Choosing to go to university is a huge decision. The hardest part is choosing which university to apply for and even go to. With so many choices to choose from, from a wide range of courses to study, to different cities and campuses, there is a lot to think about and it can be overwhelming.
In this guide, we will go through 7 things that you should consider when choosing a university. They aren’t in any specific order. The importance should depend on your own priorities, but these tips should help you decide which university is best for you.
1. Your Subject
Choosing your degree subject should be the most important thing you consider as it can shape your career. You want to make sure it is the right one so you’ll enjoy your time at university. After all, you will be spending the next 3-6 years studying your chosen course, depending on your degree. UCAS, TheUniGuide, or WhatUni are all great tools to find out which subject you want to study. You can find out what courses there are, what career paths you can take with them, and even what universities offer that course.
Once you’ve chosen your subject you can narrow down your potential universities by seeing which schools offer this course, and which universities have a strong reputation in your chosen field. You can use league tables, such as The Complete University Guide, to find the best universities for your subject.
When you narrow it down, you can also check the course content and what modules you will be taking on the university’s websites. Knowing what your course offers will help you narrow down your choices further as not all universities offer the same modules. With this information, you can choose your course based on content preferences.
2. The Location
The location is also an important thing to consider when choosing a university. Think about the distance away from home and if you want to explore universities in your hometown or a long-distance away. Make sure you explore the advantages and disadvantages of both. You should also think about if you would prefer studying and living in a big city or a quieter rural area. Choosing a university in a location that appeals to you will add to your university experience and you’ll be more inclined to make the most of your surroundings. Finally, consider the local areas, what there is to do, how close things are, and the transportation connections around.
3. University Rankings
Looking at university rankings and league tables is very helpful in helping you find the right university. They are updated yearly and show how well all the universities in the UK are performing in general and by subject. University league tables, like The Complete University Guide, or The Guardian, use many metrics to compare graduate prospects, student satisfaction, student-to-staff ratio, even entry requirements. You can really dive into them and research how universities rank.
4. Entry Requirements
When choosing which university you should go to, you should look at the entry requirements. Not all courses have the same entry requirements. Look at what marks you may need to get into different universities and be realistic depending on your predicted grades. Consider choosing a couple of universities with lower entry-level requirements just to be safe. The entry requirements can be found on league tables, UCAS, or the universities website. Most universities list UCAS Tariff points for their entry requirement, which translates your qualifications and grades into a numerical value, to learn more and calculate how many tariff points you have, look at UCAS’ Entry Requirements.
5. The Social Scene
As well as education, the social aspects of the university should also be taken into consideration when choosing which one to go to. Looking at what the universities student life is like is important. You can see what they offer in terms of activities at their Students Union. You should search what kind of events they put on and what sports and societies your university offers. If you have a hobby or interest that you want to continue, or start, while at university, or meet like-minded people, these are perfect for you. You can also look into what the nightlife on campus and in the community is like.
The Student Room and WhatUni are both helpful in finding out what student life is like at your chosen university. You can read discussion forums and reviews left by current students and graduates. Or get a feel for the social scene for yourself and take advantage of open days, which will also give you a feel of the campus in person.
6. The Facilities
Another important thing when choosing a university is to consider the facilities the university offers. For example, you’ll be spending a decent amount of time in the library so be acquainted with it. Make sure you find out what they offer, how much space there is, how many books, and if you are a night owl check if they have a 24/7 area and café. Look at what other things the campus may offer including study areas, shops, cafés, and accommodation. You can also research your course and see what facilities your department has for labs, projects, or research purposes. You can find these on your university’s website. But, open days are the best way to get a feel for the campus facilities and the best way to ask questions.
7. Graduate Employability
Looking at graduate employability is another important consideration. This is the percentage of students who are employed full-time within a year after graduation. So, it is important to look for a university with a high graduate prospect. You can find these on UCAS, or league tables to see the overall graduate prospects of a university.
All these points should help you find which university is best for you. The top things to remember when choosing a university are your course and the content, the universities reputation, and the overall student experience. Research, league tables, and order prospects from your university that will help you. After all, you’ll want to work hard and play hard. So make sure you are happy with the university you choose. Read our article on What to Expect from Your First Year at University for more information. Or, if you are studying in London, check out our student accommodation.