metres, Somerset house, recently renovated and totally gorgeous, with attractions ranging from the exquisite Courtauld Collection (free to students), to the beautiful fountains in its courtyard. In winter they even set up an ice rink (hmmm?festive!). Other nice stuff about is the thankful proximity to decent Coffee Bars (2 Coffee Republic's within about 15cm - see my opinion on them for more). More places to eat out (if you can afford it) than most places have hot dinners (or words to that effect). All the other touristy London Stuff is very close if you fancy an afternoon off (good idea!). There are loads of excellent museums close(-ish) by as well. I would particularly recommend the British museum as being very good for study. Bars, an essential part of the student lifestyle. If you want it cheap then go for the student ones, as in general they can be very pricey. The student bars and clubs do have the advantage of an amazing view over the river. But if you can take the hit on your wallet or can find a decent promotion night then there should be enough to satisfy any taste. Ranging from the quiet drinking hole of the Waldorf Footlights bar to some of Covent gardens more southern hemisphere oriented establishments (good if you like Fosters). For such a wide flung set of campus' transport between them is surprisingly easy. The strand campus is about 100m away from Temple underground station. This is on the circle line and has been the downfall of many a late night reveller who ended up in the same place that they began! From there it is comparatively ea
sy to get to any point within the underground system in an hour at most. There are loads of busses outside the strand campus and you can get onto the mainline at Charring Cross (one change and 30 minutes away from Denmark Hill). With a student id card you can apply for the Student travelcard. This gives you 30% off monthly or longer tickets on London Transport. People might moan and complain about London's transport system but in my opinion it's one of the best in the world. If you don't believe me take a trip down the Jubilee Line Extension or run up the middle of the strand to jump onto the back of a routemaster bus as it pulls off without knowing where it's going! There are about 16,000 students at King's at the moment but that'll probably change by the time you read this (we eat other College's). With this many people you might have a few queries about how likely you are to meet people etc. Well, to a large extent this depends on your course and your personality. If you take a humanities course, spend half an hour a week at university and are quite reserved then you might have a bit of a problem at first. If you are on some strange science course where you have to spend 15 hours a day in lectures and the other 9 hours clubbing then you'll probably know half the university by your second week. With humanities courses, where you don't meet your fellow students very often hanging around in the library/bar usually helps as does chatting to those in your tutorial group. Going to a massive College like King's can be very scary; and London can be very impersonal and distant if you don't know it, just persevere and it'll all come right. Is London really that expensive? As with most comparisons it depends, if you come from Leicester or Birmingham then yes, it is. But there are many extra delights over these (and no I'm not talking about Soho). There are also many opportunities to get work if you need i
t. Not that I'm encouraging working through uni, but I understand that there are people who have to and London, as the centre of the British economic universe (like it or not) has the connections and the jobs for you. I've talked a lot about London in this review as it is at least a third of the College's name (it doesn't say King's College Belgrade, though on reflection it might be fun if it did) and it does have such a huge influence of the structure of the college. You won't be able to comprehend the amount of money it would cost to have the equivalent of Nottingham's green and pleasant land replicated on the Strand. If you like cities then London is the best in the world. King's has got a very good academic reputation and we're literally two feet from 'accenture' if you want a city career. I would recommend coming to King's, it's good fun and the setting can, at times be breathtaking.
It is hard to know what to write in a review like this about your old University as you are bound to be completely biased. I loved King's. I had a great time. I still go back there sometimes and stand around in the Reach Bar on a Friday night looking out across the Thames clutching a vodka and Reef in a plastic pint glass. Ah, those were the days. Seriously though, King's College London is an extremely dynamic and friendly environment for any undergraduate or postgraduate to study. Since I graduated back in 1998, KCL has changed beyond all belief. For the better. New facilities across new sites, all of which are all within walking distance of the main Strand site, King's now spreads across the Thames to Waterloo and the South Bank. It is a multi-faculty University and any course you want to study there is bound to be one at KCL for you. The Lecturers are more often than not experts in their field, and don't be surprised that when texts are recommended that they are written by them! The support services of King's are great. From the careers' service to the accomodation office, everyone is really helpful and the staff are second to none! As for the Students' Union, well it would be hard to write a review for a Uni and not mention the SU. I had the (mis!) fortune of attending King's when Matt was in 'power' so I had better watch what I say! In my final year I was coerced into working behind the student bar by a friend of mine. It was quite possibly the best decision I have ever made. I had an amazing final year and it is all down to KCLSU, oh and the numerous pints and shots of vodka I drank ( just don't tell my Mum! ) The permanent staff and the sabbaticals make KCLSU a great environment to chill out in after a hard day's work. The food is great, the beer is sometimes flat, but it is a cheap, and the ents are wicked too. So if you want a University in the centre
of London, where you can 'work hard and play hard' (cliche, cliche) and see the London Eye from the Students' Union, come to King's, you won't regret it.