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Choosing a University

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There are a dizzying amount of factors involved when choosing a university and many students can begin to feel overwhelmed by the entire process. If you already know what course you want to do then other elements come into play: finances, quality of education and the reputation of a university. Those who are struggling to decide what exact course they want to do will find it even more difficult when choosing a university. The key is undoubtedly forward planning: the sooner you begin the search for your ideal university, the better.

university students in a classroom

The UK boasts over 150 universities and high learning facilities offering degree level courses. Students with a clear understanding of their chosen field of study may already be aware of the most outstanding universities offering their course and if this is the case then it is just a matter of narrowing down your options and being honest with yourself about exam expectations. If you already know which university you wish to attend then it could be just a matter of obtaining the results required for your course.

Financial considerations

With fees for UK courses reaching £9000 per academic year, British students and parents need to think carefully before committing to a course. If you are thinking of moving to a different city you will need to consider more than just fees, including accommodation costs, necessary day-to-day living expenses and let us not forget one of the most important aspects of student life – social expenses. Ultimately, students need to prioritise and assess whether living away from home is necessary to attend an outstanding university. If you have no other option than to move away then it is important to plan ahead:

• Can you secure a part-time job in the area?

• Can you apply for a bursary?

• Do you qualify for a student loan?

• How much can parents realistically contribute?

Reputable Universities

An institution’s reputation can serve you well in your future career as well as offering the potential to deliver a first-class education. Both the League Table and Subject Table of Universities provide an analytical insight into the UK’s best institutions and are great starting points when considering what University to attend. The National Student Survey could be said to give a subjective view of standards, as it is presents the views of students and their satisfaction with the course they attended. However, this survey should not be relied upon alone as various factors could influence a student’s view, including their own personal perception of satisfaction. Yet, if one takes the league Table, Subject Table and National Student Survey into consideration, a useful overview of the UKs universities can be obtained.

University Students

Does Size Matter?

Every student is different and you may be looking forward to attending a busy campus where you can remain as anonymous as you wish. Others may be searching for a more personal university experience where they can receive more one-to-one time with lecturers. However, initial perceptions should not be taken at face value as even if a university boasts a colossal number of students, it could in fact be sectioned into smaller campuses and colleges allowing for a more intimate ambience in a larger setting. Again, this is why research is imperative and why, as a student, you must research each potential university thoroughly. Information can be procured from individual websites, prospectuses and from the universities themselves.

Been There, Done That…

So you think you know which university you are going to choose, but you want to be sure.

• Go to the source and ask a past student: almost every university will have a forum or online community of some description so garner as much information as you can from the site, or contact a student directly if the facilities to do so exist.

• Attend an Open Day: don’t narrow down your choices completely, attend as many open days as feasibly possible and make a note beforehand of anything you need to know. If you have even more questions after the open day, contact the university for clarification.

Preparation is the key to choosing the right university and it is worthwhile remembering that it can be very expensive to change courses and universities if you are not satisfied with your initial decision.

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About Denise Morgan

About Denise Morgan

Denise has five years' experience writing for various web-based companies. During this time she has also contributed to magazine articles and brochures. In addition to writing, Denise is a gigging singer/songwriter and is proud to have featured on the first series of BBC One's The Voice UK, having been selected by the great Sir Tom Jones. Denise is mother to the most talented and ridiculously intelligent two year old that has ever been and ever will be (until she creates another one that is). This kind of hyperbole is restricted only to her progeny and is not a reflection of her usual writing styles... Denise and her son live in Manchester along with their five cats - yes that's right, five.

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