Before Choosing Your University

**In Collaboration** 

You might be tempted to write down your first choice before you have even seen the campus. Because you think you know about the university, the culture, the location and the people. But the truth is unless you are choosing a university in your hometown, you probably don’t have as much knowledge as you think you do. So before you tick those all-important boxes and make any applications, here are a few things you should consider.

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Rankings

Each university and each course that they provide will have a ranking. This ranking will indicate how many people typically pass a class and where the class is ranked amongst its peers. Although you can never get the whole picture from something like rankings, you can get a decent overview. You’ll get a good feel for the reputation, the standard of education and even the research that it participates in. It might matter to your future career the university that you choose. As a rough guide, you should pay attention to how happy the students are with the standard of teaching. 

Perks

Some universities are situated in cities that are big on nightlife, others are deeply steeped in history and surrounded by culture. It depends on what you want to get out of your free time. If you’re going to want to party on your downtime, then make sure there is a nightlife in the area you want to take part in. Other key perks to look for are exchange programmes, internship pathways, links to local companies or global ones – they will be essential when you are almost finished your degree. 

Visit

If you don’t visit a range of different universities, you are really doing yourself a disservice. Look for things like a university trip to Ireland, Netherlands, London, The Midlands and more. The more you know about the universities and other studying options, as well as the location before you go, the better. You can see current students, you can get a feel for the area, and the transport links (essential if you don’t drive). You can make a list of what you are really looking for before you go, and when you have made all of your visits you can see which university piques your interest the most. 

Finances

Yes, you will have a student loan, and if you are lucky family help. But, most of the time, the financial implications of studying are yours. In some cases, you can apply for grants and other loans to help you through. But you’ll likely need to fit in a job around studying. University students usually leave with a lot of debt, and you need to work out what is the return on the investment. Are you likely to land a decent job with your degree? 

The right university probably won’t land in your lap. But try to picture your next three to 5 years there. Look at what other people say about the course you are looking at. Think about the options that you want to have available to you while studying. But always remember it’s not a set in stone choice. You can transfer if you wish. However, putting in the groundwork first will make this unlikely. 

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