Choosing your university is a complicated decision with long-lasting consequences. Moving between universities can be both time-consuming and expensive, so it’s much better to get the decision right first time. Below Jemma Zoe Smith, Director of Top School & Uni – which offers guidance and advice to international students applying to top universities, gives her advice.
The most important thing to do is visit the universities you’re considering, ideally on one of their open days. You don’t want to arrive in Oxford as a proud undergraduate, only to discover that the Harry Potter vibe is grating rather than charming, or in London to learn that the bustle of the city overwhelms you. What’s more, visiting affords you the chance to speak to current students about their experiences. A five-minute chat with an undergraduate can be more illuminating than any prospectus or league table.
Along those lines, it’s also vital to consider logistics. You won’t just be choosing a university; you’ll be choosing a place to live for several of the most formative years of your life. Make sure you can take part in your preferred hobbies and sports locally; that there are shops and restaurants where you can find the things you like to eat. Also consider how tricky it will be to return home for the holidays.
Finally, put serious time into reading up on course content, which can vary between universities much
more than you might expect. Take English Literature: some universities start with Anglo-Saxon literature, written over 1,000 years ago; at others, you won’t study anything written before 1800 in your first year. Consider not only what interests you, but also what might be valuable for future job applications and careers.
The Education Hotel guides students through U.K. university applications, including choosing their ideal university, preparing a personal statement and interview practice. The Education Hotel also offers online tuition for students taking GCSE’s, A levels and entrance exams to top U.K. schools.