How to choose the right university

university building

If you’re struggling to choose where you want to go to university, we’ve got loads of useful resources to help you narrow it down.

You’ve decided you want to go to university – now you just have to pick which one. Sounds simple enough, but with so many options out there it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose sight of what’s going to matter for you.

To help you decide, we have loads of resources on hand to guide you through the process and help you narrow your choices down.

Get inspired by these TSR members who found their dream uni.

Create a list of possible universities

Yes, there are a lot of universities out there – but they won’t necessarily all offer the course you want to do. Our sister site The Uni Guide has the latest university stats, along with tools to help you whittle your long list down into a shortlist. 

You can search by things like what course you want to do or whereabouts you want to study. Once you've found some courses, you'll be able to see useful info such as student satisfaction scores and average graduate salaries.

Think about location

Location is a big part of your university decision. If you've got a university on your doorstep, you might choose to stay local - especially if it might help with saving on accommodation costs. Alternatively, you might be looking for a complete change of scene, in which case getting as far away as possible could be high up your list.

And if you’re not sure where in the UK you’d like to live, try taking our quiz to find your perfect university city. This article on choosing between a campus and a city university should also help you weigh up the pros and cons of different areas.

Research your shortlist in more detail

Once you have a list of possible universities, it’s time to unleash your research skills. As well as looking at university websites and prospectuses, check out our A-Z of universities for in-depth information about specific universities’ courses, fees, accommodation and open days. 

Use The Student Room forums

Get an unbiased feel for each university by visiting its forum and checking out what current students are saying, or asking a question if there’s anything in particular you’re dying to know. It’s also worth visiting our dedicated forum for applying to university.

Think beyond the league tables

League tables can give you valuable insight into a university’s strengths and weaknesses, but they’re not the be-all and end-all. There are plenty of things to consider beyond where a university is ranked, like how much it will cost to live there and what kind of extracurricular activities are on offer. Here are eight questions to ask yourself when choosing where you want to go.

It’s also worth bearing in mind how your choice of university might affect your future career, with these six signs that a university can help you get a great job.

friends walking through university canteen

Make sure you’re well prepared for open days

Of course, the best way to get a feel for a university is to see for yourself what it’s like by going along to an open day. Get your diary at the ready and use our open day calendar to find all the dates you need.

Once you know where you’re going and when, make sure it’s not a wasted visit with our handy tips on making the most of an open day and this article on how an open day can help kickstart your career.

Feel confident that you’ve made the right choice

So, you think you’ve finally settled on ‘the one’. But how can you know that you’ve made the right decision? Here are five questions you can ask yourself to make absolutely sure, and three steps to feeling confident that you’ve got your firm choice right.

Help for international students

If you’re an international student looking to move to the UK, read  our tailored advice for choosing a university in the UK. You might also have questions about how much it costs students from abroad to study in the UK.

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