University choices: Lockdown edition

University choices. With application deadlines drawing ever closer, it’s at the forefront of most Year 13’s minds and a major topic of conversation. Patricia gives some tips on how to approach this year’s ‘unique’ applications process. 

Although university choices are difficult for any year group, our current Year 13s have an especially difficult time due to the cancellation of open days as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. For those of us who tend to be more indecisive, myself included, the decision can seem impossible. To make it easier, we have created a list of tips from current and past Year 13 students on how to choose your universities (in a Covid-19 friendly way). 

1.Visit the city (if lockdown rules allow)

Although google street view is great, it really will not do any city justice. Visiting Bristol made me fall in love with the university, although I discovered that it is a lot hillier than it seemed online. Remember to chat to people (from two metres away)! Most will love to talk to you and boast about their town.

2. Follow the university’s social media.

Internet stalking the university gives you a great insight into what kind of events they offer, their opinion on current events, and the general atmosphere of the institution. Don’t just checkout Instagram and Twitter, some universities (Cambridge for example) even have TikTok.

3. Sign up to virtual open days.

Thankfully, most universities are offering virtual open days or weeks which give you an insight into what the institution is like. Make the most of them! There are often course specific talks, virtual tours and opportunities to chat to professors – all of which are invaluable.

4. Watch current students’ YouTube channels.

These will provide a more candid view of the university. You get to see what the day to day is like without the rose-tinted glasses that are on the official university website. Some of my personal favourites, which have helped me make decisions, are Kharma Medic, Eve Bennet, and ThatMedic.

5. Talk to students.

A lot of institutions offer a chat function where you can message students who are on the course you are interested in. This is a great opportunity to get any information about the subject that you couldn’t find on the official website.

6. Email admission tutors.

If you’ve got questions about the course structure, entry requirements or anything else about your application, admissions tutors are the ones to ask. You can find their contact details at the bottom of the course page.

7. Look at the Discover Uni website.

For me, Discover Uni has been an absolute lifesaver. The website breaks down the student satisfaction ranking into sub categories, so you can see how that ranking was reached. Some of the categories include how good the staff are at explaining things, how easy it is to contact professors and whether you feel part of a community, just to name a few.

Hopefully these tips will make your decision a little less daunting. If you are still unsure, you can always talk to your teachers who will be happy to help. Good luck!

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