Choosing Your University
It’s no secret that narrowing down your university choices is a difficult one. We’ve compiled a list of all those factors that impact your decision, beyond that of the academics. If you’re torn between two universities with similar courses, it may be useful to consider the following…
Campus or city university?
Campus universities are essentially a small town in themselves – you’ve got everything you need all in one place, from your accommodation, to canteen, to mini shops and supermarkets, to student bars, to lecture halls. In theory, on a campus you could spend your entire year within the same perimeter (although we’d recommend exploring your location beyond the walls of your university!)
City universities are more spread out. Places like London house lots of different campuses smattered all over the place, so your travel time (and costs) will be more, but you’ll see much more of the area you live in.
Big city or small town?
Do you like the hustle and bustle of London, Manchester or Birmingham? Or do you prefer green space, cobbled streets and a bit more peace like York, Bath or Durham? Determining which one you prefer will really help to make your decision easier. What kind of place can you picture yourself in?
Familiar or different?
Do you want wherever you end up to be like a little piece of home? Do you want to walk through the streets of somewhere that feels familiar, that reminds you of the place you grew up? If imagining that is boring rather than comforting, you’re better living in a place completely different to what you know!
Close or far from home?
Unfortunately, rail travel in the UK is only getting more expensive. While 16-25 Railcards help a little, where you’re travelling from also impacts the cost. It’s worth researching the price of returning home from your potential universities – if you want to be treated to a family roast dinner every week, you might not want your travel time to last hours.
Joining one university society or several?
Every university has a great range of societies, so this consideration is less a matter of which has the most choice and more which is best known for a certain type of society. If you’re a sports star, you may want to look at which university sports teams are the most prestigious. If you’re interested in theatre you could research which universities are famed for taking shows to Edinburgh Fringe Festival or similar. There’s also lots of universities that pride themselves on their radio shows or podcasts – if you’re confident you want to take on a project like this, make sure the university you’re going to has the opportunity to do so!
Shared halls or live out?
This one is always up for debate. While a lot of university halls can be more expensive than living elsewhere, many students worry they won’t make friends as easily or as quickly if they’re not in the thick of student living. There’s plenty of other chances to socialise through societies, freshers’ events and seminars, so don’t live in halls purely out of fear you’ll be friendless!
Daytime hangouts or nightlife?
Every town and city will of course have both – but it’s helpful to consider the kind of atmosphere you enjoy. Do you chill out by working your way around various coffee shops? Love being a tourist and discovering the history of a place? Like your sophisticated drinks at a nice bar? Or happy with cheesy hits on a carpeted dancefloor? Research your potential university settings and see what kind of things you can do outside of studying.
Choosing a university in a place where you will be happy to both study and live is a very personal decision – but hopefully these factors helped you to consider all the different elements that make the university experience!
- - By Ellie Green
Fri 15 Dec 2017