Comparing course content
Firstly, you will need to choose the type of course you’d like to study. If you don’t know your options, you should look at the different course types and entry requirements.
If you have already decided on the type of course you would like to study, here are some things to consider when comparing different courses, and different universities.
- Look at the modules covered in each course and identify which ones are most interesting, or relevant to your career aspiration.
- How many lectures are there, and how much group work will be done in seminars?
- What does the assessment at the end of each module look like? Exams, coursework, presentations, or a combination of all three?
- Who are the tutors, and are they experts in areas you want to learn about?
- When choosing a course, remember that not all courses with the same name are identical in content.
In the UK, degree courses tend to be very specialised, allowing you to focus on your chosen subject from day one. However, there are other courses that allow a little more flexibility in what you study – when you start searching for courses, make sure you read the course descriptions carefully, and click through to university websites for further information.
Advice from students on picking the right course
Comparing course providers and locations
There are many ways you can research a university, conservatoire, or college, including reading their website or prospectus, looking at online reviews, and social media channels, but ideally you should see the campus, city, and course lecturers for yourself. Universities and colleges run open days throughout the year – find upcoming open days.
Once you have shortlisted the different universities and colleges offering the course you are interested, in there are a number of things to consider when comparing each one:
- What subject areas do they specialise in?
- Can you study part of your course abroad, or get help with work placements?
- Discover what studying at a UK college is like, and how it differs to studying at university.
- Do they have sports facilities or societies that you would want to join?
- How near to home, a city centre, or the countryside are they?
- What accommodation is available for students?
There are hundreds of universities and colleges in the UK with different subject specialisms. Rather than choosing a famous university, see which one offers the best course for you. Here are some top tips to help you:
- Ask how many other international students or students from your country are studying there.
- Find out if the university has any cultural or social clubs you would like to join.
- Remember to check entry requirements in the course descriptions to see what you need to get a place.
- Check subject and university reviews.
Advice from students on picking the right place to study
As well as talking through your ideas and plans with family, friends, teachers or advisers, you can find other opinions online. Take the time to check what other people through by visiting the following:
- Get a student viewpoint at Unistats – perfect for subject and course provider reviews.
- Read uni and college reviews from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.
- Check league tables that rank university and colleges. Make sure you check the sources though, as some can be biased. The Guardian, The Times, and The Complete University Guide are some of the more impartial places to look.
- Look at the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) for ratings on teaching quality, learning environment, as well as student outcomes.