Choosing the right university is a big decision, and it isn’t always obvious where to start. However, by breaking the decision down into some relatively simple considerations, you can find the best university for your needs with relative ease.
Choosing the Right Subject
Choosing the right subject to study will make an enormous difference to your university experience. You want to choose something that genuinely interests you and inspires passion, otherwise, you run the risk of becoming bored and burned out. There are a number of things you should consider when you’re deciding on the right subject to study:
- Your interests: One of the most common mistakes that new students make when they are selecting a university course is that they choose something that doesn’t at all align with their interests. Often this is because students feel pressured into choosing a subject that provides them with a clear pathway into a professional career once they have graduated. While this is undoubtedly a good idea, as we will come onto, if you have no interest in the subject itself, then the job at the end of it is hardly a reward.
Most people find it very difficult to maintain their motivation and focus when they are trying to study a subject that doesn’t speak to them on an innate level. If there is no deeper connection between you and the subject that you are studying, the more trying parts of the course are going to be even more difficult to persevere with.
You can avoid all this trouble by choosing a subject that speaks to your passions and interests from the very beginning. Ask yourself what you want to do with your life in the long term, and which degree will help you to get there the quickest.
- Your past grades: Your previous grades and academic performance will be a good indicator of your proficiency with individual subjects. When you are considering which subjects you want to study at university, there may be some that are off-limits to you because they require prior qualifications that you do not have. In other cases, even if you meet the requirements for a course, if your past grades suggest that that you are average at best at the subject in question, it might be worth considering something else.
Some people find themselves in the frustrating position of being very academically gifted at a particular subject, but having no interest in pursuing it professionally. If there is a particular subject that you excel at but cannot see yourself doing for the duration of a university course, it is still worth investigating what a professional career in that field would look like. In some cases, the potential career rewards are worth persevering through the initial study period.
- Your hopes for the future: The most important factor to consider when you are deciding what university course to study is what your hopes and ambitions for the future are. There is no sense in studying a university course that is not going to help you achieve your personal or professional goals for the future. If you have your heart set on a specific career, then there may only be one or two university degrees that you can realistically consider. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it eliminates any uncertainty about whether you are pursuing the right career path or not.
Choosing the Right University
Choosing what you study at university is obviously an important decision, but choosing the right university to study at is an equally important consideration. Studying the exact same course at two different universities will provide you with vastly different experiences. It is important that you find a university that matches with your personality and ambitions. Here are some of the key things that you need to consider when you are putting together your shortlist of potential university choices:
- Location: You want to choose a university that will provide you with access to all the amenities you need for the duration of your course. Remember, you will spend a significant amount of your time in the university itself, but you will also have plenty of downtime. When you are choosing a university, you are also choosing somewhere to live for a few years. Needless to say, if you make the wrong choice here, then you could be in for a rough couple of years.
When you are investigating potential universities, make sure that you thoroughly check out the surrounding area. As well as looking at what sort of shops and amenities are on offer, make sure that you investigate what the public transport links are like. If you have your own car, it’s a good idea to check out what the infrastructure is like and what the parking situation is throughout the location.
- Reputation: The internet makes it incredibly easy to very quickly get a picture of whether a particular university has a stellar reputation or a reputation for incompetence. Naturally, you should gravitate towards universities that have the best reputations. You can look for information about the university as a whole, but it is also increasingly easy to find information about specific subjects and courses.
Similarly, by looking on social media, you can find out what it’s like for students living in halls of residence, or who are renting accommodation from local providers. As long as you begin your search well in advance of needing to make a decision, you should have plenty of time to carefully research the reputation of both universities and their surrounding areas.
- Range of courses: It doesn’t matter how fantastic a university is, if they don’t offer the course that you want to study, then they are no good to you. You can find out the full range of courses that a university offers by looking online – most put their entire prospectus up for you to check out. While different universities may offer what looks to be exactly the same course, the quality of learning can vary wildly from institution to institution. Once you are certain that the university you are considering offers the course that you want, your next move should be to establish the quality of said course.
Some universities specialise in particular subjects or areas. For students who would like to ultimately work in certain fields, it is often worth pursuing a specialist university above all others.
Consider Online Studying
Studying for a degree online is an increasingly popular option for students today to take. There are a number of benefits to online studying, and it is something every student should consider.
- Save money: One of the most popular reasons for studying online are the potential cost savings involved. Remote learning students nearly always pay less than their counterparts, even though they still end up with a valuable university degree at the end. For people who have been kept out of conventional university courses because of the enormous costs involved, this provides something of a lifeline. Many universities that offer online courses also enable the students to pay as they learn, making smaller monthly payments in place of larger lump sums.
- More flexible timescales: Another big advantage of online studying is that students can study their courses over more flexible timescales. Most online universities offer students the option of studying their course on a part-time basis, meaning that they take longer to complete it but have a gentler workload. For people who have prior commitments such as childcare or an existing job, this makes it possible for them to consider studying without having to give up their job.
- Choose from a full range of courses: Studying online doesn’t limit the range of courses that are open to students – you can study just about any subject you can think of via an online degree. Everything, from nursing to business administration can now be studied remotely by any students who prefer to do their learning remotely.
- Receive a quality education: Online degrees were once considered something of a joke, but this hasn’t been the case for some time. In fact, online degrees are now available from a number of leading universities with a solid reputation for offering quality campus-based courses. For example, the University of Exeter Online has consistently been ranked highly in terms of student satisfaction. The University of Exeter Online is the online arm of the University of Exeter, a model that many leading universities have adopted.
- Work while you study: Because online degrees are studied remotely and offer flexible timescales, students can study while they continue to work a regular job. This makes a big difference to anyone who already has other life commitments.
Choosing a university is a major decision, and it isn’t something that you want to rush into. There is a lot to consider when you’re deciding on the right university, but this decision is far too important to get wrong. Make sure that you carefully consider your choice of university. However you arrive at your decision, it is essential that you make the best decision for you.