Student and Graduate Publishing

Choosing a course and institution for further education

Wednesday, 12 March 2014 16:42

By James Timpson

 - With record numbers of university applicants, it’s important that you carefully select both your further education institution and course. Failing to conduct the necessary research could leave you without a position, postponing your life for another year until the doors open again.

Grades aren’t everything
According to BBC News, in 2013, 30% of university applicants never met the standard entrance requirements.  While this proves that grades aren’t everything, it does emphasize the importance of the personal statement.

Many universities will require a short essay as a supporting document for your application. While this is often free-reign, you should strive to make it relate to your course as much as possible. This will prove that you have long-standing dedication to the topic and will be an asset to the university. When you are choosing your university take grades into account, but if you don’t quite make the cut, don’t faze them out completely; with a good personal statement, there’s still a chance you could be accepted.

Check institution rankings for courses
Certain institutions are held in extremely high regard and having them listed on your CV will do wonders for your career; however, some less well-known universities may be more suitable for your course topic than others. For example, while Greenwich University is 95 on the Complete University Guide rankings, which is near the bottom of the league, it’s considered one of the best institutions in the country for architecture.

Don’t pay too much attention to the overall rankings if you want to partake in a specific course. Instead, conduct research to find out which institution is held in high regard for your particular subject.

Consider the location
If you’re planning on working part-time throughout university, an inner city institution may be more beneficial. The further you venture out into the country, the harder it will be to find work.
In addition, if you are studying a particular topic that will require certain, off-site tasks, think about transport connections and other nearby facilities. For example, if you’re studying Aquatic Engineering, being close to the sea will be far more convenient than if you are in the country.

Apply on time
Once you’ve found a university that you feel happy with, apply the second they open their doors for applications. If you are applying for a UK institution, check the UCAS website to keep on schedule. Also, remember to sort out your student finance as soon as you get accepted. If you fail to arrange your payments, you’ll risk your position at the university.

If you are a foreign national who wants to study in the UK, there are plenty of further education institutions that have been established purely to help you integrate into society. Institutions such as the Tti School of English run courses in English that are designed specifically for foreign nationals. These schools make is possible to study in the UK, even if English isn’t your first language.