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How to choose the right university – 6 questions to ask yourself

By November 15, 2021No Comments

The three years you spend at university could be some of the best years of your life –  as long as you choose the right university.

But how do you choose? The UK has over 200 UK universities to choose from, after all.

There are a few key things to consider when deciding what university to go to. There’s the obvious stuff like what’s on your course, and the university’s location, but some less obvious stuff too, such as campus settings, and your employment prospects after you graduate.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Here to help you is our guide to choosing the right university for you.

  1. Where do you want to live?

No matter how great a course is, or how prestigious the university, location is EVERYTHING. If you want a slice of big-city life, a university with a rural setting won’t cut it. Equally, The West Midlands won’t fulfil your dreams of living near the sea.

You’ll also need to consider how far from home you really want to be. Remember, while you might be gagging to get as far away from your parents as possible now, after six months of living in halls, you might actually look forward to going home for the odd weekend. Choosing a university that’s on the other side of the country makes going home for weekends and holidays more expensive and harder all round.

What’s more, you need to think about costs. Living away from home comes with rental and bill expenses, and you may decide that you’d rather live at home while you’re studying. If that’s the case, decide how far you’d be willing to commute and shortlist your universities based on this.

  1. Campus university, or non-campus university?

The UK tends to have two distinct styles of university. Campus Universities like Birmingham, Nottingham and Hull have most of their facilities on one central site. Hull’s campus even boasts its own nightclub! The other type of universities are city universities – like UCL and University of Leeds. These institutions have campuses, facilities and students spread out across the city.

Some students thrive on living in halls and campus life; they love the community aspect, getting involved in societies, being able to crawl home from the students’ union. On the other hand, some find it claustrophobic and boring. If the latter sounds like you, then a city university will probably suit you better.

So, how to decide? Think hard about the lifestyle you want, the type of person you are, and exactly what you want to get out of university. Ultimately, the best way to find out if a university’s culture is right for you is by attending open days and by reading student reviews. This will give you first hand accounts of what life is really like at that particular university.

  1. How does the university perform in terms of ranking, employment rate, and industry connections?

A degree from a high-ranking university will open doors for you after graduation. So, check out the rankings tables to help you shortlist your preferred universities. Not all ranking tables are reliable, and we recommend that you consult a reputable one. The Times Higher Education raking system is a great place to start.

Industry placements are another great way to improve your career prospects, so check whether your preferred university offers these. Some universities will actively advertise on their course curriculum that they have connections within the industry. This may provide an opportunity for you to get a work placement with a company you dreamed to work for, or a similar opportunity. It’s also a good idea to look at employment rates after graduating from each university – many of them publish this information. If you can’t find this advertised, email the course leader directly to find out what’s on offer with them.

  1. Is the course right for me?

You need to be sure about your subject. After all, you’ll spend the next three to four years studying it, and then the next 40 years working in the area. If you’re not sure, read up on your subject. Check things like career pathways, course contents, and potential salaries, You can check the course content on the university website. If there’s an area within the subject you’re particularly interested in, check whether the university has it “on its menu” or not. Alternatively, you can contact the university directly – course leaders are usually more than happy to answer any questions you have.

  1. What about extra-curricular activities and the social scene?

Chhosing the right university isn’t just about studying and preparing for a career. It’s about building character, making friends, and getting involved with things you are passionate about. Whether you’re an avid footballer, aspiring public speaker, or love playing poker, you should search for societies and clubs in the university to make sure there’s something to match your interests. Think about the social scene too. If you’re into a busy, varied nightlife, a university in a small rural town probably won’t be right for you.

  1. What will the cost of living be?

A pint of beer in central London usually costs £5-£8, while a two-mile taxi fare will set you back between £8.60 and £13.80. Why? Because it’s London. The cost of living will vary depending on which city or town you choose to study in. When doing your research, compare costs you know you’ll have to pay – stuff like the cost of accommodation, transport around the city, and transport between the university and your hometown. Remember though, you’ll be able to get discounts with your NUS card! In other words, don’t panic if your dream course is in a more expensive city like London or Oxford. Just make sure you bear the cost of living in mind when thinking about which university you’d like to go to.

George Alexander Tuition is a specialist maths and science tuition agency based in Central London. We support children aged 11-18 with a variety of termly tuition packages and exam coaching from 11+ to A-Level. We also provide coaching for the UCAT assessment. To find out more, contact us on info@gatuition.com. You can also follow our social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook, and check out our handy maths tutorials on our YouTube channel.

 

Liz

Liz

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