How I Picked The Right University

November 17, 2016

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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.

birmingham university clock tower
Birmingham University – which is renowned for its clock tower

Course Content

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.

Entry Requirements

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).

picking a university

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 Β£5, Leicester was Β£2.20 (wow!) and De Montfort have very few bars on site, but the city bars accept student discounts.

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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!

University of Leicester

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.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    A really good post. I am a college lecturer and I am just going through the yearly university selection process and it is a very scary jump for students. I agree with your top things to consider: Place and course being really important, plus the facilities the university has. I’m a graphic design and art lecturer so I alway tell my students to look at the equipment the university has and the space you get to work in – will it allow you to fully develop and learn? Also if possible speak to actual students on the course as they will be honest where as tutors are often trying to win you over as they need applicants. Great post though.

    • Reply
      Sophia Patel
      November 19, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      Thankyou! I haven’t even considered resources, maybe for me it’s something you would presume a good university has, which is why I haven’t overly compared it. Speaking to current students is a great idea – I have only relied on friends and family who have attended that university some years ago. However I’m not sure how to go about it without students being biased. Great idea though, and thank you for your kind words and recommendations!

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