When it comes to thinking about and choosing the universities that you want to go to, preparation is key. Here's how I found and applied for my perfect course.
Applying for university is a daunting experience. The whole notion of acknowledging your future is arriving can be completely overwhelming, and it may be tempting to ignore it or leave it to the last minute.
However, the longer you have, the better so please don’t leave it late! If you are really struggling (like I did) to decide on the course or the universities that might be right for you, here are a few things to consider. I found this really helpful in making up my mind.
Ask yourself some questions
- What subjects are you passionate about? Choosing the course that you are interested in can often narrow down the pool of potential universities.
- Do you want to live at home, or move away? Most students already have an idea on whether they want to leave the nest or stay close to home during their studies.
- Would you feel more comfortable studying in a city or campus university? Having an idea on the type of learning experience you are looking for can be a significant factor in choosing a university.
Once you have a small idea, namely on what you want to study, you can begin to do some research.
One of the best resources that can help you is What Uni? It is a fantastic website that is designed to find and compare universities that could be good for you. It allows you to search by course, location and even by university name, so you can narrow down your list to the places that really tick your boxes.
It also gives you a breakdown of what the course is like, potential future endeavours, and even a section on how previous students have engaged with the course. This is particularly helpful if you know what course you want to study but don’t know where. It's also handy if you want to study a more specialised course, like a joint honours, and aren’t sure which universities may offer it.
Once you’ve looked at various universities, it’s always a good idea to go directly to the source. See what the university itself has to say. This is because sometimes external information can be outdated or incorrect. Have a look at the university's own website. It’s a good idea to look at the course modules, how you’ll be assessed and entry requirements, as well as members of staff in the faculty so that you're well-informed about the decision you are making.
Experience it first-hand
If you can, it’s also a good idea to go to open days, talk to students on the course and get a feel for the place. This is one of the most valuable experiences you can have as it gives you a personal account of what that university is like, as well as an idea of if you can see yourself studying and living comfortably in that environment.
Talk to family and friends, too. This can be a big influencer when deciding where to go, especially if you're not sure what you want to do. Listening to your family's and friends' ideas can help you to navigate what you want to study, as well as where you want to go.
You may not choose to go to all the universities you have in mind, but visiting as many as you can will give you a better idea of what you want as your first place and insurance university.
And then? It's time to hit the UCAS site and apply.
If you're following Zoe's advice and taking a look around at universities, you can drop in and explore our campuses every Wednesday (there's no need to book) or sign up for our next Open Day. See you there!