Choosing a university can be extremely difficult with the vast amount of choices available, and once you have narrowed it down to a few it can be hard to choose your first and second choices. The first thing you need to do is compare them side by side for course and university value and to see which one suits you best, and not just choose the university with fewer fees, because you’ll soon be asking yourself, should cost affect your university choices?
What course are you looking for?
Try to find the course that will feature all of the subjects and areas that interest you. For example, if you are hoping to study a media degree, read up on the modules and similar degrees on each course at each university. As, you may find that a slightly different degree may suit you best, like, a Film and Media, or Media Culture, or Film Studies etc.
Why comparing courses is important?
Other universities may have degrees under the same name but the course is structured differently. Courses are made up of modules, which is a subject you learn during that time, like Statistics, Screenwriting or Feature Writing. Each course can be made of lots of different modules. Read the course structure and description to make sure it is what you want to do.
Are the courses similar?
Once you have 2 or 3 courses you are comparing against each other, see how they are assessed, and what the teaching methods are. If you prefer lectures and presentations then find the course that will suit you best. Also, check how practical the courses are against each other. If you are thinking about science, would you want the chance to be in the lab conducting research, or prefer to learn from the books?
How do I know how much it costs at university?
If you can’t find choose out of two courses that are nearly identical, or you are still feeling undecided in what you want to study, research the cost of studying at that university. You can see the tuition cost of the institution on the university’s profile page.
Is the cheaper course further away?
You can also see the address and location of the university on their profile page. If you found a great course that will hardly cost you a dime but then find out it is 279 miles away, are you actually going to go for it? Or even if it isn’t as drastic as that example, if your commute will be over an hour will you be able to handle the distance or move?
Will it cost me more in other ways?
Even though a course may be cheaper at a different university, it doesn’t mean it will cost you less. If you are having to commute further you will be spending a lot more of your money on travel expenses – which can cost an arm and a leg if your university is in London – the cost of study and living, has been broken down.
What about other variables?
In case you have to move, will travel back to see family or the chance that you can’t find a part-time job alongside your degree, affect your finances greatly? And if you are moving quite a distance away, how will you feel when feeling homesick? Remember, student loans can pay your tuition fees which mean, yes it is a big loan, but you won’t have to pay it back until you can afford it, and when that time comes it is a very small amount! If you are choosing a cheaper tuition fee cost over living cost then your financial decisions will affect your financial situation now.
What course interests me more?
This is one of the most important questions. Which of the courses did you get excited about? Were there any modules in the degrees that you just couldn’t wait to start learning about? Read up on the courses again and see which one interests you more.
Will I enjoy it there?
Whether a university is cheaper than the other is not as important as you getting the most out of your time studying. University is more than learning about reports or how many more marks you need to get a First on your coursework piece, it is a whole experience. Don’t choose the cheaper option over the quality.
Does it matter about money?
Not at all! Since the tuition fees have increased, students and graduates have been worried about how much debt they are going to get into. But as the tuition increased, so did the time and how much you have to earn to start repayments – meaning it won’t affect you as bad as you think!
After all of these questions, the most important question to consider is what course interests you the most? Picking a course is hard enough, let alone figuring out how much it will cost you and which one is the best value for money! Go with your instinct!
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