Thursday 9 December 2021

How to choose a university course depends on what you’re planning to do with your degree. For example, if you’re a mature student (that’s a student over the age of 21), you might have already had your career and now you want to study for fun.

In that case, you could choose a university course that aligns with your hobbies. For example, if you’re a bookworm, maybe a degree in English literature would be perfect for you or, if you’re an animal lover, how about a degree in animal science?

But if you’re a teenager currently studying for your A-Levels and about to start the rest of your life outside high school, you will need to choose a university course carefully as it will impact your future. 

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What do you want to be when you grow up?

Of course, the job you want to obtain after graduating will have some bearing on your chosen degree. But your degree doesn’t necessarily have to be that close to what you want to do for a job. Some, if not most, employers will be happy with any degree - especially if you get a good grade - rather than only hiring graduates with degrees that correspond closely with their industry.

Obviously, for some careers you will need a relevant degree. For example, if you’ve got your heart set on being an astronaut but you don’t own the world’s biggest online store and can’t pay to be shot into space, a performing arts degree probably won’t get you very far. Not as far as the moon and back, anyway.

On the whole though, it’s better to get a 1st class degree in a subject you enjoy than a 3rd in something more relevant.

A 1st class degree shows you have intelligence, dedication and self-discipline and those are qualities that are high on any employer’s list of priorities.

While you may well have the intelligence to get a 1st class degree in any subject, you will struggle to find the dedication and self-discipline to be engaged enough to gain a 1st in a subject you find boring or have no interest in. 

Where do you want to live?

If you’re a mature, mature student (i.e. someone who hasn’t been in their twenties for a long time), you probably won’t be upping sticks and moving far away from home for the first time. 

If that’s the case, your choice of university course will be more limited as you’ll be restricted by the courses that are on offer at your local university. However, for the youngsters just finishing their A-Levels, the world is their oyster. 

So, if you’re an extrovert who likes a big, buzzing city full of bars, clubs and restaurants, you’ll need to find a course where you can get student accommodation in Southampton, London, Brighton or similar vibrant city that will cater for all your nightlife needs. 

Does the course offer what you want?

If you’ve seen two courses with the same title and you choose the course that’s in a more desirable place to live, be careful. Just because the courses have the same name, it doesn’t mean you’ll be studying the same subjects. 

Universities draw up their own courses based on their own particular staff and facilities, so courses can vary wildly between universities. 

With that in mind, if you see a course you think you like the look of, study the course outline carefully to make sure the course contains modules you’re interested in (or to make sure it doesn’t contain modules you don’t want to do). 

Along with the actual course content, also check if the course offers other elements you were hoping for such as work experience, placements or a year abroad. If these things are important to you, again, make sure you research the course carefully. 

Visit universities and attend open days

Your degree will take three or more years out of your life that you’ll never get back, so you need to be sure it’s the course for you. 

A big part of university life is the actual campus, so visit the universities who have courses you’re interested in and see what they have to offer. 

Walk around the campus, talk to students there and get as much info from them and the tutors as you can. 

While you’re there, you can check the campus out and see if they have the facilities you’d ideally have access to such as a theatre, library or music venue, etc. 

Knowing how to choose a university course can be daunting. After all, there are thousands of courses to choose from and you need to be sure you choose the right one. 

Taking some time to think about what you need from a university course will help you to make the right choice.

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