Do students have to decide on their university choice now?

There are six months approximately until you hopefully start your new university course, and it might seem like a lifetime away but in reality, all students should be seriously considering their university options very soon. It seems bizarre to be this far ahead, but not only will the next few months pass you by like a flash, it’s good to stay prepared throughout the entire UCAS application process. If you’re wondering if students have to decide on their university choice now, then there are plenty of student’s top tips for choosing a course, or alternatively, you can read our advice below.

It’s never too early to make a decision

Deciding on what university or which course to do can be difficult for students, although for some it can be extremely easy as they have known what they wanted to do with their lives for a long time but even then, deciding where to study can be tough. That is why it deserves all the time and effort you can spare. University is full of lots of decisions, such as, subject area, similar courses, coursework or exam assessment, sandwich course, taking a gap year and deciding whether to stay in halls or not. It’s okay to be one step ahead and think about all of these different areas.

What if something changes?

One annoying aspect of life is that things can change – opportunities or unexpected turns can leap out in the road – which is why you need to have at least two backup plans ready if this does happen. One plan could be that you take a gap year if you don’t receive the grades you want, or an offer from the university of your choice and spend the year working, saving money and resetting your exams to achieve those predictions. Another backup can be that you go through Clearing and find a similar course at another university and then you can still go this year which you originally wanted to do.

Once you have one or more backup plans then you’re pretty much prepared for a lot of unexpected things that can happen!

What if I change my mind?

This is perfectly normal! There are a few options for you, firstly, if you have already applied to UCAS and chosen your university choice(s), then it depends if you have received any offers as of yet. If you’ve received your offers then you can decline them and add more universities through UCAS Extra, or if you paid for the single university choice you can pay the full fee and do the same, up until June 30th.

If it is after June 30th that you have this sudden change of heart you can wait until Clearing and results day where again, you can decline any offers you have and then apply through Clearing.

But I have no idea what I want to do?

Even if you have applied for universities and still completely unsure what to do and where to study and the offers are coming through, you still have time. Check on your UCAS Track to see if you have any offers if you do it will state how long you have to respond to that offer. This is your time frame to really think about where you want to study. If you haven’t received any offers yet, you can still attend Open Days and visit universities to give you a feel of what it’ll be like as a student there. Open Days are vital for helping you make a decision because you can’t guarantee you’ll like studying at an institution through pictures and words from a prospectus.

Open Days are scattered throughout the year so try to attend to as many as you can, or even visit each of your university choices.

I’m not ready to make a decision now

If you’re still uncertain about your higher education choices then you can speak to your family, friends, career advisor/personal tutor at college or sixth form as they can be a big help. Your teachers have also known you for a long time and some of them have amazing advice catered for you. You can also research online or by speaking to previous students at universities to see what they did in your situation and why they chose that course in the end – and even ask how much they’re enjoying it!

Deciding on a university is daunting, but if you conduct research, visit universities and speak to the people that know you best, then you’re sure to make that perfect choice – and even a backup plan!