Choosing the right university for you can be a difficult decision, especially when you’re only 17-18 years old. Not many people know what they want to do with their life at that age so it’s important not to stress! Here are a number of factors that are helpful to consider when selecting your top choice universities.
Location is a very important factor when selecting the university you want to go to. Whilst some students are home birds and want to stay close to family and friends, others may want to spread their wings and go to somewhere completely new. Which is it that you’d prefer? If you’re not sure, we’d advise doing some research into the UK’s top university towns and cities and prioritising that way. You may want to look at how expensive the city is, what the nightlife and hospitality options are like and of course, what the university is like!
It’s often a good idea to consider how far from home you may want to be and then research universities within that drive time. You should also consider whether you want to be in a city, in the country, near to the coast. Do you want a campus university or one that is integrated within a city or town?
Once you have an idea about the course you would like to choose, you should consider which universities offer and specialise in this course. You can do this by going onto the UCAS website and searching for the course you want, this should also show similar courses too. Looking at similar courses is a great idea as there may be ones you’ve not considered before and will likely involve lots of the key skills and interests you already have. You should also look at the curriculum of the course you’re choosing to check that you are satisfied with it.
Always check the course content. Just because different universities offer a degree with the same title, the content of the course and the topics you will cover can alter significantly. Check that the course covers what you want to study!
Attending university open days is a great way to get a feel for the university. Things you may want to consider during the visit are; the course, the lecturers, the city, the campus and the accommodation. If possible, try and book a tour of your preferred student accommodation on the same day as the open day so you don’t have to make two trips. If you’re unsure which university to choose, try and attend as many as possible!
TOP TIP: Take lots of photos when visiting universities. Make sure you take photos of the things you liked and didn’t like so when you are looking back, it will be clear where you were and also remind you of your visit.
Consulting the university rankings is another important factor to consider when picking the right university for you. You can do this online through various ranking tables. The Complete University Guide website offers a great ranking table, covering a variety of courses. The tables on their website highlight the overall score of the university, the entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects.
Another important area to look at is the entry requirements of the university you’re applying for. Universities should list what grades they are looking for, what courses they need you to have studied previously and how many UCAS points they are looking for. We advise you to check you are in line with their expectations before applying so that you don’t limit your options on results day.
It’s always worth considering applying for a mixture of safe courses (where you are confident you will meet the entry requirements) and some aspirational courses too. You never know how universities will treat your application and what they are looking for in addition to your predicted grades.
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