Supporting your students in navigating to their best fit UK university

Shikha Singh, Career Counsellor, The Cathedral and John Connon Senior School

Community Voices brings together the experience, insight and knowledge of the community of experts who support international students on their journey to studying in UK higher education. This month's contribution is from Shikha Singh, Career Counsellor at The Cathedral and John Connon Senior School in Mumbai, India.

In today's competitive academic landscape, selecting the perfect university in the UK requires careful consideration of various factors, each crucial in shaping a student’s educational journey and future prospects. It is about helping them to make choices that fit their dreams and building a strong foundation for their future. It is equally important to encourage students to do their own research and empower themselves with the responsibility to make the right decision. 

Here are some factors which are important for them to keep in mind while choosing the right university. 

Academic priority

At the heart of the decision-making process lies finding the right academic environment:

  • Students should delve into the depths of course content, assessing whether it aligns with personal passions and career aspirations.
  • The faculty-student ratio and class sizes emerge as crucial factors to be considered.
  • Additionally, a university's ranking serves as a path towards providers celebrated for their academic excellence and offers a quantitative assessment of various factors such as research output, faculty expertise, student satisfaction, and institutional reputation.

Yet, beyond these accolades, the availability of resources, the vibrancy of teaching styles, and unique pedagogies used, shape the educational experience, influencing intellectual growth and skill development.

Location of university

When deciding on a university, one big factor they should consider is the location.

Some universities are in busy cities, while others are in quieter, more remote areas.

  • Do they want a city campus, where they are right in the middle of all the action? A city campus will have lots of people, events, and opportunities around every corner.
  • University campuses, on the other hand, offer a different kind of experience. They are usually surrounded by nature, providing a peaceful and scenic environment for studying.

Both types of campuses have their own unique benefits

Whichever they choose, they will have the chance to learn and grow.

So, they should take their time, consider what matters most to them, and choose the university that feels like the perfect fit for their journey ahead.

Internships and career opportunities

Being at university is not just about studying – it is also about getting them ready for their future career.

  • Internships provide invaluable hands-on experience, allowing a student to apply what they have learnt in the classroom to real-world settings, explore different career paths, and build a professional network.
  • After graduation, finding a job is important too and it is essential to choose a university that helps them with their future career. Career support services may include resume workshops, interview preparation, career counselling, and networking events.
  • Mentorship programmes offered by universities pair students with experienced professionals who provide valuable insights, advice, and support as they navigate their career paths.

So, when picking a university, consider how much it focuses on helping students with their careers. Advise them to look for ones that offer relatively strong support. With the right help, they can feel confident about their future job prospects.

Extracurricular activities

What a student enjoys outside of class matters too.

Joining clubs, groups and participating in various extracurriculars at university will help them grow as a person.

These activities encourage teamwork, leadership, and communication that are super important in life.


They shouldn’t just focus on studying

But also get involved in clubs and societies too. Extracurriculars will allow them to explore their interests and make friends while learning valuable skills.

Whether it's playing sports, enjoying art, or helping the community, clubs and societies will help them become a more well-rounded person – so encourage them to get involved.

Other factors

When choosing a university, even the little things matter. Things like good food, feeling safe, student accommodation and being part of a diverse community can make a big difference in their university life.

Besides focusing on location and reputation, they should think about how they will feel on campus. Encourage them to talk to current students who are studying on the campus and alumni, if required, to learn of their experiences.

Picking the right university isn't just about getting a degree. A student should take their time, think it over, and the right choice will lead them to not only a degree but an enjoyable university experience.