University facilities and opportunities
Most universities will have similar facilities and extracurricular opportunities, the quantity and quality of which will vary considerably.
All universities will have sports clubs and societies, a careers service and Students’ Union but will have different priorities as to what they offer.
Going somewhere with the opportunities and facilities you want will help you create a good balance between studying and socialising which is vital to enjoying your time at university. The questions to ask yourself at this stage of your research are:
What societies and sports clubs do you want access to?
You might have a sport or hobby which you want to continue with or start at university, and whether or not a university provides this could be a deciding factor.
Most universities will be able to cater for common sports like football and rugby and will have societies linked to academic departments. However, smaller universities won’t necessarily be able to satisfy more niche interests.
You should also research the Students’ Union. Find out what it offers, how responsive it is to students and what its reputation is like.
Do you need any specialist services do you need the university to have?
Universities should be and usually are capable of accommodating anyone with special needs. They’ll understand The Disability and Equality Act (2010) and associated legislation and will want to make you feel welcome.
However, if you do have special requirements, you should still ask the university to make sure they meet your needs. This could mean asking about the accessibility of old buildings or the provision of learning or mental health support.
Is having a good career service important to you?
You may be going to university in order help your job prospects. If so, the quality of the careers service will be a deciding factor.
Careers services can help with everything from finding internships and placement to interview training and job applications. They can also help you get a part-time job to earn some extra money during your studies.
Is there affordable, accessible accommodation in a location convenient for you?
University accommodation varies in both price and quality across universities, and each institution will have a range of options to suit different budgets and requirements.
Go to our accommodation section to find out what you need to look out for.
Opportunities outside of the classroom can be the source of some of your best experiences at university. Make sure you go somewhere which offers you the necessary respite from your studies.
Next page: Checklist for choosing a university