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College and university

Picking the right course, college or uni, and campus can be tricky. We’re here to help guide on making a choice that’s right for you.

10 things to consider when you’re deciding where to study

1. Subject

If you're not sure about what's out there and what might suit you, we've got lots of some tips and resources to help you with this.

  • Browse through college and uni prospectuses to find out what they're offering. 
  •  Visit our Learn and train search, here you can find various learning options, how to apply for courses, what funding is available and more. 
  • Try our strengths quiz, this will help you understand what you do well, what you enjoy and give you a breakdown of your strengths.

2. Type of Course

What kind of learning works best for you? You could look into different options.


You'll get a qualification at the end of each course you complete and can progress, for example going from an HNC to HND. Courses are likely to be more vocational, geared towards a specific career. You can study for different types of qualifications, such as:

  • National Qualifications
  • vocational courses
  • Access courses
  • modules
  • HNCs
  • HNDs


You can be studying for a minimum of 3 years, but typically a 4 year undergraduate degree course before you get a qualification. You can study for degrees, Master courses and in some subjects, move onto a Postgraduate course. 


Apprenticeships are designed to help you learn by doing and getting hands-on experience with an employer. It's also known as work-based learning. You get training to develop new skills, then put them into practice either through a work placement or practical work project. You can find out more about apprenticeships and the different types on apprenticeships.scot

3. Course content

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? British Council has more information about studying and working abroad. Sites like Unistats can help you get some insight.

4. The set up 

​​​​​​​You might not fancy a 4-year, full-time course. Other options include part-time study and online or distance learning. Find out what else is available.

5. How long

 ​​​​​​​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. 

6. Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need to get in? If you do not have them yet, is there another route you could take to get the experience you need? Find out more about joining a degree course with your HNC or HND qualification.

7. Money

You need to consider things like student loans and the cost of moving away from home. Visit the funding page for more information.

8. Location

Does the campus feel like home? Take advantage of any virtual open days or events on offer. Many universities and colleges are hosting virtual open days where you can take virtual tours of campuses and accommodation.

9. Prospects

It's important to understand where the course could lead. Check out our guide to using university rankings and league tables to compare courses and find out what students that were on the courses really thought.

10. Options

UCAS lets you pick 5 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.

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Applying for courses at college or uni

Find out how and when to apply for college and uni.

Learn about applying for courses
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Heading to university

Follow our 7 useful tips to help you prepare for life at university.

Prepare for university