Monday, 5 May 2014

(2) Doing Uni: Booking open days + making a short list

Well hi there, you uni applicant, you! Did you make your long list? Did you go to that UCAS convention and pick up prospectuses from all the institutions you're considering? Even if you didn't, I'm going to assume that you did because that makes writing this next bit easier for me. 

Once you have the prospectuses, just flick through them. I found that even doing this gave me a good feel for the university and you learn little basic bits and pieces like exactly where the uni is located, and anything about placement years for specific courses. You'll also see the courses' entry requirements which should be a real eye-opener. I threw out some of the prospectuses I had simply because I knew there was no way I was going to get AAA or because I didn't want to aim for just CCC. Speak to your parents and relatives, or even people you know who are at uni now. Ask them what they think but, as cliche as is sounds, the final decision should be yours.

I'd say chop your long list of unis down to about seven or eight - you can only apply for five anyway, or four if you're applying for Medicine. Also, quick tip if you're a wonder child who's looking at Oxbridge-type places: you can only apply for Oxford or Cambridge, not both. Maybe that's kind of obvious but it's something that I didn't realise (not that I'm Oxbridge material!), and also something that a lot of people at my school weren't aware of. Make sure you're cross referencing all the uni league tables that you find on google with each other, but that you're also taking other factors into account.

These other factors might include:

- Distance from home
- Location of the uni, ie. in a small town, city etc.
- Type of accommodation available
- Reputation of the uni (it matters a lot to employers!)
- Who you'll know there

I put in that last bullet point because that was a huge thing for me: I wanted to end up somewhere that nobody I knew would also end up. Perhaps that sounds a bit stupid or like such a small thing because you'll hardly see them anyway, but it matters a lot to me. So definitely take all those factors into account. Take a few days, or even a few weeks, to whittle your list down to about eight universities.

Once you've done that, the next step is to hop along to each of the uni's websites and book yourself onto open days. There's no way you can make an informed choice of which uni you want to go to without seeing them in the flesh. I know a lot of people don't visit the open days and they love uni they end up at regardless, but there are also people who regret not seeing it beforehand. Anyway, this little Doing Uni guide is all about being organised and going about everything in the most effective way possible, so open days are a must!

Most of the open days are in June or July, I think, so it gives you time to whittle your shortlist down to five unis and to get writing your personal statement over the summer. Hope you're all having fun revising for your exams because I'm shitsure not. Happy open day-ing!

1 comment:

  1. pretty sweet guide you've done here haha. but seriously I wanted to go where no one else was going because the whole point is to get a new start. Thankfully only 1 other person from my school is going the same place as me phew.