Choosing the right university for you
One of the more daunting tasks in the lead up to your final year of school could be choosing the right university for you. There are hundreds of universities out there but only a few will be suited to you. Before you put in your final UCAS choices, here are some things you should make sure you do to ensure that you have chosen the perfect place for you (at least for the next three or four years!)
Check the course is exactly what you want
The most important thing, arguably, about university is making sure that the course you are doing is the right one for you. If you are enjoying your studies, everything else should fall into place. When doing your research on the course at a particular university, try to look beyond what is stated on the university website. Try to see if you can find any online reviews or blogs on the course, to see what it truly is like. Ideally, if you can find a mutual connection who did the course there, that could be the best point of call. See if your school has some sort of list of where people went to university, or see if a connection knows someone who recently went and did your course. They might be able to give you a more specific insight. If you feel that the course is not exactly what you want, perhaps don’t make that university your first choice.
See if the university is convenient for you
Is the university easy to commute to from home? If you are living on campus, would it be easy for you to get home? Whilst this might seem like a small thing, train tickets can be expensive. As such, you should make sure that you are comfortable with the cost of the commute and the distance you could have to travel for the holidays. At the same time, it would be good to see if you would prefer to have a university centered around a city or based on a campus. Campus universities tend to be quite self-contained, and have a bigger community feel. City universities are typically more sprawled out, but could be better for job and internship prospects. If you can, see if you can take a trip to any of your potential top five universities, in order to see if you think they are suited to you. You can often instantly place yourself somewhere.
See if the university has the things you desire
Typically, universities will have large groups and societies that you can join. If you have particular requirements (for example, a renowned sports team or specific cultural society), see if those are available before application. Similarly, if you have more tailored needs, try to see if the university will be able to accommodate these. For example, if you do a course that is quite research based and requires advanced technology, see if the university would be able to provide for that. Some universities are more well known for specific subjects, so see if yours is catered to that. League tables are a good place to start!
Overall, the choosing process can be a great way to find some wonderful places to do your degree. It allows you to make sure you will be happy wherever you end up, which is extremely important in order for you to enjoy your time at university! What are your tips for choosing universities?