I went to a London Met open day and actually preferred it to my uni

It really didn’t seem like the ‘worst uni in the UK’


London Met is supposed to be the worst university in the UK. But when I looked around, it was a different story.

According to the Guardian, only Bucks New University is worse than London Met, leaving 117 better alternatives in the country for applicants to choose from.

When at a top-tier university, pretentiously slagging off nearby unis with a lower league table ranking than your own (or poly-bashing, as it’s more often called) is a common pastime.

At King’s, the time spent taking the piss out of London Met is therefore at odds with the fact that the average student spends most of their waking life moaning how shit their own uni is, whether it be an exam containing dodgy information or mice running wild on campus.

Lanyard game strong

Lanyard game strong

Universities like London Met may have a lot to prove, but when I pretended to be a naïve A Level student I actually found myself envious of the down-to-earth attitude of the staff and students there.

When I arrived, I was presented with a snazzy lanyard and some free stuff: including a biro, a prospectus and some post-its. So far London Met: 1, KCL: 0.

Refreshments were on point.

Refreshments were on point

Then coffee and biscuits were showered upon us wide-eyed would-be freshers in abundance. I was loving life. Maybe I had low standards – I had come straight from a crap seminar for which I had sacked off going to Walkabout so I could prep – but I felt like London Met had won me over already.

As I awaited a campus tour, I admired the edgy, unfinished looking interior, replete with protest décor.

You could actually feel the sense of community.

You could actually feel the sense of community.

Our tour guide turned up – a shaggy-haired arty type who looked like he could have done with a few dozen Red Bulls. As we walked round, I chatted to a couple of girls, who seemed to take pity on my lack of company. One of them had her heart fixed on Brunel – “I’ll cry if I don’t get in” – and seemed to be there for the chance to wag off school with her mate.

The mate in question, Stacey*, fell more and more in love with the campus as time went on and explained that London Met was “the best place for interior and spatial design”, her chosen course. She hardly needed to explain – the projects going on looked awesome.

I don't know what this thing was but it was cool.

I don’t know what this thing was but it was cool

The tour even included a visit to their gym (a measly £6 a month, with extra classes included) and their library, in which dozens of Apple fucking Macs sat in neat rows.

“They’re free for all students to use, any time,” said Shaggy. I could feel myself growing green with envy.

Macs on Macs on Macs...

Macs on Macs on Macs

We eventually sat down for a welcome lecture with one of London Met’s resident big dogs and, while he was visibly flustered and the music of Rihanna and Zayn Malik could be heard through the thin wooden walls, what he said made London Met seem really quite appealing.

They’re more selective than you’d imagine: the uni actually interviews all potential applicants, at least in Architecture-related fields of study. Nobody I know was interviewed at King’s at all, unless they were a Medicine applicant.

10/10 free stuff action.

10/10 free stuff action

He placed a lot of emphasis on external influences: such as how the University tapped into the artistic current flowing through the Shoreditch area, the diverse and far-reaching field trips and the never-ending opportunities offered to students to set themselves up for real world employment.

While I’m sure he was exaggerating a tad, all I could think of were the number of hours of their own time many of my friends had already sunk into sourcing internships they weren’t even sure they really wanted in the first place.

Stacey was sold, but there remained a problem: living costs. Unlike the “Mummy-and-Daddy-will-pay-for-it” attitude that pervades a certain type of uni, the general assumption was that it was up to us to pay our own way: “You have money saved up for a deposit, right?” asked the accommodation officer.

A good £50 a week cheaper than Julian Markham House...

A good £50 a week cheaper than Julian Markham House

Indeed while I chatted to her about which halls I should apply for, I couldn’t help but remember the clusterfuck of non-organisation that was securing accommodation at King’s.

London Met own none of their own accommodation and do everything through private associates, although this is hardly a set-back: the cheapest accommodation was £135, which by London’s absurdly high standards isn’t too shabby at all.

Even their graffiti had more character than ours.

Even their graffiti had more character than ours

I left feeling that the shit often thrown at London Met from the lofty towers of LSE, UCL and King’s was thoroughly unjustified. It certainly didn’t feel like I’d been touring one of the worst unis in the country and I’d not even seen all of it.

When I got home, my housemate asked me the million dollar question: “But who would you rather have on your CV: King’s or London Met?” and as I thought back over my day there, I couldn’t see why it should matter.

Maybe I fell hook, line and sinker for the charade of a well-choreographed open day – but it didn’t feel that way.

*Not her real name. Nobody is called Stacey.