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How to compare universities

The importance of putting in a lot of time, effort and research into universities can’t be measured, it will only be reflected in how you feel about your course when you begin, and then it could be too late. Researching your degree and what it will be like to study at that university is essential in your academic happiness and future. Students need to know how to compare universities to explore which institution is best suited for them, and what they really can get out of studying at higher education.

Firstly, students need to know what core aspects of university that are vital to them, and this can be how far it is away from home, how many students per teacher, or how much it is going to cost them. Each student will have an idea of what is at the top of their list and this is where they should start when they begin their search for a degree.

The decision of where to study should never be taken lightly, with degrees taking on average three to four years to complete on a full-time basis, students are essentially choosing their life for this time – and it will have a strong effect. The happiness of students are at stake if they don’t put in the research to pick the right choice.

University provides more than a library and a classroom, individuals will find themselves making the campus and grounds their home, therefore, comparing facilities is valuable. A university that has a launderette, restaurant, salon, nightclub, cash machine and off licence will improve the quality of life during those years spent studying.

Extra-curricular activities offer potential students socialising skills, to develop a hobby and/or skill and the chance to blow off steam. Even though it is advised that students not work during their degree, as a degree is seen in itself as a full-time job (with independent reading and work included as well as lessons and coursework), this isn’t set in stone. Student’s life will revolve around their degree and they need the opportunity to get involved into more than what is written in a textbook. Looking into the university as a whole is essential in making the right decision.

Next it is a great idea to look beyond the university grounds and into the local area. Where the institution is situated will affect each and every student, from being at the heart  of a city to being placed in the middle of nowhere. Young people need to explore around them and have all they need within a negotiated distance, as life doesn’t begin and end with a coursework deadline.

Lastly, the cost of obtaining that degree is at the back of every individual’s mind ,especially with the rise of tuition fees in the last UK election. The majority of students are anxious about their student debts and loans and what this will mean after they finish university. However, many graduates don’t start to repay their loan until they are earning a decent wage and the amount that they physically pay back is small in comparison to their worries. The cost of the actual course should never come into account with comparing universities, because the cheapest or most expensive course won’t necessarily be the smartest. When considering the entire cost of university, students should dedicate their time thinking about how much it will cost to live, from the local supermarket to their preferred drink at their student bar.

Knowing how to compare universities is essential in students making the right decision and enjoying every aspect of university life that is about to come their way. It is always the best idea to start researching each university early, so that students have sufficient time to compare institutions side by side and narrow down their choices. Once this is completed, students should then attend Open Days to get a ‘feel’ of their university to help make their decision where to get their degree.