Choosing the right degree will ensure you make the most out of your time at university, and increase your chances of securing employment when you graduate.

When choosing a degree, there are lots of things to think about. Picking a subject to invest the majority of your time and effort in the next three to four years of your life can be an incredibly tough decision to make.

Choosing the wrong degree can hit you hard financially, particularly if you end up choosing to drop out or switch courses. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider all your options and use the support available to help you make the right choice for your future.

With over 30,000 undergraduate courses available to study in the UK, narrowing down the options on your shortlist is the usually the best place to start, and knowing how to conduct effective research into a degree, a university and a town or city is beneficial when faced with a huge variety of possibilities.

Knowing what key questions to ask yourself can unlock the answers if you are struggling to make a final decision. To help you decide, we will cover your main choices:

  • Choosing what subject study
  • Choosing how to study
  • Choosing where to study

Choosing what subject to study

Easily the hardest choice to make is deciding which subject to commit yourself to. When starting to narrow down your options, there are 3 questions to ask yourself:

Which subjects do I enjoy?

Selecting a degree you have a passion for is essential, as you need to be prepared to devote a large amount of time and energy towards it for the foreseeable. But try to remember that your interests can change, so picking a subject that will hold your interests long-term is vital.

Which skills am I particularly good at?

Opting for a degree in a subject you excel in is an excellent way to keep your confidence up, and you should always remember to play to your strengths. If you have acquired good grades in maths, for example, an accountancy or engineering course may be possibilities.

However, an even better way to consider it is to think about which skills or abilities within these subjects are what help you to excel. If you are good at art, is it because you are creative or because are good at working with your hands? Each answer could take you down significantly different career paths.

What do I see myself doing as a career?

Your degree will set you up for a long career and it is important to have a future goal in mind. Deciding what you see yourself doing as a job when you complete your studies will also help when shortlisting.

Some subjects will provide a clear route into work, such as accountancy or social care, whereas others may require some additional studies before moving into employment.

Choosing how to study

There is a variety of degrees available to potential students and making a decision on how you want to study them is an important part of shortlisting.

The majority of Bachelor’s degrees commonly last between three to four years and are made up of a combination of lectures, exams, assignments and group projects. Some also provide the opportunity of a work placement or a year abroad, where you can experience working in industry to support your skills and knowledge.

If you have other responsibilities in life, there are routes that will allow you to continue your studies, such as:

Part-time learning – These are often delivered via evening and weekend classes and are taken over a longer period of time. They can be a good option for those unable to commit to full-time.

Online/Blended learning – Also known as distance learning, these courses are delivered remotely via virtual classrooms and online resources, and are a great choice for those with varied availability.

Degree Apprenticeships – These provide students with the chance to earn whilst they learn, as students receive on-the-job training and develop their skills in a job setting.

Choosing where to study

Once you have selected what subject to study and how you want to study it, it’s time to choose a university. No two degrees are ever the same, and every course is run in a unique way, each different to the next. As a result, investigating a variety of universities in different locations is vital when making that final decision.

When looking for options, consider the following:

  • Location
  • Reputation
  • Entry Requirements
  • Performance against other universities

For more detailed advice guidance, check out our dedicated page for selecting the right university.

What NOT to do

As with any important life decisions, knowing what not to do can be just as valuable as knowing what to do.

When choosing a degree, remember not to:

  • Be pressured into anything, it’s your choice and your future
  • Pick a subject you don’t enjoy and won’t hold your interests

Copy your friends, particularly if they don’t share your career aspirations