Picking a degree course is tough enough. Even if you choose a course that’s only on offer at 3 universities, getting an order of preference isn’t always simple. And forget it if you get the choice to study at any university.
How do you know where to go? What should you care about? What should you ignore? What is truly important?
The answer to all those questions is: “It depends.”
It depends on you, because everything about choosing where you spend the next years of your life are subjective. Nobody else can tell you what you want and what you like. They can help you make a decision, but they can’t give you the right answer. It’s all guesswork and finding out as much as you can before taking the plunge.
No wonder it’s so difficult when students don’t get accepted on their first choice of uni. Even worse when the next choices turn their backs. Whatever happens to you, be sure that it’s not the end of the world. It’s tough to move away from something you’ve set your sights on, but not impossible. The sooner you accept that a change in direction is needed, the better.
If possible, go to an open day. Open days are important. Massively important. You get a feel of what the place is like and how it might suit you. It’s not an exact science, but there’s nothing better than seeing what you’ll be faced with for three or more years of your life.
In the meantime, here are 50 points to consider when getting to grips with where you want to study:
1. League table information
2. Study hours
3. Tutor availability
4. Class numbers/size
5. Modules on offer (not for future, but for enjoyment, relevance, ability, etc.)
7. UCAS points required…be sensible & allow a variation based on your expected grades, ability, etc.
8. Size of rooms
9. Price of rooms
10. Arrangement (layout, number you’ll be living with, shared rooms, etc.)
11. On campus living guarantees both for Freshers and throughout degree
12. Is accommodation guaranteed for Freshers?
13. Is on-campus accommodation likely beyond the first year?
14. Is there catered accommodation
15. What internal accommodation requirements do you have, such as an en-suite room?
16. Sports/exercise facilities
17. Nearby pubs/clubs/restaurants
18. Nearby social facilities/settings
19. Student Union activity
20. Social life on campus
21. Social life off campus
22. Extra-curricular facilities and specialisms supported by university or Students’ Union.
23. Do you wish to study from home, or move out?
24. What level of personal support do you require?
25. Size of campus / Number of students
26. City/Country debate
27. Distance from important and/or everyday facilities (shopping, washing, studying, hospital, doctor, dentist, etc.)
28. Distance from home
29. Transport links
30. Campus atmosphere
31. Atmosphere of surrounding area
32. Crime levels and concerns
33. General feeling of safety/protection
34. Vocation/career issues (e.g. Can you undertake a year in a work placement?)
35. Previous student testimonials
36. Environmental stance of the uni (how green they are and want to be)
37. Part-time job opportunities on and around campus
38. Related vocational links and opportunities tied in to the degree/university
39. Course & route flexibility
40. Number of support networks
41. Availability of support networks
42. Catering facilities on campus
43. Quality of library for your chosen subject
44. Car parking availability & ease if you drive in
45. Personal recommendations from family and friends
46. Open Day atmosphere/feeling/experience
47. Money saving considerations
48. Extra curricular study help and personal development programmes
49. Availability of learning facilities at busy times (e.g. Are there enough computers to cater for students during exam/deadline periods? What provisions are available to support disabilities?)
50. University and course-based job prospects after study
These are just some issues to consider. Have fun making decisions and don’t get hung up on picking a ‘perfect’ institution. No place is perfect.
Current students, what considerations are/were important to you when choosing where you wanted to study?