Written by Maria Villamil, MSc Applied Computational Science and Engineering.
If you are applying to Imperial College London, if you have applied or if you have accepted an offer from the college – I should start with a heartfelt congratulations. It is no small feat! Imperial represents the best of the best, and you ought to be very proud.
Growing up in London, I often walked past Imperial dreaming of the day that I would be a student at the College. From an outside perspective, Imperial is the epitome of scientific knowledge, not to mention the spectacular campus buildings located in South Kensington.
As an insider, Imperial is an experience unlike any other. I wanted to use this opportunity to reflect on my Imperial experience, and share some of the things I wish I had known about Imperial prior to becoming a student at the College.
One: The interview
If you have been reading other blogs about university applications, then you’ve probably read this before. I’ll put it in here anyway. Try not to worry about what you do or do not know, it’s about potential. Try to be true to yourself and demonstrate why you love the course and Imperial. You should also try to demonstrate your ability to work independently and problem solve. If you are preparing for an interview, you should have also considered some of the most asked interview questions and try to come up with non-generic examples of where you applied a certain skill. For example, if you are asked about problem-solving, talking about a team project at school or university may be quite a common answer. You may find you have a unique answer which applies to a hobby or job which you had; the answer needn’t just be academic!
Two: The people and the community
You’re going to meet the best people ever. What more can I say? You’re bound to fit in. Don’t worry about not fitting in or not making friends during your time at Imperial. There is something about the Imperial experience which will enable you to form great bonds with your peers.
Imperial has a fantastic student community with literally hundreds of clubs and societies. If you’re an international student and miss home, there’s probably a society for students from your native country. If you love engineering, you can apply for the Formula one Student team. If you love workout out at the gym, IC Barbell may be the place for you! This list could go on! You can find a full list of clubs and societies here: https://www.imperialcollegeunion.org/activities/a-to-z. I made the best friends in my course.
Three: Don’t be too hard on yourself
Sometimes it’s easy to forget how great you’re doing. Imperial can be very competitive, where you are surrounded by extremely bright students all day long. Sometimes you really need to check yourself and remind yourself how great you’re doing. Don’t get too bogged down by the hard work and long hours, Imperial graduates are very employable for the exact reason that Imperial is hard. You’re doing great, keep it up!
Four: Don’t forget to have fun!
I suppose this leads on from my previous point, but don’t forget to have fun. University is the place for spontaneity and maybe a moderated amount of messing around. You’ll be studying in one of the most beautiful areas of London, with the best museums in the world as your neighbours. Try to find the time to look around and have fun before you’ve graduated! Blink and you’ll miss it.