These are the deciding factors when deciding to apply to university. Once you have all of your options, how do you decide which will be your firm and insurance choice? Your decision will impact the early stages of your life and career, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. It’s been just over 7 years since I’ve been in this exact position. These were the questions I asked myself when I had to decide.

Is the course right for me?

On paper, it may seem that if you apply for courses with the same name for all five of your choices, you will cover the exact content wherever you go. In practice, this may not necessarily be the case. During my A-level studies, I had a natural leaning to different applications of mathematics. When I chose to study Mathematics at university and looked at each course in more detail, the choices that offered more applied specialisms had a stronger appeal. This not only meant I knew what I was signing up for, but I had a greater chance of a success. Should you want further information about a given course, a number of websites feature students’ reviews focusing on the pros and cons of a particular university course. This can be a critical aid in terms of deciding what is best for your needs.

When considering the structure of your degree course, it’s worth taking note whether the course gives the option to undertake a placement year. Often, companies favour applicants who have direct work experience in any given industry. If you already have an idea about what career path you want to pursue, this can be a big deciding factor when choosing your firm choice university.

Is the offer achievable?

When applying for your five choices, it’s common to make applications to a range of institutions asking for different grade requirements. By this point of the year, you and your teachers can get a better grasp of how you’re performing academically and what your grades will look like come results day. It’s important that when you’re picking your firm that you choose a course for which you qualify. For example, if the requirements are A*AA yet you’re on track for BBB, this could result in a disappointing outcome. When deciding your insurance, you should pick a choice that, whatever the outcome, you will be able to make the grades.

Once you’ve decided what your final two choices are, contact the universities to ask about the flexibility on your grades should things go wrong. They may be lenient and accept your offer should you miss it by a grade. However, it’s better to be certain rather than taking it by chance on the day.

Where could I see myself?

Every university environment will be different, whether it’s a small campus university or a university that is spread over a large city. It’s important to visit the universities you’ve gained an offer from and get a good feel for what life as a student there is like. Usually, offer days are more in-depth with the information given to applicants so you can get a better understanding of life there as opposed to just attending an open day. A factor to consider is how far you could be from home. If you are someone who may get homesick, you may want to look at a university option that is easily accessible by public transport. Be honest with yourself when asking where you can see yourself, however, as you’ll be on your degree course for three years at least and your experience could be damaged by rushed decision making.


Written by Craig Poku