How did you research your university choices?

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StrawberryDreams
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#1
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It's coming up to the time when some of you may be considering applying for 2022 entry. Researching unis can take up quite a bit of time, so it's always good to be prepared and start having a look at your options early.

If you have applied to uni previously, what advice would you give to anyone thinking about applying in the future? Are there any questions you thought it would be helpful to ask, anything that was particularly useful when researching, or any tools you used?

Really interested to hear how you got started!

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EstL
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Well I havent appliet yet but I have heard that using Discover Uni.gov.uk (previously known as Unistats) is really useful to compare unis
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UneBellePatience
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Not sure if this is helpful and i now love my uni and my degree, but i wish i had researched more BEFORE doing my a-levels. I had convinced myself i needed like an A in maths to be able to do architecture. I am not very good at maths, so during my GCSEs i erased that dream from my head and didn't really know what i wanted to do. When it came to my a-levels, i took 3 humanities subjects and was still convinced i couldn't do an artistic degree with that and being chronically indecisive ended up choosing philosophy as my degree (which i do love btw, its been a great 3 years ) If i had researched properly and seen the entry requirements i would have realised that most unis (even top ones) only require a C in maths for architecture and some don't even require specific subjects at a-level, just a portfolio. It was my childhood dream so it does make me sad sometimes
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ForestShadow
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for me I started from the qualification I wanted (ACA chartered accounting) and worked backwards to see which Uni offered placements with big4 firms and had the highest no. of professional exemptions for the professional exams
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UneBellePatience
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Also, i would say, don't get too hung up on league tables. There are many different factors that go into a university being the right choice for YOU.
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EstL
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Also looking at the modules and elective modules available for each year of the course is also useful
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_gcx
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Pretty much exclusively the module list and their contents. Any university without a clear module list or handbook I'd throw out. Secondary consideration was how the campus was, etc. My thinking was that the course is the only thing I can't really change in my university experience.
Last edited by _gcx; 4 weeks ago
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PQ
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Think beyond the obvious. Don’t just stick to subjects that you have studied at A level, degrees give an opportunity to study broader and narrower subject areas and things you might not even realise is an option.

Working in a university we always have courses with happy students and successful graduates that are just not popular with applicants because they are a bit different to the subjects available at school.

Looking beyond the obvious, especially earlier on, is a brilliant way to tap into those subjects that are under subscribed - quite often with jobs and careers suffering from the same lack of graduates.
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McGinger
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Get a couple of printed prospectuses and read the entire thing - look at ALL the courses, and dont just go for 'what I studied at School'.

Go to Open Days and sign up at least 3 subject choices at each one - you might find 'something else' that wasn't an obvious subject.
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PQ
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Oh and for open days - go to your local big universities first even if you have no plans to study locally. It’s good to get an idea of what to expect and what to look out for somewhere cheap and local before you spend money travelling further away
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StrawberryDreams
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Some amazing advice already everyone - thanks so much! :heart: Keep it coming
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Kogomogo
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I remember years back for my first degree i couldn't decide on my fifth choice so i grabbed some booklets from a few i thought looked good and just picked one blindly out of a bag...

This year I applied for radiography, started narrowing down uni choices by checking which ones were accredited for the professional registration afterwards. Then narrowed it down some more by checking cost of living / rent in the areas (not applicable to all but i'm a mature student with personal circumstances that require specialised accommodation, renting in the private sector was the only option as student accom not suitable). So i would say consider your personal circumstances and preferences if needed (maybe big city / small town, or certain facilities / services).

Once I got a list of suitable places i then did a load of virtual open days and read all their course information pages. Sites like 'uni stats' and 'what uni' also helped to try and get an idea of what the course is like. Some of my final choices (after applying) were then influenced by the interviews I had (required for radiography) and how well I felt I clicked with the staff.

Advice i'd like to give would be to not necessarily pick unis based purely on prestige or place on the league tables. Some people could go to a really high ranking uni and do worse than if they'd gone to a lesser rated one with a different vibe. Consider what sort of person you are, what kind of atmosphere and student experience you want, where you'd like to live and what type of support you may need. As long as your degree will be respected enough to get you the job you want you may be best at a place you could get a better grade rather than a more prestigous name.
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Anonymous1502
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For me I looked at top universities and then I looked at the universities that offer my degree (Chinese) and I have applied to the highest ranking universities that I can get in to that offer my degree (there's not many) for me it was only ever between Edinburgh and Durham, as I was counted as an EU student for Edinburgh it meant that I get reduced fee rate so I ended up choosing Edinburgh since the uni cost is significantly cheaper for me.
Last edited by Anonymous1502; 4 weeks ago
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McGinger
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Don't worry about 'what job can I do with a degree in .....'.
The point of a degree is to stretch your intellect and give you 'higher thinking skills' - and employers value that far above the actual degree subject.

So go for the subject that you will enjoy, that will interest and intrigue you. If that is Philosophy, Astrophysics, Scandinavian Studies or whatever, it doesn't matter - you are bright, and you want the challenge of degree level study, and that is what matters.
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Mesopotamian.
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I typed in my course name in the undergraduate search bar for the universities I wanted to apply to and came away deeply disappointed that only one of said universities actually offered it, and it was my last choice too :emo:
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Anonymous1502
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(Original post by Mesopotamian.)
I typed in my course name in the undergraduate search bar for the universities I wanted to apply to and came away deeply disappointed that only one of said universities actually offered it, and it was my last choice too :emo:
What course do you study?
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PStevens
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(Original post by UneBellePatience)
Not sure if this is helpful and i now love my uni and my degree, but i wish i had researched more BEFORE doing my a-levels. I had convinced myself i needed like an A in maths to be able to do architecture. I am not very good at maths, so during my GCSEs i erased that dream from my head and didn't really know what i wanted to do. When it came to my a-levels, i took 3 humanities subjects and was still convinced i couldn't do an artistic degree with that and being chronically indecisive ended up choosing philosophy as my degree (which i do love btw, its been a great 3 years ) If i had researched properly and seen the entry requirements i would have realised that most unis (even top ones) only require a C in maths for architecture and some don't even require specific subjects at a-level, just a portfolio. It was my childhood dream so it does make me sad sometimes
Absolutely nothing stopping you from pursuing your dream later down the line. I’m 47 and now returning to uni to train as a physiotherapist.

Already been back to uni twice as a mature student (missed some schooling due to illness when younger). Things have not worked out in the helping professions (Counselling/sports therapy) as I expected so I will strive until I achieve what I need and want to. Never give up UneBellePatience 💪
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𝓖𝓱𝓸𝓼𝓽𝓵𝓪𝓭𝔂
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For my eldest daughter, we looked in the summer online at the end of year 11. She knew what she wanted to do, so that helped. So we researched unis, and visited them in year 12 and year 13. This stopped it being such a huge rush to visit unis just before the application process. She saw unis she thought she would like, but turned out it wasn't for her.

So yeah, visit some unis in year 12, some in year 13 (if you have a fair idea of what you want to do).

You tube. You tube became our best friend for a year or so. Lots of uni vloggers really help see what its like to be there.
My youngest is finishing year 11 next week, and she wants to do zoology, so will be doing the same in the summer of this year doing the research, and pay a little visit to them in the autumn. Hopefully it will be in person open days come September october. Failing that, we will just have a walk round them independently anyway, and booking a cheap hotel so we can visit the city (travelodge became our best friend too lol )
Last edited by 𝓖𝓱𝓸𝓼𝓽𝓵𝓪𝓭𝔂; 4 weeks ago
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Pls coulduhelpme
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(Original post by McGinger)
Don't worry about 'what job can I do with a degree in .....'.
The point of a degree is to stretch your intellect and give you 'higher thinking skills' - and employers value that far above the actual degree subject.

So go for the subject that you will enjoy, that will interest and intrigue you. If that is Philosophy, Astrophysics, Scandinavian Studies or whatever, it doesn't matter - you are bright, and you want the challenge of degree level study, and that is what matters.
Unless ur certain u want to do a certain vocational job (eg doctor, dentist)...?
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1secondsofvamps
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Study at a uni you like, and not a uni where your parents want you to go.
This tip is coming from someone who hated uni, fell into depression and got a bad degree classification.
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