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7 things to think about when choosing a university
University can be one of life’s most exciting and rewarding times. But before you get there, choosing the right university is challenging.
I went through the application process a few years ago and understood how tough and stressful it can be. So here are some tips to help the aspiring university student make the right decision
1. Take your time:
Choosing the right university is essential. Remember you will be studying there for, most likely, three years. Don’t leave the process to the last minute. Deciding where you want to learn can be challenging, so give yourself time to think it over. It may be worth considering this as early as Year 9 or 10. Click here to read a blog about achieving your goals by starting with the end in mind.
2. Look at University league tables:
League tables can be a good indicator of a university’s overall rating, reputation, and quality of any course. Several respected league tables, such as The Complete University Guide, the Guardian University Guide and The Times Good University Guide, are published yearly. Also, note that different universities excel at other subjects, so research the reputation of your potential universities regarding your chosen topic.
3. Do your research!
Make sure you research your potential universities thoroughly. Their websites usually contain a lot of detail about the institution and its history and values. You can also read their prospectus online or order one to arrive by post. Some universities will require that you apply earlier than the usual deadline; others operate a collegiate system and expect you to choose a college when using. Some of them hope you take an additional entrance exam before being accepted. Remember that the more you know, the more confident you will be that you are making the right choice. Get more tips from a recent graduate by reading our blog here.
4. Attend University open days.
Visiting a university is the only way to get an authentic feel for what life will be like there. Campus, make sure you attend a handful of open days so that you have some comparisons. On a breezy day, you meet and talk to staff and students and tour the campus. Statistics and league tables tell us something, but the first-hand visit experience will help paint a more detailed picture of what it has to offer. The day I stepped onto the University of Kent campus was when I knew where I wanted to study and spend the next three years of my life.
5. University Lifestyle & location:
Don’t forget to think about location when choosing a university. Ask yourself what kind of lifestyle you want outside of your studies. Some may favour living in a big city with vibrant and varied nightlife. Others may prefer a low-key, relaxed environment. You may also want to consider how far away from home you are prepared to live. Some students choose to live at home with their family while studying, others want to live within a short distance from home, and others are pretty happy to move further away.
6. Societies, Sports & Extracurricular activities:
There are usually hundreds of societies in each university, and some universities have world-renowned facilities to support these activities, e.g. Sports at Loughborough University. You won’t be spending all your time studying, so if you enjoy an activity and want to continue at university, it may be worth looking into the school that will support you with this. Suppose you don’t have an extracurricular that you are particularly interested in. In that case, it may be worth looking at the university’s list of societies to consider the activities you want to participate in in your free time.
7. What else is on offer:
Some universities have good exchange programmes where you can study abroad as part of your course. Some schools have an excellent career fair and a career centre to support you with getting internships and finding a graduate job. Others have suitable bursaries, which could reduce the cost of your course. Others allow you to take credits as part of your degree so you can study Biology and take some credits in Music (if that’s what you’re looking for!). Wherever you choose to study, make sure that you look into any other added benefits, as this will help with your decision-making.
We hope this is helpful to anyone that’s thinking about furthering their education in the next couple of years. For more hints and tips on universities and careers, visit the GT Scholars blog at www.gtscholars.org/blog