This article was published by the Great British Mag content team on 7 September 2021
Are you researching which UK university will be a good fit for you? Then you need to look beyond the various global rankings because they only tell half the story.
Choosing a university is so much more than where it ranks in a table, so follow our tips to find a university that has a course that’s right for you but is also a place where you’ll be happy.
1. Will this university help you find a job?
Some universities are better at getting you employed than others so you have to think about what the university will give you besides academic knowledge.
Look into things like a good careers centre which will give you employability guidance or whether any of the teachers are an expert in your field—they will have connections which might help you in the long run. Also, check what internships or placement programmes are available within your university as well as any partnerships that they might have with companies in your area of study.
2. Look at the ranking for your course
Yes, Oxford may be the Nº1 university in the world, but do they have a good ranking for the course that you want to do?
When considering the university that you want to go to, look at how good they are for the specific course that you want to apply to. The rankings in this can vary greatly from the general rankings and you will want to know how good they will be in teaching you your subject of choice.
3. Look at the course itself
Continuing with the subject of courses—look at what the course will be like at your university of choice. Although many universities offer biology courses, the way they teach them may be completely different. Do your research and find out how the course is structured and what exactly you will be studying.
4. How advanced are the facilities for your chosen course?
Another important thing to consider is whether the university has the appropriate facilities for your course.
Do you want to study sports? How good is their sports village? If you are doing sciences, do they have good labs with up-to-date technology? For medicine, how advanced is the hospital in which you will be practising?
Considering these things when choosing where to apply will ultimately help you get a better degree and one that is more appealing to prospective employers.
5. Find out what current students think about the university
So, the university that you are looking at has an amazing ranking, but how satisfied are the students that go there? Before you set your mind on a particular university, make sure that you check the National Student Survey. This will give you an invaluable insight into what students and recent graduates think of the uni.
The survey covers a wide range of areas from the quality of the facilities to how well the university supported students through Covid-19.
6. Consider where you would like to live
Have you lived in a small town all your life? Does thinking about big crowds of people give you anxiety? Then maybe going to uni in London is not for you. When picking a university don’t forget to consider the location and how student-friendly it is.
Also, do not forget about the weather! The further north you go, the windier and colder it can get, so make sure that you take that into consideration.
7. Consider the Campus layout
When you are looking at a university think about its campus layout. Campuses come in all sizes and layouts, some being peppered around the city whilst others have all the buildings in the same area. Ask yourself whether you want to commute all the time or whether you would prefer to have all your faculty buildings together.
Also, given that the UK has some of the oldest universities in the West, check out what your campus may look like. Some unis will look like Hogwarts while some are super modern looking.
8. How does the uni support its international students?
Some universities are better at supporting international students than others so investigate what systems they have in place to help you. Look into whether they will help you with paperwork such as visas and funding – if they host essay writing workshops if English is your second language, and whether they have an international student support team. Finally, check whether the university’s Student Union has a dedicated person to help international students.
9. Does the university have societies and sports clubs that interest you?
Have you been dancing ever since you were a child and want to continue with that when you are at university? Or maybe you like Harry Potter and want to find other Potterheads to connect with?
Whatever your hobby or passion is, there is sure to be a society for it somewhere, you just need to find it. That is why you should check out all the societies and sports clubs that your prospective universities have, to make sure that you will be able to continue your passion when you are at uni. Otherwise, you can also start your own society once you get there!