It’s that time of year where university applications are on everyone’s brain; Year 13s are busy sending off their applications, whilst Year 12s are excited by the prospect of where to apply. It’s a hugely important (and exciting) time, but it’s also important to remember not to rush into any big decisions before thinking it through clearly.
From our experience tutoring A-Level students in Market Harborough, we've learnt a lot about the university application process. When it comes to choosing a university, there are a number of factors that ought to be taken into consideration.
Firstly; the location. Do you want to stay close to home or travel further afield? Staying at home can work for those who want to spend time with their families, or to save on the cost of living. Alternatively, moving away will give you greater levels of freedom and responsibility, whilst also ensuring that you develop important life skills: think cooking, washing up and laundry!
Next, are you into big cities or smaller towns? Some people feel at home in a huge city, surrounded by lots of people, whereas others feel more comfortable in a smaller community. Everyone is different, so don’t be put off if your friends have different preferences to you.
Make sure you also take into account any interests you have outside of studying. If you’re a keen rower, for example, you probably want to choose a university with decent access to a river. Or perhaps you are really interested in pursuing a year abroad – in which case it’s a good idea to check out which universities offer such an experience.
Another important thing to consider is whether you like the feel of a non-campus or campus based university. Campus universities tend to be very self-contained, with great facilities and a strong sense of community – Loughborough and Warwick are great examples of this style of university. Non-campus universities, such as the University of Manchester, tend to be built into - and quite often spread around - the city, which can offer more choice and flexibility when it comes to your social life.
It’s also important to consider the size of university you’d like to attend. The size of universities can differ hugely: the University of Birmingham, for example, has approximately 30,000 students, whilst the University of York is half the size with roughly 15,000 students. Some larger universities can be collegiate, making them feel smaller and more community focused. It’s all down to personal preference, but we’d always recommend that you visit your chosen universities in order to really get a feel for the environment that they offer.
If you are particularly interested in the reputation of your university, then the League Tables are a good place to start. They shouldn’t, however, be the be-all and end-all; be sure to take them with a pinch of salt. Whilst it’s great to be aspirational, it’s also important to be realistic about your results. A lot of students opt to apply to one aspirational choice, one insurance choice and three achievable choices – this is a great way to cover your bases.
Here at INICIO, we tutor A-Level students to help them fulfil their potential. We are committed to helping each of our students achieve their dreams and we are incredibly proud of everything our past students have gone on to accomplish. If you're in the Market Harborough area and you believe you could benefit from A-Level tuition, then we are here to help every step of the way.
Check out our next instalment: Choosing a Course!