So – you want to go to uni, but you aren’t entirely sure what degree to do or where to do it. Well, have no fear; Student Hut is here to help you decide what to study at university. Read on for everything you should consider when making your decision.
Where to start? Identify your interests and strengths
A wise human once said “if you do what you love, you’ll never work another day in your life”. The same logic can be applied loosely to the degree decision making process. Most university courses take at least three years to complete – that’s a really long time to dedicate to something you don’t enjoy! We can’t guarantee that choosing to study a subject you love means that university won’t be hard work, but you’re more likely to keep at it and stay motivated if you do.
What are you studying now?
Do you have a favourite class? What is your strongest subject?
If you find yourself asking “what is the best course for me?”, looking at what you are studying now is a great place to find some clues as to what your interests are (and aren’t!).
Think realistically about whether you can see yourself maintaining an interest in a subject for the time it would take to complete the degree, and give some thought to what you might be able to do with it career wise.
Remember to consider the different entry requirements for degree courses too, and think realistically about whether you will be able to meet them.
Are you thinking about studying something new?
Universities offer a whole range of exciting courses that extend beyond the core subjects available to study at A-Level. If you are thinking about studying a new field, make sure you are completely aware of what the course may entail and whether you will be starting at an advantage or disadvantage based on your A-Level choices.
Think honestly about whether the course will feel right for you, and avoid picking things on a whim – choosing to study Forensic Science because you are really into CSI or because your mate is doing it and it sounds cool may not be the wisest decision.
…Still not sure?
If you are struggling to choose between two subjects, look into the possibility of doing a joint honours degree (e.g. English Literature and Art) and get the best of both worlds!
Depending on what subject you are looking at and where, some universities make it compulsory for students to study modules in their first year that aren’t part of their chosen degree course, so you can try out another subject you are interested in.
Remember that people often do change courses within the first few weeks of their studies – it may be a little difficult to catch up, but it’s do-able!
Think about what career you might like to pursue
It is unrealistic for anyone to expect you to have your entire life planned out at the age of 18, so don’t stress if you aren’t quite sure what career path you would like to follow once you finish your degree. BUT, it’s still important to put some thought into how you might start making money once you complete your studies.
Take some time to research career ideas that interest you, and find out what skills employers look for in potential candidates – are certain courses optimised around certain skills or career paths? Do you actually need a degree to pursue a particular career?
The good news is that a lot of the skills you acquire studying a particular subject at university may be transferrable across a variety of disciplines. Take psychology, for example – having an undergraduate degree in psychology doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work in that field!
Finding a balance between your interest in a subject and your potential career aspirations is the best way to ensure that you enjoy and get the most out of your university career. Don’t fall into the temptation of choosing a degree you aren’t really interested in because you think it’ll maximise your chances of making lots of money in the future. Conversely, don’t make any decisions without thinking about what doors they may open once your studies are complete!
Narrowing down your choices
With over 300 universities and colleges out there, deciding what university to go to can be almost as difficult as deciding what course to study! But don’t worry - we’ve made choosing a degree a really easy process with our Pick-a-Degree Quiz.
Some things to consider
Entry requirements, course content, assessment, ranking, student reviews, location, and university layout are some of the primary factors that students will take into consideration when determining where they want to go to university. Here are some key points to keep in mind when making your decision:
- Different universities may have different entry requirements. For example- a BA in Geography at the London School of Economics requires AAA at A-Level, while the same degree at the University of Southampton requires results within the range AAB-ABB. Make sure your five choices allow for the best and worst case A-Level results scenarios. If you have received all your offers, ensure that your insurance choice has a lower entry requirement than your first choice!
- Course content can vary greatly between universities. Are there any particular areas of your chosen subject that you are eager to study? Do some thorough research and find out the course structure and content of your chosen degree at different universities.
- Do you prefer certain methods of learning over others? Universities may have differing methods of assessment. For example – A BA in English at Queen Mary is primarily assessed by coursework, whereas the same degree from the University of Sheffield is assessed by essays, a small number of timed exams, and a range of other methods including group presentations and the completion of journals. Think about the ways you are best suited to learning and keep that in mind when making your decision. Using our pick a degree tool, you can easily view and compare different courses at different universities and how they are assessed.
- Some universities may have better rankings than others. Take Imperial College London and The University of Oxford for example - based on an overall score on student satisfaction, Imperial College London ranks higher than The University of Oxford in the Student Hut League Table. Although league tables can be good indicators of what to expect, it is up to you whether or not you choose to take such things into consideration – the most important things to base your decision on are whether the entry requirements, assessment, and content of the course are suited to your individual preferences.
- Reading honest and impartial reviews left by other students who've taken a course you're interested in is a great way to find out student satisfaction and what to expect. We've got over 22,000 degree and module reviews to help you make a more informed decision.
- You should think about the location too: Do you like the idea of studying by the sea? Or does the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolitan centre appeal to you a little more? Would you prefer your university to be contained within a campus, or does the spread of a city university excite you? Have you considered getting your degree from a college that offers them? Are you thinking about studying from home? There are pros and cons for all these options – get it clear in your head what your ideal living situation would be. It is always a good idea to attend some open days and get a first-hand feel for what might suit you best.
Hopefully you now have a bit more of an idea what you might be interested in studying at university. Getting advice from family, friends, careers advisors, and amazing student websites (cough cough) can help make the process a little easier, but remember that ultimately, the decision is yours and yours alone.