How to choose the right university

5 minute guide to make that big decision a little bit easier

Whether you’re waiting for results or they’re in the bag, the next stage is to take those grades to the next level and apply to university.

Like with anything where there’s a lot of choice the whole thing can be a little bewildering. But there’s no need to panic. With just these few following points you can make the whole ‘choosing where to apply’ thing much easier. Let’s explain.

What kind of things do you need to ask?

Like Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew or anyone else whose deductive skills you might find inspirational, there’s a process of elimination to undertake.

Here are some of the main questions you should ask, and some pointers to help you answer them, so that you can find the right university.

What kind of budget do you have?

Another factor is money: some cities are a little pricier than others and this should be taken into account.

It’s always worth checking if you qualify for any bursaries and scholarships at the university you apply to, and you can usually find this on the university’s website.

What kind of grades do you expect to achieve?

As you know, your application will need to be in line with your achieved or expected grades.

It’s especially important as the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) gives you only five choices. With this in mind, it is wise to cover a range of options and give yourself the best shot. We’re sure you will manage it.

Will I find it interesting?

Or, do the university and the city both offer things you can enjoy in your own time?

For example if you’re into film, find out if the city has a multiplex or arthouse cinema. If you’re into sport, research what facilities there are nearby. If you want to cultivate some new interests, check what societies the university has.

Finding all this out just takes a bit of internet time. A university’s website normally gives plenty of information about what’s nearby and what to expect. And to research what’s going on in a city, one place to start is with the free travel guides like TripAdvisor around the net.

Is the environment right for me?

Here’s a cautionary tale. A friend, Amy, went from the very small village Cherry Willingham in Lincoln to the bustling city of Manchester. She chose the city because of the prestige of the uni, but after she arrived she found the size overwhelming. She realised a campus university would have been better for her personally, and changed to study at Durham the following year.

Now, the thing to take from this is not a generalisation about small and big places. It’s that you should test the environment first. After all, you’re going to be living there for at least three years.

Does the course support a career?

As you know, it’s always nice to know where you’re going. If you have a certain career in mind then it’s also a good idea to research the courses that can help you to get in. If you’re not sure where you want to go yet, now is the time to start narrowing it down a bit.

The first thing to do is look on the internet, where there are plenty of sites which offer students career advice. Alternatively you can order a prospectus, or attend a student fair at many universities.

When you have an idea of the course you want to do, there are university rankings guides organised by subject and reading these can help you make your decision. If you need more guidance choosing a course, speak to your tutors.

What do I do once I’ve answered these questions?

After you follow these above tips you’ll have a clearer idea of where to go. Along the way you might find that there are two or even three places which look right, opening up more opportunities for you.

Write down all your options and think about them for as long as possible. UCAS applications normally open in June and the first set of deadlines come in October. This gives you plenty of time to check out the different options and make your decision that little bit easier.

Once you know what city you’re in, you might as well look at our private student accommodation. You can live in stylish apartments that are bound to impress you and your mates, and all your bills are included in the rent. To find out more get in touch with us soon.

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