Ten things to consider when you’re deciding where to study
If you've decided studying is for you, the next thing to consider is what to study, and where. Take your time, and do your research. This guide will help you think it through.
Type of course
Even within similar courses, you’ll have different options. Some things to find out: How is the course assessed? Does it offer a work placement, or a year abroad? Sites like Unistats can help you compare courses, and find out what students really thought of them.
The set up
You might not fancy a four-year, full-time course. Other options include part-time study and distance learning. Find out what else is available.
You’ll have to study longer to qualify for some careers. That might mean a longer degree, post-graduate course or exams once you start working. Are you up for that? Or would you prefer to start your career earlier?
What qualifications do you need to get in? If you don’t have them yet, is there another route you could take? For example, a course that leads on to the qualification you're interested in, or getting some experience and a qualification through a Modern Apprenticeship, could give you another way in.
UCAS lets you pick five choices – make the most of them. If you’re going to college, find out if you can apply to a range of courses, or try a few different places.
Using university rankings and league tables
Another way of finding out how courses and universities compare is to look at their rankings.
University league tables and rankings can be confusing. There's a lot of information to get through.
So, we've pulled together a guide to help you make sense of them.
How to make the most of an open day or HE Exhibition
If you're a disabled student, you may have extra support to consider as you get ready for university or college.
Under the Equalities Act, your college or uni has a duty to make reasonable adjustments so that you're not at any disadvantage to other students. Make sure you find out what support you can put in place - and get it set up so that you're ready go when your course begins.
In the video, Kieran, who is deaf, talks about the support he's set up while he studies primary teaching.
He says, 'Just remember that you should have the same experience as anyone else in this university, no matter what.'
What you do outside of lectures can be just as important for your future career. Make sure you consider what’s available after class when you’re deciding what to study.
Clubs and societies
You’ll meet lots of new people. As well as making friends, you’ll be building your network. You’ll also learn new skills and try things that aren’t covered by your course. You could take on responsibilities and learn about things like planning, budgeting or marketing.
This looks great on your CV, and can help you stand out in a crowd with the same qualifications.
Getting experience while you’re at uni or college means more to put on your CV. You could take on part-time jobs, volunteering placements or summer internships. Some courses also offer work placements fitted in to your studies.
These help you develop some of the transferable skills which employers love to see. It can also be a chance to get a start and make some connections in your industry.
Picked the wrong course?
If uni or college doesn’t live up to expectations, don’t panic. Lots of students have doubts about their course – but it can be very easy to change. There’s room for second thoughts.
What to do:
- Try to identify what exactly you’re not happy with. Is it the course itself? A particular subject, your accommodation, personal reasons, finance, career choices?
- Speak to someone at your university or college straight away. Course tutors and lecturers, your student adviser, welfare service or careers service can all offer guidance
- Finance advisers can help if you have any worries about funding entitlement
- If you do decide to change course or leave, find out if you gain credit for the parts you’ve completed so far
Changing a little
If it’s just a particular module that’s the problem, find out if it’s possible to sit an alternative subject. You might also be able to get extra help with it, rather than change your whole course.
If the module you’re struggling with is compulsory or you’re not enjoying any part of your course, it’s possible to change courses, but stay within the same university or college. Find out what your options are.
Changing university or college
If you decide to change university or college, you should contact the university or college you want to change to, and speak to the admissions tutor for that course. Explain your current situation and why you want to change. Discuss what level you want to transfer to and ask whether it’s possible to move credits across.
For university, you’ll need to apply to the new course through UCAS and notify your current university. For college, you’ll need to apply to the new course through their system and let your college know.
Make sure you get some advice on how this could affect your SAAS funding, course fees and loans too.