Going to university is a life-changing experience; it’s a time when you make new friends, experience a different way of living, and gain the skills that will ultimately decide your future. We know that you’re working hard on your A-levels right now, but it’s worth taking a bit of time to think about how you want to spend the next three years or so. It can be a tricky topic, but fear not, because we’ve come up with the main things that you should consider when choosing the right university.
What Features Are You Looking for in a University?
Whether you’ve thought about it or not, you probably have preconceptions about what uni life is all about. It’s important to keep in mind that not every uni is the same, in fact, they can offer very different experiences depending on where you choose to go.
Maybe you’re drawn to the classic university experience; studying in one of the nation’s top institutions offers a sense of pride that other places may not be able to provide. If you think that all this is a bit too old-fashioned for you, then take a look at more modern universities, as these often present relaxed and laid-back atmospheres.
You might be surprised by how many students choose their course without a clear career path in mind. It’s completely normal to select your degree based on the topics that you enjoy at A-level and see where it goes because there’s plenty of time to intern in different organisations to find the role that suits you best. That being said, it’s a good idea to research the potential futures that your course can offer you.
If you are lucky enough to already know the career that you’d like to pursue, you ought to find out which universities are best for your chosen profession. Think about the university’s industry links and read through testimonials to find out the sorts of roles past students have entered – it could help you to make an informed decision.
Do Your Characteristics Match the University?
Different people are better suited to different environments, and certain universities will match your needs better than others. Yes, you go to uni to learn, but the social aspect of the student experience is incredibly important for your wellbeing.
Those of you who are used to life in a busy city may find that you’ll prefer to work in lively environments, with plenty of like-minded students and more activities to get stuck in to. If you prefer being part of a smaller, tighter-knit community, then you should consider campus-based universities (and although these may have less variety in terms of nightlife and events, they offer a solid platform for you to build lasting relationships). All of that said, you might want the exact opposite of what you’re used to at home.
How Do You Learn?
There are over a hundred universities in the UK, many of which offer courses with relatively similar syllabuses – so how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Although these courses may seem similar, they are often delivered in very different ways, and some will lend themselves to your method of learning more so than others.
For example, if you’re aware that you don’t perform well in exams, then it would be advantageous for you to choose a university that offers a coursework-heavy degree. If you find that you thrive under pressure, and exams are good for you, then you are likely to have more options to choose from in terms of universities – it depends on how you prefer to work.
Spread Your Wings, or Stay Close to Home?
Regardless of where you choose to live, you’ll have a great time at uni. That being said, you should consider how far you want to be from home. For some of you, it will be an easy decision to pack your bags to go and experience a new city, make new friends and go it alone.
There’s plenty of ways for you to stay in touch with your family and friends whilst in a different city. But that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with staying closer to home – if you’re close to your family and friends, you may want to choose a nearby uni, so you don’t completely leave your life behind.
Make the Decision That’s Right for You
Whichever uni you choose, it’s important that you make the decision that’s right for you. You are making a big commitment when you choose where you want to study, so taking into account what makes you happy will have a huge impact on the uni experience. It’s all about finding the location that provides the right balance between your studies and your social life to ensure that you stay happy and healthy throughout your time at uni.
Daniel Sefton is a writer for dwell Student Living, providers of modern, purpose-built student accommodation in four major UK cities.
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