Finding the best university isn’t just about the rankings and courses
How to choose a university
Thursday 13 March 2008
There’s more to think about than simply what course you want to study; there might be any number of institutions that offer the subject you’re interested in, so how do you decide between them? These tips will point you in the right direction.
Home from home?
A 2006 survey by higher education action group Universities UK found that around 20 per cent of HE students live at home. If that’s your decision too, then obviously you need to find a local university. If you want to get as far away as possible, it’s time to get the map of Great Britain out!
City or campus?
Some universities and colleges are scattered throughout the town or city in which they’re based, while others are all in one place: on a campus. So, if you want all your lectures and general amenities close at hand, go for the latter. If you’d rather things were a bit more spread out, you want the former.
Cast a web
As well as checking out the websites of the universities you are interested in, take a look at other helpful sites. Ucas’s www.yougofurther.co.uk has great advice and keep browsing the www.independent.co.uk/student site as it is updated daily.
A number of universities have particular subjects that they specialise in. For example, Bath are known for engineering, the University of Central Lancashire for journalism and Warwick for the sciences. This could be a good way to refine your search.
Despite what people in some quarters might tell you, you’re not just at university or college to study. Whatever your interests are – whether it’s rock climbing, amateur dramatics, politics or snorkelling – find out whether there are facilities to cater for them.
Attending open days is easily the best way to find out whether the institutions you are thinking of applying to are up to standard. You can visit individual departments, ask questions of lecturers and generally get a feel for the place. Visit www.opendays.com for where and when you can visit.
Accommodation is usually one of the most expensive bits of university life, so getting it right in your first year is paramount. Find out if things such as internet access and bed linen are included in the rent and what activities are available if you go into halls – many have their own clubs and societies.
Hit the town
The quality of the university or college is vital, but what about the town or city in which it’s based? You’ve got to live there for three years at least, so it’s worth making sure you’re going to feel at home as well as be entertained. Open days are a good time to have a wander around.
Responsibility for protecting the environment falls on all of us, but particularly large organisations, which include universities and colleges. Many do their bit – encouraging bike riders, reducing energy consumption, so you may want to find out what your chosen institution is doing.
An institution’s alumni could inspire you to follow in their footsteps. Gordon Brown went to Edinburgh, David Cameron went to Oxford, David Walliams went to Bristol, Stephen Fry went to Cambridge and latest England rugby sensation David Strettle learnt his trade at Sheffield Hallam.
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Digital Account Exec ...
£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...