University Series| Considerations when choosing a university

I've wanted to do a small series about university on my blog for a while but never got round to organising the posts but I've finally sat down and decided what I want to write about. I thought this posts might be helpful for those going to university in September or those who are just starting to look at universities. Todays post is aimed at the those who have just started looking at universities, you might have already started going to open days or you might be planning on going to some over the summer.

My list of things to consider are just my personal opinion and are not definite things they're just things that I thought might help.

What course you want to study
I put this first as what course you want to do might already narrow down your choices of universities. Say you want to do something like English or Law then nearly all universities offer that but take my course for example, Philosophy, whilst a lot of universities do offer it, it is not as common as other courses. Also if you wanted to do joint honours, not all universities would necessarily offer the two subjects together, at one point I was considering doing Philosophy and Law together but this really narrowed down my choices of universities to consider. This may be a good thing if you know what course you definitely want to do as it narrows your choice down for you so you have a more specific range of universities to focus on.

This leads me on to my next thing to consider - grades. I'm not saying your predicted grades from sixth form/college completely decide what universities to apply for but they do contribute to it. For example if you were predicted say BBC then you would probably focus your search on universities that had this as their entry requirement or around the same grades. I'm not saying you can't aim high as you could completely exceed your target grades just try and be realistic as also this means there is slightly less pressure on you. I was predicted AAB so I started by looking at universities that wanted that or ABB but then I looked at some that wanted say BBB as I knew that hopefully even if I didn't achieve my targets that I could definitely achieve that. I also looked at some that wanted higher say AAA. You get to pick five options so a mixture of grade requirements is a good idea. In the end I applied for two that wanted BBB/BBC, two that were around my target and one that was above. I got offers from them all and at that point I hadn't even achieved my target grades, for AS I ended up with BBC with a C in the subject I wanted to study so again don't worry if your AS grades are lower as these aren't your overall grades.

Distance from home
Some people don't really mind how far away or near they are from home, others do. If you wanted to visit home a lot then one that is closer may be better so you don't have such a long train or car journey. Some people may also choose a local university and live at home. I personally didn't really mind where universities where at first, in the end the ones I chose were all pretty close (around an hour away) from home, this wasn't actually intentional it just turned out that the ones I liked the best where relatively close to where I live. If you know you definitely want to live near or far from home then this helps narrow your choices of universities down and give you a starting point for which universities to focus on.

Campus or city based campus 
Again some people don't really have a preference. I started off looking at both but decided I preferred a campus where everything was in one place. This doesn't mean you can't still be near a city, I'm a ten minute bus journey from Nottingham city centre. It also doesn't necessarily mean that the campus will be smaller than one that is spread around a city. I guess it depends on whether you like the idea that everything is in one place or whether you'd like to be more within an actual city with other things happening around you.

Where the university is
I thought I'd just add this as another consideration, when I say where it is I mean is it in a big city or a quieter area. I don't think this is a major thing to consider but it might be something to keep in mind. Say you really enjoy going out clubbing, a city where there are a variety of clubs may be better than a smaller university where there is only really the student union. Or maybe you've always lived in a city so fancy living somewhere smaller or vice versa. I didn't personally think about this too much but I'm now glad I'm in quite a big city, there are plenty of places to eat and plenty of nights out to suit most music tastes.

I'd also recommend going to the open days of all the universities you are considering. I went to a lot of open days probably more than most but I didn't want to put any in my top five that I hadn't seen. I just personally thought it was better to see the campuses in person. Also it means you can have a proper look at the accommodation. It may surprise you that some universities that you thought you'd like end up being ones that you remove form you list. For example, before going to visit York university I thought I was really going to like it but I got there and really didn't, I didn't like the way the university was laid out and wasn't keen on the lecturer who gave the talk. I know you only see some of the lecturers but they are going to be teaching you so you want people who you'll be able to listen to for an hour or two.

So these are just a few things I thought might be helpful for any of you who are starting to think about what universities to pick. Hopefully some of you found this post useful, I will be writing a few more posts for my university series which should go up every Friday.

Sophie x 

1 comment

  1. This post is really helpful, I hadn't a clue about city or campus universities. I ended up in a city university and didn't realize my uni wasn't in walking distance until I got there though! ha

    xo Claire



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