5 tips to help you choose the right university

February 15, 2021

Whether you’re at the UCAS application stage or you’ve already received offers from unis for the next academic year, deciding on which to choose can be tough. With so many options on offer, and pros and cons to different towns, cities, and educational facilities, we thought we’d round up some tips on picking the right university for your needs, whatever you’re studying… 

Finalise your subject

It’s all well and good applying to universities, but are you 100% confident in the course you are choosing? We know that it can be tough to think long-term when you’re straight out of college, but thinking about the future and your potential career prospects is the best way to determine whether the course is right for you. Not only will you be spending three years studying it day in, day out, but you’ll have to work in the field for the next 50 or 60 years. Of course, nothing is set in stone and things can change, but knowing exactly what you want to do will make it much easier to whittle down your choices and find the right university for you.

Look at accommodation

If you have a couple of universities in mind and can’t choose between them, consider visiting the towns or cities to decide which you’d rather be living in. You should also review student accommodation options in the area - for example, can you afford to rent an apartment or share a house using your student loan, or will you need to scrimp and choose the cheapest option? Checking out potential accommodation online can make your decision much easier.

Delve deeper into the course

Next up, take a look at the course on the university website. Most universities outline the classes and topics you’ll be studying as part of your degree in your first, second, and third years, and depending on the nature of your course, they might even share some examples of work or projects. Study each university’s website and compare the courses - one might benefit from more accreditations or be taught by more experienced lecturers. If you’re not able to find everything you want to know, don’t hesitate to reach out to the university directly.

Think extracurricular activities

Although you’ll be spending most of your time at university studying and hanging out with your new pals, it’s worthwhile looking at the extracurricular activities on offer at each of your preferred universities. From sports clubs to societies to fundraising groups, the chances are that you’ll find something that matches your interests and helps you integrate into the local community. All universities encourage out-of-class activities, but knowing what sort of clubs and societies are in place at your top-three choices could be a way to decide between them.

Review their rankings

Finally, don’t be afraid to look at the statistics. Check the ranking tables for universities and decide which could give you the best possible career chances. Some universities are ranked by subject, and others even publish course-specific data on student satisfaction and average grades, as well as share information on employability post-graduation. One tidbit to look out for is the student to staff ratio: the lower it is, the more one-on-one teaching you can expect.

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