The facilities offered by universities are fairly similar to one another.
All will have a library, a sports centre, a health service, a careers service and so on. If there is something that is particularly important for you it is worth checking it out before you apply. You could even create a speadsheet with a list of key facilities to build your own university facilities checklist.
Accommodation will be important if you are going away from home.
- Is there an accommodation guarantee for first-year students? What about later years?
- If you are an avid on-line gamer you will want to know if the rooms have broadband or wireless access and whether there is a cost attached.
- If you are often out late socialising you may want to know where the accommodation is located so you and your family can be reassured that you can return home late at night and you will feel safe doing so.
- If you are unable to live in university accommodation for the duration of your course find out where the private accommodation is located – check out the surrounding ammenities e.g. shops, nightclubs and the laundrette. Will you feel safe there late at night?
If you have a particular minority interest you would like to follow while at university, then this could be a decision-making factor.
- Most universities will have sports pitches and clubs, societies and unions.
- Climbing walls and an Ultimate Frisbee society may be harder to find.
- The students' union will be able to tell you about sport and leisure facilites.
Students' Unions (sometimes called Students' Guilds or Student Associations) have always been an important aspect of student life.
- They have evolved from the traditional image of providers of cheap beer and student protests.
- The modern entrepreneurial union will have a wide range of services from food and stationery outlets through to comprehensive advice services.
- Increasingly they are providers of part-time employment for students and are becoming involved in personal skills development.
- Inevitably some are more active and innovative than others, so they are worth exlporing further.
- Our University Profiles give a summary of each university's Students' Union.
Over the years as the financial position of students has worsened universities have responded by setting up employment agencies or Job Shops.
- These are generally located in the careers services or Students' Union buildings. The agencies use their contacts with employers to help to identify suitable employment opportunities.
- The agencies will also help to ensure that rates of pay and hours of work are reasonable and within statutory guidelines.
- If you think you may become short of cash, a good employment agency of this type could be vital to your financial stability.
- Do take a look at the individual University Profiles for information on the availability of part-time work.
If you have any special needs, do take the time to ensure that your needs will be catered for by the universities that you are applying to.
- All universities will have a comprehensive understanding of the Disability and Equality Act 2010 and its legislative requirements.
- Some universities with newer buildings make accessibility much easier while others that have older buildings might make accessibility more challenging.
- If in doubt have the confidence to ask.
Be sure you find the institution that you feel will support you to have the best student experience possible.
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