The Student Room Group

How do I pick a location for university?

Hi! So I've been researching uni choices at the moment and two I really like are the University of York and University of Edinburgh. I was just wondering if anyone has any tips on deciding between locations for uni as I am already set on the kind of course I want.

For context, I take psychology, sociology and English language at A level (predicted AAB currently) and I plan to do a combined sociology/psychology degree (most likely, the other option could be sociology/politics but that's separate).

In summary, how did you decide on which uni to go to (specifically the location, not the course itself)? Thanks in advance!
Original post by izzy4509x
Hi! So I've been researching uni choices at the moment and two I really like are the University of York and University of Edinburgh. I was just wondering if anyone has any tips on deciding between locations for uni as I am already set on the kind of course I want.

For context, I take psychology, sociology and English language at A level (predicted AAB currently) and I plan to do a combined sociology/psychology degree (most likely, the other option could be sociology/politics but that's separate).

In summary, how did you decide on which uni to go to (specifically the location, not the course itself)? Thanks in advance!

Hey @izzy4509x, this can be a hard choice and one that's worth getting right! There are a few things I used in 2019 to help me decide.

- Location and travel
How will you get to uni and how long will this take? For some people this isn't an issue, if your parents are happy to help you move yourself and your things around when it's moving time and holidays then this is less of a worry. If you'd like to visit home or other friends for a weeekend, how easily can you get elsewhere in the country and how much might this cost you? In Birmingham, I'm a 2-3 hour drive from home or about 2 hours on the train. I like having both options that are easy, my parents can help occasionally for big moves at the end of the year but I can get myself a return on the train for less than £20 too when they're not always around to help. There are also loads of destinations out of Birmingham so I can visit other family and friends too. It feels like a good distance from home, not the same place but close enough if I really want to get home quickly.

- Cost of living
The cost of living varies hugely based on location. Things that will vary will include student accommodation and rent prices, the price of clubs/pubs/bars, activities like the cinema, transport or things like gym memberships. Your main outgoing cost will be rent and I found that my options varied considerably. The average price could vary as much as £2000 a year between some of my options so I would really encourage you to look at what your budget will be like and how much you can spend on your accommodation and future rent. I found Birmingham to be the most affordable of my options and have the biggest range of prices and types available for first year accommodation.

- Campus or city uni
It's good to decide if you'd like a campus or city university as they can be quite different. This article could be good to get you started. For me, Birmingham is the best of both worlds, with a dedicated campus close to the city center with easy transport links (by bus or the campus train station) to the city center when I want. It's also worth looking at what is in the closest town or city to a university. What is the nightlife like, what outdoor spaces are there, what is the shopping and dining like and how does this all fit in with what si important to you. You might love the idea of a bigger city or maybe you'd feel more at home somewhere a bit more out of the way.

- Visit!
The best advice I had from my mum during the application process was to visit universities. Visit as many as you can and take someone with you if you can and want to! You really get a feel for the university when you visit. You can see what you think of the campus, how easy it was to get there, where the accommodation is compared to campus, what the department staff and facilities are like (hard to know online just from course outlines) and what the vibe is. When you're in the right (or wrong) place you will know. I realised on my Birmingham open day that it was exactly where I wanted to be.

If you have any more questions please let me know, in the meantime why not look at Birmingham too? You can look at Social Sciences courses here and have a browse.

Good luck, Jude - 3rd Year Theoretical Physics University of Birmingham
Reply 2
Original post by UoB - Engineering and Physical Sciences
Hey @izzy4509x, this can be a hard choice and one that's worth getting right! There are a few things I used in 2019 to help me decide.

- Location and travel
How will you get to uni and how long will this take? For some people this isn't an issue, if your parents are happy to help you move yourself and your things around when it's moving time and holidays then this is less of a worry. If you'd like to visit home or other friends for a weeekend, how easily can you get elsewhere in the country and how much might this cost you? In Birmingham, I'm a 2-3 hour drive from home or about 2 hours on the train. I like having both options that are easy, my parents can help occasionally for big moves at the end of the year but I can get myself a return on the train for less than £20 too when they're not always around to help. There are also loads of destinations out of Birmingham so I can visit other family and friends too. It feels like a good distance from home, not the same place but close enough if I really want to get home quickly.

- Cost of living
The cost of living varies hugely based on location. Things that will vary will include student accommodation and rent prices, the price of clubs/pubs/bars, activities like the cinema, transport or things like gym memberships. Your main outgoing cost will be rent and I found that my options varied considerably. The average price could vary as much as £2000 a year between some of my options so I would really encourage you to look at what your budget will be like and how much you can spend on your accommodation and future rent. I found Birmingham to be the most affordable of my options and have the biggest range of prices and types available for first year accommodation.

- Campus or city uni
It's good to decide if you'd like a campus or city university as they can be quite different. This article could be good to get you started. For me, Birmingham is the best of both worlds, with a dedicated campus close to the city center with easy transport links (by bus or the campus train station) to the city center when I want. It's also worth looking at what is in the closest town or city to a university. What is the nightlife like, what outdoor spaces are there, what is the shopping and dining like and how does this all fit in with what si important to you. You might love the idea of a bigger city or maybe you'd feel more at home somewhere a bit more out of the way.

- Visit!
The best advice I had from my mum during the application process was to visit universities. Visit as many as you can and take someone with you if you can and want to! You really get a feel for the university when you visit. You can see what you think of the campus, how easy it was to get there, where the accommodation is compared to campus, what the department staff and facilities are like (hard to know online just from course outlines) and what the vibe is. When you're in the right (or wrong) place you will know. I realised on my Birmingham open day that it was exactly where I wanted to be.

If you have any more questions please let me know, in the meantime why not look at Birmingham too? You can look at Social Sciences courses here and have a browse.

Good luck, Jude - 3rd Year Theoretical Physics University of Birmingham

Thank you so much!! That's a really comprehensive overview for me to get started with :smile:

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