Student Advice

How to Choose a University

Ben Maples  · Apr 27th 2023  · 5 min

Choosing a university can be a daunting task, as it is a decision that can have a significant impact on your future.


With so many options to choose from, it's important to consider a variety of factors when making your decision. It is important to consider the location, academic programs, campus culture, cost, and career opportunities. By taking these factors into account and doing your research, you can find the university that is the best fit for your academic and personal goals.

Does it matter what uni you go to

Choosing a university

When choosing a university, it’s important think about what is important to you. The aspects that appeal to you the most are what will determine how you choose your next university.

Once you have decided what criteria you have, you can start looking from there. Some students prioritise facilities, others prioritise setting and social life, while others will prioritise how far the university is from their home. Decide what criteria is best for you and then pick your best university from there.

University facilities

Facilities are an important thing to consider when choosing your next university. The facilities are essential for your uni course as this will be where you are practicing your craft and carrying out assessments.

Types of degree

The type of degree you are looking to study may also impact how you choose your university. For example, if you are looking to study a sports-related degree, with a view to working in sport, then a degree at UCFB is likely a better option than exploring a degree at the University of Law.

Some universities specialise in specific degree types. Some universities will also not offer certain egress types. For example, if you are looking to study a PGCE degree, then you may need to find out if the university you are interested in offers them. Not all universities offer these qualifications and not all will have the speciality to support you.

Conversely, not all universities offer postgraduate options. More accurately, some universities may not offer postgraduate degrees in the subject you are looking to study, but may only offer undergraduate courses and vice versa.

Attending a university open day is, perhaps, the most important part of choosing your university.

You can usually check out the facilities of a university beforehand. This can be done either through attending university open days or by speaking to the university before you apply and seeing what they offer.

Facilities are essential for any and all forms of study at university. This includes access to libraries, computer labs, study spaces, and specialized equipment for different fields of study.

Facilities also play a crucial role in promoting a positive and healthy campus environment. Universities often have recreational facilities such as gyms, sports fields, and swimming pools, which can help students maintain physical fitness and relieve stress.

UCAS course search

University location

The location of the university is as essential as anything else. Some students want to study at a university that is based in a city, whereas others prefer a city based by the coast.

Sometimes the location of the university from their house is important too. Plenty of students struggle with homesickness at university, therefore, being as close as possible to home is a must-have.

The setting of your education is more important than you think. The location of the university will also mean that they have better ties to the local community, which greatly enhances your chances of finding work placements, apprenticeships and work post-graduation.

The importance of accreditation

You would be surprised how importantly universities take their accreditation. Many universities make sure that they are compliant with all TEF awards compliance and will make sure that their lecturers and tutors are up to scratch.

The best thing to do is to check with the university beforehand. This does not necessarily mean that you need to call them up and speak to them, it can mean that you can look on the university’s official website or by checking out the different teacher framework websites and seeing how different universities are performing.

When choosing a university, it’s important think about what is important to you.

Is it a research university?

Research universities are universities that are committed to research as well as education. Sometimes, attending research universities has a greater impact on your education than if you attend other universities.

It is also important because the types of courses can sometimes differ. Undergraduate courses, in particular, tend to be more vocational when taught to students, whereas research universities focus more on academic teaching.

Types of university

What type of university is important to you? For many, the reputation of the university is mot important, for others its how many students are attending. The UK boasts a wide range of different universities, so you will be somewhat spoilt for choice.

Many students decide that they only want to study at prestigious or Russell Group universities for their university degrees. Other students prefer to study at a university with just one campus (campus universities), while others may prefer their learning to spread out across multiple, specialised facilities.

Course content

For many, course is king. The courses on offer by a university are the most important things for some students. Many may find that they’ve found their perfect university, but that they don’t offer the course they’re interested in.

Sometimes, a university will offer a course, but will not cover specific modules. For example, if a student wants to study an accounting degree, they may find that one university offers a module in advanced corporate finance, while another may only teach the fundamentals, which may influence how they choose their next university.

Hardest UK unis to get into

Use university rankings

If you find yourself struggling to find the best university for you, check out specific area rankings. This can be really beneficial, especially if you are looking to compare unis across multiple areas.

University rankings are important when making an informed choice. Our university rankings page has rankings as voted for by students, which include accommodation rankings, course quality rankings, graduate career rankings and social life rankings as well as rankings across each individual country in the UK.

The location of the university is as essential as anything else.

See what sports and societies the universities have

Sports clubs and university societies are excellent ways of making new friends. Many students are drawn to specific universities because of their societies. The University of Cambridge, in particular, already has a worldwide reputation, however, its Footlights society is often a much larger pull than people often give it credit for.

Societies can often form the basis of a long career. American talk show host Conan O’Brien has spoken openly about how becoming a part of the prestigious Harvard Lampoon formed the idea of a career in comedy. With this in mind, you should look at the societies that a university offers and see if they have anything that appeals to you. They may not necessarily need to be a deal-breaker, but they can prove to be potential sweeteners for students.

What degree should I do?

Attend university open days

Attending a university open day is, perhaps, the most important part of choosing your university. Attend as many open days as you can and find out more about the university’s facilities.

The best part of the open days is speaking to teachers and lecturers. Lecturers can provide you with insight into the course you are interested in as well as the facilities.

Financial support

All universities will have financial support of some kind available for students. How much they are able to offer will depend on the university’s financial status. It is also important to check if they have any grants aimed for minority students or those who may be eligible in other ways.

Attending university can often be expensive. With this in mind, a little extra, however large or small, can go a long way to helping you with your studies.

Learn more about the cost of living

When speaking to a university, find out as much as you can about the fees and cost of living. This will mean discovering how much the university’s accommodation and how much travel will cost you.

If you find yourself struggling to find the best university for you, check out specific area rankings.

You may even be able to find out the average cost of alcohol in the area too. This can be good, especially if you are interested in the area’s social life. If you can, maybe through an open day or by speaking to former students, find out if you are expected to pay for field trips, materials and resources and, if so, how much this usually is.

Are there good part-time job opportunities in the area? If there are, then you may find that you are able to supplement your student loan with income from a job of some kind.

undergraduate Uni's