Choosing the right University is an integral decision that you will make. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when deciding which University to attend. There are also so many courses available in this age, which only complicates your decision further! Work placements, employment opportunities, campus type, course accreditation and accommodation are just some of the many things worth considering. Read on and take a look at the main areas you should think about when choosing Universities to apply to.
To begin with – the singular best way to choose the right University is to attend an open day! Universities will often hold 5-10 Open Day’s per year, make sure you attend as many as possible. These events often include subject talks, while you will also be able to speak to current students – and ask as many questions as you want! We know it isn’t practical to visit countless open day’s – but try and visit as many as you realistically can. You will learn a lot. For International students this can be difficult – check out our guide for overseas students here.
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The course you will study also plays an important part in the decision. You could look at the Universities that specialise in your subject area. As annoying as it is – you need to think long-term, and attending a University that features strong accreditation on your course will help. It can also be recommended to look at University League Tables. Generally, graduate prospects are higher, the better the University you attend is. Again, looking in the long-term, try and enrol at a high-ranking University.
Each course on a University’s website will include a course description, and the majority of the time – a list of modules. These will be the actual areas you will study. This should be studied carefully. E.g. Law degrees will differ on which disciplines of the subject will be taught, from University-to-University. So make sure you see what you will study, and try and match it against your strengths. Also on this front, look at how many optional modules are involved – as freedom is always nice! Some University’s will also offer you a chance to learn a language as a module – this will be appealing to some.
In terms of the overall University experience, look at the sport clubs and societies that will be available to you. Clubs and societies can form a major part of your experience – and are therefore worth looking at. Also look at the town/city that you could study in – conduct some research on what is available to you, and what the culture of the location is like too.
Location is also key. Think to yourself – do you want to be near home or as far away as possible. There are perks to being close to home (washing?!), but then you don’t want your Aunt Doris turning up on your doorstep once a week for a trip to the local Starbucks. Also within this area – do you want a location in the city or the countryside. Moving from one to the other can be an adjustment – so beware of this. This decision can help rule out many Universities, and make your selection easier!
Accommodation is a key part too. Accommodation prices vary greatly from University-to-University. London-based accommodation is much higher than Northern-based Universities. Even University’s located on the outskirts of London e.g. Reading and Surrey will have high prices. You have to make sure you can fund yourself. A student loan is near-essential, and remember paying it off isn’t as bad as it seems. Make sure you go somewhere that you can afford. Going back to the open day’s – try and visit accommodation in the area – this will help you greatly! Employment opportunities and work placements could help you fund your accommodation, and therefore should also be researched. Check out our funding guide here.
These form the main areas that you should consider. While it is a lot to consider – this is a life-changing decision. You will probably have the best years of your life at University, you want to make sure you make the right decision. Oh, and it has to be said – disregard where your friends are going! Starting with a clean slate at University is a wise move! One final piece of advice – trust your instinct. So what next? Check out our page on applying to University – which gives you details on how to apply. Good luck!