How to decide what university you want to go to in 2020/21?

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Poll: What do you think is the most important thing for universities to focus on for virtual open days?
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5.65%
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4.31%
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Evil Homer
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. How are you making decisions on which Uni's to shortlist when you can't physically visit them?

Deciding where you want to go to university is a big deal. It’s where you are going to spend at least the next three years, it’s where you are going to meet people you may stay in contact with for the rest of your life, it’s where you’re going to go out and socalise and of course it’s where you are going to study too. Some of you in years gone past would have been busy planning and attending University Open days at the moment but of course with the recent Covid situation this is no longer an option like it used to be.

In an increasingly uncertain world students will be worrying more than ever about making the right university choices for them. Without being able to visit the universities you’re interested in, this choice may be more difficult now than ever before.

Are using online open days a suitable replacement? How are you researching the cities you may be living in, what factors are important to you? What information do you have available to make the right choice for you?

I wanted to ask how students who are currently making these choices are doing it. How do you get a feel for a university and a city when you can’t visit it. I wanted everyone to share how they are making their choices, or how you did make your university choices, and any tips or guidance anyone can share to help other students going through the same thing make the best choices they possibly can for themselves.

What are you weighing up and using to make your university choices??
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TJPBrewer
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My local Uni needs 120 points for the course I want. They charge £9.25k a year. They're 3 miles away. They give me the degree I want. I've spoken to people that go there, they love it. They have an open day online on the 13th May I'll be watching.

I'm not too bothered where I go, as long as I get a slip of paper telling me I got what I want after 3 years.
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yzanne
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(Original post by TJPBrewer)
I'm not too bothered where I go, as long as I get a slip of paper telling me I got what I want after 3 years.
interesting viewpoint! are you not worried you won't enjoy it / feel happy there?

even though it's only 3 years, its still important that you have a fulfilling life every year of your life!
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TJPBrewer
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Of course!

I'm not very proactive, so if I don't like it, I'm sure I'll regret it. I like getting straight in there though, and with living arrangements, it's the only uni that works for me. Both my grandparents I live with are disabled, so I'll have to stick around, live at home and whatnot.

The course I'm wanting, too, a Computing with QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) is only offered here - I haven't seen it anywhere else. I'm spoilt for choice clearly

I'm having a load of barriers to getting into uni at the minute actually. Have a check of my profile and see my post I've just put on. Fun read
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Becca216
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I had a look around 3 Unis last autumn (Bristol, Nottingham and Birmingham) and I now feel so glad and lucky that I did. As I was only in the start of Year 12 when I looked around I didn't pay too much attention to the course details as I still wasn't sure what I wanted to study, the main thing I gained out of those open days was it made me set my mind on going to a campus uni - for me a quite like that sense of togetherness.

Now, I have decided I want to study civil engineering, I still like Nottingham and Birmingham but I also like the sound of Loughborough, Newcastle, Trent, Liverpool and John Moores - I'm not yet sure how I m going to narrow this list down but I would quite like to find out what the courses are like at each of these unis as well as the student union life.

I know I can read course info online but it would be nice to talk to a staff member about the course - I hope unis make this possible on the online open days.

For me league tables do matter but not that much, I have used them more to find out which unis actually offer civil engineering, their student satisfaction rates and entry requirements (I do 4 A-levels, predicted A*AAA but I'm generally looking at AAA-ABB).

What I do recommend to anyone out there struggling to shortlist is to think about 2 main things: How far away from home do you want to travel? I wanted to go somewhere new so I don't want anywhere too close to home but I also don't what somewhere thats a 6+ hours away in case I need to get home in an emergency. And Does the 'name' of the Uni really matter? I have always quite fancied going to a RG, however I have realised that there are a lot of non-RG unis that offer courses that are just as good - for example I had never heard of John Moores before but now I have read into it I actually quite like the uni and the course they offer.
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laurawatt
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I’ve done one subject specific open day, but apart from that I haven’t especially looked into when other virtual open days are happening
I know that I want to go to a campus uni don’t want to go to a big city uni (one in London/Birmingham etc) so that’s narrowed down the options quite a lot!

I will also need to look into how expensive the places are to live/halls for first year etc.
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Becca216
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(Original post by laurawatt)
I’ve done one subject specific open day, but apart from that I haven’t especially looked into when other virtual open days are happening
I know that I want to go to a campus uni don’t want to go to a big city uni (one in London/Birmingham etc) so that’s narrowed down the options quite a lot!

I will also need to look into how expensive the places are to live/halls for first year etc.
It's amazing how much easier it becomes if you don't want to go to uni in london/the surrounding areas - it reduces your list so much! And most people will by now know if they want to go to oxbridge or not - and if not thats another 2 crossed off!
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swanseajack1
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(Original post by laurawatt)
I’ve done one subject specific open day, but apart from that I haven’t especially looked into when other virtual open days are happening
I know that I want to go to a campus uni don’t want to go to a big city uni (one in London/Birmingham etc) so that’s narrowed down the options quite a lot!

I will also need to look into how expensive the places are to live/halls for first year etc.
If you take London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol, Brighton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Sheffield out you have narrowed your choices greatly. Take out the South of England where the expense is higher and you really are narrowing down your options. Campus universities in smaller cities that might not prove too costly you could look at Lancaster, York, Keele, Aberystwyth, Bangor, University of South Wales, University of Wales Trinity St Davids and if it is not too big Swansea. You could also check out Warwick and Loghborough and possibly more up North.
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studytheblurb
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I am very lucky that in Year 12 I went on an open day visit my university, which I fell in love with and could not fault it in any way whatsoever.

I am an extremely indecisive person, but going to see the campus for myself and being able to attend all of the trial lessons for potential courses was what really helped me to make my decision. And unfortunately, I do think that the 2021 Year 13's are going to have trouble deciding on their university choices since there will be no physical visits to any universities this year and I do not think that online virtual tours are as useful as actually going to the university itself.

For anyone struggling to decide on a university but is unable to visit, the best way to do some research on your future uni is to check out their website and the information on the courses as I do feel that is a very helpful way to decide. Don't just base your decision off of ranks, base it on the location of the city and the uni itself as this is going to be a very significant factor of your university experience. Look at the events the city will hold in the future, if it is a good student city and maybe you can base your decision off of cities that you have already visited as you have an idea of what it may be like as a student there.

Good luck
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yzanne
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(Original post by TJPBrewer)
Of course!

I'm not very proactive, so if I don't like it, I'm sure I'll regret it. I like getting straight in there though, and with living arrangements, it's the only uni that works for me. Both my grandparents I live with are disabled, so I'll have to stick around, live at home and whatnot.

The course I'm wanting, too, a Computing with QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) is only offered here - I haven't seen it anywhere else. I'm spoilt for choice clearly

I'm having a load of barriers to getting into uni at the minute actually. Have a check of my profile and see my post I've just put on. Fun read
Make sure you tag me in this so I can see you've replied :yep:

Either click 'reply' button or @ me and search up my user.
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Edminzodo
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(Original post by Becca216)
I had a look around 3 Unis last autumn (Bristol, Nottingham and Birmingham) and I now feel so glad and lucky that I did. As I was only in the start of Year 12 when I looked around I didn't pay too much attention to the course details as I still wasn't sure what I wanted to study, the main thing I gained out of those open days was it made me set my mind on going to a campus uni - for me a quite like that sense of togetherness.

Now, I have decided I want to study civil engineering, I still like Nottingham and Birmingham but I also like the sound of Loughborough, Newcastle, Trent, Liverpool and John Moores - I'm not yet sure how I m going to narrow this list down but I would quite like to find out what the courses are like at each of these unis as well as the student union life.

I know I can read course info online but it would be nice to talk to a staff member about the course - I hope unis make this possible on the online open days.

For me league tables do matter but not that much, I have used them more to find out which unis actually offer civil engineering, their student satisfaction rates and entry requirements (I do 4 A-levels, predicted A*AAA but I'm generally looking at AAA-ABB).

What I do recommend to anyone out there struggling to shortlist is to think about 2 main things: How far away from home do you want to travel? I wanted to go somewhere new so I don't want anywhere too close to home but I also don't what somewhere thats a 6+ hours away in case I need to get home in an emergency. And Does the 'name' of the Uni really matter? I have always quite fancied going to a RG, however I have realised that there are a lot of non-RG unis that offer courses that are just as good - for example I had never heard of John Moores before but now I have read into it I actually quite like the uni and the course they offer.
I went to Liverpool, not for Engineering, so if you need any info, let me know.
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Ghostlady
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThIxxp-fDAY lancaster open day next month on you tube.
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laurawatt
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(Original post by Becca216)
It's amazing how much easier it becomes if you don't want to go to uni in london/the surrounding areas - it reduces your list so much! And most people will by now know if they want to go to oxbridge or not - and if not thats another 2 crossed off!
(Original post by swanseajack1)
If you take London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol, Brighton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Sheffield out you have narrowed your choices greatly. Take out the South of England where the expense is higher and you really are narrowing down your options. Campus universities in smaller cities that might not prove too costly you could look at Lancaster, York, Keele, Aberystwyth, Bangor, University of South Wales, University of Wales Trinity St Davids and if it is not too big Swansea. You could also check out Warwick and Loghborough and possibly more up North.
sorry both for the late reply,
I agree, I hadn’t seen quite how many unis I’d crossed off just with a few ‘search filters’
Thank you both for your help :hugs:
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jmsk_
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i'm deciding between Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester for medicine. Anyone have any opinions? Birmingham has the largest cohort. A random fact.
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Ghostlady
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(Original post by jmsk_)
i'm deciding between Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester for medicine. Anyone have any opinions? Birmingham has the largest cohort. A random fact.
Havent been to Birmingham and Manchester, but went with my daughter for Leicester on two open days. I quite liked Leicester. Oadby student village i thought was nice and in the suburbs and a bus ride away (40 mins walk), which makes it a home away from home. Wasnt too keen on Lasdun accommodation, but like ash house, and pavillion there. For city accommodation we liked opal court, it had a nice room to socialise in where you can chill and play computer games and have pre's in. Loved the library, and they have this new food court they was building, which i think they must be near off finishing now. I think if you want a city vibe, but not too big and overwhelming, Leicester is your place. But Manchester city and Birmingham city centers (which i have been too) are big and if thats more appealing, then they would be your best bets.
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Aberystwyth University Student Ambassador
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Hi,

I am a current 2nd year student at Aberystwyth.

Looking at the modules offered at each university is a really good way of comparing the courses to see which may interest you more. This is something I did when comparing universities when I applied and helped me make my decision. It may also be worth looking at how each course is assessed, to compare which style of assessment may suit the way you work best. Rankings are definitely useful to look at, but it is also important to think about how the course is suited to your interests and what you are going to get out of it.

I would also recommend speaking to currents students about their experience at each university as well as current academic staff. This may help give you more of a feel of each university and help in your decision making.

On the UCAS website you can chat to students from different universities studying different courses through Unibuddy. Several other students and I from Aberystwyth are available to chat, look here if interested!

Please let me know if you have any other questions, happy to help!

Rebecca 😊
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Anonymous1502
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(Original post by Becca216)
I had a look around 3 Unis last autumn (Bristol, Nottingham and Birmingham) and I now feel so glad and lucky that I did. As I was only in the start of Year 12 when I looked around I didn't pay too much attention to the course details as I still wasn't sure what I wanted to study, the main thing I gained out of those open days was it made me set my mind on going to a campus uni - for me a quite like that sense of togetherness.

Now, I have decided I want to study civil engineering, I still like Nottingham and Birmingham but I also like the sound of Loughborough, Newcastle, Trent, Liverpool and John Moores - I'm not yet sure how I m going to narrow this list down but I would quite like to find out what the courses are like at each of these unis as well as the student union life.

I know I can read course info online but it would be nice to talk to a staff member about the course - I hope unis make this possible on the online open days.

For me league tables do matter but not that much, I have used them more to find out which unis actually offer civil engineering, their student satisfaction rates and entry requirements (I do 4 A-levels, predicted A*AAA but I'm generally looking at AAA-ABB).

What I do recommend to anyone out there struggling to shortlist is to think about 2 main things: How far away from home do you want to travel? I wanted to go somewhere new so I don't want anywhere too close to home but I also don't what somewhere thats a 6+ hours away in case I need to get home in an emergency. And Does the 'name' of the Uni really matter? I have always quite fancied going to a RG, however I have realised that there are a lot of non-RG unis that offer courses that are just as good - for example I had never heard of John Moores before but now I have read into it I actually quite like the uni and the course they offer.
Becca216 If you like campus universities, the university of Nottingham has a beautiful large and green campus and the library is incredibly modern.
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username4313572
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Well respected, Nice campus, seems friendly and supportive, away from home but not too far (st andrews why you so farrrrrrr :cry: ), does my degree
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username4313572
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(Original post by swanseajack1)
If you take London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol, Brighton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Sheffield out you have narrowed your choices greatly. Take out the South of England where the expense is higher and you really are narrowing down your options. Campus universities in smaller cities that might not prove too costly you could look at Lancaster, York, Keele, Aberystwyth, Bangor, University of South Wales, University of Wales Trinity St Davids and if it is not too big Swansea. You could also check out Warwick and Loghborough and possibly more up North.
Yh true and some like birmingham arent really in the ciry anyway.
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Mysticalmystery
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I think for this year a good thing will be to consider when choosing one will be how they have treated student's during all this. This in terms of contact emails,support and grades given - no detriment polices . This would be a good indicator for you to see what the university will be like and how they could act if uni lectures for some are on online in semester one.
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