The Ucas deadline is almost here, cue last-minute applications and the nail-biting wait for universities to reply. But when it comes to choosing from offers, could the ultimate decision come down to location?
While it’s flattering to have universities throwing offers at you, you can only pick one (or two in this case – a first and an insurance choice in case results day doesn’t go to plan).
The Ucas 2018 deadline is looming, and if you’ve got universities, all of whom you’re interested in, banging at your door – how do you decide?
Choosing from university offers
We recommend taking a closer look at things like modules and student satisfaction for a course. There can be differences in how a course is delivered at different universities, even if it has the same name. Students may have a very different take based on their experience so far, too.
Similarly, does one university rank higher for subject or links to the sector? This could pay off big time later when it comes to finding that first graduate job. Or perhaps another consideration could be where you’d want to call home for the next three years?
This can be a bit more of a gut feeling rather than research-intensive, aside from finding out how far away it is when homesickness kicks in and a familiar face is needed. In which case, a conversation about distance might need to be had.
In my case, this actually helped me narrow my choices to the south-east, eventually settling on student life in Brighton, a short train ride from my family’s home in Eastbourne. Knowing family were closeby actually made the transition a lot easier, even if I didn’t actually go home.
Hopefully, you’ve seen all the universities in person and had a bit of time to wander around the local area. If it’s possible, try to visit again and take time to see the local student hangouts.
To some, big cities can seem rather interchangeable. Decide whether a sprawling, modern city with no limit of things to do (London, Manchester) or a smaller alternative you could easily cycle around with pretty scenery (Edinburgh), would be the best fit.
I write this as a 27-year old currently living in London who still sometimes feels overwhelmed by the noise, pollution and eye-watering price of a pint. Despite the free museums and part-time jobs available, I don’t think the shy, 18-year old me could have handled London life here.
Sometimes you need to scratch below the surface to find what makes a university city special. This could be a connection to a certain music genre, or a diverse population which shapes the local culture and cuisine. While not essential in your university decision, it’s these sorts of things you look back on fondly, years later. I do the same when I reminisce about post-exam BBQs on the beach (and waking up on said beach in the early hours of the morning…).
University living costs
Sometimes things come down to money, and unfortunately uni city choice is no exception.
While a student loan can cover tuition fees, living costs are another thing, namely rent and getting around. This can vary wildly across cities. In fact, there’s a reason why students living away from home in London are eligible for more in terms of maintenance loans. This can be a good time to start looking at student budgets more seriously and begin the student finance process.
Going back to distance from home, consider this cost when term begins/ends. While a train ticket from Brighton to Eastbourne didn’t take much of a bite out of my budget, travelling across the country multiple times within a single term can be a substantial cost.
Which city did you study in? Did you love it and stay, or did you escape the moment you graduated? If you’re heading off to university this year, where do you hope to be studying?