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What to look for when researching universities

What to look for when researching universities

What to look for when researching universities

Deciding which universities are going to make your top choices will be a hard decision as well as a long and tiring process and you will be researching universities a lot. Here are some tips on what to look for when researching universities, and you will see how important these key factors are on the quality of your student life.


This is where you are going to live for the next three to four years – with the exception of holidays and reading weeks when you might go back home to visit friends and family. However, this is practically your new home, and it is really important to check out the accommodation – even if it is just a picture! Some universities have virtual tours online, but if you really want to try to visualise yourself at that university then attending an Open day will give you the best indication of how it will be to live there during your degree.

Teacher to student ratio

Every course and class will have a teacher to student ratio and will inform you on how big the lectures are. If you prefer a smaller class to gain more interaction and involvement during your studies, then a smaller ratio will benefit you. But if you are fine with huge lecture halls then a higher ratio will suit you.

Quality of the course

Students fill out the NUS Survey on how they feel the course was and the level of quality it holds and that they received throughout their studies. This is basically ‘how good the course is’ and there will be different sections, such as employability – how good is it at helping you get a job, assessment – how the exams and coursework were structured, and how interesting the topics or modules were. The quality of the course is very important because you will want to feel that your degree is worth every penny you’ll spend!


Easily looked over but the assessment is significant to a degree. Some students work really well under pressure and prefer exam-based assessment, whilst others work better with coursework and projects. You should research how your course is assessed so that you feel confident and able during your studies.

Previous students

When researching universities you should really read and look for real students that have reviewed your university and course. This is because you can’t get any other information that is as honest or reliable, not even from a prospectus! Also, by attending an open day you can speak to students themselves and really see what it is like studying at that institutions.


Some students think that university is just about the textbooks and the degree, however, it will affect your quality of life if you have to travel miles and miles for the laundrette, doctor surgery and supermarket. By researching what you have on campus you can judge on how comfortable you will be living there.

Local area

Lastly, you should look into the local area. If you shy away from the clubbing scene the living next door to the busiest nightclubs in town won’t make you feel any better. The local town/city/area will have as much to offer you and will play a vital role in your student life – it’s your new home! You can spend a day scouting the area, ask current students about what there is to do for fun, or look online to get a good idea on your new hometown. You can also look up university city guides online before you apply, too.

There are so many factors that should affect your decision when researching universities, and by doing the work you will find that universities are entirely different when compared next to each other. Once you have answers for all of your questions you can put the universities side by side and see what ones will benefit you and offer the best quality of student life.

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