• Ellen

Choosing The right university for you

So, you have made the decision you want to attend university, now what? Do you go to a campus or city university? What course do you take? Where in the country do you go? Should you move out or live at home? I am going to try and use my experiences to help you make the right decisions for you. There is no right or wrong choice just what is best for you.

Personally I chose to live at home and travel to my university- which thankfully is only a half hour bus journey. However, many people feel ready to move out when they go to university, I wasn't and so stuck close to home. If you are moving out then take into consideration you are going to have to cook and clean for yourself- no parents to help you out! On the other hand, you will have a lot more freedom and responsibilities. Most first years tend to end up living in university halls, one dis-advantage of living at home is that halls allows you to meet a lot more people very quickly and in turn you end up making more friends/ acquaintances. The one major advantage of living at home is that it tends to be far cheaper, even if your parents want you to pay rent. I have friends that used literally every penny of their maintenance loan just on accommodation fees, but that depends on weather you go for basic or luxury accommodation and if your halls are catered or not.

Do you go to a campus or city university? My university is campus based but we are only a 20 minuet bus ride to the nearest city so you can have the best of both worlds. I enjoy going to a campus uni as it can be very peaceful by the lake, away from the hustle and bustle. City universities don't always have very much green space, which personally I very much enjoy. That's just me though. If you enjoy nature, walking or just being outdoors I would suggest looking at a campus. On the contrary if you like a being busy, want to go partying and want to be in a bustling area then maybe explore some city universities. In short you need to think about weather you want to live in a city or in a campus bubble, where in the country you do/don't want to go and if you want to be close to home, or even at home!

Moving on to courses! On ucas you get to pick 5 courses to apply for, they can be at the same or different universities. I knew where I wanted to go and what course, so I took the gamble of only applying to one course, but it is probably a good idea to have a back up option. If you don't no worries there is always clearing! So you decided what type of campus not we need to pick your subject. Think about what level 3 qualifications you are taking, is it a levels, Btec or another type of course? I took Religious studies, Classical civilisations and Philosophy at A level, so I was looking at humanities courses. You might be looking at STEM subjects or maybe a creative course like art or photography, I don't know so this is just general advice. Think about what subject or subject area that you are most interested in. If you like biology is it marine biology or human biology? If it's art is it fine art or graphic design? You might find that you are really interested in two subjects, don't panic there are dual honours courses where you can take two subjects. For example you could take media and history or engineering and ethics, you will have to dig through the universities to find your perfect combination as they all have different options. Or if you are looking for a really diverse course, you could explore liberal arts or natural sciences courses. These allow you to focus on a breath of subjects and learn to inter-connect them rather than focus on a single subject in depth. Don't confuse these courses with lacking depth though as seeing a problem from multiple angles can actually add to the amount of depth you learn about a subject.

I hope this helps you to think about what type of course and university would suit you best. I can't give very detailed advice as everyone is in a difference situation and has to make their own decisions. The most important thing is you do what is best for you, not what all of your friends are doing. If your unsure about attending university, have a look at apprenticeships, gap years or online universities, nothing and no one is forcing you to go if you aren't ready. For more about liberal arts check out some of my other blogs.

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