University Tips Blog
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A headshot image of the author, Poppy Hudghton

by Poppy Hudghton

Deputy Head of Student Recruitment and Widening Participation at Queen Mary University of London

posted on 13 Nov '23

Making university choices – three steps to success

Studying at university will offer you an invaluable qualification at the end of your degree programme, and from your first day at university, you’ll be supported with the guidance, tools and opportunities to build your skills and confidence.

Whilst choosing to study at university can be a big decision, choosing what and where to study can feel like an even bigger one. I’ve pulled together a three-step guide to help you when undertaking preparation for university and subsequently making decisions.

Step one: Researching courses

There are lots of course options to explore and it’s never too early to start looking. Useful websites and tools include the UCAS Course Search, The Complete University Guide, and Prospects. Universities also have their own course finders, which are the best place to find out more about modules, entry requirements, and course structure.

Step two: Prioritising universities

Once you have an idea of what course you want to study, the next step is to narrow down university choices. A good starting point is to make a list of priorities, covering what is important to you. Priorities might include:
• Do you want to live at home or move away?
• Do you want to study in a city or a rural area?
• Do you prefer exams/coursework? What does each university offer?
• Does the university offer financial support, bursaries or scholarships?
• Are the entry requirements realistic?
• What study support is available at each university?

Step three: Explore avenues to ask questions

Once you have a long list of university options, we would encourage a more personalised approach to whittling down your choices. Speaking to current students, support staff and academics is invaluable, and there are plenty of resources and events out there to help you along the way. The first port of call might be booking a number of open days, to explore the campus whilst engaging with current students and staff.

Note from UniTasterDays: You can search events offered by universities UK-wide using

You may also want to consider exploring services such as Unibuddy which allows prospective students to interact with current students. As well as booking taster lectures and watching webinars on various university courses, like those on the UniTasterDays webinar platform.

Once you have narrowed down your options and have a realistic feel for the entry requirements, you’ll need to apply on UCAS. Your school or college are likely to offer support with this to supplement the wealth of information available online.

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