Choosing a university can seem like an incredibly daunting task. It’s where you’ll be spending the next few years of your life. And even after you’ve got your offers you still have to make the all-important decision to choose one of them.
Here’s some factors to consider to help you make your decision.
Campus vs city
This might not be the most obvious factor that comes to mind when choosing a university but it’s no less important. It was important to me to have everything in one place so I prioritised campus universities in my applications.
Campus universities have all their facilities on the same site while city universities have their buildings scattered around a city.
There are pros and cons to both but I chose York as I wanted everything to be on my doorstep. As an international student I wasn’t familiar with the UK and so I found it easier to adjust to the living environment with everything so close together.
Even though you’re applying for the same course at different universities, each course is different.
Looking at the course structure on the universities’ websites is a good starting point to find out which one appeals to you the most.
From the modules on offer to the teaching methods, it’s a great way of narrowing down your options. I really liked the flexibility and variety of the English Department here at York. Plus the opportunity to come up with your own essay titles was exciting.
Being an international student studying abroad in a completely unfamiliar place was a bit overwhelming to begin with.
It was important to me when choosing a university that had adequate support systems in place. So that if I had any problems I knew I could easily seek help and advice.
As your university will be your second home for quite a few years, it’s good to find out how the university can help you in times of need.
Before I came to York, I emailed the English Department many times.
They even arranged a live chat with me as I couldn’t attend any of the Post-Offer Open Days.
Everyone I spoke to was incredibly supportive and understanding about my worries. In fact they were one of the reasons I ultimately decided on York.
From supervisors to services like Open Door and the Writing Centre and Maths Skills Centre, it’s good to choose a university with a wide range of support on offer.
Student life is another factor you should take into account. The university experience isn’t solely about your degree, and wider student life, both on and off campus, is important as well.
Each university will have information about the clubs, societies and sports on offer. If there’s not a lot that interests you, why not find out if the university allows students to start their own clubs.
I really wanted to get involved in volunteering at university. The Theatre in Schools project at York particularly appealed to me because I could work with children and organize activities like craft sessions and drama workshops.
York also enables students to create their own societies. At the end of first year, my friends and I managed to create the Sober Society. Together we plan alternative non-drinking events like axe throwing and tea shop crawls.
Decision time – choosing a university
While the factors to consider while picking a university are seemingly infinite, for me these were the most important ones.
The key thing is to think about what you’d like to get out of your university experience, and research, research, and more research.
Read more about international students’ experiences at York
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