Why don’t U ‘n’ I have a chat about Uni? | From Emily Cowlishaw

So that’s it.  I have completed my final days as an Undergraduate College Ambassador for the LSM – now the Lincoln School of Film & Media (LSFM). After a two year run doing the best job* ever, it unfortunately has to come to an end, along with my degree and experience here at Lincoln. (*Not really a job. It’s a pleasure!) I’ve posted this as A level results have come out and the Clearing process is underway. Clearing Hotline here is 01522 88 66 22.

During my time as a Media Ambassador, I often get asked about my own experience getting into University, the University experience itself and being a part of the School from perspective students.  So I’ve decided that sharing this experience would be a fantastic opening of mine to the School’s blog.

Emily-Cowlishaw_age3Screen ShotThis is me, aged 3. This is the age I allegedly told my mum “When I grow up I want to go to ‘Univbersitcity’”. (That’s University in 3 years old speak!) Yep, cute I know. And yep, I look older here than I do now aged 21…  Nobody in my family had ever attended University, yet it was always something I wanted to do. Why was that? I have no idea. But honestly, in my mind, it was the best decision I ever made and greatest challenge to set myself. Go 3-year-old Emily!

Learn from my mistakes – My advice on selecting the right University and Course!  From that point, I worked extremely hard in school. I’m not going to bore you with my life story (although it is quite exciting), but getting to University was not the smoothest of rides. In Year 9, I had to leave my high school due to its closure because of lack of student intake. I moved to a brand new school where I did not know one single person, daunting! Thankfully, I got through it and settled in very nicely, but it was a very scary time, much like the start of University.

“But Emily, I’ve changed my mind on a career and picked the wrong A Levels/Course…”  At this point, most think, ‘I have to pick options that will benefit my life’. Wrong. It would obviously be great if you had some kind of idea what you want to do or be, especially as some Universities ask for certain subjects to get onto their degrees. But honestly, at 16/17 life is still a bit up in the air; you do not need a life plan.

“Go and do a degree in something you will enjoy and I promise the rest will follow” – This is honestly the best bit of advice my Head of 6th ever gave me.

“I don’t know where to start looking for a course!”  Fees are expensive. You need to make sure you are 100% sure that first of all university is something you want to do and secondly, you pick an establishment and course that is perfect for you. For me, I first of all decided media was the career path I wanted, from which I hopped onto UCAS to narrow down courses and the Universities that did those courses.

Media Production stood out to me from the offset. I have always been interested in creation of media and always dreamt of producing my own material. Somehow, I actually missed off Lincoln completely and this was never even an option until October 2010 (right before I handed UCAS in!), when a friend of my mum’s was in her 3rd Year at the University told us ‘Lincoln’s great for Media, have you looked there?’ – Thanks, Teyte!

This should be a red flag straight away for you. DO YOUR RESEARCH! I nearly missed out on this whole experience because I didn’t look into league tables, student reviews or just further my research from the UCAS screen.  If I had of looked, I would have seen that (in 2014, anyway) Lincoln is #1 in the UK for Media Production. Maybe that would have highlighted to me that it was a great place to do the course I really wanted to do?

The second bumpy ride I had was the summer of Year 12 / start of Year 13, where I got ill. I struggled to go and look around Universities, however I did manage to visit 3 open days. This was fundamental to selecting the right University for myself. Do not select a University without going to check it out.

Why did I come to Lincoln? Honest answer? I fell in love with the place and did not want to leave (In fact, my mum had to drag me back into the car on my open day because I refused to go back home!). While the University just felt right, so did the course. You and only you just know what’s right for you and as soon as you walk into the perfect institution for yourself… you just know. No student ambassador, parent, lecturer, fish, dog etc. can make that decision for you. Selecting the right University for you is crucial. Ask as many questions as you need to before you make a decision as no question is a stupid one!

Also, make sure you look at all aspects of the University, not just the course and campus – look into your surroundings, student accommodation and things that excite you. I fell in love with Lincoln a little bit more when I realised The Engine Shed was on campus because I loved going to gigs! 

“But I don’t think I will get the correct UCAS points…”  Write an amazing personal statement. Experience is often regarded higher than knowledge. If you’re struggling to talk about yourself (I know I did, my mum had to help!), get a parent or friend to write a few good points about yourself down to help sell yourself. Also, make sure you show a keen interest into the establishment you want to attend. Go to open days, applicant open days and keep in contact with the University. Although UCAS points do guarantee you a spot if you have the correct amount, Universities often have spaces through clearing. If you’ve show how eager you are to get onto the course then in my opinion, you’re in for a really good shot!

I struggled to sit my exams. While my Year 12 results saw me achieve As and Bs, many of my Year 13 exams saw D’s, E’s and even Us. I lost all hope of coming to Lincoln and getting on the Media Production course and in my head, settled for my insurance choice.  But none of that matters. Year 12 saved me and I got the (then) 300 UCAS points I needed to get in! I never enjoyed 6th form and I just saw it as a hurdle in the way of University, so it was a huge relief when I got in, despite being very ill. I can promise you, that all the stress of 6th form and college is completely worth it for the University experience, so don’t give up. Even after getting a firm offer, I was still debating whether to attend due to my illness. I didn’t want to give up on something I always looked forward to doing, but didn’t think I had to strength to complete it. But with the support and care from my family, I did it. I became a student and achieved the goal I always wanted to…

Luckily for me, every time I go to work as a College Ambassador, I fall back in love with the place like I first did, and so, it is very easy for me to tell you how fantastic the University has been for my own personal development. Everybody’s experience is different, but if you’re coming to the Lincoln School of Film & Media in September or in the coming years, I do hope your journey will be as fantastic as mine.

Emily-Cowlishaw_grownupI am now about to graduate at Lincoln Cathedral and every time I look back at my time at University I smile, and think ‘That was absolutely incredible’. Further blog posts will follow with my experience on the course, should you want to have a read, but in summary I can tell you, this experience has been the most rewarding and best time of my entire life.

So for those that have got a place at University, huge congratulations!  You’ve got a place! Top tips for ALL Freshers:

Here are some handy tips from me, with accompanied pictures of that 3-year-old girl that achieved the goal!

Emily-Cowlishaw_inpink_Screen ShotEverybody that comes to University is in the same boat. Be sociable and make friends!




Emily-Cowlishaw_3shot-thumbsup_Screen ShotGet involved with as much extra curricular work or societies as possible!




Emily-Cowlishaw_ChelseaSupporter_Screen ShotAnd remember – it’s OK to make mistakes! (I am a Chelsea fan…)




FAQs about Media Production and the Lincoln School of Film & Media: 

Q: What equipment should I buy before I come?

Emily’s A: None. Absolutely none. I worked full time before University to save up money for potential equipment I thought I might need but saved it. The sensible option is to wait for your student discount. Then you get money off, and if a student at LSM, once you have received training with the equipment, you can book this out anytime at Media Loans. You also receive the Creative Cloud Adobe Package so you have all the software you need too! Once you gradually know what you want to specialise in, then by all means buy your own equipment but while a student here at LSFM, everything you need to complete your degree, is supplied.

Q: Is it hard?

Emily’s A: Like with any course, the gradual step up from GCSEs to A Levels to Degrees obviously increases in intensity and knowledge. However, I feel the degree is only as hard as you make it for yourself. University is more independently led. So with good time management you’ll fly through the course. You will not find any tutor spoon feeding you information or chasing you up for work, so providing you do the work set and ask for help should you not understand something, you should do absolutely fine!

Q: What are you going to do next: Do you have a job?

Emily’s A: Many of my friends have walked straight into jobs! Those that have are the ones who have worked both incredibly hard on the course and beyond. So if the real question is “Is the course employable?” – Then definitely, yes. Me however, I’ve always wanted to do a Master’s Degree. So I will be hoping to achieve that!

Q. How helpful are the tutors if University is self-driven?

Emily’s A: Very helpful. However, you only get out what you put in. If you have shown commitment by doing the work and attending sessions then the tutor will mirror the enthusiasm trying to help. Tutors have even gone as far as signing my passport forms for me, so they are very considerate and go above and beyond! Tutors also have designated office hours that you can request to see a tutor in. You will also receive a personal tutor who can help you with any matter whether pastoral or academic.

Q: How big are the tutor groups?

Emily’s A: Tutor groups for Media Production and FTV can only hold a maximum of 16 students, due to the restrictions on the number of roles in the TV Studios. You will never have more than this in a group. However, as time goes on, tutoring because more specific to your interests and needs and by Year 3 I was only working in a pair. Some people even go as far as to working on their own. (For numbers on the other courses, please contact a tutor)

Q: How many hours of teaching do we have a week?

Emily’s A: Year One sees the most contact time, with about 12 hours in total of Lectures, Seminars and Workshops. As time goes on, contact time is reduced however the workload increases. These teaching times do change all the time though, so please bear in mind that this was the case when I was a first year!

Q: Can I use equipment to do my own work?

Emily’s A: Yes and No. Providing nobody has booked the equipment to do degree work with, then yes. You can also book out equipment (with permission) over summer when there is no teaching to do extra curricular work at no charge!


My final final final tip would be, if you are applying / have a place in the School of Film & Media, come to your applicant open day – you’ll meet people before you start the course and get to do loads of fun media activities! I didn’t come to mine because I 100% knew I wanted to be here, however I would have met friends before the course start if I had of done!

[The Lincoln School of Film & Media has set new UCAS Boundaries since I started. They are as follows: Media Production = 320, Film and Television = 300 and Audio Production = 280]

2 thoughts on “Why don’t U ‘n’ I have a chat about Uni? | From Emily Cowlishaw

  1. timely advice from Emily – who enjoys Univbersitcity, she is staying for another year!

  2. Fabulous advice, Emily! All applicants are different, but your tips will be relevant to everybody.

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