Deciding to go to University is a huge decision, so you want to make sure that you’re choosing the right University and degree course for you. University is not only a big expense, but it’s also a big investment of your time, so it’s important to do your research before sending off your applications.
I’ve put together some of my key tips and advice for choosing the right university and degree course for you.
#1 – Ask yourself…
Firstly, make sure that you really want to go to university, and that you want to go for the right reasons. Yes, a university experience can be really fun, and it’s a great place to meet new people, but the main purpose of going to university is to learn and get a degree in a subject that you are really interested in. If you don’t really like studying, reading or going to classes, going to university may not be the best option for you.
Also, don’t feel pressured to go to university just because everyone else your age is going, or you feel pressured by your teachers or parents. There are many other alternatives to university, such as apprenticeships, getting a full-time job or even starting your business! Just make sure you really think about whether going to university is the best option for you.
If you are sure you want to go to university but are not sure what degree course to choose, ask yourself:
- What are my main interests? What subject(s) do I enjoy the most? Why do I like these subjects?
- How do I like to learn? Am I better at exams or coursework?
- Do I want to go to a big university or a smaller university?
- Do I want to move away from home, or live at home and commute to university?
- How far away am I willing to go to for university? What part of the country do I want to study?
- Do I want to study abroad?
- Do I want to do a sandwich course, with an internship during my studies?
Knowing your answers to these questions will help you with your research later on.
#2 – Research, research, research
Once you have a rough idea what subject you want to study, and what area of the country you want to study in, research into all the universities that offer courses that relate to your chosen subject. Use websites such as UCAS, Which? University, the Guardian University Guide, and WhatUni to find out about the different courses and universities available to you. Use these resources to find out important information about each university such as course descriptions, course content, student satisfaction ratings and university rankings.
#3 – Visit open days
Once you have done all your research and have narrowed down your list of possible universities, look into when their open days are. You should try to visit as many of your shortlisted universities as you can so you can make an informed decision. When you go to open days, don’t just visit the university campus, make sure you have a look at the surrounding area and if possible get a tour of the halls of residence if you are thinking of living away from home. If possible, try to talk with current students about their experiences at the university, talk to tutors about the course and what kind of projects they set on their course, and ask to see student’s work to get a good idea about the kind of work created at the university.
#4 – Pre-uni schemes
Research into whether the universities that you have shortlisted have any pre-uni schemes such as summer schools, taster days or lectures. These can give you a better idea of what it’s actually like to be a student at the university.
Hopefully, this has given you a few things to think about when choosing which university you want to study at.