From the hours spent trawling the internet researching what feels like every university in the UK to many long journeys up north or down south, visiting universities can prove a tiresome and monotonous task. However, it is also a very exciting time – it is a step closer to living the enviable student lifestyle away from your parents.
Choosing which university to go to is not a decision that should be taken lightly. It will be your home for the next three years and could affect which student jobs you apply for. Tempting as it is to visit the same universities as your friends or to head straight for a campus on the other side of the country, there are more important aspects that should be taken into consideration.
Location - Make sure you like the city as well as the university itself. If you’re looking to experience student life to the full, big cities are best as there will always be something going on where you can take a break from your studies – and they tend to have an impressive nightlife!
Halls - Remember to find out whether you will be guaranteed a place in halls of residence. Halls make an excellent jumping off point because it gives you the opportunity to meet loads of new people – which is a great base for finding the friends that will stick by you through the three years, whether you are panicking about an essay deadline together or downing drinks at the union bar on a Friday night. It is worth keeping an eye out for the standard of accommodation too.
Electives - Many universities offer modules which are not related to your degree subject. You can usually pick from hundreds of subjects: criminal justice, animal behaviour, languages. Electives provide a refreshing break from your main subject and allow you to expand your interests.
Be nosy - Ask questions about everything. You’ll find out so much more than if you just sit in on the talks listening quietly. Is the library well-stocked? Are the computer clusters open 24 hours a day? What kinds of clubs and societies are on offer? Being well-informed will better equip you to make a good decision.