Daniela Fleary -reid

A Student's Diary – Applying to University


5 simple steps to help you look for the right university

When I was questioned what was my next step or where and what I wanted to do after sixth form I told my friends and family something different every time they asked me.

One month I wanted to be a teacher, the next a journalist and eventually I just said any occupation or degree that came to mind so that I could avoid discussing my future because I simply had no idea where to start. But after all that I eventually came to a university decision and here's how:

1. Try picking out the subjects or activities you enjoy the most.

For instance, mine are English and Art. So I began looking at careers using websites such as Prospects. This helped me get an idea of what I can expect from certain jobs and the qualifications needed.

2. Find universities which are good for what you want to do.

Looking at universities was the hardest part for me – I had no idea which one to start looking at first, or what universities there were. Best place thing to do is to look at which universities have good rankings and feedback for your subject.

3. Use the different resources available to you.

I used the UCAS website and league tables to support the beginning of my research this gave me an idea of what unis did my course and the different modules each uni had to offer. After picking my favourites I looked for open days as looking at the uni online is not the same as being in the atmosphere and getting a taste of where you will be studying for the next few years – trust me! You can also search for courses in Course Chooser, and then have a look at the universities offering them.

4. Make your own league table

I collected a table of the universities I was interested the most. In the table I compared the different modules, their ranking, entry requirements and my expected grades.

5. Narrow down your choices

After your research, and comparing, aim to get down to a top 5 list of universities, to use as the basis for your choices on your UCAS application. Later on in the year, universities that have accepted you would invite you to attend an applicant/visit day, which is where you get to know your subject more and meet your possible lecturers, just like a trial introduction. This will be really helpful to help you narrow down your choices, especially if you’re considering living away – staying at the uni for 1 or 2 nights would definitely give you an example of what to expect.