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  • Writer's pictureKatie Smith

A-Levels to Ag College

Seeing as last week people all over the country were receiving their A-Level results and accepting and choosing where they are going to be studying for the next 3+ years, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about universities. Two in particular that many young people wanting to go into agriculture or some form of rural career look at are Harper Adams and the Royal Agricultural University (formerly the Royal Agricultural College).

I am getting my GCSE results this week and then hopefully going on to study Biology, Chemistry, Physics and History for the next two years (yes I know I’m crazy) with the view to then go on to study Veterinary Medicine at Uni, so I’m no university expert myself… But I have had two sisters go to university and I have lots of friends in their late teens/the early twenties either at university or headed to university next year, so I know a bit.

I don’t want this to turn into a major Harper vs Ciren post – because lets be honest, both are great and I’m sure anyone could be happy at either (also there’s a lot of rivalries there and I’m not about to pick a side!) – but I do want to have a little look at the pros and cons because, hey… it might help someone!

We will start off with what I know about Harper… I know a few people who have gone to Harper to do agricultural degrees (Rural Land, Agriculture etc…) and have been very happy there. Harper seems to be a very welcoming university, they have a lot of fun and get lots done. They have a 99.4% graduate employment rate which sounds pretty impressive and sounds to me like if you go to Harper you’re going to get hired! They have won quite a few awards in the last few years including 2nd place in the accommodation category of the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2016 and winner of the University of the Year in the same competition. You hear nothing but praise from Harper Students so that has to mean something! Another benefit to studying at Harper is that some of the courses are ‚sandwich‘ courses – meaning you take a year out of the classroom to go into the industry and see what it will really be like after uni, also you get some great experience which will help with finding employment after your final year.

On the other hand, the royal agricultural uni is a beautiful university situated in lovely Cirencester… It is arguably a more well-known university with a graduate employment rate of 96%. They have some courses unique to the uni such as the one-year farming course. I know someone who has just been accepted to study Applied Farm Management there next year so I’m sure I will get more of an insight to the ciren life. The university has an impressive list of alumni including MPs, Earls, Viscounts, Marquesses, Rugby Players and more. Old students are so loyal to their alma mater and Ciren students are almost patriotic about the uni. The campus is really quite something and I’ve heard it’s not uncommon to see people walking around campus with shotguns (there is, after all, rivalry in rural sports between these two universities) and turning up at the start of term in land rovers. It looks like an amazing place to study!

I would be interested to hear your take on the situation, which uni do you think is better, or are they both just great places to learn? Tweet me with your thoughts on the Harper V. Ciren debate @woesofwellies

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