Going to university is about more than just getting educated and increasing your career prospects. It gives you a opportunity to learn more about who you are and what you really want out of life, meet like minded people, make new friends and experience the vibrancy of university life and culture.
This page was set up to be a helpful resource to students by giving them a comprehensive guide to university life, degree courses and study methods. It contains an expanding array of accurate information that can help undergraduates to succeed in their academic ambitions and studies and thereby progress towards the career they desire.
Deciding on which course to enrol for is an important and daunting choice for any student to make. Not only do you need to think about the subject but you also need to consider whether a particular course fits in with the overall qualification and career that you want. On top of all of this you have to try to choose a subject that matches your interests and abilities as this way you are more likely to benefit from it, enjoy your studies more and increase your chances of getting a better degree. Apart from these crucial points there are many other things to also consider, such as location, student loans and living expenses.
Our resource page aims help you make the right decision by providing anyone thinking of a university education with expert advice on how to choose from the bewildering variety of courses that modern universities offer.
The importance of choosing the right course at the start
Surveys of students who dropped out of university early, found that one of their main reasons for leaving was because they felt they’d chosen the wrong course at the beginning.
To avoid this happening it's important that right from the start you have a clear idea of the course you want to do and your career goals. For instance if you want to be a doctor then choosing you modules and subjects should be pretty easy. However problems tend to arise when you’re not so sure of your ambitions, this is when making the right academic choices can be a bit more difficult.
A point to note when deciding is that most degree programmes begin with introductory courses in the first year, continue with courses set mainly within two chosen periods in the second year and end in the final year with special subjects.
Remember that the right degree course can not only make you more comfortable in your studies but also fully prepare you academically and personally for the working world by equipping you with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve your career aspirations.
Remember that these may be core modules (you have to take them), optional (you can choose from a list of alternatives) or elective (you have a free choice); the balance depends upon your year and programme of study.
This page will provide you with;
All the information you need to pick the right university to study at.
An expanding directory of potential universities and suitable degree courses to choose from.
Detailed information about specific degree courses, their subject matter and modules.
Advise on what to look for when researching degree courses and universities.
Career advice on what you could do after your graduate.
Links to 100's of free professionally written CV templates and cover letters.
Information on everything you need to know about student loans.
Learn how to;
Maximise your chances of getting accepted on your chosen course.
Improve your study and revision skills.
Prepare for university interviews.
Write professional personal statements.
Identify those academic skills that you need to improve.
Complete your UCAS form properly and improve your chances of getting accepted.
Gives you the basic tools you will need in your chosen profession.
A degree will help you stand out from other job applicants who don’t have one.
Shows you are someone who is disciplined and able to achieve set targets.
Opens more doors to you and gives you more career opportunities.
Demonstrates to potential employers that you can complete tasks and assignments.
Research has shown that people with degrees tend to earn more than non degree holders.
Allows you to enjoy and experience university life.
Key points to consider when choosing a university course
Core points to remember when choosing a subject are; firstly that there are many more topics to select from than when you were at college. Secondly most university courses are vocational and give you the opportunity to go directly into a career. Thirdly always look beyond the course title and study the subject, modules and teaching methods in detail.
Think about your preferred mode of study and what style would suit your personality and circumstances.
Find out what the course entry requirements are, there’s no point in applying if you don’t have the required grades or aren’t predicted to get them.
What are the course components, what subject blocks make up the modules.
How will the course be of benefit to your overall career objectives.
Does the course consist of set formal lectures or will there be much smaller tutorial sessions.
There will always be intense competition for the most popular courses, meaning you may not get the course you have chosen. Therefore it’s best practise to have a first, second or third choice ready.
How much coursework will need to be done for the course.
Will you be expected to participate in industry work placements.
Will there be examinations and if so how many and at what stage in the course.
Read up about the course and find out what it will focus on, the sort of books you will have to read, and also the teaching methods.
Are there going to be any opportunities to study abroad.
Ask if you have to do any extra admission tests.
Look for universities that go that extra mile to ensure their courses meet the demands of their under graduates and also reflect the ever changing needs of the jobs market.
Check if the university has strong links to your chosen industry
If it does then it can be beneficial to your long term career prospects. Links to commerce or commercial funders can lead to students being directly sponsored by companies, especially if the research is directly linked to their core business. Connected universities can also be approached by companies looking for suitable undergraduates to undertake internship programs, which in turn could possibility lead to placements on graduate training schemes. In some instances corporations can even have a input into courses and may offer sponsor prizes or awards on certain undergraduate programmes.
How to quickly find information about specific university courses
Check out the subject prospectus, these can either be hard copies or you can find them online on the universities website.
Find out the names of the course tutors and lecturers, contact them and ask any questions you may have.
Go online and do a search for any course and university reviews.
Post queries in chat room discussions, forums or on blogs.
Visit the universities website and take a virtual tour.
Try to obtain the emails of current students and send them a polite message asking for any feedback.
Key points to consider when deciding upon which university to enrol at
Often for most new students the most important factor in selecting a university is feeling good about it and having a sense of ‘fitting in’. The best way to discover and experience this is by taking the time to visit, walk around and soak up the atmosphere of as many campuses as possible. Below are some more useful tips:
Go for one with a well established reputation for its publications and research.
If you don’t have a lot of money then you should consider a university that is close to you home. This can save you having to pay for accommodation, food and heating etc.
Compare the living costs of different locations, for instance London is bound to be more expensive that most other UK cities.
Do you want to get as far away from your home town as possible? If so then make a list of the preferred parts of the city you want to move to.
Research the academic credentials of each university.
Is there a good social life? One of the best ways to find this out is by reading reports written by students on forums or social media sites.
Find out about the student union, how active are they?
Research the quality and reputation of a university by studying relevant league tables. It’s advisable to try to aim for one that is in the top ten rather than any that are at the bottom.
Does the university have any sports facilities? If so how modern are they?
When visiting the university make sure to check out the surrounding neighborhood of where you will live and study. Look at the the services on offer i.e. shops, places to eat, bus routes etc. You're going to be spending a lot of time in that area, so you need to make sure it's convenient and suitable. If you're going to be living away from campus (in a residential neighbourhood) then it's a good idea to investigate the crime levels and security in the area i.e. burglaries. You don't want to be worrying about being burgled whilst your studying at classes.
If you are interested in an international career, then due to the global nature of business it is essential that you understand the different international perspectives that exist in the global market place. Look for a university course that;
Offers you the opportunities to gain international experience by working abroad.
Has good international links with foreign bodies.
Has a track record of being involved in projects abroad.
Has a sizeable population of international students, giving you the opportunity to make friends and study with many different nationalities.