For students looking at going to university in the next year or two, you’re probably noticing how many different options there are to choose from. With over 150 institutions in the UK offering different experiences, courses and extra-curricular opportunities, choosing the right university is probably one of the first tough decisions you have to make as a teenager. Here’s some useful tips to help make your decision as stress-free and informed as possible.
Step One: Where Do I Begin?
Start by asking yourself some questions that will help you narrow down your initial search to a few choices. Remember, it’s a great idea to come back to these answers once you have narrowed down your top 5 universities, as it will make sure each choice aligns with what you initially wanted.
- Which universities offer the subject area or course you’re interested in?
- Roughly, where do you want to study?
- What type of university do you want to go to?
- What other opportunities and facilities do you want/need at your future university?
Step Two: Consider Each Area Carefully
Once you have answered the questions above, you will then need to start digging a bit deeper when considering each university. Factors such as the course, teaching style, location, size/type of university, work experience opportunities and testing style will have a huge impact on your decision. Follow these helpful tips to help make your decision making much easier.
- Location, Location, Location
Location is a really important part of choosing the right university; after all, you’ll be calling it home for the next few years. If you’re willing to move quite far away from home, make sure to consider places that are easily accessible as you will have to travel to and from home regularly. Another option is to consider staying local and commuting to campus from home. Not only can this save you money, you also have the support of your family and friends throughout. Finally, if you’re not comfortable leaving home, you could consider an online course instead.
- Order Prospectuses
It’s a great idea to order prospectuses from all the universities you’re considering, even if you’re not 100% sure if it’s even going to make your shortlist. Along with pictures of the campus, they provide detailed information about the course, facilities and what to expect from studying there.
- Visit Open Days
One of the best tips when choosing a university is to attend an open day. Often universities will hold these multiple times a year, so have a look at when the next one is. It really gives you a realistic idea of what the campus, facilities, lecturers and halls are like. It’s a great way to get a feel for the type of place it is and whether it’s going to suit you. It’s also a good opportunity to ask plenty of questions about university life, the course and the support services. There will also be plenty of opportunities to chat to students for some honest first-hand experience of studying there. They’ll be honest about what’s great, what’s not and whether it’s worth going to.
- Look Closely At The Course
It’s important that you look closely at the courses you’re interested in and compare what each university is offering. Although most universities will offer the same subjects, their individual modules are often very different. Make sure your top five choices on UCAS cover modules that are actually suited to you. Browse the course outline to know what you can expect. For example, while one university’s English degree involves teaching you Shakespeare, another could focus on modern literature only. Finally, remember to choose courses that you are passionate about. University isn’t easy, so if you pick something you enjoy, you’ll work harder and get a degree you can be proud of.
5. Dig Deeper Online
Once you start to narrow down your choices, it’s a great idea to take the time to research these universities online. Look through forums to find out what current students think about their course - again, don’t be afraid to ask them questions. You might be surprised at the helpful information you can find!