Choosing a university can initially be a very daunting process. There are over 150 higher education institutions in the UK according to a quick google search so there’s a lot to choose from. How can this be done successfully? What should influence someone’s choice? This is what I’m going to be discussing today.
As someone who’s chosen many universities over the last 3 years, I have thought of 5 things we should take into consideration when choosing a university. Of course, there are more things so if you would like another post about this, let me know. Without further ado, let’s get to it.
1) Look at the Location
Looking at the location means a few different things. Of course, you may want to be in a city rather than in a rural area. You may even have your heart set on being in a specific location, such as London.
However, I also think you need to look at the specific area the university is in. I would take into consideration how easily accessible it is via public transport, the costs, the supermarkets nearby, clubs if you’re into night life etc. I also think looking at the location means you get a good sense of the vibe in the area, which will help when looking at the accommodation which we’ll cover in detail later.
2) Is it a City or Campus University?
Firstly, let’s discuss the difference between a city and a campus university. A campus university is where everything like accommodation, lectures, facilities, student union etc is on one site. Some campus universities in the UK include Edge Hill University, Brunel University London and University of Warwick.
City universities are where facilities are spread across a city. They sometimes include multiple campuses within a city but the idea is your accommodation is separate from where you do your lectures, seminars, go to the library etc. City universities in the UK include Kings College London and University of Leeds.
For me, I have always preferred campus universities. I like the fact that everything is on my doorstep. Accommodation is on site which means you don’t have to walk far to get to your lectures and seminars. There will also be shops, cafes, bars and laundrettes on site which means again, you don’t have to get far for necessities. It also has a feeling of community.
City universities are great for those who perhaps want to experience city life and have that sense of independence. Some may find campus universities quite restrictive. You have the opportunity to explore the city as you travel for your facilities. You’ll also be using supermarkets within the city which again adds to that sense of independence.
It all depends on what you think will best suit you. You may not particularly mind or you may take this into consideration.
3) What’s the Course Like?
It’s important to look in detail what you’ll be doing on the course. Once you determine universities that do the course you’re after, look at the modules. Do they interest you? Are there ones you will be enjoying? The last thing you want to do is be on a course that you wanted to do but end up absolutely despising it because it’s not what you thought it would be.
We’ve already touched upon accommodation a little bit in the location section above but let’s go into detail. The first thing to look at is the accommodation provided by the university, in other words student halls. Are they nicely presented? Are they good value for money? Are you able to afford them? Do they offer different types of accommodation like en-suites, shared bathrooms, studios etc?
Another thing to take into consideration is accommodation in years 2 and 3. Some universities offer the opportunity (providing there’s room) for returning students to apply for on site accommodation. If you’re not able to get accommodation on site, you will need to do a bit of hunting for off-site accommodation, such as sharing a house with friends. Most universities will help with that though so there’s not too much to worry about.
5) Facilities and Support
Depending on the course you want to take, you may be interested in the facilities the university offer, such as labs, auditoriums etc. Are these good? What do other students think? What are the lecture theatres like?
For me, support was also a big one. I suffer quite badly with my Mental Health as some of you may be aware and so I need to know the counselling support, who I can talk to, how I go about it as well as registering for the doctors etc.
I hope you found this blog post useful! Thank you for reading!