Student Mentor Scheme

We are very lucky to have a range of student mentors from across our year groups who will be available to you throughout the application stage and in your 1st year.

It’s your chance to ask one of our current students what life here is like. Once you are made an offer of a place, one of our student mentors will contact you via email. It’s then completely up to you what you would like to talk about.

We hope that you will get the chance to meet your mentor at one of our Department Visit Days. If you have any questions about the scheme or becoming a student mentor yourself, please contact Gail Sheldrick on 015245 94931 or email g.sheldrick@lancaster.ac.uk.

Meet our Mentors

Amy

Knowing how starting university can be really scary and having someone to talk to can be a wonderful thing, prompted Amy to want to be a mentor.

“I would like to help new chemistry students feel more comfortable within the Department. I’d like to contribute to them settling in quicker.” Amy likes the idea of being helpful to someone and having the power to make them feel a little happier. Amy believes having a fellow student answer questions gives such a great insight into the course as “it’s a viewpoint from someone who is going through it and has just gone through starting university in some cases”. It also means the answers can be more realistic.

Amy chose to do a chemistry degree as she’d had a keen interest in science and mathematics from a young age but it took her a while to finally decide on chemistry. “The transition to finding something I was passionate about wasn’t particularly easy, but in the end what clinched the decision actually lay in the tutors I’ve had along the way. I found their enthusiasm for the subject to be inspiring. It encouraged me to research the subject and its applications for myself.”

UK Top Ten institution

For Amy, the appeal of Lancaster was the fact it was a UK top ten institution. However, she was most impressed by the close-knit feel of the Chemistry Department that was so obvious when she’d visited. “As the Department is so small, it makes it feel more familiar and friendly – it’s nice when tutors recognise you from class, something you might not get from a larger department.”

Amy loves how challenging the course is and the fact they are constantly being pushed to do their best. “My favourite element is the learning and problem solving – being given coursework to spend time working on and practising.” Amy also likes being made to feel comfortable with the tutors as they allow their students to ask questions to aid their understanding.

Of the social scene at the University, Amy is very impressed that there is something for everyone because there are so many societies to choose from. She also likes the fact it’s also easy to find a great group of friends even outside societies and clubs. “I would say keeping social is very important to separate yourself from constant studies, as at times it can be overwhelming.”

Through studying at Lancaster, Amy has gained massively in confidence, something which she’s always struggled with. She’s also gained time management skills as the workload can be heavy at times. The skills learnt in the first year have really helped Amy manage everything efficiently in the second year.

Idyllic campus setting

Amy believes that Lancaster was the best choice she ever made. “The campus setting is idyllic and the Department is excellent. I can’t imagine a faculty being any better.” For Amy, it is the friendliness of the Department which really impresses her. “It’s so comforting to have the majority of tutors stopping for a chat, being so approachable and making you feel like an equal.” Amy is also impressed with the facilities within the Department which she says are “first class!” She’s also impressed with how immaculate the labs are and also likes the study areas which are lovely and quiet to get some work done.

Choosing a university was quite stressful for Amy and she actually ended up in clearing where she says she “definitely landed on her feet with Lancaster University”. Her biggest piece of advice would be to get organised early and make absolutely sure that the universities you choose as your top choices are definitely right for you.

If you’re going to choose chemistry, Amy says, “It’s worth it”. At the beginning of her first term, she remembers feeling very overwhelmed and felt that everybody knew so much more than her. “It was quite intimidating but even after a week, you soon realise everyone is in the same boat and the understanding does come”. Although chemistry is considered a challenging degree, Amy believes if the passion for science/learning is there, then pushing through the trickier spots will happen. “And for every module, you don’t think you like, there is at least two more that you find great!”

Eleanor

Knowing how a mentor helped Eleanor find university more personal led her to take on the role so she can help answer questions and concerns to help a student make the right decision.

“I found the mentor scheme a useful platform to use when I was deciding which university to accept as you can gain more knowledge of the university as a whole and not just about the Chemistry Department.”

Eleanor also believes it provides the opportunity to get a feel of the atmosphere at Lancaster with the ease of communicating by email.

Eleanor decided to study for a chemistry degree as she found the topics covered at A-level interesting and enjoyed learning new concepts about how and why things work the way they do. “As a first year, I am enjoying building on my basic knowledge of chemistry to develop a wide array of skills that can be transferable into other aspects of life.”

High ratings of student satisfaction

Eleanor was very impressed with how highly Lancaster University is rated within the UK academic rankings. She also liked the exceptionally high ratings of student satisfaction in other areas such as accommodation and the social environment.

Eleanor enjoys the fact that there are always lots of social activities open for all students to be involved with and that different colleges are open to suggestions about new events and activities. She believes there are events to suit different personalities and needs so everyone gets a chance to socialise and do something they enjoy.

Of her course, Eleanor believes her written communication skills have developed so that she can write in a way that is accepted in the scientific community. Her degree has also taught her how to work independently to problem solve and given her the confidence to ask for help when she needs it.

High student to staff ratio

Eleanor is particularly impressed with one of the main benefits of studying chemistry at Lancaster which is the high student to staff ratio. “With smaller class sizes, lecturers are more likely to get to know you on a more personal level, and they are also more likely to have the time available for you to go seek help and guidance with the lecture work. It also makes the staff more approachable and so you can go and see them with any issues you are having and they will point you in the right direction.”

Her advice to students choosing a university is to pick a subject that they are going to enjoy studying and can see themselves pursuing a career in. Eleanor also advises picking a university which is in a convenient location and which is in a place that suits as there is plenty of opportunities to go and visit friends at other universities wherever they may be.

“My advice to students wanting to study chemistry is to stay on top of the deadlines and enjoy the practical aspect of the course.”

Lewis

Lewis wanted to become a mentor because he wants students to have a more informed decision about the university they want to study at and the course they want to do.

“During my first and second year, I've learnt lots of things about the course that I had no idea about when I myself, applied to chemistry. I hope to use my experiences to help prospective students make a more informed decision that Lancaster and even chemistry is the right choice for them." Lewis acknowledges that going to university is a big decision and when he was applying he would have found it invaluable to have had a mentor to ask questions.

Lewis believes that new students will learn more about university by being able to share the first-hand experience with a current student. “I will be able to explain and help the student understand what the course entails and what the university has to offer them. Hopefully, my input will help them make the best decision for them on what and where to study.”

Chemistry is a subject which Lewis is passionate about, “finding it both challenging and interesting at A-Level”. Lewis felt that it would be a great subject to study at university, particularly as a STEM subject it will offer him plenty of employment options after graduation. “I felt it would open plenty of doors when I left university.”

Best accommodation

Lewis is originally from Lancaster and therefore knew the university very well from school and sixth form visits. “The campus itself is lovely and the accommodation was the best I had seen from a university.” Lewis is also very impressed with the refurbished chemistry facilities which look “brilliant”. It was all of these factors together which made Lewis want to come to Lancaster.

Of the course, Lewis, along with many other students, is particularly enjoying the practical lab sessions which he finds “really engaging”. It is through the practical application that Lewis believes his understanding is developing and which he doesn’t feel would be so developed if a more lecture led approach was taken. 

Lewis enjoys the best of both worlds when it comes to his social life – enjoying all that Lancaster town has to offer as well as all the year round events on campus. “There are clubs and societies for everyone giving everyone plenty of opportunities to meet new people and do something new.”

Problem-solving skills

Lewis has found that his chemistry skills have progressed a long way since joining Lancaster. He now finds himself completing tasks and solving problems that would have appeared daunting just over a year ago. He has also seen a big change in his personal development, “Being at university, in general, has helped me mature as a person and become more confident.”

Friendly and happy to help

Lewis is thoroughly enjoying his time on campus and speaks very highly of his experience. “The facilities in the chemistry building and life on campus enhance the entire experience. All of the staff, academic and otherwise, are always friendly and happy to help.”

For students to make a success of university Lewis is adamant that they should try and find out as much about the university as possible and the courses on offer in order to choose the best option for them. “I've heard from some students that some courses have not turned out how they imagined so it is vitally important to do some research prior to applying.”

Lewis recognises that although the Chemistry degree is difficult it also has many benefits. “The course is very challenging but at the same time very rewarding. There is plenty of contact time so students will be very busy during the day.” Lewis also emphasises that it is imperative to apply yourself to your studies. “Hard work and dedication is a must in order to get the best out of the course. The staff are supportive and always happy to set time aside to help students who need it.”

Emily

Having had a lot of questions about studying at Lancaster, Emily wanted to be a mentor so she could be there to help someone in a similar situation. She feels that her experiences will help new students feel less overwhelmed.

“As an A-level student, I had many questions about the course I wanted to study at Lancaster. Having a mentor while I was applying to university would have been extremely helpful when making a decision.” Emily says, “I think that by talking to someone who has been through the application process and knows how stressful it can be to choose a university and a course would be extremely helpful to ensure that the process doesn’t become overwhelming.”

Emily chose to study Chemistry at degree level because she really enjoyed chemistry at A-level. She is passionate about chemistry as “it is the most interesting science”. Emily says, “The practical side of the degree really appealed to me.”

Lancaster’s Collegiate System Appeal

After visiting the University on an open day, Emily was particularly impressed with the Collegiate system. “When I came on an open day, I loved the campus and I really liked the idea of the collegiate system at Lancaster”.

Mixing with friends in her college and through her participation in societies meant Emily quickly got into student life at the university. “There are so many different societies that you can join at Lancaster and the collegiate system allows you to make friends within your college really easily.”

Teamwork and Problem-Solving Skills

Through the design and delivery of her course, Emily has developed a range of skills which she fully believes will benefit her future career. “Working in pairs in practical sessions has allowed me to develop my team working and problem-solving skills.” Emily also feels that by learning to balance her social and academic life without feeling overwhelmed, has enabled her to develop her organisation and time management skills.

Emily is particularly enjoying the practical side of the course in the lab sessions because she believes it allows her to apply her knowledge to the lectures, which really helps her understanding of the course.

Lecturers always on hand

Emily enjoys the small group sizes in the Chemistry Department which mean the staff know who you are and the lecturers are always ready to provide help when you need it.

To prospective students, Emily encourages using every opportunity to find out as much about the University as possible. She says; “Research all your options before deciding on a course and a university. Make sure you attend as many open days as you can, as visiting a university before applying can ensure that you choose the one that is right for you.” And very importantly Emily finishes by saying, “Also, be sure that you love the course you are applying for.”

Ryan

Ryan decided to be a student mentor as he enjoys helping people and sees it as a way to give something back to the Department which has done so much for him already.

“Being mentored will help a student settle in better as they can talk freely to another student.”

Ryan chose to study chemistry as it was the only subject through school which made him want to learn. He was also impressed with the chemistry building redevelopments and “the staff across the campus seemed friendly”.

Of the course, Ryan likes the way the lab and lecturing teaching styles compliment each other. Ryan says;” I particularly enjoy the long lab hours.” He also likes the fact that learning things in lectures can then be applied in the labs.

Plenty to be done

Ryan is enjoying his time at Lancaster and feels there is something for everyone. “It's as social as you want it to be, there's plenty to be done across the town for any type of person.”

Fantastic teaching staff

From his chemistry degree, Ryan believes he is developing and improving his skills. ”My communication skills have come a long way since coming to the university, as well as improving my time management due to a hectic chemistry timetable.” He also sees improvements through his participation in a range of sports.

For Ryan, the benefits of studying at Lancaster are the “fantastic teaching staff”.  He’s impressed that they are willing to listen to any problems you might have and that they respond quickly. 

Ryan’s advice to students choosing where to study is “to pick somewhere that you feel is right for you, not right for your friends or family”.

He is also passionate about studying the Chemistry degree saying;” Go for it, Chemistry is a massively interesting and rewarding degree, but the hours are long, so be prepared.”

Naomi

After finding it a big change going to university, Naomi hopes that her role as a student mentor will help put other new students at ease by passing on her experience.

“I chose to be a student mentor as I know how coming to university can be such a big change and at times a bit overwhelming as it is hard to know what to expect.” By being a student mentor, Naomi hopes to be able to offer advice to students in order to help them settle in quicker and get the most out of their university experience.

Naomi is keen not to overwhelm new students and feels the way to help a student is by being aware of their needs. “By just allowing them to feel more comfortable, knowing that they will always have someone to go to with any issues, will help make university seem that little bit less daunting.” Naomi sees her role as providing support in a number of areas. “Help can be given which is directly linked to the course such as advising them about the coursework or the labs they will have, or it could just be to do with the general university lifestyle.”

Naomi is studying chemistry as part of the Natural Sciences degree; a programme that is offered to high-achieving students and teaches up to three degree-level science and technology subjects in a three-year initiative. She feels by studying her degree in this way she will have a wide range of areas she could go into once she has finished her degree.

Campus atmosphere

Naomi is enjoying her time at Lancaster and puts it down to the vibrancy of the campus and her mix of friends. “The thing I love most about Lancaster is the campus atmosphere. With everyone being in one place it is easy to meet lots of people and form a group of friends. “

Naomi is also enjoying her studies and finding out about the career options when she finishes university.

Of the social life in Lancaster, Naomi says there is lots going on and of the University, she particularly enjoys the wide variety of societies on offer. She is also impressed with the number of events held on campus every week. “With everyone being on campus during the day it means that when you go on a night out you are guaranteed to bump into people you know.”

Time management

Naomi recognises that as well as the actual science skills she is being taught on her course, she is also benefitting in lots of other ways. “With the large amount of coursework that you get every week and all the deadlines that you have to meet, this course has taught me to manage my time in the best way possible. This didn’t come straight away, but after the first term most people seem to find a routine that works for them.” Naomi also believes her communication skills have improved and that she has made lots of friends that she can study and socialise with.

Top 10 University

Naomi is impressed by the fact that Lancaster University is a top ten university as she believes that the reputation of the University will stand her in good stead in the employment market. “Lancaster also has a great atmosphere for you to study and is very good at making you feel at home. “

Naomi’s advice to prospective students is to be confident in your decision as she doesn’t believe you’ll go far wrong if you do your research. “Look at the league tables briefly for the course that you want to study and use this as a rough guide, but then after that think more about the lifestyle you want when you are there. Look at the accommodation, the nightlife, if it is a city university and the student satisfaction rate.” When Naomi thinks about the highlights of her university life so far it’s all about the people that she’s met during her studies. “Obviously you will not know this before you go to university and so I would say choose a university that you think will suit you, try and make the most of your time there and you will enjoy it.” Naomi also advises students to think carefully about the subjects that you want to study and have a plan about what you want to do in future years. And if you’re not sure then just ask the Department staff are really friendly and always willing to help.

Lewis

Lewis has chosen to be a mentor as he believes providing help and advice will be useful to new students. Not only will it help his skills but it will also benefit the students.

“I would have found it useful if the mentor scheme had been implemented when I started my degree and so I think new students will really benefit from it.” Lewis also believes that having real students answer questions will be more beneficial and it will also help new students to settle in more quickly and to feel at home.

Lewis chose to study a chemistry degree as he found chemistry really enjoyable and interesting during his second year of college and wanted to carry on learning about it.

Brilliant chemistry facilities

Lewis is very impressed by the Lancaster University campus especially as everything is close at hand. He is particularly impressed with the Chemistry Department facilities which he says are “brilliant”. Lewis also found the chemistry staff to be really friendly and approachable which is another reason he is enjoying his time at Lancaster so much.

Having a wide range of societies and clubs that you can join also appeals to Lewis as “there is something for everyone”. He also enjoys the variety of social life living near a city involves. “There are lots of pubs and clubs in town as well if you like a night out.”

Further developing knowledge

Lewis is passionate about chemistry and in his degree, he is enjoying developing the concepts he learnt at A-Level. He is also finding the practical sessions very stimulating. “The lab sessions are really enjoyable and it’s great to be able to put the concepts we learn into practice.”

Lewis has also seen improvements in a number of other areas, “My problem solving, mathematical and writing skills have really improved since starting my degree. I have also become more confident and independent and the amount of work I have had to do has made me focus a lot more on time management.”

Of the recent £26 million refurbishments, Lewis feels the resources are really benefiting his learning. “I can analyse my own product after a lab session in quite a lot of detail, something that I could never do at college.” Since joining the Department he has seen it develop massively with new practical and computer labs and better analysis equipment. He is also very impressed with the quality of teaching which is “really good”.

For students looking to go to university Lewis’s advice is simple, “Choose a place that suits you and has the exact course that you want to do.” He is also keen that you do the right thing for you, not for other people. “Don’t just pick a university because your friends are going there.”

Abigail

Knowing how daunting starting university was for herself inspired Abigail to want to be a mentor so she could be there to help.

“I became a mentor to try and help out any students who may be nervous about the transition to university, both academically and as a complete change in lifestyle and independence.” 

Abigail came to university not knowing anybody and believes that having correspondence with somebody who had been through what she was about to go through would have been very comforting. “I think being given opinions and advice from someone who has recently experienced what you’re about to experience is invaluable. You can have all the information you like from university staff (as friendly and welcoming as they are), but someone of your own age is a lot more relatable and approachable.”

Abigail chose to do a Chemistry degree because she enjoyed it at school. “Both my teachers were so enthusiastic about the subject that it made me enthusiastic about and therefore develop a greater interest in it.”

Community feel

For Abigail, she instantly knew when she visited the University that she wanted to come here. “All universities show you their best assets in a prospectus and look wonderful but I definitely felt that Lancaster was the university for me when I came to visit. I love the campus, community feel, collegiate (family!) system and of course the brand new Chemistry building!”

Abigail is a third-year student who is continuing to enjoy her modules. “I’m excited to start my group project and all the members of staff are really friendly and approachable.”

Get involved

Of the social side of the university, Abigail says there is so much on offer that she’d have loved to have got involved with everything – but it’s just not possible! However, joining a sports team “was one of the best things I did at the university as it expanded my social circle and got me involved in things I never thought I’d do!” Abigail also likes the campus feel of the University as there are lots of social areas - her personal favourites are County Diner and Fylde Bar.

Abigail has really enjoyed her time at Lancaster as she feels she has changed so much as a person since coming to university. “I am more independent, forward thinking, my communication skills have improved as well as my time management and independent learning. I have also improved my cooking and housekeeping skills, fitness and living on a budget!”

Incredible lecturers

Abigail definitely feels she has benefitted from studying at Lancaster as she is being taught by incredible lecturers and has access to brand new labs, equipment and cutting-edge research.  “There are lots of opportunities outside of term time to gain more experience and I took advantage of this in summer by undertaking a research project through an internship at the University and conducting preliminary studies in a new area of research.” 

Her advice for a new student is to choose something you can see yourself doing for three years. “Do something you enjoy as you’ll enjoy it so much more and probably do better in your studies!” If you’re unsure about what subject to study or are torn between two, she suggests taking advantage of Lancaster’s minor system and try them both in the first year. With regards to where to study, she would obviously recommend Lancaster from personal experience but stresses that you need to go the place that you feel most comfortable, and where you feel you will excel. “If you’re unsure, visit the universities, speak to students there, get all the information you can get before making a commitment.”

Abigail believes the cost of an incredible degree from a top university is a lot of hard work however, you are not alone. “There are so many support systems in place in the Department, the Students Union and the University. I would encourage anyone who is thinking of applying for chemistry to go for it, it’s such an enjoyable degree and the Department is so friendly and helpful and it’s the best decision I ever made!”

Daniel

Recalling his early days as a new student, Daniel hopes that he can help others benefit from our student mentor scheme. “I became a mentor as soon as I realised how useful they can be, and now I want to give someone else the chance to have a mentor,” he says.

Daniel is happy to help others who are currently making the transition that he’d previously experienced himself. “I want to help new students settle in quickly and easily, as a big change like starting university can be daunting,” he explains.

Friendly and inviting

Sharing his own reasons for his study choices, Daniel remembers enjoying his chemistry lessons at school and says: “it allows you into so many pathways for the future.”

Daniel praises Lancaster campus for its “friendly and inviting” atmosphere, and has found the Chemistry Department to be particularly supportive. “I like the campus as it makes you feel part of the University, and I feel like I can always get help in chemistry when I need it. I’m also really enjoying the lab work, which is something I may never have done outside a degree,” he adds.

Skills and advice

Daniel has developed an academic and social skillset since starting his Chemistry degree. “I’ve learnt to do lab reports like a chemist, and have become a more outgoing person thanks to my co-curricular activities,” he says.

Proud to be part of a top 10 University, Daniel’s advice for prospective students is to visit all their options in order to “get a feel for what each university is like”. He also encourages others to “choose a course that you enjoy to make those 9am starts more comfortable”.