Your University Choices

Thinking of studying at University?

Going to university can be a life-changing experience.  You’ll get to study a subject you’re really interested in, try new things, and make new friends.  However, it is very expensive, though, so it’s important to make sure you definitely want to go.

It is important to think about your reasons behind studying at university

These could include:

  • Improve your career prospects. Graduates may earn more than those without a degree (but this is not a guarantee.)
  • You need a degree to enter certain careers, like teaching. You can check entry requirements for different jobs using the Job Profiles Section on the National Careers Service Website
  • To study a subject you enjoy.
  • To develop work related skills.

Having an ‘end goal’ can help you with this.  A good example would be a specific career you want to enter.



  • It’s never too early to start thinking about universities and courses.  It takes time to find the right one!
  • Visit Universities to see what it might be like to study there.  Make sure that you visit your top three choices before applying. Universities have Open Days that you can attend.
  • Try to visit Universities before and during Year 12 or your first year at college.  This will help you decide whether studying at university is the best option for you.



  • Find out as much as you can about the courses that are available and where you can study them at. UCAS Course Search.
  • Some courses are only available at a few universities.  If you wanted to Study Veterinary Science, there are less than ten places you can go in the UK.
  • Many courses, particularly if you are interested in one of the major subjects like English, Chemistry, or Law, may have 30 or more different course options at the same University. You need to ensure that you research the options open to you.
  • Make sure that you know what a degree course involves and the differences in the course content between universities. A History course at the University of Liverpool will have different modules to a History degree somewhere else.
  • Check the entry requirements for your chosen course and whether you are able to meet them. Things to be aware of when applying for certain degree courses (PDF download.)
  • Check the student satisfaction scores for your chosen University/Universities. Looking at the available information might help you to decide whether it’s right for you.  The Student Satisfaction Survey rates the quality of the facilities at a University, staff to student ratios as well as other important elements of each University.
  • What do students do when they leave? Universities publish information on the destinations of their graduates like how many have gone into employment or further study and how much they’re earning.  If a University has low successful progression rate into the career you want then this might not be the place for you. Every University provides graduate destination information on their websites.


  • Do you know where the University is located in the country?  Do you have a way to get there?
  • Cost of living and ability to get part time work.  Your student loans won’t cover everything!
  • If you are interested in a certain sport? Do they have a team for that sport?  Lots of universities have teams for very unusual sports, so it’s worth seeing if there is anything you want to try out.
  • Are you planning to visit home on a regular basis? If so how long will it take you to get back and forth? Will it be expensive?
  • Do you want catered or self-catered accommodation?
  • Do you prefer to study at a city, campus or smaller University? City centre campus e.g. Oxford University, compared to a self-contained campus outside of a city like e.g. Lancaster University.
  • Does the University guarantee first year students accommodation?
  • Is it easy to find a flat in the area if you don’t want to live on the campus?
  • Are you looking at a University in a location that offers a social life or social activities (fresher’s week, interest groups, student union etc.)
  • Type of course: single honours, sandwich or combined? Degree with a year in industry? A year abroad?  There are a lot of different course types that you need to choose from.
  • You may be worried about your safety being in student accommodation or on campus, some University towns have special buses for their students and other safety measures in place.
  • Student support.  there is Financial & Accommodation Support for Students with Disabilities .  Every University has their own individual Bursaries and Scholarships

Last Updated: 28th January 2020

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