The Student Room Group

Choosing top 5 universities

How did people choose their top 5 universities and what was the process like for them?
People usually think about the following things:

1. The subject they want to study
2. The specific modules covered at a University
3. The type of University they want to be at (city, campus or collegiate)
4. The area of county they want to be in (rural, city, coastal)
5. Distance from home
6. A range of entry requirements to give a balance of some aspirational, some doable, and some safety net options

You might throw reputation in as well if that is of concern to you
Subject content.
Price of location

It depends on what you want to study.

So I study podiatry and there are not many places across the UK where you can study podiatry ( I think there are about 15 places) so that helped to make it easier. Below is some of the stuff I thought about as I chose my options and what I considered before and after interviews.

I thought about the location and where I might like to go. So during lockdown, I really struggled with being far from the countryside, so the idea of studying in a town not too far from some great scenery was really appealing. I had also never lived up North before so I was also curious about living in a different area of the country. My main thing though was that I wanted somewhere, where I could focus and study, a quiet place like Huddersfield with not too many distractions really appealed to me.

I read about different courses at different locations and thought about what I wanted out of a place. I looked at the standards of teaching. Huddersfield was rated TEF gold for teaching. I wanted a university which would be suitable for a person completely new to the world of podiatry. I wanted a course which was practical and had different ways of assessing students. I looked at the number of hours of teaching and assessment, student satisfaction and the percentage of people employed after completing the course. I also looked at facilities, postgraduate options available and the reputation for the course (and not just general university league tables).

Do your research. Consider a range of places. Think about what's important to you. Talk to people who know you well. Pick five options.

All the best!

Oluwatosin 2nd year student University of Huddersfield

Original post by Beluga009
How did people choose their top 5 universities and what was the process like for them?

There is obviously a lot of research involved when looking for your five universities. Remember you will have to narrow this down to a firm and insurance as well once.

I recommend looking at the universities you want to go to first if you have any in mind. Did your sixth form ever bring you to your (most) local university for an open day?

Look around at the league tables, see what universities are ahead of the game in the subjects you want to do, not just the general placements. Then look at the cities they're established in and maybe see an open day or two. Remember, you want to enjoy your experience; it isn't just about the league tables but they are a good guide, especially if you look at subject rankings!

Once you've narrowed them down, I would then pick out a few key locations that look nice overall. Do you prefer city centre campuses like Manchester or Newcastle for example. Or would you prefer an isolated or collegiate university (like Lancaster!) for a more student town vibe?
When you've decided on that, look at the modules the universities you've selected offer and see which hold the most interesting ones for you. What do you enjoy? A university will cater to that somewhere.

Once that's out of the way the big grade requirements should come into focus if they haven't already. I mentioned Firms and Insurance. You want a good selection of grades that reach your predicted grades and ones that are below.

For your firm I'd aim for as good a uni as you can find that match the predicted grades your teachers have given. Then, for your insurance to avoid clearing, do not choose another uni with the top grade requirements cause if you fall short you might get rejected by both. It's important to have an insurance somewhere realistic and comfortable, grades you know you WILL get even if you aim to get higher.

However, it is also completely fine to have your firm be of lower grade boundaries if the course they offer particularly interests you. There are endless options and grades and university ranking placements to consider, but choose the place you want to be the most.

Hope this helps,

Third Year English Literature and Creative Writing Ambassador at Lancaster University

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