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.

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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you a recent graduate loo...

Guru Careers: Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant

£16 - 20k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant is needed to ...

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf