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Tuesday 2 April 2019

Choosing a university course can be overwhelming and stressful. There are so many options out there and it can be hard to narrow everything down to five choices - let alone knowing what to put as your first choice!

Throughout my studies at sixth form, I was uncertain whether I wanted to attend university at all. The idea of being in a school-like environment for another three years was extremely daunting and I just couldn’t get my head around all the options that UCAS offered. However, when my teachers started setting personal deadlines for choosing university options, I started to work a bit harder in figuring out what I really wanted to do. I didn’t have many expectations for what a university could offer me, but this all changed when I started visiting university open days.

My first university open day was an eye-opener. It was a smaller university in the Midlands and I was looking at a music journalism course. On the UCAS website, I was really enamoured by the course description but, after seeing everything in person, I wasn’t feeling positive about starting the next chapter of my academic life there. Instead of feeling excited, I felt more disheartened and confused. It was clear that this was not the degree or the university for me.

Unlike other universities I visited, I was really impressed with Solent University, especially after visiting the main campus and touring around the Spark building. My dad insisted on looking around Southampton, and now I am so happy that I agreed. The city centre offered lots of opportunities for eating, going out and shopping. I felt excited to live independently in the city.

I was able to engage with my potential lecturers and discuss the different courses that were on offer to me. My tour guide for the day was really interesting and made me feel hopeful about the opportunities I was presented with. I was really attracted to the idea of the joint honours courses, the societies available to join, and the different facilities that were available to me. After visiting an open day, I felt more confident in making my final decisions for the UCAS application.

I quickly chose Solent University as my first choice but, much to my surprise, I decided to change my course from Journalism to English Literature. The lecturers I had met told me about the opportunities of joint honours courses. This was not something I had considered before. Now, after three years of studying English literature and advertising, I am so happy that I was able to visit the university before applying and make the decision of studying a joint honours course.

Before you apply to university, it can be really helpful to visit the campus. Open days are designed to provide more information to you (and your parents) and they give potential students the opportunity to see if they would enjoy studying there. If you aren’t able to visit one of your university choices, it is a great idea to collect research through their website or use student forums to ask current students what their experiences were like.

Choosing the right university for yourself is a challenging decision, but it shouldn’t be a painful experience. It’s crucial to find out the information you need before making a final decision. If you know you like studying in private, check out the university’s library and ask questions about study options. If your social life is an important part of your routine, take time to look at the university’s surroundings and what each city has to offer you. It’s important that you feel confident and happy with your final decision.