Studying at a university is an incredible opportunity. Not only will you learn valuable skills and equip yourself with a degree to help you pursue your dream career- you’ll also learn to become independent, meet a variety of helpful people, and expose yourself to countless interesting ideas. But where exactly are you going to make all of this happen?
There are so many great universities, each offering its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Fortunately, a bit of research and some know-how can go a long way in helping you make a more informed decision.
Take the following six steps to find the perfect university for you.
Analyse the Course Content
The first thing you should consider is the course content. You’ll be spending a few years getting to grips with it before likely entering the same field, so it pays to choose carefully in terms of both the subject and degree level. The easiest way to do this is by heading to institution websites, where the course is offered.
These websites should display information about the individual modules contained in the courses, while the respective department will provide any additional information upon request. It’s wise to do this before even looking into where you’re going to study, as at the end of the day it’s the course that matters most.
Consider the Extras
As important as curriculum may be, don’t forget to consider whether the university is offering anything on top of that, such as internships. A course with work experience opportunities is far more valuable than one without. Some institutions have better connections with businesses, which can have a big impact your opportunities post-graduation.
Check out their Reputation
Among all the esteemed UK universities, no single institution is the lead in everything. Each university excels in some areas, and less so in others. If you want to study accounting, for instance, then it wouldn’t make sense to attend a school that’s renowned for medicine.
Make use of the resources available online for ranking and gauging the reputations of universities in your area. One such example is Uni Compare, which provides a comprehensive list of UK universities and all related information. This includes their facilities, student life, reviews, accommodation costs, bursaries, relevant statistics, and much more.
The website also provides contact details so that you can get in touch with a university and ask some questions. From here, you can narrow down the list of institutions which offer the course you want to study.
Check their Ranking
Following the above step can help to consider where certain universities are ranked. But don’t let this be a deciding factor. Rankings can be a good indicator of an institution’s general standing and reputation, but they don’t tell the whole story. Dissecting the most relevant information is key.
For instance, just because a university has a top-ranking for producing excellent research, it doesn’t mean they have the best teachers or facilities. In fact, it’s often argued that the quality of education at Oxford and Cambridge is no better than that of any other university- they just choose more successful students. Make of that what you will.
Check out the Area
Moving on from the books, you shouldn’t forget that you’re going to be spending a good few years at your chosen institution. That means where you’re living should be in-line with your idea of a suitable area. Do you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the big city? Perhaps you’d rather be in a more peaceful setting outside of town?
It pays to visit the area and check out what it’s like to live there. If you don’t like it, your academics could suffer for it. Don’t forget to consider the distance between the university and home. You might loathe the idea of being anywhere near your parents now, but the comforts of home will quickly become more appealing after you leave.
Visit the Campus
In a similar light, seeing the institution first-hand is a must. Not only will you have a better idea of what campus life involves, but open days are also the perfect opportunity for you and your parents to ask the staff any questions. You can also chat with the students to get their perspective on what it’s like studying there.
Be sure to look beyond school hours. What kind of clubs and societies are on offer? What do the students do in their spare time? Is there enough going on to keep you interested? If you value your daily workout, remember to enquire about local sporting facilities.
Considering the above factors will go a long way in helping you make the right choice. Be sure to do some thorough research and adequately prepare before settling on a final decision. In doing so, you (or your parents) can effectively avoid a financially painful lesson.