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Guest post: 7 tips for choosing the right university

Looking to head to university? In this guest post, Eleni Cashell, Editor of Whatuni, offers you seven useful tips for choosing the right university.

Looking to head to university? Then you’re probably already noticing how many universities you can choose from. So how on earth can you get through the pile of options and find the one for you? In this guest post, Eleni Cashell, Editor of Whatuni, offers you seven useful tips for choosing the right university.

Choosing the right university: a group of happy students
When faced with dozens of prospectuses full of sunny days and happy students, how do you go about choosing the right university?

Choosing the right university is the first tough decision you have to make when you’re looking at getting a fancy new qualification. Feeling confused by the many options ahead of you? Here are a few pointers to help you choose the right university.

1. Look closely at the courses

Although most universities will offer you the same subjects, their individual modules are likely to be very different. So while one university’s English degree involves teaching you nothing but Shakespeare, another could focus on just Harry Potter and Twilight.

So if vampires and wizards aren’t your thing, or you’d rather not get a degree at all than study Shakespeare for several years, then it might be worth checking individual modules online before clicking the submit button.

2. Location, location, location

Location is a really important part of choosing the right university; after all, you’re going to be calling it home for the next few years. You want to be able to say “Home sweet home”, not “I can’t wait to leave this place”.

If you’re not keen on moving in order to study, you could take an online course instead. That way you won’t even have to leave the comfort of your own sofa to enter the lecture hall.

3. Hit the books

I don’t mean literally hitting some books, but ordering and looking through prospectuses. Along with pictures of sunny days and attractive students, you’ll also be able to read more about the course, the uni facilities and what to generally expect from your studying.

And the good news is these prospectuses tend to be free, so you won’t be shelling out for a book you might not even need. They can also be used as rather handy door stops if you end up deciding to go elsewhere too.

4. Take a day trip

If you fancy taking a trip somewhere new and exciting, go to a university open day.

A 3D version of a prospectus, an open day allows you to see whether you really are choosing the right university, and if those prospectus photos were taken two weeks or 20 years ago. 

5. Look at the rankings

Some universities will open more doors than others. If you’re looking for a prestigious school, or even just one that is really fantastic in a certain subject area, it’s a good idea to check out their rankings to find out who’s the cream of the crop and who should be at the bottom of your options.

6. Ask other students

Want to find out what the university is really like? Then there’s no one better to ask than current students – after all, they’re living it right now. They’ll be honest about what’s great, what sucks and whether it’s worth going to.

Whatuni has tons of student reviews you can check out, to see if the university you want to attend is really as good as it’s saying.

7. Take a taster course

You’re taught as a kid that you can’t know what foods are like until you taste them, and weirdly university is the same… well sort of.

When choosing the right university, you also need to choose the right course to go with it. Trying before you buy is a great way of finding out whether you like it enough to continue studying it or whether you’re making a terrible mistake.

And there are plenty of free online courses on FutureLearn for you to choose from. What are you waiting for?

To take a taster course, check out FutureLearn’s “Going to University” course collection. Or visit Whatuni, to get more advice on choosing the right university or course, 

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