The Location

Where do you want to go?

  • Do you really like your family or do you want to get as far away as possible?
  • Do you want to visit your boyfriend or girlfriend every weekend (or, perhaps, want an excuse not to)?
  • Do you want to find the cheapest way of going to university?

One way or another, location is likely to be an important factor. If you want to live at home, the decision might be straightforward. If you live in or near to London there could easily be half a dozen local universities to choose from. If you want to go away from home, then distance or travel time to and from home will be a factor.

Whether you go away to university or remain living at home either experience will be quite different.

  • Going away to university may give you a greater sense of freedom than staying at home.  Living away from your family and the town where you currently live may make your life less restrictive.  You are free to choose.
  • Relocating away from home means that you will be free to study and socialise as and when you like without having to worry about getting the last bus home.
  • Moving away from home will almost certainly be more expensive. Have you discussed financial arrangements with your family. Are you able to get a part-time job?
  • To happily live away from home will require you to be much more self-reliant, with a need to take responsibility for shopping and cooking for yourself maybe for the first time. Home does offer some emotional security and leaving home is a big decision. It is also a great way to make the transistion into adulthood.

Moving away from home may improve your graduate employability.

  • Graduate employment research has evidenced that students who leave home develop self-sufficiency sooner and therefore have potentially better job prospects than those who stay with family.
  • The family safety-net has gone and students, to be successful, will need to learn that laundry does not wash itself. These are excellent life-skills!
  • These life skills of self-sufficiency are very transferrable into the workplace.

Some 'local' students choose to experience the best of both worlds.

  • They choose a university 30 miles or less from home, live on campus in first year (experiencing university life to the full, making friends and networks) and then have the option of moving back home in subsequent years. This is increasingly common.
  • Students who choose a sandwich course or placement year sometimes opt for placement jobs closer to home or vice versa to save money or experience living away from home.
  • Courses involving a year abroad are available to all students whether they have lived at home or moved away. 

Looking at a specific location.

If a particular town or city interests you, it is advisable to look at the geographical location of the university or universities you are interested in.

  • Is the location city-centre or several miles outside?
  • The former will be handy for amentities and night-life but may be noisier and less picturesque.
  • The latter may be located in a beautiful setting but if you have to live off-campus there could be high travel costs and restricted access late on Sunday evenings. 
  • Don't forget that most larger UK cities have more than one university.

The town or city facilities might be a priority for you.

  • Your time at university will be an opportunity for you to pursue your interests in a way you may never be able to again.
  • Access to many things, such as sports facilities could be very cheap and you will probably have some time to become seriously involved if you wish.
  • Whether you like to dance the night away, follow the Premier League, haunt the theatre, or engage in volunteering choosing the right location will help to fulfill your dreams and aspirations.
  • University profiles describe each university's location. Click on the Living Here tab for more info.
  • Open days allows you to search and book university visits, and find open day advice.
  • Crime in student cities and towns shows crime stats around university campuses in England and Wales for crime mostly likely to affect students.
  • How safe is your city gives crime rates for towns and cities in the UK with two or more universities.

Prospectuses frequently boast about the attractive surrounding countryside.

  • Unless you have a particular interest that takes you there, such as rock climbing or surfing, it is doubtful if you will spend much time taking in the sights.

The cost of living

Then, of course, there is the cost.

  • Generally, the south of England and London are more expensive places to live than the rest of the UK so if cost is significant for you do take this into account. 
  • A student rail or coach card will be a very sensible long-term investment and can make a great Christmas present from your gran.