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You want to know what’s happening in September and October. This is fair enough. These are, of course, unprecedented times that we are living in but rest assured that we’ve got a plan that will ensure that your student experience is not only a safe one but also a highly valuable and memorable one. It may initially look a little different, but we’re taking as much as we can from the traditional experience and adding some new elements.

Let us tell you more…

Before you arrive

The induction process at postgraduate level is organised within the Faculty, School or Department you will be studying in, this information will be communicated to you once individual plans have been confirmed. You can also join our Facebook Offer Holders Group so you can start making friends informally before September.

Safety first

Our students’ safety is the highest priority. We have a plan which ensures appropriate hygiene practices are established and maintained and that social distancing is in place while this is necessary across all our sites. This includes all of our owned and partnership residential accommodation.

‘The Chester Blend’

What is ‘The Chester Blend’? Well, it’s going to be our teaching philosophy for the next academic year (2020/21) and beyond; a blended learning experience that puts as much emphasis on face-to-face teaching as it does with online teaching. From speaking to our students, we understand the value they place on face-to-face teaching, so we’re planning as much social learning in small groups as is safely possible alongside online lectures that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own room.

However, we haven’t done this just out of necessity. Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, the University was already considering ways of adopting new technologies for the delivery of a more flexible learning experience, so recent events have simply advanced these plans. Of course, this approach will initially be dictated by any social distancing measures in place, but we will be looking to take a more flexible approach as the restrictions are lowered. Regardless of the situation, you can be assured of the same high-quality teaching as always.

Virtual work placements and your e-portfolio

Alongside your studies, Chester already offers you a range of distinctive opportunities to help you develop new skills and grow in confidence; these are still a significant part of our experience. Our volunteering, internships and work-based learning programmes now offer virtual alternatives, ensuring that our students continue to be challenged and inspired while working remotely. All evidence of both academic and personal development can be logged in your e-portfolio which will stay with you throughout your university journey and, we hope, beyond.

It’s initiatives like this, and the University’s location in Cheshire, the second highest performing economy in England outside of London, that demonstrates how the University is well placed to enhance its students’ employability. The University is well connected and, in turn, we offer you the opportunity to become well connected. The University is also recognised as one of the country’s top ten universities for job prospects and by the time you leave, you should have a phone full of contacts.

Highly rated student support

We have been recognised as one of the country’s top ten universities for student support and we are committed to helping and nurturing every student at Chester.

If you will be studying one of our postgraduate taught courses, the Programme Leader and other course tutors will work closely with you to maximise your academic potential and personal development. This is done within your timetabled classes and through one-to-one engagement.

For our postgraduate research students you will be allocated two specific supervisors, a Principal Supervisor and a Secondary Supervisor. It is their role to support you through your research and help develop you as a researcher and help you to achieve your deadlines through your studies.

We have a Wellbeing and Mental Health team that spans across all our campuses ensuring that our students settle in, get the most out of their university experience and feel safe and at home in Chester. The team provide students with practical information, support and guidance and is on hand if they have any issues that may be affecting their experience.

Getting active through ‘Chester Rules’

Sport and physical activity are looking somewhat different in the pandemic but here at Chester we have already come up with a variety of sports and physical activity that can be undertaken with social distancing in mind, yet keeping the fun intact. ‘Chester Rules’ are customised games that can be played and enjoyed without the worry of close contact. ‘Chester Rules’ is going to be BIG in 2020 and we have all the major sports, as well as personal training sessions, Couch to 5k and social walking groups covered, so look out for more information.

Take a walk

If you’re keen to avoid public transport and worried about how you’re going to get across town, you needn’t worry. Our campuses in Chester and Shrewsbury are ideally located for getting about, with everything you need within walking distance. In fact the best way to get around in both Chester and Shrewsbury is by foot… and it’s better for the environment that way too! Biking is also a good way of getting around both Chester and Shrewsbury, with numerous cycle paths available that make our campuses even more accessible.

Warrington Campus is easily accessible for our commuting students. Find out more about what it is like to live and study in Warrington here.

Languages for All

Another exciting initiative we are introducing in the new academic year is the opportunity to join one of our part-time languages courses at a reduced rate of £100, which is reimbursed after completion of 80% of the course. You can choose one of the many language courses that we offer, including: Arabic; French; German; Italian; Japanese; Mandarin; Polish; Portuguese; Spanish; Russian; and Welsh. Courses are offered at various levels, from beginner to advanced level, and run from September to June, with evening classes taking place for two hours. With the current social distancing measures in place, a blended approach is likely to be adopted for delivery of these courses in the new academic year. This means that there will be some face-to-face teaching alongside some online teaching. 

Imagine finishing university with a new language under your belt to add to your CV!

Accommodation

If you have accepted your offer of a place at the University, we’d recommend applying for University accommodation as soon as possible. We have listened to our students and in doing so designed accommodation options that are flexible to suit our student needs. We have a range of accommodation types available to choose from, everything from fully-catered packages to self-catered. We also have a brand new self-catered en-suite accommodation block called Tudor Place opening this September, just a couple of minutes’ walk from our Parkgate Road Campus in Chester. If you would like to discuss accommodation options please contact the Residential Living Team who will be able to discuss your accommodation needs further.

Click and Collect

Our campus-based catering outlets will have social distancing restrictions in place for your safety. We’ll also be introducing our own click and collect service, should you fancy taking your food out.

The University App

Before you arrive, make sure you download the University of Chester app! This will not only help you to stay informed, but also ahead of the game. Students regularly use the app to keep on top of their timetable but there are a whole host of other features on the app too. As the app is used as a means for us to communicate with our students, by downloading the app, you’ll enable us to better support your engagement.