There are an abundance of choices and compromises to make when you are narrowing down what university and course you want to attend. There are around 160 universities and university-level colleges in the UK alone, not to mention their countless courses as well as the many opportunities that are available abroad. Needless to say, narrowing it down to not only one university but one course can be a little bit tricky!
What do you want to study?
If your life-long dream is to study law, some universities will be more suitable than others - the same goes for every single subject.
Most prospective university students need to make some compromises such as great courses over their ideal living arrangements, or having a degree from a prestigious institution over living in the part of the country they would prefer.
Once you know what kind of course you want to study, and if you decide that that is your main priority, start looking around for what universities teach it best. The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide can be a great help with this.
The living situation
Living arrangements are important - you have to be comfortable with your everyday life. Make sure you do your research when it comes to location and accommodation. Some universities might hold the name of a bustling city but be located a 30 minute bus ride away from it, and if living in that particular city is a big draw for you that would obviously spell disappointment.
You should also know exactly what type of accommodation you can expect once your course starts. Maybe student halls are not your thing and you should reach out to other first year students to find potential flatmates?
Go see for yourself
No amount of online research will show you the reality of the place. If you have the means, be sure to actually visit the universities you are weighing against each other. You can tell a lot by the general atmosphere and style of the campus. Some universities have a few differently styled campuses spread out in different locations, and some adopt a tighter ‘bubble’ campus where you are always close to everything university-wise, but a bit farther out from the city centre.
Whichever way you prefer, you will need to actually visit the place in order to get a taste of the atmosphere you will potentially be experiencing for years to come.
It’s your choice!
Do not apply to a certain university just because your best mate is. Changing courses and universities is difficult, costs money, and is the main reason why some people drop out of university completely in their first year.
You are the one who is choosing a future and not your parents, friends or teachers - although they can be great pillars of support. The choice is yours and if you take your time and do your research properly you should get a great start, have a fantastic university experience, and benefit from your degree throughout your whole career.
For more advice, please visit Milkround
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