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Choosing a university without going to open days

If you’re unable to attend university open days and UCAS fairs, it’s time to start getting creative when looking for the right university for you! There’s plenty of information out there for you to engage with and learn from to pick the best university and course there is for you. Here are four things that you could look at to get started…

1. Check out league tables

First of all, a good place to start looking is the university league tables. If you’re going to be sure about your choice, you might want to know where your potential universities stand on things like student satisfaction and graduate prospects. The great thing about this site is that you can filter your search to suit your subject – just take a look at the drop-down menus and you can choose your course, a general region (in case you’re looking to stick close to home, or find somewhere a bit further away), and the group in which the university may belong to. So, for example, if it’s important for you to go to a Russell Group university, you can look at all of your options.

2. Visit the university websites

Once you’ve chosen a few potential universities, the next best thing to do is to go on their websites and see what their course has in store for you. This is really important. You might love the Uni, but you also have to consider the topics that the course covers. Let’s say you want to study English at a certain university because you’re in love with the campus, but another university has a better programme for you. You need to decide what is more important to you, but I’d say it’s always better to go with the course that is more interesting, as you’re more likely to enjoy your studies and become engaged with your subject.

3. Engage with universities on social media

When you’ve found your ideal university and course, you’re going to want to discover the ‘vibe’ of the University – this can be really difficult to figure out, especially if you’re doing all of your searching online. From my own experience, I found myself looking at London universities and had a good idea that it was where I wanted to go. But as soon as I stepped foot in Lincoln, I just had a good feeling about it. Since that option may not be available, make sure you’re engaging with the University’s social media pages. It’s important to suss out the personality and energy of the campus, and perhaps its social life too, and you’re bound to find a few virtual campus and accommodation tours as well! Do some research into the town centre, find out what student hang-outs there are on and off-campus, and keep up to date with everything the University is saying during this pandemic. There’s no better way to see which Uni is best for you than to notice how it engages with its students.

4. Ask questions or browse discussions on The Student Room

Finally, see what other students have to say. Going on sites such as The Student Room can give you an insight as to what people who have actually experienced that University think about it. It’s perhaps one of the best things you can do to see how the student body engages with its committees, societies, general academic resources, and even a bit of the social side of things.

So, as you can see, this ‘online’ situation is not the end of the world when it comes to choosing a university. In fact, you might find you learn more about the University by doing extra researching online than you would have normally – as you get to gather opinions, pros and cons, country-wide statistics, and their rankings, whilst still viewing the accommodation and the campus (even if it is just online). Make the most out of the tools available to you to ensure that you’re using every resource at your disposal to choose the best course for you.

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