For the majority of students, picking the best university to meet their personal preferences of course and future career can be a daunting task. With the number of career opportunities now so heavily dependent on what course you complete and from where the pressure to get your options spot on is significant. However, rather than burying your head in the sand and picking your degree and university by shooting in the dark, here are some steps that can prevent this experience from being hit-and-miss.
Talk to your teachers and tutor
Unless you want to do a specialised qualification such as Optometry at City University or MORSE at Warwick, it will be unclear as to which degree choices and universities you should apply to. In this case going to your teachers may be your best starting point. They have experience a-plenty helping students get into university. They can, therefore, help you decide what you need to consider. They can direct you towards degree options you may not have realised existed, and to think about your possible long-term career paths. Invariably your school or college will have a teacher, or maybe even some teachers with specific responsibility for providing this support.
Research your options online
The number of online resources aimed at helping students research into universities continues to rise. Some include websites that directly compare different course programmes while others simply critique the merits of eah university and their courses. The UCAS website is a must. On this platform, you can find courses based on variables such as location, university and subject rankings, and course type. If it is the case that you already have a career path in mind, you can compare company websites and look at what they require from their graduate applicants. Let us not forget the on-line student forums where students, like yourself, talk about their university applications and attendance experiences candidly.
Attend University and Career Fairs
Across the country there are dozens of university fairs that offer the opportunity to talk to many universities. Attend these fairs. Be sure to ask questions. Find out what you think you need to know and strangely, what you did not know but should! Questions such as, “what is the career progression after the course, what is the general course structure and why do students pick that university for that course?” Listen carefully to the answers; they should help you to narrow down your choices.
By attending career fairs, you may find that the representatives are more career focused. When there, ask more about whether the university course you are interested in is valued by the company. Enquire about career progression, links with specific universities and whether a university degree would make a difference to career advancement. Also, companies such as Alexander Partners would have a presence at these fairs, providing impartial advice based on what you expect to gain from your degree.
Making this decision is never going to be easy, period. In truth, there is no ideal choice only choices base on in-depth research, experience and therefore judgment. Following these steps can, however, guide you to pick those universities that should suit you best; your studies and future employment opportunities. Rest assured that whatever your final course and university destination, it is the start of a journey of real potential and not a final destination. So, enjoy the ride and make the most of it.