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Turning the long list into a short list

A Picture of Hannah

When applying to uni it’s so easy to be overwhelmed with choices – What Uni do I go to? How do I know which course is right for me? Choosing where you want to go to university is probably the most important decision you will make . You’ve probably got an idea of universities you like the look of but narrowing it down to five, just seems impossible! It all seems like a mad rush but I’m here to give you some top tips!

Where to start

When I was at sixth form I was told to pick up as many prospectuses as possible. This is great as a starting point because you can have a read of what the course will entail and browse your options. Unfortunately universities have a tendency to litter this with glossy photos of bright sunny days on campus and it can be hard to see what makes each university special! Although they come in handy, I would not rely on prospectuses alone to make your decision. I personally attended a UCAS fair with my sixth form and came back with so many prospectuses that when I laid them out, they covered my entire bed. Combine that with all the free bags, pens, key rings and miscellaneous junk and it’s easy to see why the choice is so difficult!

A bed covered in leaflets, prospectuses and university bags

Help I’m drowning in prospectuses!

Visit open days

Taking a hands on approach and actually visiting universities in person is not only a fun experience but also an informative one. I visited many open days and it’s so exciting to see everything in person. You can take a walk around the campus to see all the buildings or go to a subject talk to see if the modules interest you! I really enjoyed going to open days because there are so many student volunteers who are genuinely passionate about the university who are there to answer any questions you may have. You can also have a look around the accommodation to see some of the places you may be living, if you choose the live in halls. After visiting the university it is a good idea to take a walk around the city to see what it has to offer (after all you are going to be living in this city for 3 or more years!)

Make a pros and cons list

After visiting universities or looking at their websites, you should have a pretty good idea of what you like about them and what you don’t. As a bit of a list fanatic myself, I would definitely suggest writing a pros and cons list for all the universities you are interested in. Think about what is really important to you and prioritise it as a deciding factor for choosing your options. For example I really wanted to go on a residential field trip and I saw that Newcastle University offered this for the Zoology course which was a major deciding factor when picking the uni! Consider things like entry requirements compared to your predicted grades or whether they have the option to study abroad for example.

A list of pros and cons related to university

 Stick to your gut instinct

So now it’s just down to your decision (seems like a lot of pressure, I know!) I would always advise people to go with their gut instinct and apply to places they really loved the look of and remember to apply to a range of places with a range of entry requirements in case you don’t get the requirements for your top choice.

In the end it all sounds a bit scary but you always have your family, friends and tutors to guide you on your way! 🙂 Good luck everyone!

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