There’s a lot to consider before applying to university. And with each decision you make having a direct impact on your future it can feel like a daunting experience.
But it doesn’t have to be. Here are five key things you should think about before you apply and to help you make the right choice.
1. Select your course
The course is the most important reason for choosing where you want to study. You’ll be studying this for three to four years so think about what subject interests you the most and look at the modules on offer. If you have two favourite subjects take a look at whether joint honours degrees are available.
How you are assessed is a big part of your studies so consider what types of assessments you will have, whether portfolio or exam based. Some degrees also offer sandwich years, study abroad and work placement opportunities which might be a deciding factor for you.
Lastly, and most importantly, check the entry requirements. Be ambitious, but realistic. You might find that you need work experience or a DBS check before applying.
2. Choose the right university for you
Now you’ve chosen your course, which university is the one for you? You can apply for up to five universities, so you’ll need to create a shortlist. Think about the following questions:
- What suits you best? A campus environment or a city-based university?
- Do you want to stay at home or live away?
- What extra activities do you want to take part in? Would a lively Students’ Union with lots of events, clubs, societies and sports teams be top of your list?
- What type of student support is available at your shortlisted university and how easy is this to access?
- Can you apply for any scholarships to help your budget stretch a bit further?
3. Think about finance and student loan repayments
Most students apply to the Student Loans Company to help them fund their studies as this means there are no up-front tuition fees to pay. You can apply for two different loans. The Tuition Fee Loan offers a maximum of £9,250 per year to pay for your teaching and access to facilities, paid directly to the university. The Maintenance Loan covers day-to-day living costs and is transferred into your bank account in three instalments. The amount is based on your household income.
You only pay back your Student Loan once you’ve graduated and earn over £27,295. You only pay back 9% of your income above this threshold. So, if you earned £29,500 you would pay back £21 per month. And if your salary ever drops below £27,295 your repayments will stop. Think of the system as a graduate tax. If you’ve not finished repayments after 30 years of repaying, whatever is left if completely written off.
4. Talk to the university
Reaching out to a university can build a picture of what is expected of you when you apply and what studying there will be like.
- Check them out online – as well as course and module information, watch videos from current students to hear about their experiences and follow their social media pages to see what they’re really like.
- Visit them – visiting an institution in person is the best way to find out if it is right for you. See what the accommodation, library and course facilities are like. Are there any open days or campus tours you can attend?
- Chat to a student – hear from current students first-hand about what it’s like to live and study there. Most universities offer a chance for you to ask any questions directly for an honest insight.
- Get in touch – Give them a call. Drop them an email or message on social media. Join a live chat. However you wish to speak to a university, they will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
5. Your personal statement
As an essential part of your UCAS application, your Personal Statement can take some time to get right. With only 4,000 characters (or 47 lines!) here’s our top tips to help break your writer’s block:
- Show your motivation – why that course, what got you interested, are you looking for a future career?
- What’s your academic ability? Not your grades but the subjects you enjoy, skills you gained, academic influences, wider reading or challenges you’ve overcome.
- Got skills? Don’t just list them. Choose skills linked to the degree if you can and give real examples of how your skills help you in your studies. Try using the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action & Results), so you are giving detail and context to the examples you have experienced through part time work, volunteering and physical or virtual experience.
- Show off your experience. If you’ve got voluntary or paid work experience these provide great transferable skills. They don’t have to be subject related.
- Write about what else you enjoy. Try including any relevant hobbies, sports, personal qualities or your proudest achievements, if you’ve got the room.
Why choose Edge Hill?
There are so many great reasons to choose Edge Hill University, but here’s our top five:
- Award-winning teaching. Our teaching is in the top 20% in the UK. We offer over 134 courses covering everything from Medicine and Teaching to Musical Theatre and Electronic Engineering. And we’ve recently been awarded Modern University of the Year in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.
- State-of-the-art facilities that include a brand-new library building, 3D immersive CAVE, Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre, Police Simulation Centre, authentic original court room and two TV studios. Whatever you study, we have it all. That’s why we’re in the 2nd in the UK for university facilities (Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022).
- A beautiful campus that features a purpose-built sports centre, swimming pool, cinema, theatre, two lakes, a beach and a choice of rooftop gardens. Our campus has been recognised as one of the world’s best green spaces (Green Flag Award 2021) for 10 successive years.
- Guaranteed high-quality accommodation that’ a home-from-home to over 2,300 students, guaranteed for all new UK first year students who make us their Firm Choice.
- Amazing opportunities and unwavering support. We’ll support you every step of the way to achieve your future ambitions. Whether it’s academic or personal advice, or you want to gain work experience to boost your CV, we’ll help make it happen.