It’s been a little while since I applied to university but I expect many people have received conditional offers from their chosen universities and it can at times feel somewhat overwhelming so here’s my advice on what you should do! I think it’s crucial to attend open days at the universities you’ve applied to! The university may look appealing by their website but it can be different in real life. You need to also get the feel for a place, it’s not solely about the university! For me personally if I didn’t like the city I couldn’t have studied at that university! A lot of island based students opt to study at south coast universities and I just didn’t want that experience. I wanted a complete contrast to my life at home and I’ve always had a soft spot for northern England and Sheffield clearly won my heart and I can’t imagine living anywhere else other than the city of steel!
- Do proper research, don’t just rely on the website and feedback from others because their opinion is not necessarily an accurate one and it’s a big decision to make! Also check out the local amenities and the city to see what it can offer!
This isn’t probably applicable to most students but for me being close to an airport was a necessity! If you have to fly back home it would make logical sense to ensure that it’s an achievable journey and won’t take hours and hours to get there! For me Sheffield was brilliant as there was a train station and a train that takes me straight to Manchester International Airport! Likewise London based universities are fairly convenient for international students (if you can put up with the price)
- Look at airports that are near by and check that your airline operates from them before you make any hasty decisions! I’m extremely limited as my airline is very small and doesn’t have many routes and Manchester is the closest one to Sheffield!
Check out living costs, rule of thumb is the north is cheaper than the south by far! I must admit it is a major perk because you only need £10 on a night out and even waitrose is approximately £100 cheaper in Sheffield than it is back at home! Win win situation right there! I’d compare costs because it’s inevitable that most students are going to be skint 80% of the time and therefore living costs matter! Accommodation in London is going to leave a big hole in your pocket (just for a heads up!)
- If you have student finance (or anything similar depending where you come from) find out how much you qualify for and if you can realistically live off £10 a week and if your like me and find budgeting a major struggle then maybe reconsider whether you really want to live somewhere that will leave you broke?
League tables.. league table, where do I start! Do not base your decision off of a league table! Every university varies in every single one and there’s no point getting flustered over some meaningless table. University experience and enjoyment is what really matters! Who cares if such and such is better at biomed than Manchester… if you can’t stand the idea of living in London and prefer Manchester then go with your gut instinct!
- There are so many league tables published annually and it’s virtually impossible to figure out how accurate they are so just ignore them. Yes by all means consult them but don’t let some figure change your whole perception on a place!
Finally look at the contents of your course, look how you are assessed and whether that method fits your learning style! It’s very unlikely you’ll be able to avoid exams and I only really know about applying for Law at university anyway! Some subjects require exams as it’s a necessary to know about such and such as it’s more of a profession!
- If you cannot find the information on the website then drop the university an email/ask on an open day whether they have that information to hand! There’s no harm in asking sensible and logical questions!
So there we have it! I hope you find this somewhat helpful and I wish you luck with your decision making!