At the end of this month, some of you should all have all of your offers made from all of the universities you applied to, and others of you may still be in that process of looking around different places for the next year. Thinking back to all that time ago when I was awaiting my offers from various places, I wanted to share a bit of knowledge about what the best way of choosing a university is, or in other words, to ask you, as is the title of this blog, ‘Could you see yourself here?’
In my opinion there are two components to making your choice; place and course:
This may sound obvious, but it’s a lot more broad a point than you may think. The first thing to think about is the fact that you’re basically picking out where your home for the next three or more years is going to be, and that’s not a decision to be taken lightly. As much as you may love a course, if you’re doing it in a place you don’t like then chances are you aren’t going to be as happy as you could be. The first time I came to York, it just felt like somewhere I wanted to be, more so than any of the other places I’d seen. I liked the feel of the campus, the size of the city, and it was somewhere I could see myself living.
Things to consider on place
- Campus: Do you want a central campus like York has, or something more spread out through the town, such as a university like Durham?
- Colleges: Do you want to be at a collegiate university, where accommodation, sport etc. are separated by college, or do you want a non-collegiate university, like Exeter?
- Size: Do you want to be in a small city like York, in a large city like London, or somewhere more out of the way?
Course can be more tricky, as it’s harder to get a feel for the course without studying it, though things like Open Days and indeed this very blog hopefully give a good indication of what it may be like. Similar to the place, you need to make sure that your course is going to be something you really enjoy doing, because it’s going to be your life for the next three years minimum. A great place with a bad course isn’t going to do you any good either. As I’ve mentioned before, I love SPS because of its incredibly diversity and unique nature, and I think uniqueness is something that you should try and look for in a course. Research the lecturers, read into their research, see if the things they are looking at would interest you. This is a good place to start.
Things to consider on course
- Style: Do you want a course that is strongly lecture based, or strongly seminar based?
- Size: Do you want a large course, where you may have a larger department and more buildings, or a small course, where you may have less physical space but know people and staff better?
- Year abroad: Is taking a year abroad in your degree something you want? Does the department offer that?
- Module variety: Do you want to be able to choose lots of different modules, or do you want a more set structure?
These are obviously pretty basic starter points, but I just wanted to try and give you an idea of what to consider before you pick your choices. I know that York had everything I was looking for in a university, and I couldn’t be happier with the choice I made.