Tom blogs about weeding out university choicesThursday, June 20, 2013 12:00 AM
Tom, one of our student bloggers, continues to share his experiences on choosing the right university and course for you.
It has begun - my A2 year is upon me, unrelenting, like a wildfire made of coursework and stress to feed it. New topics have been thrown from every angle; from Mao's China, to the way language has changed, to pots. Yes, pots. But with open days fast approaching for courses I can't wait to dig my grubby paws into, the process of 'cutting out universities' is something I know I'm proud of, and I want to share with you all how I got through the tough stage of choosing what I wanted.
I started looking at universities back in October, purely because I was bored out of my skull and found out that prospectuses were free. This, combined with a lot of energy drinks and internet-browsing, led to… ahem… forty-two booklets coming through the post (and I've counted). It gave me a broad range, I suppose. Maybe not the best strategy… so here's what I'd suggest:
1) Know what you want to do.
The first thing you want to do is look at three things - a) what you are interested in, b) what you're good at, and c) what you can see yourself doing in a few years' time. Narrow it down to something you think you will relate to, and stick with for three years minimum for a Bachelor's degree at university.
2) Look for courses that reflect what you want to do.
There may be many courses that benefit you in different ways. For myself, I was interested in English, Classics, and Media, so to find a course that did a Bachelor's in Journalism, Media and English Literature was fantastic. Similarly, something that I am also interested in, Japan, came up, with a Bachelor's in English and Japanese, which hugely interested me, even with no prior knowledge of Japanese. Just look for something that you know will get your creative juices flowing.
3) Look for universities that are the best for YOU.
Some of the best universities may not hold what you want to do - for example, just going to Cambridge for the sake of it is as much a waste of time as going to a university and studying Biology when really you want to be a lawyer. You need to choose a university that benefits you with the course they provide, such as a specific degree in a specific location with specific benefits to give you the best experience you can possibly have at higher education.
A few sites I'd recommend would be http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/ and http://unistats.direct.gov.uk/ and, of course, bestcourse4me.com. All three sites, when used wisely, will help you narrow down the degrees and universities that will help you throughout the next three to four years of education. I hope this has helped, and safe travels. I'm off to my first few open days over the next month, but I'll let you know how it all faired, even though I'm nervous (I mean, Leeds is so far away!)
Until next month.