Unsure of which University Course is for you? Here are some ways to find out!

Deciding on a subject area to go into further study for 3 or more years of your life can be very daunting. It can be very hard to identify what you really are interested in and want to do with your life at such a young age! 

A University Graduate sits, reflecting on their experience.

Here are 6 handy tips for what you can do or try in order to figure out which University Course may be for you:

1. Figure out what you are passionate about

You can do this in many ways. Maybe there is an activity that you really enjoy or a book, film, documentary that really inspired you. Have you ever wondered what a certain career would be like? Research it, what degree does it require, what skills do these employers look for?

2. Go to public lectures

These are great ways to find out if you really are interested in a certain topic or area. If you find the lecture really interesting, maybe it’s for you! If you hate it, then you found out it may not be something you want to spend 3+ years studying! Check out scientific societies, key researchers in your area or even a University you are interested in. Often these are great places to find good quality public lectures available on their website or on YouTube. Keep an eye out for webinars or online events run by Universities or organisations in the field you are interested in.

3. Ask friends, parents, teachers for advice - go to University visits and career days your school runs

Ask current students at University Open Days or Virtual Open Days. These may be online virtual tours with a chat function where you can get into contact with current students and staffa about any aspect of University. Email the Admissions Tutors, don't be afraid to ask questions that will help you decide! Follow Universities and organisations and keep up to date with any online sessions or useful webinars they may hold. Sometimes there can be sessions on how to make your personal statement shine or tips for the application process in general or student life/accommodation.

Not sure if University is for you? Check out the linked TSR Article about whether University is right for you, it includes a handy quiz to showcase the full range of options available.

One way to think of it is “think about what homework you hate doing the least”. Is there a subject at school that you don't mind doing? Is there a topic that you enjoy having a challenging question on? Do you enjoy solving problems from these subjects? Are you passionate about writing about a certain topic? What's your favourite, and least favourite thing about your course

Another great thing is to talk to your teachers, they often may have ideas of events or activities you can get involved in. E.g: outreach events, olympiads or competitions.

4. Check out latest news stories

Find out what subject or topics really interest you and get you talking.
Great places to find these can often include the science section of a news website that you trust, organisations such as NASA, IOP, RSC and more and even podcasts on subject topics can be a great source of news in your area of interest!

Girl studying at a desk with laptop

5. Do some taster courses, online courses, summer schools, get as much immersive experience as possible

There are some really great ones out there. Check out the MOOCs such as ones from the University of York. These are online courses that are fabulous to ignite your interest and lessen the move from A levels to University and that you can showcase on your Personal Statement.
You can also do courses alongside your studies that may interest you. Learning a new language or having a go at coding via websites such as Memrise, Quizlet, skillshare or even LinkedIn Learning.

6. Still not sure?

Use resources on TSR. Check out the forums for the University Course or University you are thinking of going to. You may be able to ask current students on there questions about what life is like there. TSR also has some University official representatives that may be able to help you!

Has this article given you ideas for questions to ask current University students? Look no further than TSR's own "Ask a University Student" thread. Post in there and a University student will get in touch to answer your question.