Tips For Choosing A University...

By Lucy Harbron - 11:32

I'm off to uni in less than a month, but a year ago, I was busy going through the stress and indecision of trying to decide what universities to apply for, what course is best for me, what sort of accommodation I wanted etc etc. Choosing the university you want to go to is such a daunting decision, so I thought I might be able to impart a little wisdom and some tips from my experience...

Decide On A Radius

There are looooads of universities in the country, so a way to eliminate some options is to decide on a radius. Personally, I knew that I didn't want to be too far from home, the main factor in my radius decision was that I wanted to be able to get home easily within a couple of hours if I needed to, so I mainly looked at northern universities with the furthest one being Nottingham. I applied to Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, Newcastle and York St. John as they were all the perfect distance from home. However, you may want to be further or closer! Deciding how close or far you want to be from home helps to cut down the sheer amount of universities there are to consider, and might help you feel more comfortable with the decision.

Think About What's Most Important To You

Picking a university isn't as easy as just picking a city, there's so so many other factors like room type, status of the uni, course content, nightlife etc etc. Deciding what factor is most important to you will be super helpful, like I knew I couldn't settle somewhere in a gross room so quality of accommodation was really important to me whereas status wasn't very high on my list of priorities. If you do a sport that you want to continue or have a particular area of interest or hobby, do a little research about which universities would be best for that. When you've decided on your priorities and necessities for a uni, it makes it easier to see which place would be best for you.


Before I visited any universities I had a favourite in mind, but the second I visited the campus I hated it. Going to the uni on open days (both pre and post offer) is so so useful as you really do get a feel for life there and you'll quickly know whether you could see yourself studying there. Also, going to the subject talks and practise lectures helped me a lot as if you can't get through the subject talk without being bored out of your brain, it's probs not the university for you. I'd say post-offer visits are way more beneficial as you find out a looottttttt more info and more depth about the course, but it's best to visit as much as you can if possible.

Especially if you're wanting to do a course like english, history or subject where there's a lot of variation and choice, open days will help you have an idea of what type of course you like. For me, I quickly learnt that very traditional classic english lit courses didn't appeal to me, whereas courses that included film and modern literature really sparked my interest. So open days will also help you see the subtle differences between courses and which you prefer content-wise. 

Read Up On Each Place

However, open day talks can sometimes make the course seem way way more interesting than it actually is, so take some time to read module lists from last year and info on how the course is structured. Trying to find blogs run by uni students is really good also as there's loads of blogs where people share their experience at their uni, so first-hand experience and advice is super helpful and way more honest than a lecturer's sales pitch. 

Pros & Cons

One thing I did that I found super super helpful was always take a notepad and make notes at open days. I would write down info like contact hours (the number of hours of teaching you have per week), how the course is examined, and odd things that either caught my interest and put me off. Then during a coffee stop or on the train home, I'd write a pros and cons list while the place was fresh in my mind. I did this for every uni I visited so then I could revisit my lists when it came to making the decision of where to apply and then where to firm. Honestly, I can't recommend this tip enough, it makes the decision so much simpler as you can just weigh up the pros and cons. 

Be Ambitious

Lastly, grade requirements can be scary and often put people off applying or visiting their dream uni. But honestly, sometimes having a goal that's mildly ambitious can be super super motivating as you'll be willing to work to get their, rather than stooping to a uni you;re not totally in love with. If you really love a place, go for it, write a killer personal statement, work hard, beg your teachers for good predicted grades and then revise like hell, (and maybe make sure you like your insurance choice as well...just in case). But don't be too put off by scary grades, you've got a whole year to work and improve. BELIEVE IN UR SELF!

If any one has any questions about choosing/applying to university or any other blog posts you want me to do like on personal statements or anything, hit me up!

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  1. I am in the same position you were in a year ago and man its stressing me out. I have been to all the uni's that i thought I would love and would be definites on my list and honestly hated them all.
    I really like your pro's and con's list idea-when I go to my other open days I will definitely use it!
    Such a helpful post x

    1. Feel free to drop me a tweet or anything if you have any questions! x

  2. This is so so helpful Lucy! I've already gone through the extremely stressful and nerve-wracking process but I would have loved something like this to help me. If you can could you do a post on your tips on the most effective ways to revise/study English; it would be really helpful! Best of luck starting uni!! I'm starting uni myself in just under a week now, so excited :D

    Nabeela x


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