When deciding what to study at university, it’s crucial you’ve done your research and made sure you’ve picked the right course. Here are some factors to take into consideration before you make your decision:
The most important aspect to consider when choosing a course to study is the course content.
If you have a clear career path in mind, it’s useful to pick courses where you will learn transferable skills and have the chance to undertake work experience placements. These courses focus upon practical teaching/ learning and will include elements such as; lab work, field experiments, group assignments, case studies and exams.
Practical based courses can include: medicine, biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics and finance.
If you have your heart set on a career in academia, you should be looking at courses that involve academic reading and writing. Such courses involve the use of theoretical teaching, where you will analyse and evaluate popular theories to do with your chosen subject. This could be in the form of essays, presentations, coursework and exams.
Courses that are theory-based gravitate towards being humanities focused, such as English literature/ language, history, art, business studies, sociology and media & communications.
Lecturers and Quality of Teaching
Aside from the course content, you should acknowledge the quality of teaching and learning at a university.
The Teaching Excellence Framework assesses a university’s teaching methods against three criteria: teaching quality, learning environment and student outcomes & learning gain.
Universities with a ‘gold’ standard are outstanding in quality, ‘silver’ rated universities are high quality and ‘bronze’ standard meet the national requirements for quality in the UK.
Furthermore, if you have a more in-depth area of interest you want to study, you should research the lecturers who are delivering the course – as often they will teach what they have studied and researched themselves.
For most young people, university is the first time they will move out of the family home and experience life as an independent adult. Likewise, if you are an international student, studying abroad could be a fantastic adventure for you.
When choosing a location to study at, consider the university’s reputation in your chosen subject. There are many online tools you can use to compare university rankings, such as: The Complete University Guide.
Naturally, you need to make sure you’ll be happy in the location you’ve picked to study. If you don’t like busy crowds and traffic, then a vibrant city university in London or Manchester is perhaps not for you. Similarly, if you like exploring the local nightlife, you shouldn’t opt for a remote university in the countryside.
However, if you would like to stay at home, there are plenty of online courses you can study instead. This is a better option for those in employment or with children.
University courses can be costly in the UK; upwards of £15,000 a year for international students. If you are not able to get funding from Student Finance UK, it is worthwhile to research if you’re eligible for any scholarships from universities.
Universities will often have a ‘clubs and societies’ department, where you can meet like-minded people and make friends.
Whether you’re interested in football, art, reading or even volunteering, there will always be something extra-curricular for you to get stuck into.
Getting involved in extra-curricular activities is a great way of gaining experience for your chosen career. If you know you want to work in business for example, then choosing a university that has societies in marketing or events/ project management could be a great stepping stone into your future career.
For more information about NCC Education’s university progression routes, please click here.
Aside from university progression routes, NCC Education also offer courses such as Level 3, 4 and 5 diplomas that are taught at centres across the world. Click on our qualifications page to find out more.
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