Updated: Mar 15
Caitlin Greene : History Student
Choosing the university that is ‘the one’ for you can seem really daunting or even difficult at times, but it can also actually be quite fun! If you are like me a couple of years ago, and you are finding navigating the minefield of UCAS a little bit overwhelming, hopefully, I can offer some tips on deciding the best course and university for you, as well as a little bit of insight into my experiences at Loughborough University.
First of all, here’s a major thing that I wish I knew before I started applying and visiting various Universities: it’s not a competition or a race! Of course, it is important to be organised with completing various parts of your UCAS account and personal statement but taking your time at applying to Universities/Colleges is equally important. A lot of my friends were attending open days and applying to institutions a long time before me, but I found spending more time researching courses on UCAS before applying and visiting Universities was a much better use of time. Speaking of which, open days are a great way to know if a University is a right fit for you. Open days are a wonderful way to experience the campus, atmosphere/vibes, course, even some societies which were one of the deciding factors behind my choice to study at Loughborough University. Obviously, online open days limit this a little bit, but this doesn’t entirely shut this option out. There is still the ability to complete virtual tours, attend virtual talks with lecturers and/or students, and ask questions! Asking questions is a wonderful method (even if you are very shy and quiet like me) of finding out more about your potential course, accommodation, societies, campus life, etc.
The prospective university and all the aspects surrounding it can have varying degrees of importance to different people, which is something that I always had to keep in mind when applying, visiting, and also whilst studying. From my experience, the atmosphere and life of the university were at the front of my mind when applying through UCAS, but remember the course is crucial too! When looking at courses, consider what is important to you. Are there any particular aspects of the course that stand out to you? Does this course offer placements or opportunities to study abroad? Additionally, factors about or surrounding university and the course you apply for can be fluid and change throughout the process of application and study. Initially, I started at Loughborough with the intention of studying abroad or doing a placement year, but the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed me to evaluate my decisions and choices, instead opting to do a three-year course.
The important thing to remember is, there is no one way to experience university. If I could say anything about what I’ve learned from my university experience so far, is the university is what you make of it, so don’t be afraid to go down new paths, or experiencing new things for the first time! So now with all that being said, I hope this helps you reading this feel more at ease about the university and what comes with it!
Student, BA in History