Offer Advice About Which University To Choose

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Choosing which university to go to can be an extremely difficult process. There’s so much to think about: is the course interesting, does it offer that year abroad that you so crave, is it a campus or is it in the middle of a city, up north or down south etc. When I was deciding upon universities, I was a bit confused and naive to be honest. I wasn’t overly keen on going to university in the first place, and instead of properly researching them all (bar one in London which I was set on going to) I just looked through the newspaper’s Good University Guide and picked what I thought sounded good.

This left me in a little bit of a pickle, because while I was travelling on my year off, I was rejected from the university in London that I had set my heart on. That resulted in a very teary phone call home from some God forsaken internet cafe in Thailand to my Mum who also began crying down the telephone to me. A low point of the travelling trip. The next two universities on my list were York and Leeds, so I made it my mission to ask everybody I met travelling their opinion on which uni I should choose. Of course, everybody said “Leeds – why in God’s name would you choose York???? – Helllllllllllloooo???” Even though the majority did advice me to choose Leeds, for some reason deep down I knew I didn’t want to go there. Universities are a very personal thing, and sometimes you just get a feeling about one of them and this was the case for York. I didn’t really want to go to York, but I knew I wanted to go there more than Leeds.

So, to cut a long story short I am at York. And I am so pleased I didn’t get into a London university. I can do the whole London thing when I am not a student, struggling for money and am ready to face the big wide world and start a career. For now, I can buy cheap drinks, experience the fun of a campus and the convenience of knowing that when I go out I will see people I know – and for me, for now, that is perfect.

My tips for students thinking about what university to choose:

♥ Really think about whether being on a campus would be better for you. After school, I was desperate to escape any environment that felt like school – and to me, a campus felt like that. However, I’m so pleased I was on a campus. It wasn’t suffocating at all and after feeling a little uneasy about leaving home and coming so far north I was so happy that all of my new friends were in one place and that if I wanted to meet up with them for lunch or whatever, they were right there, in close proximity. It sounds silly, but seriously, it’s important. My friends who were in London say that it was very easy to feel lonely. In such a big place, you are a just another person among the throngs of people who live and work in London. It doesn’t really feel like you are at university, my friend sometimes said

♥ Go far! University is about getting out of your comfort zone and if you choose a uni that is near enough to your house so that a train home on a Friday night wouldn’t be an inconvenience then re-think your options, otherwise you will be doing just that at the first sign of difficulties

♥ Similar to the above tip, go somewhere you are unfamiliar with. I had been to York once, many years ago, and it was nice going somewhere that I could discover for myself with new people

♥ Go and see the university, but remember that wherever you will end up, you will (most likely) love it

♥ Don’t be snobby/picky – I was determined that I didn’t want to go to university in the North, don’t ask me why, I just didn’t want to. However, now that I am here, I’m so pleased I’ve experienced the North because I’m not sure I would come here at any other point in my life and as a university town it’s treated me well

Don’t read forums about the university you think you might go to!! I did this for York and I nearly slashed my wrists over the keyboard as people warned of the crappy nightlife and ugly people that swarmed to the university. It’s so untrue and is just one person’s bad experience that they are telling the world. The people having a blast won’t have time to write on forums so please take this into account

♥ Check out the societies of the universities you are considering because they may take up a big part of your university life and that’s a good thing. If your course is ever getting you down or you’re finding it a little testing, if you’re part of a great society with nice members that you can get your teeth into, it can really make things a whole lot better

♥ Remember that university isn’t just about the course!! You will meet amazing people, possibly wonderful guys/girls to hook up with and experience some great things – university is what you make it so just soak up every drop of it, don’t take it for granted and don’t worry if you don’t get into your first choice. It will be okay! Everything will work out.