How to pick a university

When considering a university there are many places you can get information from, and sometimes it can feel very overwhelming and confusing when trying to work out where you want to go. Here is a list of things you should consider when thinking about each university you potentially want to study at.

By Jess Palmer

  1. Distance: how far do you want to be away from home, and is it easy to travel back home via public transport?
  2. Price e.g. accommodation: different universities will charge differently for accommodation. You need to work out how much student loan you are eligible for (you can always ask mum or dad to help) and budget how much you are able to spend on accommodation and how much you will have left over for food each week.
  3. Local shops for food: Is it possible to walk to your local supermarket or will you need a car or public transport
  4. Catered option: Do you want to be catered or self-catered - does the university you’re looking at even offer a catered option?
  5. The course itself: although two different universities may offer what looks like the exact same course with the same title, the actual modules and therefore teaching content will likely be different
  6. Entry requirements: you need to set aspirational goals, but also have a backup in case things didn’t go well.  
  7. Campus or city: do you want a closed campus or an open city campus?
  8. The feel and atmosphere: could you see yourself spending potentially the next 3 years there?
  9. Social life: societies, clubs and extra-curricular  
  10. League tables: not as important and shouldn’t be the deciding factor as to what university you choose but something to consider
  11. Student satisfaction: are the current students there happy and satisfied with what the university offers?
  12. University safety: how safe is the university?  
  13. Employability skills: will the university help you with securing a job for when you graduate
  14. Support: is there a good strong support system for you as a student?

Where to look for advice?

  1. Open days: Get yourself out there and explore to get a good feel of the place. Always take someone with you who knows you well to help you assess the university and see if you’re suited to the university, but more importantly if the university is suited to you.  
  2. Speak to current students: they can answer any of your questions about life at the university
  3. Admissions officers: for all those admissions queries
  4. University websites, online blogs, social media: there's lots out there
  5. School teachers