Posted by sthomas on March 20, 2017 1:48 pm

I sat down with my subject area leader, Dr Michael O’Grady to talk about the teaching at Huddersfield University. Each video covers a different aspect of teaching at the University.

Teaching Qualifications of Staff

Teaching Hours

Industry Lead Sessions

Support Offered

If you have any questions about the teaching at Huddersfield University please feel free to leave a comment below.

– Sophie :)

Posted by sthomas on March 10, 2017 3:03 pm

As part of your University application, you may be required to put together a portfolio to showcase the work you’ve already done and to display your skills. Depending on the course you’re applying for will determine what type of portfolio you’ll need to produce. For Web and Computing courses like mine (Web Technologies) the expected type of portfolio is a website that shows different types of work within that area.

As part of some of my University applications, I had to put together a portfolio to showcase the skills I had within the IT/Web area. As I hadn’t created a portfolio before I wasn’t quite sure what was meant to be on one. After some thought, I created a simple portfolio website that showcased the graphic designs I’d done and websites I’d developed. When designing the website I decided to make it fully responsive, which means all the elements span the full width of the page and can adapt to any size screen making it more accessible and readable, as this showed that I was aware that most people browse the web on smaller devices such as tablets and smartphones. The format in which I showcased my work was in an image gallery, this meant that the screenshots of the work were the sole focus of the website. As well as using the images on the website to showcase my skills, I also coded the website myself using HTML, CSS and JavaScript.


As my portfolio was a static website it didn’t take much time to create. If I’m remembering correctly it only took a few day to complete. The hardest part was deciding what pieces of work should go on the website.

Looking back I don’t think I got much support in the creation of the portfolio website, which was mainly down to me not asking my tutors for help or to look over it. Now though, I think I should have asked some of my tutors for help as they would have been able advise me of what I should put on it and they would have given me feedback on the design and content within the portfolio.

To make my portfolio stand out above other people’s I tried to include a mixed of things to show my versatility and that I could do a variety of tasks. Other thing’s I did was made it responsive and very image focused.

Personally, I think putting together a portfolio can be difficult. Deciding what should be included is a big decision and if I could go back in time I would add more content around the different projects I’d worked rather than just displaying pictures. I think this would give the person looking at it a better idea of what was actually involved in the project.

I have put together a few tips for those that need to create a portfolio.

Tip 1

Display only your best work (quality rather than quantity).

Tip 2

Don’t worry about how you create and display your portfolio, focus on the content.

Tip 3

Get as much feedback from your tutors on the design of the portfolio and content within it.

I hope this helps if you need to create a portfolio for your University application. If you have any questions about portfolios feel free to comment them below.

– Sophie :)

Posted by sthomas on February 24, 2017 10:57 am

Budgeting can be one of the hardest things to do when coming to university and as each year goes by it doesn’t get easier. In my first year I actually budgeted really well and managed to keep to my weekly budget on most weeks. I only went over if I had to replace something that was expensive. However, this year I’ve not done so well but then my student finance did go down by about £2000. Luckily though, through my own savings and money given by Grandparents each month and the money from my job I’ve managed to stay out of my overdraft.

Making your loan last

Making your student loan last can be tricky especially if this is the first time you’ve had to make big money decisions. The biggest tip I can give in making your student loan last is to not spend it all at once or spend it on non-essential items before paying your rent or buying your food shopping, paying your bills. Prioritising how you spend money is key to keeping out of your overdraft. For example, if you low on money rather than going out stay in and put that money you would have spent towards your rent or food shopping.

Budgeting on a night out

Going out is definitely one of the things that consumes a lot of my money but it is possible to have a night out on the cheap if you plan ahead. To keep the money they spend on a night out to a minimum a lot of students have pre-drink before going out. I always having a few drinks before heading out because buying alcohol from the shops are much cheaper than at a bar or club. As well as this, make you take advantage of bar and club offers. Most clubs offer cheaper entry and drinks if you get there before a certain time (usually midnight) and some days are much cheaper to go out than other so make sure you do a bit of research before heading out.


Discounts and student deals

Student discounts are another great way to save money. Many shops and restaurants offer students discounts, so before buying always enquire whether they do. You’ll also see the student discount book appear around your student accommodation a few times a year. Pick one up as these have fantastic offers such as the £1.99 McDonalds meals!

You could also save money by purchasing an NUS Card or a Railcard if you travel a lot.

Services that can help if you’re struggling

If you are struggling financially don’t suffer in silence. There people that can help. Check out these two websites for more information.

NUS: Where do I go for help if I’m in financial difficulty?

Hardship Funds (GOV.UK)

giphy (1)

Budgeting tools and app

There are plenty of budgeting tools and apps available if you are wanting to track what money is going where. To keep track of how much money I am spending where I use a spreadsheet I created myself. This allows me to see if I’ve stayed in budget or not. It’s really a personal choice of what and if you use tools and apps to manage your money.

Just to end, I wouldn’t worry too much about your student loan as I know quite a few people who are receiving very low student loans who are managing to pay their rent, buy food and go out.

I hope this blog post has helped you when it comes to budgeting on a student loan. If you have any questions about budgeting please feel free to comment them below and if you want to find out more about student loans visit the Student Finance website.

– Sophie :)


Posted by sthomas on February 7, 2017 9:28 pm

Choosing a course is one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make when completing your University application. This is because each course within the subject area may have a different course title and the course content varies greatly across different universities.

When I was looking into what course I wanted to do I used the Which University website and used their search feature which allows you to search using keywords, for me I searched for courses relating to web design. From the results I then compared the course content which I found through the specific university websites. After narrowing down the search I applied to three courses which fitted in with what I wanted to do.

Choosing a course how I made my decision (resized)

After applying I signed up to Open Days and Applicant Days to get a better insight into the what the course content had to offers, what the tutors were like and what the university was like as a whole.

When thinking back to the time I was making decision of which course I wanted to do a lot of what influenced my decision was what modules I’d be studying across the 3 years. I wanted a variety of design and code modules to give me a wider overall knowledge of web design. My parents also helped my decision. My Dad took me to various different university Open Days and my Mum helped me with making pros and cons lists of the courses I was considering.

When coming to my final decision I took everything into consideration, from the course content to the actual surrounding areas of where the university was located. Doing this gave me a better idea of where I actually wanted to study for the next 3 years whilst doing a course relating to the web design industry.

Now that I’m half-way through my second year of the course I really feel that I made the right decision as I’m learning a variety of coding languages and gaining a vast amount of design knowledge.

If you have any questions about choosing a course feel free to comment them below.

– Sophie :)

Posted by sthomas on February 6, 2017 11:13 am

I entered higher education through doing a BTEC course at college and decided to go to university straight after graduating from college. I did look into doing a Foundation Degree and HND’s but preferred having the option to move away from home and my results were good enough to not need to do a Foundation Degree. The BTEC I did was called BTEC Extended Diploma in Information Technology which consisted of 18 units that were completed over a two years of the course. Each unit was worth a certain amount of UCAS points which is used by Universities when selecting applicants for the course on offer.

Doing a BTEC over something like A-Levels really suited the way in which I learn as I am more hands on and I really stuck at exams. I enjoyed doing a BTEC as it gave me a great mixture of theory based and practical sessions.

Routes into HE (resized)

After getting my first year results through and being persuaded by my tutors I applied to a few universities. As my results were good and I was expected to come out with a high grade I only really took into consideration where the university was and the course content when applying.

Throughout the two years I was aware of the amount of UCAS points I was expected to come out with as the tutors provided us with a Grade Tracker which allowed us to put in the grades from each assignment and it would output the UCAS points you’ve got from that. Having this tool was really helpful in knowing what grades I needed to get in each assignment to get on certain courses.

No matter what route you’ve taken, BTEC, A-Level or Foundation Degree my biggest advice is to not worry and stress about your grades as there are plenty of options available.

If you have any questions about routes into higher education please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

– Sophie :)

Posted by sthomas on January 2, 2017 2:50 pm

In today’s blog post I’m flipping the coin again and finding out what my dad thought about me going to University. I called him and asked 8 questions on the topic of universities, open days and accommodation.

Sophie: Hi Dad, thanks for taking the time to do this quick interview. Firstly, how did you feel about me going to University?

Dad: Predominantly proud and a little bit surprised as you hadn’t been thinking about going for the most part.

Sophie: What information did you want to know about the Universities I was applying to?

Dad: I wanted to find out the pretty much the same information as you. The most important thing was if the course content was suitable, enjoyable and that there wasn’t any Maths or a big emphasis on Maths. From a parent point of view I wanted to know how safe and secure the University and from an academic point of view how much support is given to the students.

Sophie: How did you support me in choosing my course and University?

Dad: To support you with choosing the course and University I took you to open days which allowed you to look around and gain more information about the course you’ll be studying for the next 3 to 4 years. Whilst at these open days I tried to get you to engage in conversation with current students and lecturers to find out more about the way in which the course is taught. Finally, I sat down with you after attending an open day to grasp an idea of what you thought about that course and University.

Sophie: What information did you most want to know when attending an open day with me?

Dad: When attending an open day with you I wanted to make sure that the course content was suitable and to see what the general feel of the University was. As well as this, I wanted to see what the surrounding areas and accommodation was like.

Sophie: What were your thoughts on how the University of Huddersfield Open Day we attended was run?

Dad: From what I remember I feel as though it was run really well. The information given was useful and they were excellent at selling the placement year and their own placement team as well as the course as a whole. I also found the student ambassadors really helpful in answering questions and finding out about other accommodation in Huddersfield that is closer to the University.

University of Huddersfield

Sophie: What information did you most want to know about the student accommodation?

Dad: In terms of accommodation, I wanted to know how close it was to the University and local amenities. I also wanted to make sure that the place you’ll be living in was secure and that there was someone on site 24/7 just in case of an emergency. As well as this, I wanted to find out what facilities were available for you to use, the price and contract length.

Sophie: Now that I have been away at university for over a year do you feel that it has been beneficial for me?


Dad: I do believe so as you’ve certainly come out of your shell and have been more social than I’ve seen you be. You also seem to have adapted to the work load as you won an award at the end of last year.

Sophie: Before I end, is there anything you’d like to add?

Dad: “From my point of view, you have really settled in well. Huddersfield and you have undoubtedly been a good fit. After speaking with your lectures at the end of year awards they all spoke highly of you which reassures me that you going to University was the right decision for you.

Before I end this post I want to say a final thank you to my Dad for taking the time out to answer these questions. I hope this helps a few of you who are looking into university.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below or tweet me @sthomasuk. Remember to use the hashtag #hudunilife!

– Sophie :)

Posted by sthomas on December 21, 2016 10:56 am

In this episode of Society Spotlight we took a trip to the Leisure Centre to take part in the Thai Boxing Society. I’m already a part of the society so I wasn’t nervous as I knew what I was doing.

Because of my experience in Thai Boxing I was on the pads while Mike (the President) showed Molly two combinations.

Take a look and see how Molly got on and find about more about the Thai Boxing Society in our video!

For more information about the Thai Boxing Society visit their page.

Be sure to tune in regularly to our Society Spotlight blog and visit our YouTube channel for more videos.

If you have any questions about the Thai Boxing Society or have a society you want us to cover then leave them in the comments below.

– Sophie :)

Posted by sthomas on December 16, 2016 9:47 am

Christmas is just a few weeks away and I cannot wait! I especially love the food at Christmas, just thinking about it is making me hungry. This year I am spending Christmas with my Mum, which will be a nice little change as for the past two years I’ve spend Christmas at my Dad’s.

The plan is to go down on the train around the 21st December as I’ll be staying in Huddersfield to get a little bit of work done before going away for my Christmas break. On the Friday we’ll be seeing the rest of the family on my Mum’s side. I’m really looking forward to seeing them as I don’t get a chance to that often.

On Christmas day my Mum will be doing her amazing Christmas feast. I am really looking forward to having a prawn cocktail and a selection of three meats. In between eating we will open presents, play on Wii and play some classic board games (I’ve requested Frustration).

After Christmas, around the 27th December I’ll be back on the train travelling down to see my Dad. I’ll be spending a few days down with him before coming back to Huddersfield to celebrate New Year with my friends.


My Mum has already been busy preparing for Christmas. The decorations are up and she’s started buying all the Christmas nibbles. Apparently she’s now running out of cupboard space.

I am really looking forward to Christmas and seeing my family. What are your plans for Christmas? Let me know in the comments below.

– Sophie :)

Posted by sthomas on December 14, 2016 12:50 pm

Even though we all have to attend lectures student life is very different for everyone. As I’m a Web Technologies student the majority of my time is spent in front of a computer screen. To give you more of an insight into what my student life is like I’m going to be sharing what I got up to the week commencing the 28th November.

Monday 28th November


Alarm goes off and I instantly reach for my phone to turn it off it. To wake myself up I check through social media. Before getting ready to leave for University I eat my usual breakfast of toast and a cup of tea. At 11am I leave my flat and do the very short walk to University.

11:15am – 1:15pm

I arrive to my first lecture of the day which is for our Individual Project. This module gives you complete freedom over what you want to do and how you spend your time. I actually didn’t do any work for Individual Project and instead applied for a few placement jobs and caught up with my course mates and discuss different pieces of work we had done and still got to do.


Once the lecture had finished I headed home to work on my Visual Design assignment. I looked through the feedback I’d been given last week and set out creating a new template screen on Adobe Photoshop. This had all the elements that would be used on every screen and all the heading fonts and sizes on. I checked that the sizes of the elements on the template screen were easily readable by putting them on Marvel, which is a prototyping tool.



After I’d finished the template screen I ate lunch. Today I decided on a chicken and mushroom Pot Noodle. I then quickly wash my pots and walked back to University.

3:15pm – 5:15pm

I arrived back at University for my last two classes of the day. The first is a seminar and the final one is a lecture for Web Design and Programming. The topic for both of these were on user authentication which involved looking at web Cookies and Sessions to store user details securely.


I got back from University and put my tea on straight away as I was starving. I had burgers with bacon, pigs in blankets, duck spring rolls and cheesy chips.

6:30pm onward

After tea I spent the rest of the evening chilling out watching Netflix, chatting with my friends and watching I’m a Celeb!

Wednesday 30th November


Woke up naturally as Wednesday’s are my day off and time to catch up on sleep. I checked social media, ate breakfast and got dressed before leaving the flat to go to the Placement Drop-in Session.

1:30pm – 4pm

Went to the placement unit to get two of my covering letters I’d written approved before sending them off. As the placement unit was extremely busy I started going through the Warner Bros online application whilst I waited. After a bit of a wait I had my covering letters checked. It needed a few slight changes but I got some really good advice and they also helped me with the Warner Bros application I’d started.

4pm – 4:50pm

I went shopping straight from the placement unit for my weekly shop. I brought all sorts of items to keep me stocked up for another week. I spent more than I wanted to and the bags were really heavy making the walk back the flat very uncomfortable and tiring.

5pm – 6pm

After putting my shopping away I sat down back at my PC and continued working on my Visual Design assignment. I created a few more screens, making small but good progress with the assignment.


Tea was finally cooked. I sat down while watching Netflix and ate my sausages and cheesy chips.


After washing my pot I started get ready for this week’s Thai Boxing social. The theme this week was Baywatch/Lifeguard’s. I had and shower, got in my outfit which was my red lifeguard top and white shorts and had a few cans of cider before heading out to meet everyone.

8:45pm onwards

The rest of the night was spent with the Thai Boxing society going round our usual route of bars and clubs. We ended up in Tokyo where S Club were performing. We were given a VIP booth (not sure who got us it) and we were right next to Bradley and JoJo. We managed to get pictures with Bradley and had an amazing view from the VIP booth of them performing. It was a really good night with my friends.



Friday 2nd December


Woke up to the sound of my alarm which made me jump as I was extremely tired that morning. I don’t think I slept very well. I got out of bed, after checking social media, and ate my breakfast which was again toast and a cup of tea. I then got ready to go to work.

8:45am – 3:10pm

I arrived at University for the start of my shift. I was working as a Student Ambassador for the Open Day. Throughout the day I was there on hand helping the members of staff with the talks and tours and making sure people were going to the right rooms.

3:15pm – 3:45pm

Went into town straight after work to get some presents for family. Managed to get four presents but after getting back to my flat I noticed one was damaged so I need to go back at some point and see if I can get it changed.

4pm – 5pm

Before having my tea I continued to work on my Visual Design assignment and created a few more screens.


Tonight’s tea was left over pizza from the previous night and potato wedges.

6:20pm – 8pm

After my tea and getting into my gym gear I walked to University to meet Molly. We then walked up to the Leisure Centre as we were filming the second episode of Society Spotlight. This consisted of us interviewing the captain of the Boxing society and then actually giving it a go.



After filming this, I stayed for training. Tonight’s training was dedicated solely to sparring. It was really tough and I got hit in the face quite a bit. It was a great session though and I really enjoyed it.

8:30pm – 10pm

Got back to flat just in time to watch I’m a Celeb with Lauren (my friend).

10pm onwards

Watched rubbish on TV and chatted with Lauren till we were both tired.


I hope this has given you a good insight into what life at University is like. Like I said, student life is different for everyone so make sure you look at my fellow bloggers post to get a sense of what student life is like for them too!

If you have any questions feel free to comment them down below or tweet me @sthomasuk with the #hudunilife

– Sophie :)

Posted by sthomas on November 28, 2016 3:46 pm

In and around Huddersfield there are plenty of places to grab a drink whether you are just wanting a quite drink or wanting to stay out all night.



There are two great nightclubs in Huddersfield, Camel Club and Tokyo, both of which are located in the town which is only a short walk from the University.

Camel Club is open 5 days a week’s offering a different theme each night as well as special events such as fancy dress and their Silent Disco. In addition to this they also have guest DJ’s and a cash give away of £250 every Monday. Camel Club also offers a membership card which allows you to queue jump, get cheaper entry and drinks.

Tokyo is open 4 days a week and offers 4 different rooms with different styles of music for you to dance to. Tokyo often holds events with guest stars such as Professor Green, Tinchy Stryder and most recently Example. Tokyo’s newest event Made in the 90’s is held every Wednesday and provides students with some great deals throughout the night such as 90p entry (before 1am), 90p on selected drinks (before 1am), 90p pizza and 90p shots.

Pubs & Bars

In Huddersfield there are plenty of pubs and bars to choose from that can suit everyone’s taste. Whether you’re just wanting a bite to eat, a few drinks with friends or wanting to start your night early before heading to a nightclub. A few student favourites include Warehouse, Weatherspoon’s, Mavericks 80’s Lounge, Revolution, Rock Café, Parish Pub and Five Bar.

Close by

If all that wasn’t enough Halifax, Leeds and Manchester are all in close proximity. Here’s a few student favourites:

In Halifax there are two great night spots Acapulco Nightclub and Maggie’s Bar.

For a night out in a big city why not try Leeds? A few favourites are Mint ClubThe Space and PRYZM. There’s also the famous Call Lane, a street full of bars and pubs which has a little something for everyone.

Manchester is renowned for its nightlife. A few of its best bars and clubs are ARKThe BirdcageFifth Nightclub and 42’s Nightclub.

As you can see from the list above there are plenty of places to go for a night out to suit everyone’s taste. If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment below.

– Sophie :)