Receiving offers on UCAS is an exciting, yet stressful time. It can be hard to make that final decision on which university you’d like to make your firm choice. Below, I’ve listed a few things to consider before choosing your firm choice!
- Visit the University: hopefully you’ve visited all the universities you’re considering at least once. Websites can be deceiving and, in my experience, I was expecting to like certain universities far more than others – which totally changed after attending open days!
- Are there any benefits to choosing a university as your firm choice? Take the time to look into the bursaries and scholarships that the universities offer, as well as the terms and conditions! I received a £3,000 bursary when I came to the University of Essex, however if I had not chosen it as my first choice I wouldn’t have received this. Choosing Essex as your firm choice also has implications on when you can apply for accommodation. This is something that a lot of universities do; they only guarantee university accommodation if you put them as your first choice – so if you live far away, this may be a very important factor in your decision.
- Could I see myself at this institution? It’s kind of like buying a house…if you can’t see yourself living there and settling in, there’s not much point in choosing it as your firm choice! It’s important to feel settled and comfortable at the institution and this includes liking the course, social life and accommodation.
- Does the university have lots of opportunities? It’s really important to ensure the university you pick has good prospects and plenty to get involved in whilst your there because, not only do you need to complete your degree, employers also want to see that you’ve gained lots of transferable skills that will put you above other candidates when it comes to securing your dream job! (I’ve had 10 jobs since starting the University of Essex, so we definitely have plenty to choose from!)
- Does the university have good student satisfaction? You can check this out online (Essex are second in the country!!) but it’s really good to know, because this is how satisfied students are overall with the university and student experience.
- Is there a good students union? Another important aspect of university life is the social side; it’s important to enjoy your time at university in order to succeed in your course. At Essex, we have a fantastic Students Union with loads of events to cater to every need (and if a club or society doesn’t exist and you’d like it to, you can create your own!)
- Are there lots of support services in place? You need to feel safe at the university you want to attend and it’s also important to know that they will support you if you face any struggles during your studies. At the university of Essex, we have lots of support available 24 hours a day, everyday of term time! We have the usual services operating during the day to help students who may feel stressed with their workload, or with any other issues they may be having, as well as 24 hour operating residents’ life team who you can speak to at any time of the day.