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ThisUni

Updated on August 10, 2016

How to Find a UK uni – the 7 most popular questions

Whenever we provide information and help to students looking for a uni in the UK we are often met with the same questions coming back to us, so we thought why not write a blog providing students with honest and accurate information about finding unis. So, here is a run-down of the top 7 questions we get asked and the most common answers we have given.

Where can I find a UK uni map?

There are lots of resources available online to show the full set of UK Uni’s in a map view, this is particularly useful if you are thinking of going to a certain city, or need to be near home, or want an urban/rural uni setting. This is a good place to start.

Can you help me find a uni in the UK?

We certainly can. In fact there are so many places you can go to look online to find a uni in the UK, whether you are coming from here or overseas. A good place to start is contacting UCAS, or the uni themselves, or even attending the uni fairs which are held overseas from time to time.

How do I find a uni course to suit me?

It is impossible to say what the right course is for a person to study, as everyone goes to uni for different reasons. Always remember two things when picking a uni course – first, you need to enjoy it and have the mental capacity to study it, and second, you will need to make a decision toward the end of it on your future after uni, so remember to factor these into your choice.

How do I find a uni course based on my a levels?

The only way you can find out what A-levels you will need or what universities will expect from you is to either contact the uni themselves or contact UCAS who can provide a list of courses and their entrance criteria. From here you can make you’re a-Level choices, or if you are already studying for your A-Levels, you can choose the appropriate course.

How do I find a uni course for that is right for me?

Well just as no 2 uni courses are the same, no two universities are the same, so it is often as important to pick the right uni as it is to pick the right course. There are thousands of courses, and modules within courses for you to study, so it is always best to have a good shortlist of universities, and a good shortlist of uni courses, and try to use both lists to choose a course.

What international qualifications do I need to find a uni course in the UK?

This will wholly depend on the uni you are choosing to study at and the course you are looking to do, so the best place to begin is by choosing a few courses and cities and contacting the uni’s directly, or failing that, go to their open days or uni fairs overseas and speak to them directly.

I need to find a uni degree but don’t know what I want to do at the end of it

Well here is the truth – not many people do! Of all the people we speak to about going to uni, not many actually know what their end game is. For some it is simple, they study medicine or law and know their path. For others studying less vocational courses (history and economics spring to mind) the options are great but so too are the choices they need to make down the line. The best advice is not to get too concerned about this at this stage.

There are hundreds of questions we get asked about uni’s and uni life but for everyone the experience is different. Always look for a uni in a town or city you think you will enjoy living in, and a uni course you think you will be good at and enjoy.

UCAS and the importance of University Open Days

Having decided to go to university the first two points of call you will need to consider are your UCAS application and the university open days. The two elements are interlinked, however, and careful consideration should be given to both. Here is why.

UCAS (the University and College Admissions Service) give you the ability to apply to a finite number of universities, and there is just one application process per year. So, putting the right choices down on your application form is vital, and the only way you can do this, it visit as many open days as possible.

Open days are the universities chance to sell themselves to you. Universities only want the best students with the best grades to fill up their courses, and as there are now more universities and more courses than ever before, the competition amongst them is fierce. So, at their respective open days, they are looking to sell to you. They are looking to tell you why you should apply to their uni, and why their city is the best to study in. Bear this in mind, it means you can ask as many questions as you like, knowing they will be taken seriously.

Open days are often the only chance you will have to go to a certain university to see its inner workings and so they are vital to be taken seriously and used effectively. Often your school or 6th form centre will allow you a set number of days per year to go on open days visits and so you need to do your research beforehand to ensure you go to the most suitable ones (not just the ones your friends are going to!). You may only go to 10 open days before you submit your application, maybe even less than that, so make sure you make the most of the days.

Open days are effectively your last chance to narrow down your choice of shortlisted universities. Prior to going to open days you will (hopefully!) have done all your research into courses and places to study. You should know what you want to study and why you are going to that particular university’s open day, so this is your last real look. Always take notes and try to go armed with all the questions you may want to ask. If you do this at every open day you will make sure you leave with a fair picture of which is the best place for you and which course suits you best. Once you have concluded your open days’ visits you can sit down and make a valued judgement on your choices.

When you come to complete your UCAS form, the open days you have been on will hopefully provide you with all the information you need to make the correct judgement. Remember the university are selling themselves to you, so take them seriously, ask lots of questions, enjoy the experience and do not worry too much about the choices you make, your gut feeling was probably right all along anyway!

Find a UK University – 5 important tips for overseas students

With a growing number of students coming to British universities from overseas it is only fair that we offer out some advice to these students about how to find a UK University perfect for them. So, we have spoken to thousands of students from abroad who visit UK universities each year to look around, apply or start courses, and come up with the definitive guide for overseas students trying to find a UK university –

  1. Speak to the universities’ international students division – every UK University looking to attract foreign students has an international students division, which is essentially a team of liaison staff whose job it is to attract and retain foreign students. They play an important role in a competitive marketplace, vying for the lucrative overseas student market, and so you can always guarantee they will go out of their way to help you out with advice from courses to living accommodation to getting to and from the UK and arranging visas. They should be your first port of call with any questions or concerns and will be a big help to you when you set out to find a UK university to study at.
  2. Visit University fairs in your home country – many UK Universities are now promoting at overseas trade fairs or arranging foreign visits to attract students. Try to find out where these fairs are held in your home country and visit as many as possible to get a feel for what the different UK Universities can offer you. Visiting these will save you time and money as it will allow you to narrow down your options before you travel to the UK on visits.
  3. Join a forum of existing overseas students in the UK – remember when you set out to find a UK University you are not alone. There are scores of forums online where you can chat to other overseas students looking to come to study in the UK, so join in with some and find out about what university life is or could be like for foreign students. You may be surprised at what you learn!
  4. Consider the job prospects – coming to the UK to study is a popular choice but you must consider the long term impact aswell. Will studying at a UK University improve your job prospects in your chosen field? Do you wish to end up working in the UK or in your native country? It is worth finding out as soon as possible what criteria you may need to fulfil for an employer either in the UK or at home – it will save you time later on and help make sure you choose the right UK University.
  5. Research the towns and cities online – wherever you choose to study, you are going to have to live in the town or city on the campus. So, it is worth knowing a little bit of background about the city, such as the cost of living, the transport links, the nearest airport and the recreational facilities. You may be living there for 3 – 5 years so you may as well choose somewhere you think you will like to get the most out of your time there. You aren’t just looking to find a UK University, you are looking to find a place to spend the next few years of your life.

So don’t forget – you aren’t the only overseas student looking for a university in the UK, nor are you the first, so get some advice from incumbents, research the area, and visit some trade fairs to give you added comfort. Your choices will become much more straightforward!

Finding a University course – Keep an open mind!

Over the last 15 years there has been a surge in the number of universities in the UK as many of the traditional polytechnic colleges have converted to University status and many Further Education colleges now offer undergraduate degree courses. As a result of this change, the number of degree courses on offer has risen sharply, giving students a much wider choice of university courses. So, has finding a university course become easier, or actually more difficult?

Courses at UK universities range from the traditional academic courses such as Economics, History and Medicine, to the modern day vocational courses such as golf course design, agriculture and sports science. So you would think that finding a course shouldn’t be too big of a problem. The best place to find a solution to a problem is within the problem itself, so the best way to choose your course is to decide where you want to be at the end of it. Some students are fortunate enough to have already decided that they want to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a pharmacologist, and so will look at the best universities offering medicine, law or pharmacology to find their university course.

Others, however, are not so fortunate, and go to university because they have done A-Levels and feel like they should, or don’t want to get a job right away and so wish to continue their studies. Or, they just wish to keep their options open and find a university course which allows them to keep studying whilst deciding what to do. Finding the right course for these people isn’t so simple, mainly because of the increase in choice, so a good place to start is to decide on a town or city, or a group of them. It would seem pointless finding the perfect university course for you in a city 200 miles away if you plan on living at home!

You will also need to consider the job prospects which will come about from the university course you have chosen. You may not have an idea what you want to be by your mid-20’s, but you may well know what you don’t want to be doing, so think carefully about how you go about finding a university course that is right for you. If you are looking at going into business or sales after you have completed your degree, or want to do a postgraduate degree such as a doctorate, then fortunately there are thousands of course choices which will fit the bill. Any general social studies degree like economics, history, RE or politics will stand you in good stead for the future if you are met with certainty.

Finally, don’t sweat on finding the perfect university course for you! The majority of students either do not know what they want to be when they leave university, or do know and subsequently change their minds. University is a time for learning about yourself as much as it is about learning a particular course, so stay open minded and remember to ask the advice of others when trying to find a university course.

The 4 step process to find a University

Searching for the perfect university to study can be a daunting experience. With seemingly limitless parameters to choose between you would be forgiven for thinking it’s an uphill task to find a university to study. That’s why we have put together this guide to help you along your way and hopefully assist you in finding the right place to commence your studies.

Step 1 – The Course

What course do you want to study? Where is the best place to go to do that course? Who offers the best job prospects? There are more questions here than answers, granted, but knowing these small bits of information will count for a lot when you put your shortlist together. But, rather than getting too caught up in the varying course qualities, make a shortlist of what you can study where, and go to some open days

Step 2 – The Open Days

Take your time to have a real good look around all the universities you are considering, as well as the towns and cities they are located in. This will give you a good feel for what life might be like at that university. Remember, if you want to find a university that is perfect for you, then you need to make sure all aspects of it are right. There are lots of resources available to search for open days. Here you can search for open days in a calendar view or by university

Step 3 – The University

There is much more to finding a university than picking a course and a city. Universities have scores of other things which will influence whether you will get the most out of your time there. Consider where you might live – what are the halls like? What are the sports teams/facilities like? What is the nightlife like? How easily can I get to and from home? Knowing all of these facts will make you find the right university in the right location much more easily.

Step 4 – The Application

So now you have chosen a course, visited some open days and checked out the city and the university itself, you are ready to make your application. Using the UCAS service you can easily apply en masse to UK Universities and hopefully receive realistic offers of entry requirements. Once the offers come in, you can happily make your first and second choices because you have done the correct research in the first place. This is vital to ensure you choose the right place to study.

If you are looking to find a university now there is literally tonnes of advice out there to help you make the right choice. The important thing to remember is to choose which parameters are most important to you. It is no use being bored for 3 years but clinging to the hope you may get a better job, while conversely no employer is going to be too keen on a student who has done little or no work but can evidence that they have spent 3 years playing sports and partying! Take these ideas seriously and you will make your job so much easier and find the right university all round for your studies.

University Degree courses - 8 things to consider before applying

Once you have made the decision to become a student and apply for a university degree course, there are a number of factors you must consider to ensure you make the right degree choice. There is the university’s reputation, the city you are planning to go to, the accommodation facilities, and of course the degree course itself. In this article we are going to look at the 8 aspects of a University degree course you need to consider before applying to enrol on a particular course.

  1. Length of degree – all degrees differ but the majority are set over a period of 3 years. Some more vocational degrees such as medicine and law will be for as long as 5 or 6 years so it is important to check from the outset just how long you will be at the university for.
  2. Cost of degree – there has been a lot of press coverage of tuition fees over the last 5 years and for good reason. Going to university has become an expensive matter and so finding out exactly what those tuition fees are will be important, particularly if you will need to live on the campus as well and need to pay accommodation fees.
  3. Will I get a job at the end of the course – the relative job prospects across different university degree courses can be pretty big. A student who has applied to do medicine or law will have a decent chance of getting a job at the end of their studies, whereas someone studying golf course design or anthropology may well find the job marketplace a little more challenging.
  4. How competitive is it to get on the course – coupled with the job prospects, it is important to consider the level of competition to do the course in the first place. Find out how many places are available and how many students usually apply for those places, and be realistic about how well you will do in your HE studies, as this is what conditional UCAS offers are based on.
  5. How many hours a week – not all courses take up 40 hours per week plus weekends, some in fact can be as little as 8 hours per week with a requirement for students to study in their own time as well. Consider what you want – a system akin to a school classroom where you spend the whole day studying with fellow students, or one where you spend many hours alone self – learning.
  6. How the degree course is assessed – university degree courses are assessed either through examinations, dissertations, or practical work. Most are judged on a combination of the 3. Consider how you would feel most comfortable and look at courses which offer you the assessment you are looking for. If you find revision difficult and exams stressful, do what you can to look for courses with a good emphasis on coursework, such as dissertations and practical work.
  7. Is there an internship/placement program – many courses nowadays offer the opportunity to go and work in industry either during the holidays or for a full year. Needless to say, these internships provide brilliant experience of the world of work, as well as getting a foot in the door at a potential employer. University degree courses offering internships can be lucrative.
  8. Can I do part of the degree abroad – some university degree courses, particularly language based courses, offer the option to go and study abroad for a year at a partner university. If you like to travel and/or plan to live abroad in the future, then these courses will give you a good insight into what it is like and whether it is for you. It is also a useful CV item to show you can manage on your own in a foreign country.

Searching for the right university degree course needn’t be as difficult as it first appears. If you have a broad idea of where you want to be and what you want to study then you are already ahead of most of your peers. When you do look at courses, consider these 8 pieces of advice and apply them to the courses you are considering to make sure you pick the right university degree course.

Beginning the search for a University - University Open Days

So you have decided you want to go to University – great start! So, where to begin? Your first port of call when looking into the minefield of universities is to go and look around some – all universities in the UK hold specific University Open Days, giving you the chance to visit the buildings, the city, the lecture theatres, the sports facilities, and perhaps meet some of the people who may end up teaching you or becoming your friends. University open days are a great way to kick off your search for a degree course, so let’s go into some detail about what they are and how they work, so you can make the most of your time searching.

  1. Start with the course guide – have a think about what type of course you want to do, rather than which city has the best nightlife or where your friends are going. Not all universities offer all courses, indeed some specialise in certain areas like sport or medicine, so it is important to firstly narrow down your search options based on the courses on offer. If you have a rough idea of what degree course you wish to study, then you can make a list of 10 or so universities which offer your course.
  2. Choose the right location – so now you have a shortlist of universities, you will need to consider what type of place you wish to be. To some, being in a big city with good transport links is important, whereas others want the feel of a campus university where they can get their head down and study and meet like-minded people. If you are unsure or not really bothered, then that’s fine, go to a mixture of open days and see if you can find out what’s best for you.
  3. Going to the open days – so you have a list of courses, and hopefully a list of universities which offer your course. You now need to make a trip to visit them. Finding the information for the open days is straightforward, there are many resources available online which will give you the details of university open days across the UK, so take a look and find out when they are held. University open days are usually held on weekdays, so speak to your form tutor and find out how much time off you can get from your further education studies to go to the open days. Most FE centres allow 4 or 5 days off for you to go and visit.
  4. The open day – so you have your list, you have the time off, and the time has come to make your way around the country and visit the prospective universities you are considering applying to. Most universities will provide some literature about the open day so you can get the most out of your visit. Be sure to check out the buildings you will potentially study in, check out the sports facilities if they are important to you, check the halls of residence, the transport links and the campus/city, whichever it may be. Finally, get a feel for the place by asking existing students what life is like at the university – you will get an honest answer!
  5. Making a choice – so now you have visited some universities, you will need to make a decision on where to apply. This may be easy, the university open days may have simply confirmed what you already knew, or they may have given you more choice than you perhaps wanted! Either way, a good place to start is to make a list of the universities you have visited, and a list of the important parameters like courses, halls of residence, transport etc, then give each one a score out of 10 so you have a basis to work from. This can be surprisingly useful as you go round the open days, particularly if they are months apart.

Remember, university open days are designed to help you make the right choice and apply for the right university for you. Follow the advice and take the process seriously and you will get the most out of them.

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