Aberystwyth: Small, tightly knit. First university in Wales and proud of it. Remote spot, small town surrounded by gorgeous scenery and bags of fresh air. Divine view of Cardigan Bay. Most students from outside Wales. Sport thrives. Aber Rag is one of the world's biggest student charity appeals.

Prospectus: 01970 622021

Bangor: Part of the University of Wales, which underwent big-time restructuring in the Eighties (philosophy and physics closed). Wonderful position. Sandwiched between Snowdonia National Park and Menai Strait. Seventeen per cent of students speak Welsh, and there's a Welsh hall of residence. Excels at sport. New popular subjects: environmental science and criminology.

Prospectus: 01248 383561

Bath: Has risen from nowhere to be one of the most successful universities of the decade. Concentrates on science and technology and sandwich courses. New popular degree in sports science. Strong links with industry.

Prospectus: 01225 826091

Bournemouth: Former poly. Not a traditional university - and proud of it. Specialises in finding gaps in higher education market and filling them with novel courses, eg public sector management systems and building conservation technology. Claims to have launched the first degrees in financial services, taxation and revenue law, and heritage conservation.

Prospectus: 01202 595551

Bristol: Would probably figure in any Ivy League of British universities. Attracts classy students, many from grammar and independent schools who come from well-heeled homes. Most departments have excellent facilities and reputations.

Prospectus: 0117 925 0177

Cardiff: Largest constituent of the federal university of Wales. Has biggest and best student union in the UK. Good for sport. Good, too, for English: leads way in critical theory. Campus a mix of grand old buildings and redbrick shoeboxes. Has most modern engineering complex of British universities.

Prospectus: 01222 874 899

Exeter: "Green welly" university, famous for attracting Sloanes. But staff and students claim a healthy mix. Glorious, safe place, mostly redbrick buildings in 245-acre garden estate, a mile from city centre. Popular due to its setting.

Prospectus: 01392 263025

Glamorgan: Ex-poly on outskirts of Pontypridd, a busy market town between Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff. Main campus is in the village of Treforest - 20 minutes by train from Cardiff. More than 17,000 students. Courses are modular. Offers plenty of student support.

Prospectus: 01443 483279

Lampeter: Part of University of Wales. In little market town deep in south-west Wales, so remote it has no train station. Smallest uni in UK, 1,600 full-time students, the vast majority from outside Wales. Specialises in arts and humanities (no science or engineering).

Prospectus: 01570 422351

Plymouth: Ex-poly. Four campuses around Devon - in Plymouth (main one), Exeter, Exmouth and Seale-Hayne. Largest uni in South-west. Over 20,000 undergrads and nearly 3,000 postgrads. Good for engineering, environmental sciences and marine studies.

Prospectus: 01752 232232

Southampton: A large university that's doubled in size in Nineties. From 8,300 students in 1991 it has 17,600 today. Strong research reputation. Traditionally strong in engineering, but also hired UK's first professor of European film and media studies, Pam Cook.

Prospectus: 01703 594 741

University of Wales Institute, Cardiff: Has near 8,000 students, two- thirds Welsh, and offers courses with vocational edge. Good for sport. New pounds 6m athletics centre opens December 1999.

Prospectus: 01222 506070

University of Wales College, Newport: Has 8,000 students, of whom 5,000 are studying part-time. Most populous subject is business and management. Non-degree students are in a majority.

Prospectus: 01633 432432

University of Wales, Swansea: Has grown to 10,000 students in 10 years. Takes increasing numbers of Welsh school pupils through arrangements with South Wales schools. Serious interest in Europe.

Prospectus: 01792 295784

University of the West of England: Ex-Bristol Poly. Very large, 23,000 students. One of the highest rated of new universities. Close links with business, industry.

Prospectus: 0117-976 3801


Bath Spa University College: Highly rated: 40 per cent mature students. Two campuses, one four miles outside Bath; the other in a lovely Georgian crescent in the city.

Prospectus: 01225 875717

Cheltenham and Gloucester University College: Big with more than 8,000 students. Hopes to become a university in 2000.

Prospectus: 01242 543477

Dartington College of Arts: Teaches visual and performing arts. Down an, at times, muddy lane near Totnes.

Prospectus: 01325 503030

Falmouth College of Arts: College of art, design and communication: 1,500 students and wonderful views of the sea.

Prospectus: 01326 211077

North East Wales Institute: In Wrexham; surrounded by gorgeous countryside close to English/Welsh border; 4,500 students, of which half are part- timers. Strong vocational emphasis.

Prospectus: 01978 293013

College of St Mark and St John: Small- to medium-sized Church of England college with 5,000 students, on greenfield site on outskirts of Plymouth, known for teacher training, especially PE.

Prospectus: 01752 636890

Southampton Institute: Claims to be the largest college of higher education in the UK with more than 14,000 students on award-bearing courses. Most popular are business, media and design. Probably the best-known course is the yacht and powercraft design degree.

Prospectus: 01703 319012

Swansea Institute of Higher Education: Has three sites in Swansea. Three- quarters of students are local and more than one-half are over the age of 21 on entry. Offers vocational degrees.

Prospectus: 01792 481092

Trinity College Carmarthen: Mainly teacher training college a mile outside Carmarthen, the largest town in south west Wales. College is bilingual and most students are Welsh.

Prospectus: 01267 676718

Welsh College of Music and Drama: The Welsh conservatoire which teaches music and drama situated in the picturesque surroundings of Cathays Park, just behind Cardiff Castle (built on Roman remains).

Prospectus: 01222 342854


Danny Boyle, director of `Trainspotting' and a graduate of Bangor University


Jemima Kahn, nee Goldsmith, paparazzi darling, a student at Bristol University