Maybe I was underestimating how difficult this was. Or maybe I had my heart set on one university that ticked every box. Over time, you realise that is not the case, and there are more factors to consider than first thought. Picking a university has to be right for you – not anyone else. Once that is realised, the process is a hell of a lot easier. Here’s how I narrowed it down:
Personally, I wanted to be relatively local so I could pop home whenever I needed to. Geographically pinpointing areas narrows down the options available, but also allows a manageable amount to consider. My expected grades were relatively good (AAB), so the universities I was looking at where high climbers in the rankings or Russell Group.
For anyone wondering, I am looking to take a Business Management course, specialising in Marketing. As I crumble under pressure, exams are not my preferred choice; so I wanted a 50 / 50 (or better) exam/coursework split. I am more of a theoretical learner, rather than practical, so all 3 of my choices consider that.
This is usually the final hurdle in picking a university. In the UK, higher universities have higher entry requirements, as more people tend to apply for these courses. It is best to choose places with a range of entry requirements, so if you do not get the grades, there are plenty of options to fall back on. My choices were Birmingham (AAB), Leicester (ABB) and De Montfort (BBC).
To be honest, the biggest factor in me deciding which universities I preferred were through the open days. I found you really start to compare the little things alongside another. My universal method of deciding on whether to consider a place was the price of beers. Birmingham was £5, Leicester was £2.20 (wow!) and De Montfort have very few bars on site, but the city bars accept student discounts.
From the open day itself, I changed my first option from Birmingham to Leicester. Everyone, I found were much nicer, had so much more enthusiasm and it near enough to exactly what I had in mind. It is a 25-minute train ride home, versus over an hour, and alcohol and accommodation is very cheap in comparison. Plus, it is just as beautiful!
Even though my choice was relatively easy after attending the open day – there’s always something in the back of your mind questioning you on whether you are making the right decision. Even now, when I have done the research, work experience and on track to get the right grades, I am still not 100% sure if this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. But the real question is, will I ever be sure? (If anyone knows the answer please let me know).
The only advice I can follow at the moment is my own: DO NOT PANIC. There are always options, regardless of what you may think. Even if you may not get into the university of your choice, every university will change your life, and make you grow as a person. However, uni is not the only route, there are college courses, apprenticeships and full-time employment, which will teach you so many skills too! Moral of the story: do what is right for you.