The time to apply to university has swung by once again. It’s undoubtedly a daunting experience, especially since it’s probably the first time you’re leaving the nest. That’s why it’s all the more important to choose wisely and do your research.
1. Be authentic to yourself
Whilst it might be really easy to just apply where your friends are applying or apply solely on the basis that party life’s great, it ultimately isn’t a sustainable decision. Don’t be afraid to visit the potential universities you have in mind, and get a feel for the place. Speak to the students at the open day and don’t be shy to ask as many questions as you want. It will allow you to get clarity on the things that matter to you. For example, what is the workload like, is there mental health support for students, and are tutors approachable? Think about whether you would like to live and study in that particular city and don’t just attend the open day, explore the city too. Look around at the shops and cafes. If you run out of food, will it be easy to do your grocery shop or get a quick takeout? Is there accessible and affordable transport?
The primary purpose of attending university is for education. Each university has its strengths and weaknesses. Whilst a wide range of universities may offer a particular course, some of them are specialists, whilst others may be better at other courses. This is why it’s important to read university prospectuses as well as get some less biased views like from The Times’ Good University Guide. Guides like these from accredited organizations not only rank universities but also include information like student satisfaction rates, job prospects of graduates, and average salary of graduates.
3. City or campus university
This aspect might be more important for some compared to others, but it’s still worth thinking about. Some universities are campus universities which means that everything is based on campus. The university, the library, facilities, and accommodation are all just a stone’s throw away from each other. This means there is real ease in access, you have a lot more flexibility in timings when it comes to leaving the university or your accommodation and you save money on transport. City universities are more spread out and whilst it might still be possible to walk from A to B, it’s not as close as a campus university.
4. Social life
This is another significant aspect of university. It’s important to maintain a healthy work-life balance and look after your mental health. The social opportunities at university should also be considered, for example, what societies can you take part in or even create, are there events hosted by the university to socialize, and are there any interesting spots that can be visited in the city?
It’s a big decision to make, but with careful thought, consideration, and advice it becomes a lot less daunting.
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