For those of you who are applying to University this year, you will no doubt be waiting eagerly to hear from Universities about whether or not you’ve been accepted. Final decisions by Universities will have all been made in the next few months, so there isn’t too long to wait (if you don’t know your personal deadline, you can find this out on UCAS).
However, once you’ve received a response from all of your choices it’s often difficult to make a decision as to where you actually want to spend the next few years of your life. It’s pretty scary, but it’s important to take it seriously so that you make the right choice.
You will need to select a Firm Choice, the University you really want to go to, and you also have the option to select an Insurance Choice (a back-up option, in case you don’t get the grades for your Firm Choice, which is definitely worth selecting just in case!)
So, what should you be taking into consideration? Well, location is often a good start. If you’ve never lived away from home, and you don’t like the thought of being too far away from your family or friends, you might not want to move to the other side of the country. It can be great for your independence, but if you’re not ready you shouldn’t push yourself too far.
However, don’t let that be the overriding decision. It’s also important to take into consideration the course itself. Hopefully, since you’ve already applied to these Universities, they should all provide a course that you really like; remember, though, they may differ quite a bit in terms of assessment, or class size, for instance. So, if you hate exams but love coursework you probably don’t want a course that is 100% exams. Finding out this information does require some research, but don’t fret – there are a number of websites that do the job for you, such as Which? University.
By using websites like these, not only can you find out about the course itself but also about student life at University – what’s the average student satisfaction, or the average graduate salary? These are all important factors to take into consideration. For instance, these are the stats for Durham University:
One factor that isn’t specifically included in this is student accommodation. This is incredibly important, as you’ll be spending a huge amount of your time here, either cooking, with friends, or even just sleeping. So, do some research – find out whether you can live with people you already know, if you’re matched with strangers who have similar interests, or even if you can choose to live alone, if you wish. You want to be comfortable for the next year or so, and living with people you dislike will affect your time at University so don’t take it lightly. Find somewhere you love!
Likewise, this decision can be affected by money. Make sure you live somewhere that you can afford, and take into consideration how much you’ll be spending a week on food, going out, etc., and then see if it all works out into your budget.
However, and this is an important point, don’t let money worries stop you from going to a University you love. There are a number of options available, such as Student Finance, getting a part-time job, and so on, so don’t panic. Of course, you will need to make sure that you can afford to live wherever you decide, but there are a number of options available that will be a great help.
So, with a couple of months to go before you need to make your final decision, you still have plenty of time. If you want to know more information about budgeting, student life, and so on, then don’t worry; over the next few weeks I’ll be delving further into all you need to know about preparing for Uni. So, keep an eye out!
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