The Student Room Group

Which uni?

I’m trying to research different university options but the websites are all so difficult to use, the information isn’t readily available and there are just SO MANY PLACES. I don’t understand how anyone has a dream uni or whatever because they’re all the same to me. I wish it was like choosing schools when you just go wherever’s closest because I don’t know anything about university at all and I’m not good enough at researching stuff to find out. How am I ever gonna go to uni?!
Hi there, you can pretty much take anything you like and use it to narrow down the list of universities you want to apply to:

-Location. Maybe you fancy York, maybe you don't. Maybe you think they speak funny in Newcastle and want to avoid it (sorry Newcastle - you're a very nice place but Geordie is the stuff of nightmares in the south). Maybe you want to be relatively close to your family, or maybe you would like to be as far away as possible.

-Do they offer your course or not? Not a single university offers every single degree. If you want to study something like computer science, this only narrows down the list a little, but if you want to study, say, diagnostic radiography, it narrows the list quite a lot

-Reputation and rankings. While I strongly advice against basing your decision solely on these things, they are worth considering. I mean, you can go anywhere and still do whatever you want in life, but for the most part, people prefer a place that occupies a respectable position in the rankings. This doesn't mean the top-top universities, but not the lowest ranked. Up to you to decide if you're ok with low rankings or medium or high

-Entry requirements. You'll find that you'll need A*AA for pretty much any course at Oxford and Cambridge but you'll get away with a BBC somewhere else. You should analyse and think what you think you'll achieve in your A-Levels and apply accordingly- apply to 2 or 3 universities with entry requirements you expect to meet, one "aspirational" and one with lower entry requirements. Keep in mind though, always apply to places that will accept you with your predicted grades.

-Fun activities. Maybe you like partying, in which case there are places which are famous for and places that are famous for their lack of parties. Look at the clubs universities have to offer - not every university has a Doctor Who club for example (sad, I know). Some universities will have more fun things than others and some will be more tailored to you (you should research this stuff in the student's union website of each university)

Once you use this criteria and anything else you can think of to narrow down universities, go to open days! Great ways to get a feel for the universities and see if you like them or not.

A great way to find out things about universities are having a general look at their website, it'll have more or less everything they want you to know. For everything else... you've come to the right place. The student room is a great place to read and ask about people's experiences of universities and other things going on with them and it greatly informed my choice of universities both times I applied to university. It can be a daunting at first, but don't worry too much about it, you don't have to decide tomorrow where you want to go, and it's perfectly fine to not have a dream uni. In fact, probably wise not to have a dream uni because what if you don't get in? :eek: Best to have just a bunch of universities you like, some more than others, but that you'd be OK with wherever you end up in from that bunch.

So what you need to do is... don't panic! Truly, don't worry, you just start thinking about a few places you might like, research them online, read up about them on the student room and just do this for a couple of months and you'll start having an idea of where you want to go. :smile:
Reply 2
Original post by Scotland Yard
Hi there, you can pretty much take anything you like and use it to narrow down the list of universities you want to apply to:

-Location. Maybe you fancy York, maybe you don't. Maybe you think they speak funny in Newcastle and want to avoid it (sorry Newcastle - you're a very nice place but Geordie is the stuff of nightmares in the south). Maybe you want to be relatively close to your family, or maybe you would like to be as far away as possible.

-Do they offer your course or not? Not a single university offers every single degree. If you want to study something like computer science, this only narrows down the list a little, but if you want to study, say, diagnostic radiography, it narrows the list quite a lot

-Reputation and rankings. While I strongly advice against basing your decision solely on these things, they are worth considering. I mean, you can go anywhere and still do whatever you want in life, but for the most part, people prefer a place that occupies a respectable position in the rankings. This doesn't mean the top-top universities, but not the lowest ranked. Up to you to decide if you're ok with low rankings or medium or high

-Entry requirements. You'll find that you'll need A*AA for pretty much any course at Oxford and Cambridge but you'll get away with a BBC somewhere else. You should analyse and think what you think you'll achieve in your A-Levels and apply accordingly- apply to 2 or 3 universities with entry requirements you expect to meet, one "aspirational" and one with lower entry requirements. Keep in mind though, always apply to places that will accept you with your predicted grades.

-Fun activities. Maybe you like partying, in which case there are places which are famous for and places that are famous for their lack of parties. Look at the clubs universities have to offer - not every university has a Doctor Who club for example (sad, I know). Some universities will have more fun things than others and some will be more tailored to you (you should research this stuff in the student's union website of each university)

Once you use this criteria and anything else you can think of to narrow down universities, go to open days! Great ways to get a feel for the universities and see if you like them or not.

A great way to find out things about universities are having a general look at their website, it'll have more or less everything they want you to know. For everything else... you've come to the right place. The student room is a great place to read and ask about people's experiences of universities and other things going on with them and it greatly informed my choice of universities both times I applied to university. It can be a daunting at first, but don't worry too much about it, you don't have to decide tomorrow where you want to go, and it's perfectly fine to not have a dream uni. In fact, probably wise not to have a dream uni because what if you don't get in? :eek: Best to have just a bunch of universities you like, some more than others, but that you'd be OK with wherever you end up in from that bunch.

So what you need to do is... don't panic! Truly, don't worry, you just start thinking about a few places you might like, research them online, read up about them on the student room and just do this for a couple of months and you'll start having an idea of where you want to go. :smile:


Thanks for all that :smile: I guess it just feels really overwhelming like this is the most important decision I’ll ever make and it needs to be perfect
Original post by Anonymous
Thanks for all that :smile: I guess it just feels really overwhelming like this is the most important decision I’ll ever make and it needs to be perfect

No problem :smile: it can be a bit overwhelming, so that's why you think about it for a long time without rushing. It's an important decision, but not the most important decision you'll ever make - it's more important than choosing what to have for lunch :tongue: but probably less important than choosing what you want to study at university so truly, just think it through but don't worry too much about it. I wish you the best on your uni application!
Original post by Anonymous
I’m trying to research different university options but the websites are all so difficult to use, the information isn’t readily available and there are just SO MANY PLACES. I don’t understand how anyone has a dream uni or whatever because they’re all the same to me. I wish it was like choosing schools when you just go wherever’s closest because I don’t know anything about university at all and I’m not good enough at researching stuff to find out. How am I ever gonna go to uni?!

Hi,

I understand that researching universities can be overwhelming, especially when there are so many options. It's natural to feel unsure about where to start and how to make such an important decision- I know I certainly did.

Here are some things I wish I had done or I did that might help you to make a decision:

Start with Self-Assessment:
Before you dive into researching specific universities, take some time to assess your interests, strengths, and goals. Consider what you're passionate about, what subjects you enjoy, and what kind of environment you thrive in. This self-awareness can help you narrow down your options.
Identify Your Priorities:
Think about what factors are most important to you in a university. Is it the location, the size of the campus, available programs, research opportunities, extracurricular activities, or something else? Creating a list of priorities will help you focus your search.
Research Broadly:
Instead of starting with specific universities, begin by researching different types of universities. Look into urban vs. rural, large vs. small, campus vs. city and so on. This will help you get a sense of what's out there and what might align with your preferences.
Online Research:
There are websites that aggregate information about universities, making it easier to compare them. I used the A-level Explorer (https://www.theuniguide.co.uk/a-level-explorer). It shows you what universities will offer what degrees with your expected grades. It gave me the idea of the scope of subjects I might be able to study and allowed me to rule ones I didn't like like farming out completely.
Also, university rankings (https://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings) can provide an initial sense of the university's reputation overall and for certain subjects. They use information like student satisfaction and entry requirements to rank UK and world universities.
Attend careers fairs:
Many universities host virtual and in-person uni fairs where you can chat with admissions representatives, learn about programs, and get a feel for the campus culture. These events can give you a more personal perspective on different universities.
Visit social-media:
Check out universities' social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) to get a glimpse of campus life, events, and student activities.
Ask for Help:
Don't hesitate to ask teachers, school counsellors, family members, or friends for advice and recommendations. They might have valuable insights and can guide you in the right direction.
Take Your Time:
Remember that finding the right university is a process that takes time. It's okay to feel overwhelmed, but take it step by step. Break down the research into manageable sessions, and give yourself breaks when needed.

Choosing a university is a big decision (maybe not the most important one of your life though) but with research and self-reflection you can better equip yourself to make a choice that aligns with your goals and preferences. It's okay not to have a clear dream university right away. For most people, the journey of exploring options and learning about different institutions is part of the experience.

Hope this helps!
-Beth (Lancaster Student Ambassador)
What are your predicted grades, and what course do you want to study?
People tend to pick universities based on how good the university is for their course (excluding Medicine)

Also think about which part of the UK you'd like to live in. Would you enjoy living by the coast and attending a uni like Portsmouth, or going up to Scotland and attending a uni like Edi?
Original post by Anonymous
I’m trying to research different university options but the websites are all so difficult to use, the information isn’t readily available and there are just SO MANY PLACES. I don’t understand how anyone has a dream uni or whatever because they’re all the same to me. I wish it was like choosing schools when you just go wherever’s closest because I don’t know anything about university at all and I’m not good enough at researching stuff to find out. How am I ever gonna go to uni?!


Anon,

If you find the university website confusing then you can always request for a prospectus, which will contain information about the university and courses available. They will send it to you for free in the post.

Depending on your course, there may be many different options to choose from. You will have to start thinking about what's important to you!

For example, do you want to stay at home for university? which universities are near you? do you like any of them? if you want to go away, which country in the UK do you want to study in? do you want to study in a city or a town? do you want study one subject or two (single or joint honours)?
what do you want to study? Depending on what you want to study, what course looks the most interesting? how is it assessed e.g. exams, coursework, placement, dissertation, group projects?

There is a lot to think about, so do talk to friends and family. People who know you well, who can help you and share advice.

Don't panic! (PRSOM @Scotland Yard)

There are lots of great courses and universities.

Remember your goal is to get a degree and to move on with your chosen career!

All the best,

Oluwatosin 2nd year student University of Huddersfield
Original post by Anonymous
I’m trying to research different university options but the websites are all so difficult to use, the information isn’t readily available and there are just SO MANY PLACES. I don’t understand how anyone has a dream uni or whatever because they’re all the same to me. I wish it was like choosing schools when you just go wherever’s closest because I don’t know anything about university at all and I’m not good enough at researching stuff to find out. How am I ever gonna go to uni?!


Hey there:smile:

I'm sorry that you're finding this difficult, it's definitely an overwhelming time! I personally started with asking people who I knew at uni where they went, what the like/ dislike about it and what the course it like. A huge part of it is the course. Do you know what you want to study? This is the first step in choosing a uni, once you have an idea, you can see what each uni has to offer.

Don't forget to consider costs of living etc too. For instance, my first choice was a university in London but I'm so grateful that I ended up in Cardiff because it saved me huge amounts that I've been able to save/ put towards travel. I've also managed to work less hours at a part time job, compared to if I was living somewhere with a higher cost of living.

I hope that makes sense! Please let me know if you have any more questions 😊

Jaz - Cardiff student rep

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