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What University Should I Go To
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What University Should I Go To

Written by Sam | June 26, 2020

Deciding on what university you should go to is a hard task, as there are a lot of universities and many might offer your course, how do you decide which one is the right one for you?

Currently, there are 106 universities in the UK that you can attend, make sure you find one that suits you. You will be spending a minimum of 3 years there for your course and you want to make sure you have a good course but also a great university and city!

There are some processes you can do to help you decide what university you should go to. It all starts with research and finding the right course, then looking at the university and the city and then finally what it will be like after university.

Research – Take Your Time

Start with searching for courses and looking at which university has good ratings on the course that you want to do. You can use various websites in order to check the ratings, but the best way is to go on to the University website and take a look at how much material and detail they have on it. Then go and look at what other students have said on an independent website.

Most universities will have a prospectus you can download, this is a good thing to do, you can then compare the courses of different universities.

Each university is ranked according to various charts and factors. We recommend that you take a look at some league tables in order to establish where the university is. After you should ask yourself, is it up and coming, is maintaining it’s position or is it slowly falling behind?

We suggest that after you have scouted as many universities as you think is necessary, you list just 10 that you think have the best course for what you want to achieve. After that 10 you will need to whittle it down again to your top 3 eventually, however, there is a little bit more work involved yet.

Quick Summary

  • 106 universities
  • Pick a top 10
  • Look at the course on the uni website
  • Get the prospectus
  • See where it is in the league tables
  • Look at independent websites
  • Compare each course and how it will benefit you as a graduate

To Get Your Top 3

To get to 3 that you want to list on your application form, they need to be strong choices. How do you get from 10 universities to 3? You have looked at your course, this is the most important factor and now you need to look at what other influences there are at play here! Other influences will be the city, economy, transport & housing. We made a list of all them here for you:

  • Personality, does it match you and what you want to do in the city
  • Are there a lot of local businesses in the area for work and careers
  • What can you do in the city
  • Transport hubs, are they good. Train, bus, and cars
  • Opportunities
  • Housing, what is the housing like for you to live in at uni and after
  • Restaurants
  • Economic situation, what does it and will it offer in the future
  • The locals are they nice, welcoming, thankful, etc
  • Graduate jobs
  • Get to the open days

Each university is independent and unique in character, however, do you get a good feeling from it? Do they represent themselves well with their facilities, their lecturers and SU?

You must attend the open days for the top 10 universities at least, this is a must because you can really start to judge the university and what it has to offer. A great tip is to stay an extra day and make a weekend of it, this way you can get a feeling of the city and what it is like.

Looking at the city is an important aspect, it can be a great University and it actually has more of a population and life inside the campus, a relative example would be Loughborough. This is a fantastic university, but the town hasn’t kept up with the rate of the university and it heavily relies on it.

While looking at the city you need to look at the prospects of work, graduate jobs, and the economy, this will give you a strong indicator of the jobs in the sector, whether the city is continuing to grow and not decline which means that you are more likely to get a job after and during university.

The final point in this section is make sure the city/ town or university can keep you entertained for 3 years, at a minimum! There must be activities to do, things to see, places to go and be able to travel easily. When you are coming and going from uni you want to make sure that it is a painless process and not one that you regret each time you need to travel!

What should you look for at an open day?

You need to get there in plenty of time, the car parking will be ridiculous. I can assure you that much. By getting there early you can have a look round and see what the campus is like when no one is there.

You should also go and see the course building or department you are interested in, they will have tours around the whole university and speakers for each of the courses. You will be able to get a lot of information already from the prospectus.

A very good point you want to head for is the ‘information centre’ or the place where there will be lots of people sat around from various departments and you can speak to them all. Here they will likely have students on tables or sports societies, speak to these, they will give you a more honest review than the lecturers sat behind the desks. Other tables that you might want to find:

  • Accommodation
  • Sports – If you are interested
  • Course area you are interested in
  • The SU to see what sort of events they do and what they offer for students

Housing & Accommodation

Obviously we couldn’t leave this section out. When looking for a university please go and view what accommodation they have for first years and don’t expect it to be an amazing palace. These will be well used and likely to have been refurbished a few years ago. Take a look around at their stock and what there is privately in case you need to head that way!

Scout some of the local letting agents and see what houses they usually have for students and what sort of accommodation you can expect in the second year, make sure you pick the right places for you.

The Summary of all Points

  • Do your research, start with 106 and get it down to 10 based on the courses you want to do
  • Look at uni websites, prospectuses, reviews, and independent websites to get a decision on the course
  • Look at league tables to get an idea of the university, these aren’t the be-all and end-all of it though
  • Once you have 10, you need to get to your top 3!
  • How? Get to as many open days as possible.
  • Get to open days early, tour the university, speak to students, lecturers and try to stay an extra day to see the city
  • The CITY, don’t forget about the city. This is the place that you will call home for 3 years
  • Look at the economy, job prospects, graduate jobs and whether it is on the up
  • Check the accommodation for your first year and beyond, you have a lot more options and this will come later on doesn’t he line, however, this is still a factor. The most important parts are the course, the university and the city to start and we will worry about the accommodation later!

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