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You’ve got your offers! But how do you choose?
26th January is the last day to apply for your undergraduate courses and soon hopefully you’ll start receiving your offers! It’s exciting, I remember getting those nerve-wracking UCAS emails notifying me on a change to my application portal. When all the offers (or rejections!) came in, I was left with a choice – narrowing down my offers to two.
I thought about my choices for a very long time, submitting my first and second choice only a few days before the deadline and I can totally understand if you do the same. Now, five years on, here’s my advice for you to narrow down your choices.
Where can you see yourself?
Looking back, University has been like a dream for me – it has really flown by. However, you’ll be at university for three years so finding one which you will be happy with throughout your degree is really important. I would really recommend visiting the universities you are considering. Hopefully this year you can visit in person, this is the best way to experience the environment you will be immersed in during your degree. Hopefully you can attend an offer holder day if you haven’t visited so far.
Think about the environment, whether you would like a campus or city university, living in a vibrant new city or a greener, more expansive area of the country. When I visited Warwick, it felt like a home to me and I knew I wanted to be here. Hopefully you can feel that way, let your heart play a part.
Where are you going to be stretched?
I thought the hard part of Uni was getting in! That was totally wrong, but that’s not a bad thing. University can be hard work, but that’s what makes it rewarding!
Check out University League Tables to evaluate how prestigious the degree and research undertaken by each university is. What is fantastic about university is that you can be taught by world leaders in your area. If you go to a world-leading university, it is your lecturers who are world leading – it’s a fantastic opportunity to learn from the masters!
Are your passions going to be fulfilled?
University is also about the experience, and the social side where you can be stretched! I’ve loved the opportunity to continue my music whilst at University. I assumed every university would have a great music centre but that’s not always the case, I was just lucky. Make sure you research the facilities and societies at the universities you are looking at and make sure they fit and complement your own interests and passions. Even though league tables are important, don’t disregard the other “softer” reasons to choose a university. If you love doing something in your spare time, make sure your prospective universities give you everything you need to continue your passion!
Believe in yourself!
Sometimes entry requirements are intimidating and I’m sure you’re working really hard to fulfil them! Don’t let a high entry requirement totally put you off a university however. The uni has offered you a place because they think you have the capability to fulfil the requirements and tackle the course – don’t forget that! Of course, you definitely need to balance your secure and reserve offer. I imagine you don’t want to miss your offers and so you want to make sure you can go into exams knowing that you can hopefully make the grade. That being said, don’t be scared to believe in your abilities. If you’d really like to go to a certain university with higher offer grades over a safer bet, don’t disregard how you feel and look at ways to make it work.
It’s not the be all and end all
Choosing a university is a big deal but during my time at Warwick, and meeting lots of different people, I have a more romantic idea about choosing a university than I once did. Many, many people achieve great things having been to different universities. Having met people at job interviews, on my course and at societies, I know your university does not define your success nor happiness. It can certainly help you along the way but, looking back, I’m confident that wherever I went I would have had good friends, a good degree and good memories. And in the end, that’s all that matters.
In my next article I’ll let you know why I’d really recommend that you think about choosing Warwick for your degree.