Sponsored feature, words by Fay Millar

It’s tough choosing your uni.

Looking through the profiles for each one can sometimes feel repetitive with proclamations of high league table positions and global standing, world-leading research and high student satisfaction from almost every one. How do you know which one will offer you the best course experience? Which one will be perfect for you?

UK universities are rightly proud of their achievements but what can sometimes be forgotten in all these stats is you. What are you about? What do you want to achieve? How are you going to stand out from the crowd when you leave? According to the University of Reading, you should throw yourself into uni life, and the unique opportunities and experiences which will enrich your study and be of value once you finish your degree.

Look for opportunities that will add value to your CV after you graduate

It’s not just the course, campus and nightlife you should be looking at. Many universities are working hard to offer you distinct, money-can’t-buy opportunities on top of the different societies or events you can get involved in. University of Reading formed a partnership with legendary music magazine NME at this year’s Reading Festival, which allowed twelve aspiring journalists, filmmakers and photographers from the university the chance to report live for NME from backstage over the August bank holiday weekend.

With the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foals and Biffy Clyro headlining, the team of students from a range of subjects and year groups, took the opportunity to create live content for NME.com and NME’s social media outlets. Working alongside the editorial team at Time Inc, the creators of NME, they also produced a bumper 16-page supplement for NME’s post-festival edition of the magazine (available 9th September).

In doing so, not only did students get the opportunity to brush shoulders with the stars like Blossoms, Two Door Cinema Club and Slaves, but they got to share the films and stories they created at the festival in front of an audience of millions from across the globe.

Patsy Collison, a third year psychology student says: “My favourite thing about Reading is that you get opportunities like this. You’re never limited to a single subject or interest. There are always new people to meet, new things to try and new topics to learn about.

“I love that I came here and had my plans turned upside down, in the best way possible.”

Dive deeper into your interests

Most unis have a thriving music and live events scene, but don’t confine yourself to merely watching the bands. You could really enrich your time at uni by learning to play an instrument, reviewing shows for the student magazine or even taking up photography. At University of Reading, even outside of the NME partnership there is a student newspaper, radio station and online TV channel.

Whatever your interests, whether on your course or in your own time, your university will offer opportunities to do things that will enhance your skills, look good on your CV and help you long into your future career.

Take up a new sport – who knows you could end up in the Olympics

Joining one of the many sporting societies on offer is a great way not only to improve your fitness and social life while you are at uni, but it can help develop your leadership and interpersonal skills as well.

A number of University of Reading students have gone onto compete in the Olympics with the uni having produced several world-class rowers, including James Cracknell, Debbie Flood, Ric Eginton and gold medalist in the Rio games, Alex Gregory.

It’s not just Reading University Boat Club that is highly acclaimed though. Reading has over 150 clubs and societies, from maths to mountaineering and fashion to feminism via the acclaimed Reading Knights American Football team.

University of Reading is ranked among the top 1% of universities in the world, with a reputation for research excellence, innovative teaching and links with business. Since its creation as a university 90 years ago, it has helped to tackle some of the world’s most pressing concerns. It now has campuses in the UK, Malaysia and South Africa, with over 18,000 students from more than 150 countries.

For more information visit www.reading.ac.uk/be-red