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Friday 1 March 2019

Once you’ve decided that you do want to go to university, you may start to feel the pressure of choosing the right university for you, which courses you want to apply for, and the looming UCAS deadlines. There are lots of factors to consider when applying for a university course and sometimes it can get overwhelming.

Starting university can often mean moving away from home for the first time too, which can definitely add to the increasing pressure. From a current university student to someone in the midst of choosing their new course, here are some things to consider when deciding what to study at university:

Is it interesting?

This seems like an obvious question but this factor can often be overlooked. It’s important to ask yourself: what do I find interesting or enjoyable? Perhaps you excelled at a specific subject in your previous studies or maybe you know what you’re passionate about and want to pursue a career in that industry; narrowing your choices to a specific industry or subject can be the first step in choosing the right university course for you.

 What does the course intend to teach you?

Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to a few specific areas of study, it’s important to do your research about the courses that you’re interested in. Even similar-sounding courses can cover completely different topics; it all depends on the university and their lecturers.

Looking directly at a university’s official website can provide some great information about the courses they offer as well as what the university can offer too. A university’s website should provide you with information like the core and optional units offered each year, whether the course is exam-based or coursework heavy, and it should also give you a chance to see who your lecturers may be.

What are the entry requirements?

When looking at different courses, it can be helpful to also look at the entry requirements set by each university. It’s important to set achievable goals. You can speak to your teachers about your predicted grades and what you will need to do to achieve the entry requirements for your chosen course. Perhaps you can add a qualification, like a sports or music achievement, that will increase your UCAS point total.

Is there an open day I can attend?

Looking at a course online doesn’t really give you the full picture of what the university is like. Attending an open day can help you realise whether this is the ideal place to study for you. You can take some time to explore the surrounding city, find the nearest supermarket or train station, and start picturing yourself living there.

As well as getting to know the physical surroundings of a university, an open day is great opportunity to meet your potential tutors, ask questions about your course, and explore the facilities on offer. Visiting a university open day can also give you the chance to consider other relevant courses that may have not been on your mind initially.

The pressure of making the ‘perfect’ choice is demanding, but I found reassurance in the fact that it is not what or where you choose to study that gives you that step-up in the future, but it’s how hard you work and what you take from your course that matters.

Before officially enrolling at Solent, I changed my mind about which course I wanted to study – twice! Overall, it’s important that you select a course which you think you will find enjoyment and excitement from. What you choose to study is an exciting decision, but it’s also important to do your research and take the time to make an informed choice.