Sin, a potential student

close up of prospective student

Sin is at home in San Francisco viewing clips on YouTube and comes across a helmetcam video of the Bristol mountain bike team winning the British University championships. Sin is a keen and talented mountain biker and he's immediately interested. He clicks through to the team page on the University of Bristol website looking for more. Sin remembers that he has heard good things about the reputation of the University, but he's already thinking of applying to some other places and didn't previously know if Bristol is right for him. He decides to have another look.

Sin goes to the University homepage to see what's available. He browses the online prospectus and reads about the history of the University. He completes a quick online profile with his interests and grades, and the site suggests some courses open to him. Sin checks the postgraduate employment prospects and student satisfaction ratings for the various courses. Sin's not sure what the courses are like in practice, so he logs on to the University online learning environment and looks through a few sample courses. He reads some lecture notes, downloads a podcast and takes an online test.

Sin wants to find out about student life in Bristol. He reads a few blogs from current students and views the Students Union what's on calendar. He reads about study and living costs at Bristol and watches the Freshers survival guide. While he is reading he tunes in to the University radio station online.

Sin doesn't want to spend all his time in the student bubble so decides to find out more about the city. He starts with Wikipedia and reads about the live music scene in Bristol. He goes on a virtual 3D tour of the city, wandering around the docks to take in views of Brunel's SS Great Britain and suspension bridge. As he passes clubs on the harbourside he sees adverts for student nights with links for more information. Finally he walks up Park Street and climbs the Wills tower to take in the vista of the whole city below.

Sin has some queries about eligibility for sports scholarships, so he emails the student funding office and gets a response back the same day. Meanwhile he posts some queries on a bulletin board about accommodation. He gets several responses back from current students, who include photos of their rooms and recommend options for halls of residence.

Sin has now decided he wants to apply to Bristol, but he still can't decide if he wants to study Chemistry or Physics. He uses Skype to telephone the admissions office. They've already got a record of his enquiry on sports scholarships. Sin finds out that if he chooses the right optional modules from both in his first year he can switch from one course to the other after 12 months if he wants.

Sin relaxes, as it is good to know he's got that flexibility. Based on everything he has seen and heard, Sin decides to apply for Chemistry with a year in Europe at Bristol. After applying he is given a University ID as a prospective student and can access the University social network on Facebook. He messages other keen mountain bikers and already Sin feels he has made some good friends at Bristol.

(Updated: 29 May 2007)