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Esther Gray

MChem (Hons) Chemistry with Industrial Experience

I went to open days at a couple of other universities but I felt like I was noticed at Bradford – that the academics would remember me from the open day and that everyone was connected. At the others I felt I was just another face in the crowd.

Trust your gut

"When you’re applying for university you have to trust your gut – go and look round and if it feels right then go for it.

"I came from a small high school and a small college and Bradford just felt right. Concentrate on the course rather than the university because that’s what’s most important.

"The main thing that appealed to me at the open day was the Chemistry department. From the presentations, I could feel how engaged and organised the lecturers were and the course felt right for me."

The support I need

"Since I got here, the best thing about the experience has definitely been the support I’ve had.

"I’ve got dyslexia and I’ve had so much support with that. My dyslexia test was out of date so I had a new test as soon as I got here so I could access the right resources – for example my laptop was out of date and couldn’t support the programmes I needed to help with my coursework.

"I’m more of a verbal person and using a programme called Dragon enables me to speak into my laptop for my essays rather than have to write them out. For a £200 deposit I was given a new laptop that will sustain this and the other programmes I need. I get one-to-one support for my dyslexia too, plus the tutorials that everyone on my course gets."

Practical learning

"My course is very hands on and it takes a practical approach rather than theoretical which suits me a lot better – especially because my aim is to end up working for an organic synthesis company.

"There are 30 students and 20 lecturers so we get extra support. The facilities are great – I’m really lucky because the labs have just been refurbished, we’re the first year to use them so all the equipment is brand new and clean.

"Bradford is an industrial city with lots of opportunities and links to the sort of companies I’m interested in. I’m planning on doing an industrial placement in the third year so I’m hoping to be able to get a placement with an organic synthesis company.

"The careers team has been really helpful – they’re helping me apply for a summer placement around Bradford or in the uni itself and they’ve worked with me to modify my CV, write a covering letter and help me understand the process."

this is where

...I took my opportunity

I grew up in the countryside in Suffolk so it’s very different living in Bradford. I was quite nervous about going into the city to start with but I’ve been lucky with the timing again because a lot of the city centre has been refurbished and it’s quite up and coming – especially the Broadway shopping centre.

It’s a lot easier to get around here than at home – I didn’t even realise Uber was a thing until I got here! In Suffolk the only way to get around is expensive taxis but the transport is much easier and cheaper here.

I didn’t know a single person when I started at the University of Bradford. Living at The Green has helped me make friends really quickly – I think it’s easier to do that in student accommodation. The Green is so convenient that me and my flatmates have chosen to keep living their together in our second year.

If you’re nervous about starting university and you don’t know anyone then one of the best things you can do is join a club or society. I’m a member of the Infuzion Dance Crew society and the Swimming club and I’ve made many friends through those two activities – people are there for you and everyone has been in your position. 

My advice is to take any opportunity you can to get involved with organising or taking part in something while you’re in your first and second year when it’s most relaxed then concentrate on your course in the third and fourth year.”

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