Located in Wales, and situated in the small mining village of Trefforest in the heart of the Rhondda1 Valley, the University of Glamorgan offers you education in an attractive, if generally rain-soaked, South Wales village. If you're looking to get about as far away from your parents as possible2 and have a crack at further education at the same time, this might just be the place for you.
The little Welsh town of Trefforest is built on the banks of the river Taff3 and is about 20 minutes north of Cardiff, either by car from the M4, or by rail. Trefforest station can be reached directly from Cardiff Central, which is itself in a direct line from Paddington via Bristol, Newport and of course Swindon. Trefforest Station is situated right at the foot of the campus. You will find that if you go straight up the valley until you collapse from exhaustion, you are probably there. The Halls of Residence are, in the main, about five minutes further up. The University has displayed its fondness for law students by putting the Law School over on the other side of Trefforest, along with the Law Learning Resources Centre and the Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care. Now in an effort to make the Lawyers feel less rejected, the University has started work on a new School of Creative and Cultural Industries in Cardiff.
The campus is sufficiently well-equipped that, if you were really lazy, you'd hardly need to leave. As well as the pubs and entertainment in the Student Union, you will also find the building has a post box and a cash machine. Furthermore, the building houses a laundrette, although there are laundry facilities you can use yourself at the top of the campus. The Union building is right next door to the purpose-built sports centre. Including its own gym, the centre has various membership rates, depending on how committed you are to getting fit.
Further down the slope, you will find the campus shop, which has its own post box and also houses a branch of a well-known students insurance company, alongside a very small travel shop. Just a skip, a jump and a trip along the slope (rather than down it), you will find the refectory, where you can buy and, if you're that way inclined, eat, food. 'H' block, one of the main teaching buildings, houses a coffee shop. There is a second coffee shop in 'J' block, opposite the computer suite, which is open 24 hours a day during term time, and has, of course, Internet access throughout4. Walking from coffee shop to coffee shop, you will also notice there is a bookshop on campus. If you're a bit above paying for stuff, the 'Learning Resources Centre5' has lots of books, as well as computers, videos, journals and loads of other academic material. The Campus also has its own, albeit small, health centre.
Things to See and do
Nobody is for a moment suggesting that you should relinquish a second of valuable studying time for the purposes of your own amusement, but if your lecturers should prescribe some compulsory downtime because you've just been working too hard, there are plenty of options.
If history is your thing then not only does the degree course come highly recommended, but you have chosen an area with a rich cultural history.Thanks largely to years of occupation by the English, Wales has an impressive array of castles. You can easily get to Cardiff Castle by, well, going to Cardiff. From there it is a long and slightly scary - but very much worth it - train ride to Caerphilly Castle where you can stare in awe at the functioning replica catapults and marvel that the wall hasn't fallen on you. For more Guide-related castle info see Some Great Castles of Wales.
Culture and Drinking Stuff
If what you're really after is alcohol6 then you will be pleased to hear that, although the Student Union has rather cruelly installed steps, once you navigate them, you will find a bar. More good stair-related news is that if you emerge from the first bar and fall down the interior stairs, you will find another bar. Hooray! This is Smiths, which hosts various discos, comedy nights and other fun events. The Student Union organises regular bus trips to nightclubs in Cardiff. You can also take the short train journey to the capital for a variety of entertainment venues including St David's Hall and, of course, The Millennium Stadium where, unless the new Wembley Stadium has miraculously been built, you can see the FA Cup Final.
Ponty, birth place of Tom Jones, will quickly become your Mecca, in the sense that you can play bingo there. Sadly, the Wimpy is no longer there, but there are plenty of shops and supermarkets just a short train ride away. Pontypridd has a nice park you can stroll in when the weather is nice7 and a river you can be sick in, if you wish.
In the old days there used to be catered halls of residence at the foot of the main campus, to allow for people who were too lazy to either walk all the way up a hill or indeed do any of their own cooking. These lackadaisical types have been got rid of and the University has left itself with two halls of residence (well, each 'hall' consists of many different buildings, but let's not get bogged down with linguistics).
The highest buildings on the campus, the Glamorgan Court buildings, are the most modern addition to the halls of residence. These are buildings with seven sets of flats per building. Each set is equipped with a kitchen with a single sink, fridge/freezer, oven, table and chairs. There are six rooms (all en-suite) per set. Some basic maths will tell you then that the number of students housed in every building is 42.
Neuadd Philip Evans/Philip Squire
Neuadd is not the Welsh name for 428, however we might wish it to be. These buildings are slightly older, but are still basically modern, purpose-built facilities. In these buildings, the showers and toilets are communal, and there is a lounge with a TV in each building.
If you follow the stairs that lead up to the refectory, you will find yourself in a small seating area. To your left is the refectory, ahead of you is a flight of stairs leading to some more stairs9. Ignore those routes. To your right is a small path heading off into the trees. It will bring you, via a small, quiet clearing with a fine view over the campus, to the Glamorgan Court area. It is a nice alternative route to the top of the hill when the weather is dry.
There is an extensive range of university-approved accommodation that stretches a mile's radius out from the campus, about a five to ten-minute walk away. These are mainly occupied by second and some third year students, but you could go straight there in your first year, if you prefer. Rent starts from as little as £35 a week and you can find more details at the studentpad website.
Entry requirements and Final Results
This is something of a problem. Obviously this entry could feature the current grade averages and entry requirements for the University of Glamorgan, but then they might well change. Either somebody checks and edits this entry every year, or we palm the job off on somebody else, which is much easier anyway. So, if you want to see what this year's answers are, please visit the Times Online Good University Guide which will, or should, have all the latest information on what you have to put in and what you can expect to get out. If you want to know whether they do the course you are after, best visit the UCAS10 website.
Yes, you too could (if you become famous) join this list of exalted stars. Unsurprisingly for a Welsh University, they're mainly rugby players. You may have heard of Rupert Moon and Jonathan Humphreys. If you're English, no doubt you will have heard of Michael Owen. Well... he has the same name as a bloke who went to Glamorgan and who is a rugby player. The list also includes Olympic athlete Ian Hamer and entertainer Max Boyce.
Ah... the University of Glamorgan. Where they teach you the history of the Welsh in English. Where the bike sheds are at the top of a hill. Where it rains every day except the day you go and have a look around and decide the weather is lovely here. If you have read all this and you still don't want to go, that's no problem - just have another drink and read it again...