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. You can use our UniMatch tool to create an initial shortlist (or even a still-pretty-long-list) of possible places to go.

You can search by things like what course you want to do and whether you want to study full or part-time, as well as your predicted grades.

Think about location

The UniMatch tool also lets you filter universities down by which region they’re in. You can even see how many miles they are from home, whether you’d rather stay just around the corner or get as far away as possible.

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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