Choosing the right university for YOU: 6 tips
Firstly, here is a massive, well-deserved congratulations to everyone who has received offers from universities to begin their studies this coming September! You’ve successfully jumped over the tough hurdles of UCAS, but here comes the next difficult part – choosing where you want to go. This is an understandably overwhelming decision to make, since you’ll be spending the next few years of your life there. So, for you 6th formers and college students feeling absolutely befuddled, here are a few tips to help you out.
1. Sieve the rumours and myths
Stereotypes surround every university that aren’t necessarily true. Discuss with as many people possible to gather different opinions, including teachers, family and friends – it will help you gauge a collective perspective of the university. But, keep in mind: you are ultimately the one going to uni in the end, not them. What is especially useful is picking the online digital brains of former and current students. The Student Room and Student Beans are good places to start, but once again, be mindful of everything you read.
2. Pay attention to course detail
Every university has particular teaching and assessment methods, and you have specific learning methods that work best for you. Marry the two up by extensively researching the course structure and content for each university – is the curriculum more coursework or exam-based? How many contact hours do you get per week? What modules or units are offered at this university that the others don’t? Is there an option to do a year abroad? Are there any internship or placement opportunities?
3. Location, location, location!
If you’re given the opportunity to attend open day, it’s really important to visit to see if the university’s culture is right for you. Not only should you check out the campus, but it is absolutely integral to venture outside the university to see if the environment suits your personality. Explore the city centre, transport links, local shops, accommodation options, nightlife, museums, hiking trails. You don’t just want to gain knowledge from studying your chosen course – you also want to choose a town that will suit you as a person.
4. Check rankings
Make sure you check out general university rankings, but don’t forget to look at how well-regarded the courses are themselves. Research the student to staff ratio, student satisfaction scores and graduate prospects.
5. Societies galore!
Whether you’re an avid climber or just really enjoy hummus (we kid you not, an official hummus society exists at many universities and we are ecstatic about this), browse the clubs and societies available at the university to make sure there’s something to match your interests and hobbies.
6. Distance from home
Can’t wait to get as far away from home as possible? Tell that to yourself after living off Sainsbury’s meal deals for weeks on end, when you might actually crave a home-cooked meal and genuinely miss your family. Choosing a university on the other side of the country will make going home for weekends and holidays more expensive, so keep that in mind when deciding where to go. Don’t completely rule out staying local!