From the University location to the course and extracurricular activities – choosing the right institution that will shape your future can be challenging and stressful. While there are many aspects to take into consideration when deciding where to apply to, I will focus on the following 3 which I find particularly important.
Before you choose your university, choose your course
Your future career ambitions will likely determine the course you will choose to study. While general rankings can be useful to consider such as the The Times Higher Education, to pursue your dream career you will need to make sure that the institution offers the relevant course & modules and is thought by lecturers who are outstanding in their field of study. Let’s take for example the University of London which is home to 17 independent schools with several ranked in the top 10 including LSE and Imperial College. But you will also find more specialised institutions like the University of the Arts London which is one of the world’s leading institutions for Art & Design degrees. And of course, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) which is the mecca for the study of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Hence, it’s advisable to look at rankings by subject area!
University Life: Clubs & Societies
Extracurricular activities give you the opportunity to engage outside of your classroom with topics that interest you – from politics, philosophy to sport and everything in between. Aside from networking opportunities that may help you gain industry connections, you will develop soft skills, learn teamwork, and meet like-minded and thought-provoking peers thus leading to your growth, both personally and professionally. This kind of setting may turn out to be a real eye-opener hence you may like to put this down as a criteria when choosing your University – your future-self will thank you for this!
You will find that the location of the University will play a significant role when it comes to things like your social life, part-time employment opportunities, the type of student housing available, travel-time to your institution, and most important the sense of belonging which is so important for an overall positive student experience. You should ask yourself where you see yourself – somewhere in central London? While many of the London universities are in the city centre you may consider other alternatives depending on your expectations. For instance, if you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, the University of Greenwich, located on the banks of the River Thames and at the heart of one of the most beautiful suburbs of London, has one of the most iconic, green campuses in London and offers great student life.
While there is plenty of university guidance and advice available out there, it’s only you who can make this decision! Whatever it is that is important to you, take responsibility, do your own research and follow your heart to the end!
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