Going to university is a right of passage for lots of us. It’s a chance to move away from home, experience actually looking after yourself (by means of instant noodles and excessive drinking) and make friends for life. On top of all this you might actually get a degree and use it to advance your career… just a thought!
Deciding whether to go to university is a huge decision in itself, especially now that people are recognising that apprenticeships are a great (and debt free) way to get into your dream job. But if you’ve made the decision to go to university the next question is , what course should you do?
There are 50,000 undergraduate courses you can apply to through UCAS, so where to start?
We’ve got a few tips to help you choose.
Hopefully you know what interests you, and although that might not translate into a career path, it’s a good place to start. You are going to have to stay interested and motivated enough to complete at least three years of a degree so try not to pick something just because ‘’it will get me a well paying job’’. Unless you are incredibly motivated it can be hard to stick out three years of something you aren’t passionate about.
If you really have no idea what you want to do then you could use imployable to identify some careers that interest you (yes it’s a shameless plug, but it is a great app!). On the ‘Industry Insights’ function you can explore over 800 different careers. You can check the job descriptions, the expected salaries and see which qualifications you’ll need for the role.
If you know exactly the career you want then selecting a subject area is much easier.
Once you’ve decided the subject area you need to find the specific course you want to do.
For those of you with a definite career idea you can be really specific with the course you want to do. Otherwise stick to something broad and you can specialise later. As you progress through your course it’ll become more clear what it is you want to do long term.
There are some things to consider when selecting the course;
- Modules – Make sure the course actually covers the things you want to learn about
- Placements – If you want to get some practical knowledge alongside your degree then look for courses with placement years.
- The Qualification – This might be an obvious point but you need to think about whether you want to do a bachelors or do you need to do a foundation course first? If your stuck between courses you can even explore joint honours.
Choosing the right university can be the difference to an amazing or an awful uni experience. There are loads of things to consider when you choose your university, just because your friends big brother had a great time in Cardiff doesn’t mean you will. So here are a few things to consider.
- Location, location, location – This seems pretty obvious but you need to think about this for a few different reasons. Travelling back home can take up considerable amounts of your holidays so check how easy the journey is. For some of us , the distance isn’t an issue so think about the things you want from where you live. Check out public transport, how close you are to the city or the country (depending on what floats your boat) and even local rent prices.
- Student reviews – One way to get an idea of what to expect from any uni is to look at the reviews.The Guardian University Guide is a great tool to see how students rate their university on everything from course satisfaction to employment rates.
- The nightlife (or lack of) – A big part of uni is the nightlife, whether your parents think so or not. If it’s a selling point for you then check out this article by Which?
- The facilities – This covers everything from the libraries, the lecturers and even the kind of societies that the student union offer.
- Open days – Once you’ve got a shortlist you need to go visit them. You can get plenty of information online about any university but the best way to decide is to go and see them for yourself. Trust your gut, you’ll know which is the right one for you.
You know whats best
Ultimately only you can decide the right course for you, so take on peoples advice but make sure you choose based on the things you want to get out of your time and don’t be too influenced by picking a career that’ll make your mum happy. We hope that this has been of some help to you while you choose your next steps in your career journey. University is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have made so far but it is extremely rewarding in so many ways. Good luck!
If you want to check out imployable and start making educated decisions about your career you can download the app through the Apple App Store or Google Play. Search ‘imployable’ or click the buttons below.