As a student in the UK, you have a remarkable number of options to choose from when it comes to undergraduate education. Picking the right degree demands a fair amount of careful thought. The information provided here by GBS Corporate can help you start narrowing down your options.
University applicants can broaden their choices and improve their odds of acceptance by applying for up to five courses. While this allows you some flexibility, you are still narrowing your options considerably when you apply. Therefore, you should consider your preferred degree and university well in advance of your application.
Different Undergraduate Qualifications
Your subject of study plays a major factor in determining what sort of qualification you should be aiming for. The Bachelor’s degree is, by a wide margin, the most popular undergraduate qualification, but there it is by no means a “one size fits all” option. Certain career aspirations are actually better served with other qualifications, like the Higher National Diploma (HND) and the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ).
Receiving a Bachelors degree obliges you to complete a combination of assignments, group projects, and written exams. Many bachelors programs offer you the chance to vary your experience by studying abroad or working in a related industry.
Completing a Bachelors degree generally takes three or four years. This is another area where alternate qualifications may become more attractive. Many of them – like the Higher National Diploma or a Foundation Degree (FD) can be earned in a shorter period of study.
Choosing A Degree Subject
Subject choice is relatively easy if you start the process with clear-cut career objectives. Aspiring doctors, barristers, and journalists, for instance, have no trouble picking out a degree subject. If you’re having trouble making up your mind, try asking yourself these key questions:
- Which subjects really engage my enthusiasm?
- Do I have a talent for a particular subject?
- Have I already invested academic time in learning one or more subjects?
- Do I have any solid career plans for my post-university life?
There are plenty of jobs out there that require degree-level education without stringent requirements on your subject of study. Finding a subject that engages your passion is generally a good idea because it improves your odds of securing a high degree and developing transferable skills. You’ll also have fun in the process, which is not a benefit to be overlooked.
None of the UK’s many universities offer exactly identical courses, not even when you compare two programs delivering the same degrees. As you compare the offerings of one institution versus another, the following points should be kept in mind:
- The course’s reputation, as ranked by QS World or Times Higher Education
- The structure and timetable of the course – does it match your academic preferences?
- Does the course offer additional opportunities to enhance your learning experience, such as work study or study abroad?
- How will the course impact your future employability?
One excellent tool for comparing courses is the Key Information Set, or KIS, operated by Unistats, a major data provider in the field of higher education. The KIS information judges courses accurately by collecting all of the following information:
- How satisfied students are with the quality of instruction they receive
- What graduates are doing (and how much they’re earning) six months after course completion
- Overall course costs, including tuition fees and accommodation
While it’s important to choose a degree and university that will suit you during your time as a student, you also need to remain reasonably aware of what you’ll be capable of doing after earning your degree. Your choice of degree can have a life-long impact on your career.
Choosing The Right University
At present, the UK is home to more than 150 recognised universities. Some points that are worth considering when you pick a university are:
- How much it will cost to travel to and from university
- The overall culture of the university (including the students’ union) and how well it matches your tastes and needs
- The university’s satisfaction scores from current and former students
- The town or city in which the university is based
When you use UCAS to apply for higher education, you can select up to five courses. This preserves some of your choices and frees you from the obligation to pick a single university right away. Consider the following resources when you’re narrowing down your choice:
- Open days: These give you an opportunity to closely question students and alumni and get a first-hand feel for the university.
- Websites: A university’s online presence (including social media accounts as well as websites) can tell you how the institution wants to present itself.
- University Fairs: Local fairs are an excellent alternative to open days if your ability to travel is limited. You can make useful contacts, explore your options, and get helpful advice.