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How to choose a university

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By Reza (Undergraduate Content Creator)

When it comes to applying for university, it can be pretty difficult to decide which universities to choose as your 5 options. With around 150 Unis in the UK, it’s no wonder that this process can be tricky. But, with a few little tips, you could be in for a smooth ride.

When I was deciding on my choices, I took a few steps in order to make sure I made the right decisions. Here’s what I recommend you do:

Step 1) Decide what you want.

For me, it was important that I took the time to figure out what I actually wanted at university. I wasn’t particularly great with exams and much preferred written/coursework based work and also knew that, while I wanted to move out, I didn’t want to be too far from home. Luckily, finding universities that would cater to my requirements was a pretty easy process. It’s super easy to find universities near you (just by asking your teachers or having a wander around Google Maps), and a lot of them will share their assessment methods - if not, I found it easy enough to pop an email through to them, or ask questions at an Open Day.

Step 2) Do your research.

There is so much out there for you to gorge on in terms of uni information. From the institution websites themselves, to online forums, reviews and other sites built for helping you along the process. I was never away from the UniStats website - there’s everything you could think of on there. You can pick a bunch of courses at different unis then click ‘compare’ on each one for the site to do the statistic work for you. I particularly loved seeing the Student Satisfaction rates on each of the courses; with 93% satisfaction, my chosen course at Northumbria certainly stood out.

Student Central Exterior

Step 3) Take some virtual tours.

Shock your grandparents and let them take a look at some of the amazing University Virtual Tours. These online tours are a great way to have a look around campus without having to lift a finger - I mean, think about, this is your chance to look around a uni in your pyjamas! You can take a look at a bunch of places around my university here.

Step 4) See it for yourself.

If you feel as though you’re ready to take a look around, make sure to check out the universities yourself and, even better, book onto a Virtual Open Day. I found Open Days were particularly helpful because you get chance to speak to potential lecturers and previous students. The life-saviour website for picking out open days is The Complete University Guide, where you simply pick the month you want to experience an Open Day, the university you’d like to see, and the level you’re entering at - from there you’ll be given the dates and more info on what the day involves.

student revising

Step 5) Write a Pros & Cons List. 

Once you’ve got a handful of universities swimming around your head, a great way to whittle it down to 5, or even useful for making your firm choices further down the line, it to write a ‘Pros & Cons’ list. This is where you write the advantages and disadvantages of each university in order to weigh up your options. When writing the list, you may want to consider these few things:

  • How is the course assessed?
  • How far is the distance from home?
  • What’s the Student Satisfaction rate?
  • What stood out about that university for you?
  • How do you feel about the city?
  • Does the course content interest you?
  • What is the accommodation like?

There are so many factors that make universities great and everyone will be attracted to different parts. Go into it with an open mind and be prepared to learn about all the amazing opportunities out there waiting for you.

Good luck!

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