Finding the best university isn’t just about the rankings and courses

How to choose a university

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.



Course notes

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.



Extra-curricular

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.



Open house

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.



Make room

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.



Climate conscious

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.



Previous form

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.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Digital Account Exec ...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before