Things to Consider when Choosing your university
Choosing the university you want to spend the next 3+ years of your life at definitely feels like a very scary and major decision. If this is something you are struggling with, you have come to the right place! I have compiled a list of important things you should consider and research before firming a university. I remember when I was extremely indecisive, so ended up creating a spread sheet with these factors on, to consider and rate them against each university I visited. Whilst this is not necessary, it might just make your decision making slightly easier to find the best university for you.
- The City or Town
Have a look at what the town or city is like at each university you are interested in. You may prefer somewhere coastal, with a beach to visit regularly, or perhaps you favour a large city with lots to do.
- The Campus
Similarly, whether the university is a campus or spread around the town may sway your decision. I knew that I didn’t want to be overwhelmed by a university that was spread across a massive city so preferred the campus to be in one place and next to a town, so research more about the size and placement of the university if this will bother you!
- How Close it is to Home
This is something that might be important to you if you like to visit home a lot during your time away. The further away you go, the more expensive it may be to travel home, and some places may have complicated routes with buses and trains.
You might be interested about where you’ll be living and what the accommodation is like, so assess these options through an open day or virtual tours online. Research prices of houses for when you move out of university accommodation, as this does vary across the country, or take a look on Accommodation for Students to see what’s available in your area!
If you love a good night out in town, this may be an important factor for you to consider. You can easily research what the local nightlife and clubbing is like in different towns and universities, or alternatively ask the students for their first-hand opinion at open days. You may prefer more clubs, with larger venues, or perhaps smaller, more personal clubs where you know you’ll find your friends easily.
- Course Content
Courses vary at each university, so research what the modules are like and whether you are interested in them. For an English degree, I found that many universities specialised in different areas, as well as offering either more or less choice for modules, so I found it useful to compare and find what course I liked the most. As this is what you’ll be working on for the three (or more) years, it is arguably the most important factor as you should enjoy what you are studying!
- Entry Grades
Have a look at what grades each university is offering, as some may be higher than you think you can achieve, so perhaps it would be risky to choose it, or maybe some are too low for your predicted grades, and you believe you could do better. Whether you want a safety option as a second choice or push yourself to achieve the top grades a university requires, it is important to research and find out what you may need. It is also important to keep in mind that some universities may lower the entry grades if you decide to firm them.
- The Student Union – Facilities and Societies
Most universities have a Student Union, with societies and clubs to join, but if you’re into anything specific, like sport or writing for example, perhaps research into the facilities the university has to offer. You can find this out through a Q&A on the university website or ask questions at an open day.
These ideas are just here to help you assess your options, but only you will know what university will be the right fit for you.