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4 factors to consider when starting your university application

22nd April 2020 Print

Going to university is a massive step in any young person’s life. Even if you’re older than most typical students, it’s an exciting experience in terms of learning something new, earning a milestone qualification, and meeting new friends for life. And for many young people, university is the first time that they get to be independent and learn valuable life skills that will continue to serve them for many years to come, from cooking healthy home-cooked meals to paying bills and managing finances. The university that you choose to attend will have a huge impact on the rest of your life, so it’s important to apply to the one that’s right for you. Here are some main factors to consider before you apply. 

University Ranking:

If having a prestigious and respected university degree on your CV means a lot to you, then you should take note of university rankings. These change year-by-year and you can usually find them easily with an online search. The higher the ranking, the more prestigious the university is. Of course, you also have to be realistic, so speak to a tutor about your grades and get their advice on which universities they think you have a good chance of being accepted to. 

Course Choices:

Another main factor to consider when choosing a university is the course choices available. Most universities have a wide variety of courses with a huge selection of subjects to study, but some are more focused on specific areas than others. Check out UCAS - you can search for a course that you are interested in and it will bring up the universities that offer it. UCAS is typically the site that undergraduate students will use to apply to university, so it’s also a good opportunity to familiarise yourself with the layout of the website and create your student account. Once you have narrowed down some course options, you might be able to attend department open days with a focus on your specific subject choice or get on social media to speak with students currently enrolled on that course to get their thoughts. 


You’ll also want to learn as much as you can about the campus facilities, too. Look into the courses that you are interested in applying for and see what is available for students, for example, what are the labs like if you want to study science? Another important facility for any student is the university library, so learn some more about this too. University Compare is a useful site to use for more information on facilities such as the Teeside university library. In addition to learning about the library, you can also use the site to get an overview of Teeside University and compare it with other universities that you are considering. 

Campus Culture:

Of course, reading about a university and looking at photos is all good and well but for most students, it’s an in-person visit that makes or breaks their decision. Book as many open days as you can for the year. If you’re still at college, they might arrange group open days for students so be sure to get on these if you can. Visiting the university gives you the chance to look around, get a feel for the place, and figure out if it’s a good choice for you. 


While the academic ranking of a university and the facilities are important to consider, don’t forget that this is going to be your home for the next three or more years. Because of this, it’s a good idea to check out the accommodation on offer and the cost of living, so that you can get a better idea as to whether or not you are able to comfortably afford living there. Check out the options for university halls for your first year; most universities will offer halls of residence but there may also be private options in the area that are worth looking into too. Most halls will offer open days and visits that you can attend before you choose where you’d like to live. Consider what’s important to you, such as bed size, private bathroom options, and fast Wi-Fi, for example. In addition, consider your options for student housing should you want to move out of halls and into a house after your first year like most students. Does the area have a wide range of student houses available, and how affordable are they? Do you need parking? How much will your car insurance cost in the area? Consider other factors too, like proximity to healthcare, supermarkets, and transport links. 

Choosing the right university will have an impact on the rest of your personal and professional life. If you’re in the process of making your five application choices, keep these tips in mind to find the best option for you.