There over 165 higher education institutions in the UK. Therefore, knowing how to conduct effective research and narrow down your options can be crucial when deciding your future.
After choosing what degree to study, the next important question all students have to answer is where to study. This is one of the most significant decisions you will make and will shape your future plans and experiences after university. It can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to look, so here us some advice to get you going.
A great place to start is by considering the different locations where you can complete your studies. You need to be able to feel at home in the town or city, so visiting where possible may allow you to shortlist universities and tick off others.
Moving away is not always the only option. You may have to compare the benefits of studying whilst living at home with the experiences you will gain studying in a new city. For some student, having the security of being close to friends and family will outweigh the positives of meeting new people, and ease the financial burden.
Look at accommodations options and find information on student accommodation services about where the student-oriented parts of the city are and what amenities are in the area.
Aside from course fees, there are many costs studying a degree will bring. You may have to factor in the cost of living in the area or the price of accommodation when considering if university is a financially viable option. Examples of the added cost of studying a degree include:
- Tuition fee’s
- Rent and utility bills
- Public transport
- Learning materials and subscriptions
- Sports or social club memberships
All this is in addition to the cost of enjoying the social aspects university life can offer, such as enjoying nights out to bars and clubs with other course mates at venues offering student discounts. A typical night out can cost from as little as £20, to as much as £120 in parts of London, so consider how much money you can set aside to give yourself the chance to let your hair down once in a while.
No two courses are identical, and there are multiple factors to consider when looking into their content:
- The number of lectures
- The tutors and lecturers teaching the content
- The variety of modules covered
- What assessments will look like – e.g. exams, coursework, presentation
Some degrees will offer you the opportunity to spend a year overseas or complete a work placement in industry to support your knowledge with experiences in a real-work setting. Some can provide the opportunity to study remotely or part-time if you have other responsibilities in life.
Facilities and Societies
Making the most of your time at university will include taking advantage of the many sports clubs and other extra-curriculum activities they have to offer. It can be important to supplement your studies with some ‘me-time’, and they may involve playing football or joining an active film society. University will often arrange events themselves for students to enjoy, so research into what they have to offer.
They can also provide services for those struggling with aspects of their course or their wellbeing, with student unions able to offer support with mental health, financial advice and accessibility. Knowing where to turn when faced with a variety of problems will safeguard you from some of the risks of university-life.
Where to look for advice
If the university and area are new to you, it can be hard to know who or what to trust. Some useful ways of obtaining an accurate picture include:
- Open Days – Universities will host numerous open days throughout the year, providing you with the opportunity to visit and look around the area and its surrounding location, whilst gaining a feel for its atmosphere.
- Admission Officers – These can be found on campus or attending careers fairs and open days throughout the country, and are able to answer specific questions about entry requirements and course content
- Current Students – Asking for advice from past and present students on forums, blogs, social media is a great way to gain an insight into life on campus.
- Rankings – Looking at university ranking tables can be a great source of information when comparing multiple options, and allow you to discard those that don’t score high enough on areas you consider important.