If you’re travelling across the world to go to a university, you want to make sure it’s the right one for you. University rankings cover lots of different categories, like student satisfaction and teaching effectiveness. You can also see how highly ranked the university is for specific subjects. For example:
- The World University Rankings looks at the university’s global position.
- The Impact Ranking looks at a university’s commitment to sustainability and equality.
- The Teaching Rankings explore the quality of the teaching.
- The Reputation Rankings looks at how academics view the quality of an institution.
Prospectus are really useful for future students. They will include lots of information about the university, their courses and the city. As well as course listings, prospectuses will include student testimonials and photos of the facilities and campus. Prospectuses will also usually include a section or at least a page dedicated to international students, their entry requirements and if their any societies dedicated to non-UK students.
Prospectuses can be requested via university website. They can be sent out via post or as an email attachment, but most will have versions accessible to be downloaded.
Once you’ve discovered UK universities that interest you, head to their website and find the area dedicated to prospective students. As visiting open days is difficult as an international student, most university’s offer a virtual tour of their campus, student accommodation and sometimes the surrounding city.
Through 360 degree panoramic photos and videos, you can get a picture of what it will be like to study and live there. Some universities offer videos where a student ambassador will guide you around the campus.
4. Read student reviews
You wouldn’t choose a restaurant, watch a movie or buy a product without reading a review. Why choose a university without reading reviews first? While rankings can give you an idea of the academic reputation, reading reviews from students reveals the unique experiences of people who come from international backgrounds, helping you to see if the UK is the right place for you.
5. Visit the UK
Attending an open day is not always practical, but if you can, try to visit the universities you think are right for you. Universities will run open days throughout the year, but if you can’t make an open day, contact the international office to see if they can make an exception. You'll get a much better feel for the campus if you visit in person – and if you can spend time in the town or city the university is located in.
The British Council regularly organise events in more than 40 countries.
At these events you can meet university staff, attend presentations, meet UCAS specialists and generally find out more about the UK university experiences. Admission is usually free, but we advise registering online to get more information about the events.
7. Use an agent
Some agents have formal working relationships with particular universities. This means they know the application process and what the university has to offer. If you haven’t made your mind up yet, an agent can help evaluate which UK university is right for you.
9. Join a student community
Speaking to other students is a good way to get an insight into student life in the UK. Visit websites like the Student Room to learn about universities, nightlife, societies, and the atmosphere of the campus.
If you have any questions or can’t find the right information on any of the above options, get in touch with the university directly. A good university will always be happy to help. All universities will have an international department that understands your needs. Some universities will run regular open sessions where you can ask questions and speak to students.