It’s UCAS time and the range of factors to consider when choosing a university is bewildering.
A subject to get out of bed for or, at least, one you can sit through after a late at night. English is handy for a journalist, physics for an airline pilot, biology for a forensic scientist. Do choose a subject that genuinely interests you or it will be long three years.
A change of scenery — UK school leavers know that the key to an excellent experience is avoiding the potential for contact between your parents and that bearded guy down the corridor. Long distance phone calls are better for everyone.
Check the societies — Students are obliged to sign up to absolutely everything and attend absolutely nothing, except the day they give out the hoodies, so you can walk around campus with Pirate Society written on your clothing. This aside, what teenager wouldn’t be intrigued by the Assassins’ Society (Durham), Jailbreak (Warwick), Curry Appreciation (Bath) or even Viking (Plymouth).
Check the facilities — you course is important but it’s not everything. When you are not sleeping, eating or putting glitter on your face, you’ll need the tools to encourage your talents and hobbies: Durham and Newcastle for rowing, King’s College London for music, Imperial for science, Loughborough and Bath for sport, Oxford and Cambridge for everything.
A gap year — why not consider choosing a degree that offers you the chance to spend a year abroad? Bristol, for example, offers a wide range of international opportunities, including studying law at the wonderfully named Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universitat Wurzburg in Germany.
Location — it’s not how big or small the campus is, it’s how you use it. If you are a rugged type, St. Andrew’s, Edinburgh, Bangor are worth looking at; if the dancefloor is your natural habitat, Newcastle, Bristol, Leeds, and Manchester are said to have the edgiest nightlife. You just need to decide whether you are thirsting for a change in cultural experience or looking for something that reminds you of home. Remember, though, that you do need to be excited about all of your five choices.
“University challenge” by School Life magazine
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