Are you in the process of deciding which university and degree you should choose? Naeem discusses everything you need to take into consideration to make the best choice for your future.
Naeem, Certificate of Foundation Studies Clinical Science/Medicine
Yup it’s that time of year. No more summer holiday where you were lounging on a sunbed in Spain or spending all day (and night!) on the games console. Nope. It’s back to reality… Your final year of college.
If it’s not bad enough that you have a tonne of exams at the end of the year to pass, there’s also the painstaking task of choosing what and where to study your degree.
But do not fear, I am here to help! Just follow my simple guidelines and you can avoid paying £9250 a year studying something you’re not passionate about.
Choosing your degree
You’ve heard it time and time again; teachers telling you about UCAS deadlines and personal statements. But before you can do all of that, you need to decide what course you want to study.
First and foremost, choose a course that YOU are passionate about and not what others (like your family) want you to do. Choose a degree that you can imagine yourself studying for the next 3+ years.
On a piece of paper, weigh up your strengths and weaknesses, make a shortlist and choose something that plays to the best of your abilities. UCAS also has this great search engine where if you type in key words of what subjects you like, they display courses similar to your interests.
With over 50,000 courses available in the UK, there might even be courses you didn’t even know about, so think outside the box. Just make sure you do enough research and don’t be afraid to ask your teachers for advice!
Choosing your university
Next, you need to decide which university you want to study at. What a lot of students make the mistake of doing is just going to the university league tables and choosing the top 20 and applying to there.
You need to be sure that you have the right qualifications for that course as some require specific subjects. Moreover, almost all of them also require certain grades and entry requirements, so you have to make sure you believe you can achieve them otherwise you are just wasting one of your 5 options.
You also have to consider distance from home and the type of campus. City universities often have buildings situated across various locations within a city. This could mean you may have a long walk or need to catch a bus between lectures to the next.
The other option is a campus university where all your lecture halls and even shops will be in the same location, so you won’t have to travel a great distance between lectures.
A final tip on choosing your university is that although on paper a university may look appealing, when you arrive it may not be as great as you had imagined it to be. Therefore, ensure that you attend the open days to get a real feel of the university to decide.
These are also great opportunities to ask questions to your potential lecturers and ask other students how they felt whilst studying there.
So why did I choose the University of Bradford? Because honestly it was the best of both worlds. Bradford is technically a campus university. This means that I could quite easily go from lecture to lecture as each building is a two-minute walk away. But the campus is located right next to a city centre that is filled with shops, places to eat and explore.
Unlike some campus universities which seem like they are miles away from civilisation, Bradford is in the heart of the city, so you feel as though you are part of the community.
It’s every student’s nightmare; you wake up on results day to find out you didn’t get into your firm or insurance choice.
It is very easy to over-stress and make bad decisions. What I recommend for those in this situation is always have a backup plan.
A couple of weeks before results day, universities usually state whether they are open for clearing and what courses are still available. Make a short list of which universities you might be interested in and note down their numbers.
Then on results day, if you don’t get into your choices, you are prepared. You may not get into the first university you call, but just keep trying and you are sure to find one right for you.
If at the end of following all my amazing advice you are still unsure of what course or university you want to choose, why not take a gap year?
It’s what I did, and it was the best decision of my life. For some of you, like me, you may feel you’re still too young to decide what degree to choose which could potentially decide your future. But that’s absolutely fine! A gap year is a great solution.
I took a gap year to just have more time to decide what I wanted to do and what other options apart from university are available to me. Although, if you do decide to take a gap year, make sure you just don’t spend the year sitting at home. Be productive! Get a job and earn some money for university. Take driving lessons and pass your test. Travel to new places and different countries.
You could even resit some of your exams, so you have more options. Just make sure you make the most out of it and know what you choose you are passionate about.
I will end my blog with this quick note. Whatever you choose, whether it be university or not, make sure you choose it because you want to and not because of peer pressure.
Think wisely before you make any choices because university is not cheap and is not something to rush into without any prior research. And finally, good luck because whatever you do, if you try your best, you will ace everything!