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Difficult Decisions: What University Course to Choose

7 January 2022

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to what university course to choose. From future career prospects and tuition fees to your predicted grades and personal circumstances, you’ll have a lot to consider. In this article, we’re on hand with our top tips to make choosing the right university course for you a little easier. 

If you’re currently unsure what you want to study at university, we hope you’ll feel confident in choosing a subject you enjoy by the end of this article. 


Our top tips on figuring out what university course to choose

1. Understand your options 

First and foremost, you must be clear on the options available to you. The UK offers more than 30,000 undergraduate courses – shortlisting your options is no mean feat. From bachelor’s degree courses and foundation degrees to Diploma in Foundation Studies and graduate-level apprenticeships, there are several different routes you can choose to take. 

By taking the time to read up on what’s available to you, you’ll have a clearer idea of the type of course best suited to your learning style and personal preferences.  

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the options available to you, speak to your tutor or careers advisor for additional support. 

2. Consider how you want to study 

While most students will opt to study undergraduate courses full-time, you don’t have to. There are several different options designed to fit your circumstances. These options include: 

  • Part-time 
  • Distance and blended learning
  • Accelerated degrees
  • Work-based learning 


Having a clear idea of how you want to study will help you shortlist your options further. Remember, you can choose more than one to start! 

3. Get clear on the subjects you enjoy and those you’re good at 

University is no walk in the park. Choosing a subject that you’ll enjoy or at least think you’ll enjoy is a crucial consideration. Granted, there will be plenty of hard work required regardless of what you choose, but if you enjoy it, you’ll get a lot more out of your experience. 

In addition to thinking about the subjects you’ll enjoy, it’s also worth considering what you’re good at. If there are one or two subjects that you excel in, the chances are you’ll secure a place on a good university course. Of course, your chosen subject area will be something you enjoy and are good at in an ideal world. Whatever you do – don’t choose something that you don’t enjoy or excel at. 


4. Consider your career path 

You don’t have to have a 10-year plan figured out before starting university. For many, knowing what you want to do so early on is a daunting prospect. But, if you’re one of the lucky ones who has your heart set on a dream job, congratulations – it certainly makes things easier.  

For those who aren’t so sure, try jotting down a list of careers that interest you and work back from there. You can take an array of entry routes for many jobs; many people end up in careers that are worlds apart from their chosen degree subject. You don’t need to have it all figured out right now. 

If you have no idea where to start, try out the UCAS careers quiz, which will help you find job roles matched to your personality and suggest a list of courses previous students studied to get there. 


5. Think about where you want to study 

While some students will have their heart set on a specific university, many can feel spoilt for choice. Regardless, you’ll want to ensure you do your research before making your final decision. While it’s not impossible to switch universities once you’ve started isn’t impossible, getting it right from the offset is highly recommended. 

If you’re unsure of where you’d like to study, here are three top tips to help you decide: 

  • Create a shortlist and attend open days if possible. If you can’t visit in person, you can attend an online open day or explore the campus with a virtual tour. 
  • Once you’ve started to whittle down your options, ensure that you check the application deadline – some universities have different processes and deadlines. 
  • Check the entry requirements for the course you have in mind – again; they may vary for each university. Of course, your predicted grades will influence the options available to you, so, be sure to use them as a guide. 


Questions to ask yourself about what university course to choose 

Choosing a university course can quickly feel overwhelming with so much information to process. To help you along your way, here are five questions to ask yourself: 

  1. Which course is best suited to my learning style and skills? 
  2. Which subjects do I enjoy most? 
  3. What subjects am I best at? 
  4. Where would I like to live in the UK and why? 
  5. What are the possible post-graduate routes that appeal to me right now? 

Take your time to work your way through these questions – you don’t need to make a decision overnight. 


Things to remember when choosing your university course 

Of course, you’ll want to consult your nearest and dearest when it comes to making such a big decision. However, avoid letting somewhere pressure you into a course or university that isn’t truly right for you. 

Going to university is a big step, particularly if you’re moving away from home. While it can be tempting to copy what your friends or partner does so you don’t have to do it alone, you have to focus on yourself when it comes to making the final decision. 

Wherever you end up, one thing is for sure – your university years will stay with you forever. So, take your time to weigh up what’s available to you, give yourself options and enjoy yourself along the way.

Once you’ve decided what course you’d like to study, you can start getting excited about applying to your favourite courses! Remember, where you choose to stay during your studies will have a huge influence on your university experience.

When you’re ready, be sure to check out the incredible amenities available at Novel Student’s properties in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sheffield, Leicester and Belfast. Best of luck with your applications!

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