What do students look for in a University?

Posted in: University Life

Over half a million people applied to study a full-time undergraduate degree in the UK in 2019.

With thousands of courses on offer across the country, many students worry about how to choose a University that’s right for them.

To help, we’ve put together a list of some of the main factors that students look for in a university, as well as our top tips:

1. The course

Why do students go to University?

Although social experiences are a big factor, it all comes down to getting a degree.

The course itself is a top priority for students, with 77% saying in a recent survey that course content was the first thing they looked for when researching a university online.

Once you’ve decided on the subject that you want to study, you should also take time to research how your chosen subject will be taught. The same subject course will be taught differently at different universities, so make sure to do your research to find a specific course that you’re excited about.

If you’re looking to the future and thinking about an integrated masters, or taking a year abroad or a year in industry as part of your degree, make sure that this will be possible as a part of your course before applying.

2. Quality of teaching

Why do students drop out of University?

Those who chose to leave their courses often blame a lack of ‘value for money’, and feel that their tuition fees aren’t worth the standard of teaching that they’re getting.

It is no surprise then, that the quality of teaching is high on the agenda for students, and was found to be among the top reasons for choosing a university in a 2017 survey.

You can learn more about the teaching quality at a university by looking at how it has been ranked by students on sites such as Uni Stats or by the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

3. Location

Location is a concern for almost every student – after all, you’ll be living in the area for at least the next three years.

Everyone’s student experience is different, so you need to think about what you’d want from a university.  Do you want to be near home, in a bustling city or on campus?

Make sure that you attend open days whenever possible so that you can get a feel for the place and see if you’d be happy living there.

4. Social life

When it comes to reasons for choosing a University, social life often tops the list!

If you’re a fan of live music and big club nights you might be happier in a bigger city, but make sure you don’t rule out small University towns, many of which still have an active student scene on campus. To find out more about the social life at a university, take a look at student groups and events on the Student Union website, and talking to current students on open days.

5. Student support

Whether it’s worrying about finances, deadlines, housing or anything else, there might be times when your University experience doesn’t go exactly as planned. In this scenario, it’s important that your University has the right arrangements in place to support their students.

If you’re concerned about what support might be available at your University, take a look at the University’s welfare policies, which should be available on their website.  You can also learn more about welfare at a University by reading up on the experiences of current students on the Student Room and on social media.

6. Cost of living

Students often don’t have a lot of spare cash, so choosing a University town or city with a relatively modest cost of living can be a way to make the most of your student experience.

When you’ve narrowed down your University choices, spend time looking at the average cost of living where your University is located. How much is the average cost of public transport, a meal out or a drink in a bar?

A 2018 study by NatWest found that Leicester was the third most affordable UK city for students, and was home to the cheapest average pint at £2!

7. Employability

The prospect of getting a good job after graduation is one of the reasons so many people choose to go to University.

Universities can do a number of different things to prepare students for post-uni life, from offering years in their industry as part of degrees, to having a strong careers advice network in all their departments.

Another way to check how your chosen University scores on graduate employability is to consult the league tables, as The Guardian and The Complete University Guide all take graduate employment rates into account.

8. Accommodation

Your accommodation is a huge part of your University experience, after all, it’s where you’ll spend a lot of time and meet new friends.

63% of students said that the quality of their accommodation was an important factor when it comes to their wellbeing. It’s important to choose a reputable provider, such as one that has been recommended by your student union.

For all your student housing needs, Sulets are here to help. We are the only student lettings provider to be endorsed by both the University of Leicester and De Montfort University.

To find out more, take a look at our services.

Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash

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