Early Years University students fundraising in the refectory at West Kent College

Your Student Experience

Whatever your study programme, personal needs and interests, we're focused on giving you a positive student experience from your initial interest right through until your graduation and beyond.

Freshers' Week

From the first day you arrive to study with us, you having a great experience is our number one priority. Our Freshers' Week includes social events that will help you meet and get to know other University students. All undergraduate students are invited to all events and activities across the Hadlow Group.

To welcome you at enrolment you will be invited to lunch in the University Hub on Tuesday 11th September 11am - 2pm.

Garrad's Bar at Hadlow College will host a music evening with a live band and there will also be a party night during the first few weeks in the autumn term. You'll also be invited to an evening in one of the local towns to experience first hand the bars and clubs they have to offer.

During Freshers' Week we encourage you to get out and about in Kent to get to know your local community and the facilities it has to offer. We will have a Tourist Information Desk on each campus with information about activities and events in the local area. There are lots of country pubs and social venues in Kent where you can relax and socialise throuhout the year and there are a great range of shops and amenities all accessible like the Royal Victoria Place in Tunbridge Wells or the Bluewater Shopping Centre. Why not visit the Ashford Designer Outlet, which has great bargains on offer! Other acitivities on offer in the local area include trampoline parks, cinemas, escape rooms, Tonbridge Castle, Leeds Cast and the Hop Farm in Paddock Wood.

Check out What's on in Kent to find out more.

If you want to visit your University during Freshers' Week, we can support you with this so that you not only feel part of the Hadlow Group community, but also part of the University that accredit your programme.

Spend a morning getting to know other departments across the Hadlow Group to develop other areas of interest. We offer Performing Arts, Photography, Motor Vehicle, Equine, Horticulture, Floristry, Fine Art, Fashion, Hair and Beauty... in fact, across the Hadlow Group we offer almost any area of interest that you can imagine.

Later in the year you will have the opportunity to see shows, performances and exhibitions, have dinner in our restaurant and maybe have you hair and nails done , or have a massage or facial, all at discounted prices.

Social Life

Throughout the year we provide a wide variety of activities and events that will enrich your experience while you study with us. These include evening events, including live bands, DJs and fundraising events, as well as art shows, dance, acting and music performances and art and photography exhibitions.

Plus there are pop-up events for you to participate in such as yoga, mini golf and golf, outdoor pursuits, martial arts and angling. We have gym facilities at West Kent College and local partnerships with gym and sport providers across Kent offering discounted rates for students.

Along with pubs, restaurants and clubs in Kent, we are only 40 minutes from London by train where you can visit attractions such as The London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Madame Tussauds, The Shard, London Sea Life Centre and London Zoo, along with the busy night life the city has to offer? Why not visit the coast with Brighton and Hastings only an hour away, or one of Kent's country parks, including Haysden Country Park, Leybourne Lakes, Penshurst Place, Knole Park and National Trust estates such as Chartwell and Ightham Mote.

We also have a great range of outdoor activity centres situated locally including Bedgebury Pinetum, Bewl Water and Betteshanger Country Park (part of the Hadlow Group). Betteshanger is only 30 minutes away from Ashford and an hour from Hadlow and Tonbridge. Organised wild swimming in lakes is becoming increasingly popular and is a great way to exercise. You can slo take part in cycling, archery and orienteering as well as spending time in the visitor centre.

We can help you identify places of interest and things to do and if you buy an NUS Extra TOTUM Card, for only £12, you can get over 200 discounts in the UK and, because it comes with one year free International Student Identity Card (ISIC), it also brings over 42,000 international discounts in 130 countries.

Enrich Your College Experience

We host health and wellbeing events throughout the year, including mental health awareness, healthy-eating, diet and exercise and we have weekly sexual health clinics on main campuses in partnership with the NHS, with links to community provision. Our counselling service offers one-to-one therapy and also hosts workshops and drop-in sessions to help with stress and anxiety during assessment periods.

Celebrate national events with us, join campaigns and awareness weeks like Comic Relief, Children in Need and Sport Relief and take part in events to raise funds for the Hadlow Group charity Children of Yirgaalem which provides education to children in Ethiopia.

Have Your Say

If there is anything that we do not cover, or there is a club or society that you would like set up, then let us know. This is your University experience and we will support you with getting it started.