You’ve decided university is for you but how do you go about choosing the right one? There are so many factors to consider it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start.
Bangor University has five top tips to help you.
1. Choose a course you’ll enjoy
Your degree is going to last at least three or four years so make sure you pick something that not only helps your career aspirations but you’re enthusiastic about too.
If you can’t settle on one subject, there are plenty of joint honours degrees where you can choose two, such as Banking and French. Or you could choose a ‘with’ degree, where the main element of the degree is one subject but a proportion of it is a different subject.
Check what you need to do to get in though. It’s good to have goals but be realistic – don’t set your heart on a course where the entry requirements are much higher than your expected qualifications.
2. Take a look around
The best way to get a proper feel for university life is to go and have a look. All universities hold open days where you can meet staff and students and get a good idea of what learning, living and socialising there will be like.
You will have the chance to ask plenty of questions about the grades you need, what the accommodation is like, what are the best things about studying there and what you can do to make the best application. You will also be able to check out the halls of residence, the students’ union and the general area.
There’s so much to remember though, so it’s a great idea to write a list of what you want to find out beforehand.
History student, Olivia Phillips says: "I had a list for when I visited the Bangor University Open Day and it was really helpful. Check your list before you leave to make sure that you go home with answers to all your questions.”
Remember also, a picture is worth a thousand words so take lots of photos during your visits. If you go to several open days they could all blur into one, but pictures can help you compare institutions.
3. Wish list
Make a wish list of all the things you want from your university. Think about the things that really matter to you. Do you want to go to a campus uni or do you prefer one in the heart of the city? Are you happy to stay close to home or would you rather venture further afield? Are you a social butterfly or do you prefer peace and quiet? Will you need to look for part-time work while you study? Where do you want to live – halls or private accommodation? All these things matter and will affect not only your final decision but your budget too.
They all have advantages and disadvantages but you need to figure out what is important and what you want from your student life.
How to choose a uni that's right for you:
4. What do current students think?
If you want to find out what a university is really like, then ask the students already there. They will give you a good insight into university life.
University websites are a great place to start, giving you detailed information about the courses and university itself. But most websites will also have student profiles to give you a student’s perspective.
If existing students rate things like teaching, support and personal development highly then you’ll know you’ve made the right choice. Look out for student satisfaction results – they’re a great reflection of how well the university looks after its students.
University social media platforms also offer some great nuggets of information, like Bangor University’s Get Ready for University YouTube channel, which has lots of handy hints and tips from student vloggers about all aspects of preparing for university.
And – obviously! – at TSR you’ll get up-to-date, honest advice on all areas of university life in the forums.
5. Home from home
Going to university may well mean living away from home for the first time. Halls of residence can give you the best start to your university life. You’ll meet new people, make new friends and will undoubtedly feel a sense of community. There’s also plenty of extra support if you need it.
Check if the university offers what you’re looking for in terms of accommodation, whether it’s self-catering, en-suite, studio…there are so many options! Some will include all your bills and even a gym membership in the price!
You may decide to rent privately instead and your university can provide you with a list of available accommodation.
Going to university is an investment into your future, so make sure you choose a university that caters for your needs. Do your research, write wish lists and check lists and make a decision that’s right for you.