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How do I evaluate a university course and what questions should I ask at a university open day?

With tuition fees payable, all university students are buyers in this marketplace, committing themselves to making a significant investment in their future through university study. As such it is very important that they should make very careful consideration as to the course that they wish to study and which university will give them the best possible chance of a return on their investment when it comes to employment and a career. University consulting is something the expert team here are passionate about - helping you to choose the right university and course to support your future ambitions.

We’ve gathered some tips for how to evaluate the suitability of a university course. They are as follows:

Choose the right course and not the university first, followed by the course.

You are investing a great deal of time and money in your course of study, so it is far more important that your course of study leads to your preferred career path, than it is to choose to attend a university, with course preference coming second, just because it is close to good friends and has a good social scene. With so many courses to choose from, university consulting is a great way to get you started.

Consider how you might keep the costs of university down

Can you attend a university that is close enough to live at home? What will the travel, food and accommodation costs be, if you prefer to study away from home? Is considering applying to college in the USA an option, where perhaps you have a sporting talent that will be of interest for them to offer you a scholarship?

Visit the university before applying

You will not be able to get a feel for both the course and the university as a whole including the accommodation unless you visit. A prospectus, websites, chat rooms and the UCAS Hub is a good way to start your research, but you really do need to go and see for yourself to take in the atmosphere at an open day.

Higher Education Shows and Events are an excellent way to meet representatives from lots of universities in the same place, so saving time on research. A bit of research online will assist you with finding a suitable event.

League table and groups of universities

These are useful for reference and help to relate one university to another for your chosen faculty of study but they should only be one of the factors you consider, in addition to those below. After all, enjoyment of the course, the location of the university and employment prospects are the most important things. University consulting services will give you an expert perspective on the top universities for your course, career or other ambitions.

Open days, preparing a visit checklist and questions to ask when you visit a university

These are an opportunity for you to get to know the university and the course. These should be booked in advance and most universities allow you to do this online. Prepare a checklist of questions in advance to make sure you leave feeling that you are fully in the picture about both the course and the university. This should include:

  • What facilities does the university have?

  • What are the university dining arrangements if cooking is not your strength?

  • What is the accommodation like and what is the policy for accommodating first-year students? If this is your first time away from home it is far better to be allocated a room in a hall of residence where you will meet lots of other Fresher’s.

  • What is the atmosphere like? Does the city centre have an active student scene? You will be living there for at least 3 years so it is important to make sure that you like the location and will feel at home there. Campus style universities and those that are collegiate, located around a town have a very different feel and it is important that you feel at home in the environment you choose.

  • How do students travel to and from lectures? Are there good bus routes and is there secure ‘parking’ for bikes? Think twice about taking a car to university, at least in the first year. Parking can often be difficult and cars are very expensive to run.

  • For your chosen course, what is the contact teaching/lecture time each week and how does the system of tutorials work?

  • How is the course assessed – how much is project work as opposed to exams?

  • How many students gain places on your chosen course each year?

  • Is there an opportunity to spend time in industry or secure relevant work experience?

  • If possible, ask current students what they think about the course and what they like/dislike about it.

  • What percentage of last year’s graduates gained employment on leaving the course and what types of careers have they gone into?

  • What career advice is available to students and do they assist with CV writing and interview coaching?

Choosing us for your university consulting needs

We have an expert team ready and waiting to help you with choosing the right course and preparing for university open days. Don’t hesitate, contact us today to get started with our university consulting services!

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