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Choosing the Right University

Posted: 12th February 2019 11:04

Nobody wants to spend three years of their life living in Hull or Stoke-on-Trent unless they really have to, least of all paying £9,000 per year or more for the privilege. However, choosing the right university isn’t just about picking the right city – some of these less glamorous cities also happen to offer prestigious courses in certain specialist subjects. There are many factors to consider before making your decision which is why we are here to help with our top tips on how to ensure you make the right decision for what you want.

Course: One of the most important decisions when choosing to go to university is which course you want to study. Once you have decided this you will want to research which universities excel in that subject. UCAS and The Times Higher Education World University Rankings are essential tools but you may also want to check the university’s social media too. Other important things to think about are how each university assesses your chosen course, if one assess only by exams and you hate exams, you should consider a different university with a more coursework-based approach. Finally, consider whether your course offers a year in industry or a year abroad. If so, you will want to explore what links they have with different companies and partner universities.

Life after University: You probably aren’t even considering life after graduation at this stage, and why would you when you’re still deciding which university to attend? But considering what career you think you might want to go into will influence which university you pick now. For example, if you want to become a teacher you will need to find a course where you gain Qualified Teacher Status and Journalism courses should be NCTJ or BCTJ accredited. There are also certain universities which have excellent reputations for graduate employment, so this is worth taking into account.

Location: Picking the right course is really important but you won’t get the best out of your university experience unless you are in an environment that makes you feel at home and allows you to thrive. Do you want to stay at home or get an immersive university experience? Would you feel more at home in the city, countryside or seaside? Also, when deciding on a location, don’t forget to think about expenses. If you decide you want a sense of independence and want to be as far away from your family as possible, don’t forget that if you do want to go home for a weekend doing so will be very costly and time-consuming. Also, if you decide to study in a city like London, remember that your living costs there will be a lot more than studying in other cities.

Prospectuses & Open Days: Look through the prospectus but keep in mind that these are essentially sales pamphlets specifically created to entice you to choose their institution. Do the buildings really glisten in the sunlight or are they dated and somewhat run down? The best way to find out is to visit on an open day. Open days also provide students the opportunity to meet their lecturers. Ask questions! Find out why they teach and what their knowledge really is. Have they gone straight into teaching or do they actually have first-hand experience of the industry?

Life on Campus: It is not just the location and the lectures that you have to consider but also what you want to do in your down time. If you get the chance, it is worth staying for a couple of days whilst visiting for the Open Day to get a real feel for the student experience. Do they have a lively nightlife? Strong sports teams and facilities? Essentially, will you have social satisfaction? After all, you have to live there.

Listen to your heart: One person’s idea of heaven is another’s concept of hell. Choosing the right university is a personal decision that is specific to you. Don’t worry about what your parents want you to study, it’s your life not theirs. And don’t worry if you’re going to a different university to your best mate, you can still visit them at weekends and you will also make plenty of new friends too. Overall, the biggest take away here is that you have to make the decision that is right for you. After all, not everybody is the same otherwise we would all be studying Contemporary Circus and Physical Theatre at Bath Spa University.

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