Choosing a University

There are a number of important aspects aside from the particular town, or field, in which a University or College is located. Teaching and Research quality are at the top of many people's lists. Inspections do take place and the findings are published. However, Institutions are often very large, varied, complex and ever-changing environments. It is simply not possible to distil all these factors into a couple of phrases. The same provisos apply to the career destinations of recent graduates. These will vary according to subject area and type of qualification.

You are likely to spend 3 or more years at your chosen venue and the social scene will probably be relevant to you. Do you want to be part of bustling metropolis or more isolated in an academic niche. What recreation and sporting facilities are there? How far is it from home? What's the transport like? What about accommodation?

In addition, there is the study to consider. What is the style of teaching, and assessment? What about libraries, computer workstations, laboratory equipment, field stations, links with the outside world?

The following texts will provide you with more than you want to know, but you still need to arrange a visit before reaching a conclusion.

The Push Guide to Which University – This website is written and researched by students and recent graduates. They give direct, and sometimes blunt, reviews of UK universities and colleges. In addition to academic facilities, they focus on those extras that potential students want to know – student life, accommodation, social activities on and off campus and much more.

The Times Good University Guide – Featuring the Times' university rankings calculated by subject from factors such as quality of teaching, research, entry standards, staff ratio, spending and graduate destinations. Brief details of other aspects such as accommodation and student facilities. (Times Books)

The Complete University Guide This interactive guide to UK Universities provides a wealth of information to help you select your course and university. A unique feature allows you to create your own ranking. – University and College reviews written by those who know – the students who are studying there.