How to decide on a University
The time is coming. You’ll start to go to Open Days. Fill out your UCAS forms. Turning to social media to find memes that are relatable to university students. We’ve all been there.
Well, I’m here to try and make this process easier for you.
In this blog, I will be discussing a few questions you should ask yourself to help you decide which university is best for you:
How far do you want to travel?
This is an important lifestyle question to consider because some students want to go home every weekend, so they can get a nice meal with their family and get their laundry done for free. Or, some want to find a university as far from home as possible because they might want to test their independence and see how long they can fend for themselves. I chose the latter and decided to go to Leeds Beckett University which is a 6-hour drive from home. My reasoning behind it was so that I could make new friends and have a fresh start. Nobody in this city knew me, so it was a real fresh start. It was quite daunting, but after talking to people in my class, I realized I wasn’t the only one who was far from home which was reassuring.
Does the university do your course?
This is the most important question because there is no point looking at a university which you think is amazing, if it doesn’t do the course you want. When I was looking into my university choices, I mostly used the UCAS website as it showed me all the universities that did the course I was interested in, so I wouldn’t be wasting my time looking at ones which weren’t relevant to me.
What is the transportation like?
This is quite an important question because you don’t want to trek for hours to get to university, your accommodation, or your favourite social areas. It might be beneficial to investigate getting a bus pass when there instead of bringing your car, as it might work out cheaper. So, when considering your university choices have a look on Google Maps to see what’s in the area around the university, where the accommodation is, and the best mode of transport to take.
Do you want a city university or a campus?
If you love the bustle of the city you may prefer to choose a university which is right in the middle of it all. Whereas if you love the scenery of the countryside, you may prefer a more rural campus. There is a lot of pros and cons for both types of universities, a few being transportation, traffic, and things to do nearby. What I did was visit both types of universities, to see what it was like in the area. I then weighed up the advantages for both and went from there. Leeds Beckett is quite lucky that it has a bit of both.
Is it affordable?
You’ve got to think about the long term here. When looking at universities, look at the prices of the accommodation and prices for food and drink in the area. If you’re not planning on finding a part time job during your time at university, you need to make sure your loan can cover everything.
How does the place feel?
This is a question that I personally thought was very important. I went to many University Open Days to get a ‘vibe’ for the place. I would ask myself if I felt comfortable in the environment and if I could picture myself studying here for the next 3 years. The most important thing was to make sure that the lecturers I might have were interesting, I couldn’t afford to have a lecturer that made me doze off.
Tools you can use
The UCAS website is an extremely useful tool because it can suggest courses and universities if you’re unsure of what to study. It also gives you a brief overview of the course as well as the link to the university website, which would have more in-depth information about that course. Unistats is also a useful tool which shows and compares official data for undergraduate courses for each university and college's satisfaction scores in the National Student Survey, jobs and salaries after study and other key information for prospective students.